Wednesday 3 September 2014

Astrology Again

Some people think that in view of my post on astrology I have changed my view about it. That is not so. I wrote it , as I mentioned there, because I thought some people may find it interesting, though I also mentioned there that I was reluctant to write it as I may be misunderstood.

I have been throughout consistent in my view that for progress Indians must adopt the scientific attitude and scientific outlook. In other words, they must develop rational and questioning minds about issues for solving the country's massive problems of poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, healthcare, education, etc. and give up superstitions like belief in astrology or palmistry.
To those who believe in astrology or palmistry I ask a simple question : how can the movement of the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies decide whether one will become a doctor or engineer or lawyer, or whether one will die at the age of 30 or 50 or 80 ? Is there any rational connection between the two ? In fact there is none. And yet people believe in such superstitions.

My estimate is that over 90% people in India believe in astrology and palmistry. I have even seen scientists, senior and distinguished lawyers and doctors consulting astrologists. Why is that so ?

The reason is that the chance factor still plays an overwhelming role in our lives, which is due to the low development of science as yet, compared to what it will be in 100 or 200 years from now.

We plan one thing, but something else happens. Hence we cannot properly control our lives. As a result we start believing that this is due to the influence of some supernatural force or the movements of the heavenly bodies, which is not true. It is due to the low development of science in the world as yet.

For example, although three fourths of the world's surface is covered with water, there are water shortages in vast areas in the world, including in India. One reason for this is because we have not as yet been able to discover an inexpensive method for converting salt water into fresh water ( the present methods like reverse osmosis are very expensive). But I am sure that with scientific research one day such a method will be found.

Another example is the energy shortage in the world. One solution for this could be the  harnessing of fusion energy. There are two kinds of nuclear reactions, fission and fusion. We have been able to harness fission ( in which heavy atoms like uranium-235 or plutonium are split) and all the nuclear reactors in the world for producing electricity use the fission process, but there are many dangers in it e.g. disposal of nuclear waste, which if not properly done can cause cancer and other illnesses. But the fusion process ( involving fusion or joining of light atoms such as hydrogen) could be more useful as there is almost an inexhaustible amount of hydrogen in the world ( a water molecule contains two atoms of hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen ). The difficulty is that fusion takes place at very high temperatures, at millions of degrees centigrade. So we have to discover by scientific research some method of producing fusion at lower temperatures, and on this problem research is going on at CERN and other scientific institutes in the world, but with no concrete result as yet.

About a 100 or 200 years from now many of today's problems will have been solved, and science will have developed so much as compared to what it is now ( though of course scientific progress has no end) that we will be largely able to control our lives, and then what we plan will ordinarily happen. At that stage of human history people will stop believing in astrology or palmistry, and other superstitions.


  1. I agree,astrology is more of superstition than science,the only positive effect I see ,is that in Ancient India mathematics developed due to astrology.People did a lot of calculations only to make astrological predictions.

  2. There is a movement called The Zeitgeist Movement Global which strongly proposes the latest science discoveries and inventions for present day world problem. If all these things are implemented the whole world can be powered by renewable energy now itself. . . but all these things are not implemented because of vested interests of politicians, greedy business men and crooked religious heads. As you are very famous you should endorse movements like this in India so that we can bring change here by lobbying to the government.

  3. I don't know that the astrology is a superstition or science but I personally think that after 200 years later when we are scientifically far more superior from now still human believes in the astrology which started in more than 5000 years may be remain for 5000 year more, people always want to know there future and always wants to control there life according to there own will and for that they want to forced to believe in astrology, its human tendency and no science can change this .

  4. Dear Justice Katju,

    The Catholic Church believes in prophecy but rejects astrology, palm reading etc.

    As per the Catechism of Catholic church

    Divination and magic
    2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

    2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

    2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.