It is only when the what next question haunts minds that one turns to astrologers, soothsayers and numerologists. This is particularly true of the subcontinent where superstition and blind faith often overtake logic.
And when confronted with a crisis this trait takes centre stage.
This is exactly what has been happening since Covid-19 has struck. The world was hit as it had not, in recent history. Consequently, the religious turned to their Gods; the logical to science and the superstitious to astrologers.
If scientists are busy talking about the possibility of the when and how of the third surge or how lethal it may or may not be, astrologers in this part of the world are burning the midnight oil to read the trajectory of the planets and what they indicate: Will mankind be wiped out? Is this the beginning of the end? Will we come out unscathed the next time around? Will parents live and children die and so on and so forth.
These are questions which scientists are also researching, seeking definitive and logical outcomes. As for astrologers they are unravelling the mystic mysteries or comprehending what the skies have scripted, as it were.
As with scientists, with astrologers too, there are conflicting answers but they all point to one thing: even if the worst may not happen, the threat looms large.
There is a thin dividing line between possibility and reality, with the gap between truth and fiction fast narrowing. And who best to fathom this than astrologers, soothsayers and star gazers: the much sought-after breed in current times.
Covid-19 has hit and hit hard and raised more questions than offering answers. People the world over are dying by the minute and since last year one is grappling with the what lies ahead question: neither easy nor one that has straight, to the point answers. If anything, they are marred by uncertainty and a kind of a haze.
It is said that superstition begins when logic ends: a kind of mind over matter situation. And when confidence is low and morale down, every word works like balm. This is, perhaps, the reason why several astrologers in the recent past jumped the gun by forecasting the “end-game” of Covid-19 much before the Indian government did.
It was sometime in March this year that India’s Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the country was in the “end-game” of the Covid 19 pandemic and urged that politics be kept out at this stage.
The minister, perhaps, spoke too soon because by mid-April, India was averaging more than 100,000 cases per day: end game?
But then the minster was not the only one: there was a fair amount of optimism that India had beaten the virus. Till, of course, the second surge hit and hit very, very hard: fatally in a large number of cases.
Astrologers, too, jumped the gun last year when they predicted that the “end game” by July 2020 or at best September that year: “By September coronavirus will disappear” was the quick fix conclusion with no mention of the second surge or any explanation on why it hit and why they had failed to comprehend what lay ahead.
But there were a few who tread with caution and reiterated that 2020 is “merely a curtain raiser” to the main drama that would unfold.
There were at least three voices, two in different regions of India and one abroad saying that “Coronavirus is not going anywhere soon”.
In fact, when they spoke of India they included its immediate neighbours namely Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Delhi based astrologer Ajai Bhambi bases this on the premise that India’s horoscope is charted in 1947 when both its neighbours were part of the peninsula and hence the astrological configurations would apply to these countries too.
Bhambi reads the India-chart as being governed by the Moon from the year 2015 through 2025: “This mahadasha influences the mind, emotion, feelings and hopes. It also relates to young people so if you sell them a dream or an aspirational package like Prime Minister Narendra Modi did when he campaigned during 2014, they lap it up. This is exactly what happened before the onset of the Moon’s mahadasha which often starts its effects, adverse or positive, before the dasha actually begins. So even while the dasha started in 2015, its effects were there to see in Modi’s victory a year earlier” according to Bhambi.
However, Bhambi cautions Modi and other leaders in the subcontinent including Bangladesh on fulfilling their promises: “Leaders who came as dream merchants must fulfill their promises through the mahadasha period, else the road could be rocky and fraught with danger because in the last phase of the mahadasha, the planets could strike adversely and upset the status quo” he says.
Simply put this could mean that if leaders fail to deliver, they could be shown the door: “That may not be a foregone conclusion because the positive effect of the mahadasha could be, what I would call prize money, for the leader in question and chances are that instead of facing people’s wrath, there could be satisfaction and happiness,” Bhambi adds.
In the context of India these predictions could be prophetic given that the next general elections are due in 2024: a year ahead of when the Moon mahadasha ends.
As things stand, anger at Modi seems to be at its peak, given the oxygen crisis and a large number of deaths during the second surge, the ongoing farmers agitation and unemployment staring hard at the young people who voted in Modi not once but twice on his promise of employment.
Currently, the world is going haywire because of
planet Jupiter, which has not been following what Bhambi calls the “cosmic order” for the last four years, thus adversely affecting normal life: “Coronavirus will strike yet again between September and November this year because Jupiter will become debilitated, something similar to its position in March last year. Juxtapose this into scientific research and findings and the third surge is expected to descend on us roughly around the same time this year.
