[INDOLOGY] Indian criticisms of astrology?

Walter Slaje slaje at kabelmail.de
Fri Feb 3 20:35:47 UTC 2017

> daiva is often equated with prārabdha-karma (*pūrvajanmakṛtaṃ karma tad
daivam iti kathyate, *ityādi). Do we know?

As far as the Mokṣopāya is concerned, we do.

> from a radical non-dualist perspective, saṃsāra in its entirety,
including cause and effect, karma and phala, etc, is illusory. Is that the
perspective behind the Mokṣopāya's rejection of fate,

No, although the author (“Vasiṣṭha”) would subscribe to non-dualism from a
purely ontological angle.

> or is the argument made on the level of 'conventional truth'?

The retributive causality of karma operates on the empirical level of
existence, although within a certain framework only of principles that
manage our present universe. Karma is part of it.

There are, to be sure, parallel universes, each created by individual
creators (*brahmā, virāj*, etc.), who are unaware of their adjacent equals.
The “natural laws” governing those alien universes are unpredictable. They
depend entirely on the fancies of their originators, on the very first
ideas that befell those Brahmā-s the moment they started to identifying
themselves as “creators”.

As a consequence, Vasiṣṭha entertains the idea of parallel universes, where
the natural laws known to us do not exist as we experience them here, as
they possibly did never occur to their creators in the same manner. Thus,
karma is restricted to our universe, because we cannot know anything about
the respective situations prevailing in our neighbouring universes.

Apart from this limitation from a broader philosophical perspective, the
crucial point from the empirical viewpoint of karma operating in our own
universe is this:

*daiva* is the result of past actions (*pūrva karman*). Past actions are
ultimately past efforts (*pauruṣa*). As efforts, past and present efforts
do not differ in their nature. As they do not differ, it is possible to
conquer the results of past actions by stronger counteractive measures (
*para-pauruṣa*) of today. Therefore, past karma can be overcome by human
effort. It is not inescapable. It cannot be  predicted by daivajñas as they
cannot know the efforts a human might or might not be willing to take. For,
it is a matter of free will, and that is also a matter where the whole
topic becomes really interesting.

The idea behind the criticism of *daiva* in the Mokṣopāya in a nutshell:
Fatalists consider and present themselves as victims of fate. It is a lame
excuse, for actually they shy away from taking control of their own destiny
by making efforts. Thus spake Vasiṣṭha.



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