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Regarding language and sound vibration

In his 1990 article, "Astrology: Language of the Cosmos," which originally appeared in Clarion Call, a Krishna periodical aimed at New Age spiritual seekers, James Braha (author of the 1986 book, Ancient Hindu Astrology for the Modern Western Astrologer) , wrote:

"In a 1947 edition of Astrological Magazine, India's most famous astrologer, B.V. Raman, noted an ominous planetary conjunction occurring around November of that year. Accordingly, he predicted:

"'The loss, by assassination... of a respected mass leader of this country.'

"Only two months later, on January 30th, 1948, the prediction came true, and tragically, marked the day of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.

"Regarding the authenticity of astrology, such examples are very likely superfluous for those who have actually sat down with an experienced astrologer and had their jyotish (Hindu astrology) birthchart analyzed. Such individuals have, no doubt, been struck with the power and profundity of the heavenly language.

"Accurate personal predictions received from an astrologer have a way of piercing straight to the core of a person's consciousness and impacting his or her perception of the subject forever...

"And yet... is it truly wise to 'believe' in astrology? Is this the domain to which astrology belongs -- belief or disbelief?

"It may seem, at this point, a subtlety or play of semantics, but the language of the heavens is a practical discipline: something to experience, not to 'believe' in. It is not a conceptual, ritualistic, or devotional subject. Putting astrology into the context of 'belief' and 'disbelief' has done more damage to this great system of wisdom and guidance than perhaps any other process, as it has served to give credence to the opinions of anyone and everyone, especially those who have virtually no experience at all with the subject.

"Sir Isaac Newton, who studies astrology, is reported to have replied to the chiding of the astronomer nonbeliever Edmund Halley (of Halley's comet fame), 'I have studied the subject Mr. Halley, and you have not.'

"But the worst effect of this belief-system business is to obscure the real nature and profundity of the star language and lump it in with static, objectively verifiable, 'closed system' sciences.

"Astrology, for better or worse, is a mystical discipline which, though certainly comprising scientific elements, goes far beyond such limitations. The cosmology of the star language is as complex and intricate as life itself...

"Certainly, anyone who has visited a competent professional astrologer knows that the star language works. It is not without cause that the discipline has existed in virtually every culture since the beginning of time. Millions, over the centuries, have experienced its authenticity.

"Moreover, the practice has to its credit some of the greatest individuals in history: Galileo, Kepler, Carl Jung, and from the Bible, Abraham, and the three wise men who heralded the coming of Christ, to name but a few.

"However, the real meaning and significance of astrology is more complex than most people are aware. The term jyotish means 'light,' and in our context refers to the planets and heavenly bodies. Knowledge of the stars was cognized or perceived through meditation by ancient enlightened seers, and forms one of the chapters of the Vedas (HIndu scriptures).

"But what exactly is astrology and how does it work? The answer is plain to astrologers: it is a language. A language of nature, of life, of the cosmos which uses stars and planets as words or symbols.

"At the exact instant of each person's entry into the world, the destiny, potential, and direction of the soul are mapped out in detail and openly proclaimed to anyone and everyone capable of listening.

"The proclamation is given through the position of the planets and their interrelationships. This of course forms one's astrological birthchart or blueprint. Those who know the language will find in each discourse (birthcart) nothing less than a 'mirror' of a particular human destiny.

"One may experience the veracity of all this firsthand by actually decoding an interpreting the language, or by visiting an experienced, professional jyotish (astrologer). But as far as belief is concerned, Swami Sri Yukteswar said to Yogananda, who as a youth did not believe in astrology:

"'It is not a question of belief; the scientific attitude one should take on the subject is whether it is true. The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief.'

"The essential problem with whether or not to 'believe' in astrology is that the question is inappropriate. Astrology is a language, nothing more and nothing less. People do not believe nor disbelieve in languages. In 38 years of living, I have never heard anyone ask, 'Do you believe in French?' The question is, 'Do you understand French?' And so it is, or should be, with astrology...

"Western astrology excels in personality, not events and circumstances...

"Within existence, there is, necessarily, language. Within language there is, always, existence. The two actually cannot be separated. What is meant here by language is not merely words or symbols, but also the underlying purpose -- the ability to distinguish.

"For those familiar with Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas, the intertwining and interdependence of language is no surprise. Sanskrit is known to be a 'name and form' language, where there is literally no difference between the symbol (word or vibration) and the object it describes.

"It is even said sometimes that the supernatural powers of perfected yogis to materialize objects at will is connected to the ability to purely speak a Sanskrit word and thus invoke its actual form.

"Also, according to Vedic (also known as Hindu) philosophy, there is the special mantra om, the primordial sound which continually reverberates throughout the universe, and is considered to be the vibrational power behind all energies...

"Now if it so that humans depend largely, if not entirely, on language, and humans are but a microcosm of the universe, then what, logically, must the universe also require for its existence? What we now see is a reason or purpose for the cosmos to speak, to distinguish -- and thus a reason for astrology, its inherent language.

"However, it it not enough for nature to simply speak; what kind of existence could the universe enjoy if it could speak (distinguish) but there was no one to listen (acknowledge)? Therefore, when the creation speaks, when it relays its moment-to-moment messages via planets and stars -- who must it necessarily speak to?

"Clearly, to beings capable of listening; to beings also capable of language, the ability to distinguish, and thereby the ability to answer back...

"Interestingly, we call astrology 'the language of the stars,' but the more appropriate term is 'the language of God,' for the stars and planets are not the speaker; they are but the lips and tongue of nature, the material energy of God. If we know that nature is speaking, we would only be wise to listen."

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