India apart, there are tough times predicted for Bangladesh too. This concern is voiced by South Africa based astrologer Mahesh Bang who sees the “next eleven months as being very tough for Bangladesh particularly as far as the economy is concerned: “On June 21, this year, Jupiter will be retrograde which is a double whammy considering that Saturn is already retrograde, so a sudden increase in the number of Covid cases is expected,” Bang says.
In other words, the third surge which is on the anvil, may hit Bangladesh before it does India?
Looking at the “big picture” Bang says “Astrologically, the entire globe, but particularly the Indian subcontinent, is very much affected by the planet Saturn and will lead to unrest, unemployment , sickness, fear and anxiety. Add to this the financial crisis and a marked increase in the number of deaths," he says.
“Saturn”, adds Bang, “entered into Capricorn on January 24, last year and will continue in this position till January 17, 2023. This is an unfavourable period for India and the neighbourhood”.
There is more “bad news” in store by way of escalating tensions between neighbouring countries, warns Bang.
Since Bangladesh is not on this radar, it is no rocket science to guess that it would either be Pakistan or China breathing down India’s neck, so to say.
However a period of “minor relief”, according to Bang’s calculations, falls between April 29 and July 12 next year but the turn-around will happen only after January 17, 2023: “One can then celebrate a booming economy, prosperity and well-being” he says even while cautioning tensions on the borders till then.
A similar note is struck by Naina Saggi, healer and astrologer, who was among the few to caution against increasing optimism: “This year will be worse than the last which was Act I of the three-year drama” she says.
Tucked away in the hills of Uttaranchal, Saggi speaks real when she says that Covid-19 is only part of the problem: “The world, as we in the sub-continent are focussing only on Covid which is a tip of the iceberg. We must brace for natural disasters including earthquakes, floods and fires, not to forget political upheavals”.
Incidentally, Saggi was among the few who had predicted “death of a consequential politician” last year without naming who it would be but had added that it would “alter the situation”.
Coincidence it may be, but Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s sudden and untimely death due to Covid complications has created a void and dented the Congress Party because there is no “nuts and bolts” man left to match Patel’s mettle.
Reiterating that Covid-19 is “not going away anywhere soon”, Saggi says the third surge which will hit sooner than later, will be “more serious” than the earlier two waves.
On this Saggi strikes a note quite different from the scientists and her counterparts who say that the third surge, if it happens, will not be lethal.
However she is in sync on the issue of India’s “uneasy relationship” with her neighbours and the “escalated tensions” which this would bring. However, things would start looking up by April 2022 after which, to quote Saggi, “we can breathe easy and finally by September next we can relax, thanks to Saturn moving out of Capricorn”. This, she says, would follow the “onset of a golden period and would be the ultimate silver lining”.
Whether that actually happens, Time will tell but going by Uttar Pradesh’s astrologer Anil Mishra, Modi’s swearing-in is a contributing factor to the mess India is currently in whether it is Covid, agitations or election reversals for the BJP: “Narendra Modi took his oath as Prime Minister at an inauspicious time and that is why he faces a crisis” says Mishra.
Rewind to May 30, 2019 when adverse planets were at play: “The ruling planet and ascendant Lord i.e. Mars was in the eighth house and was weak. It was also placed in the house of the enemy. Mars was also adversely affected by Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. Hence the configuration was anything but auspicious. The result: despite best efforts to take the country forward, despite raising its bar on the international platform and despite taking steps to enhance the country’s prestige, things have gone haywire”.
So why was last year better for the Prime Minister, the government and the country? And why is this year bad? On this, Misra says: “Last year Prime Minister Modi’s planets were very strong and they minimised the adverse effects of the inauspicious planets that had configured in 2019. Therefore though there was the aftermath of Corona last year the sheer strength of his planetary position helped combat the adversity. But this year his transit planets are not supporting him particularly Jupiter, which has become weak since April 6. This has led to the difficulties he faces”.
As for coronavirus dashboard for India, Misra
warns of a third phase which he forecasts sometime around November this year but that, he says, will not be as lethal as the second surge. This is because of two reasons: first the planets of the country would be strong and second, Modi’s planets which are malefic now will also improve and these together will combat the ill effects.
The worst is certainly not over and even as we count our blessings, so to say, the stars may foretell a different story: at least in the current phase.
The writer is an India-based columnist.