[INDOLOGY] Indian criticisms of astrology?
martin.gansten at pbhome.se
Fri Feb 3 15:58:23 UTC 2017
With apologies for cross-posting:
I should be interested to know if anyone is aware of Indian criticisms
of astrology (particularly of the Hellenistic variety or /horāśāstra/,
although earlier forms of divinatory /nakṣatravidyā /would also be
relevant) and/or of divination generally, preferably criticisms
formulated in the pre-Islamic era. I am familiar with the (relatively
mild) censure of diviners found in the /dharmaśāstra/ literature,
signalling the low social status of their occupation, but what I have in
mind is criticism of the fundamental truth-claims of astrology --
basically, authors who claim that astrology (or divination generally)
does not or cannot work.
Such criticism is often found in, say, Muslim or Christian contexts, but
I have not so far encountered it in Sanskrit literature. Halbfass says
in his /Karma und Wiedergeburt /that 'it can hardly be doubted' that the
early stages of astrology in India saw a belief in an independent power
of the stars to determine one's fate, not related to karma theory, but
given the apparent lack of textual evidence I find it very easy to doubt
this proposition. If astrology had presented a model of theodicy (using
the term broadly) rivalling that of karma, I should have expected to see
attacks on that model from proponents of many different schools. As it
is, I am not aware of any astrological Sanskrit text proposing such an
independent model, and indeed, even the earliest works seem explicitly
to uphold the karma theory. But perhaps there are sources I have missed?
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