Gayatri Devi Vasudev with Charlotte Benson

Charlotte Benson: First of all, Gayatri, thank you. It is the end of the day Bless your heart, you’ve had such a busy schedule, its so wonderful that Dennis Flaherty arranged for you to come all the way from India to the United States.

Now, this will be just a short interview, this is for, you know Christina Collins has an online e magazine, she’s just begun it a few months ago, its called the Jyotish Star, so, she since she couldn’t be here she just wanted me to have your picture and for me to interview you, she didn’t give me the questions, so this is very informal.

Is there something that you would like to say to her readership? You just gave us a brilliant lecture on the importance of Astrology and I know that you’re probably would be the one spearhead for bringing modern Astrology into the current age. Is there anything, that instead of me asking that you would like to present or that you would like to say, that you would like to present, and then I can pose the question to you that way?

Gayatri Devi Vasudev: The interesting thing is, you know, the west is rebuilding Astrology in every way, Astrology as they have it in India, in a very big way, with an open mind, and those who are doing it are all people with good education and all of that, and this is exactly what Father wanted, (the late Dr. B.V. Raman) it was his dream, that Astrology should be included in the educational curriculum in all universities, so what is happening now, I feel is a big leap in that direction. And, the way the Western Brethren are doing it, it should not be long, before the universities open their doors to Astrology.

Charlotte: Really?

Gayatri Devi: Because if Astrology does not anchor in the universities if it does not get official recognition, why, it will continue to flourish in a big way, because people will always seek out Astrology for the help it can give them, for the guidance it can offer, and for the help it can render in handling life’s challenges and problems. At the other end of the spectrum, there can be increasing exploitation of it, but people posing as Astrologers without really having studied it.

Charlotte: That is so true

Gayatri Devi: So this state of affairs can be checked only if there is official recognition, and Astrologers and the students study the subject in the universities, and they come out of it with degrees in the subject, and then set up practice. Otherwise there is no way the public can, at least initially, avoid being exploited by people who do not know anything about it, but who could use Astrological terms, and pretend to be Astrologers, and in the process mislead and mess up life.

Charlotte: Yes there’s a lot of that goes on.

Gayatri Devi: And as it is said, you know, the Sun rises in the East but, sets in the West, and so I think it will be with Astrology. It may be the West that will finally succeed in procuring for Astrology the status it deserves in the community of Sciences. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding Astrology. People tend to believe it is superstition, but among those that study Astrology, knows that it is not superstition, and that it is as systemized a branch of knowledge as any of the other recognized Sciences that are being taught in the colleges and educational institutions. For this misconception to clear, it is very important Astrology should get formal recognition.

And such recognition can take the shape of including it in the educational systems of the countries. It can take the shape of Governments officially enlisting Astrology, like having the Department of Astrology, like you have a Department of Energy or Science, or Defense. To advise the Government whenever major decisions are to be made.

The assistance that Astrology can do, can be a very great help.

Charlotte: Do they do (that?) in India?

Gayatri Devi: They do it unofficially,

Charlotte: Right, unofficially.

Gayatri Devi: They used to come to Father, (Dr. Bangalore Venkata Raman) the topmost leaders, or their emissaries, and seek his advice, and even now you know, people, from the police, the judiciary, the executive wings, they do come to me, they meet me there in the past a, or on the telephone, and they do seek guidance. Sometimes they may not go by what I suggest, and usually it messes up matters, you can’t do anything about it because there are so many kinds of compulsions at various levels. There are so many factors over which they have no control themselves. But still, if officially, Astrology is brought in, and there is no need to have a complex about consulting Astrology over state matters, it can still relieve many major matters that a country usually faces.

Charlotte: Yes. Wouldn’t that be amazing, in this kind of a culture.

Gayatri Devi: Um Hum.

Charlotte: Well Bless your heart, I hope that becomes comes true, that it is to be hoped. It will take a lot of education of proper Astrologers though. Well, you must have had quite an education growing up, seeing this take place so close at hand, with Government officials coming to consult with your father?

Gayatri Devi: Yeah,

Charlotte: He would very proud of you, don’t you think?

Gayatri Devi: Father?

Charlotte: Yes,

Gayatri Devi: He was very fond of me. He would have been very happy. I know.

Charlotte: I think he would be!

Gayatri Devi: You know, even during his lifetime, he was happy with what I was doing. And the way I was shaping up.

Charlotte: Well, it must have been very wonderful having your tutor so close at hand. So, and does your son have , I know I asked you this before, has he received his training, to be a Jyotishi?

Gayatri Devi: As of just now? No.

Charlotte: Well, there’s still plenty of time there.

Gayatri Devi: Yeah, plenty of time, and I leave it to God to make plans for me.

Charlotte: Yes, I think that’s good policy.

Gayatri Devi: Um hum.

Charlotte: Well, but is this something, you would have wanted to do Astrology, even if Dr. B.V. Raman wasn’t your father? Do you think? Would you have been exposed to it where you were?

Gayatri Devi: Well, I wouldn’t have been exposed to it the right way. And maybe I would have been exposed to it in the wrong way. Well you know, most people, or many people, they think there’s nothing to Astrology, and that it is superstition and mumbo jumbo and all that — so I wouldn’t have proceeded to look into it. Maybe that because, you know, there’s also the role of destiny, somehow I could have had a glimpse that I needed to follow this line, for some reason.

Charlotte: Well, do you ever talk about your own horoscope? I mean, what I mean is, without revealing too many details, or being too intimate, what is it in your chart that now makes you, you know, you’re one of the preeminent Jyotishis’ in the whole world! You know, I’m not trying to flatter you, but you obviously are – so do you have a special Mercury, North Node, or some Yoga, or do you have Saraswati Yoga?

Gayatri Devi: I really haven’t checked my horoscope on that.

Charlotte: Oh, now that’s going be a really good, look really good! “I haven’t really checked my horoscope on that.” Really!?

Gayatri Devi: Um Hum, I find the subject, interesting, fascinating and I’ve been in it for so many years, its sometimes a passion, its sometimes a profession — but my interest has always been academic.

Charlotte: Okay, well so which do you, is there something about, is there some technique that you really don’t like, or don’t use, like Ashtakavarga, or is there something that you really like or you specialize in, like do you do conception charts for people? Or is your first love Mundane Astrology?

Gayatri Devi: Yeah, Mundane Astrology interests me very greatly.

Charlotte: Yes, you are so good at that!

Gayatri Devi: Thank you.

Charlotte: And so do you, every month that I ready your very wonderful magazine Modern Astrology, you go through such detail for every area, for every region of the World. Making Mundane predictions! That must take a lot of time! That must take a lot of work to do that!

Gayatri Devi: Yes, it takes a lot of time and labor.

Charlotte: Gosh. Well, you’re always right!

Gayatri Devi: But if I don’t do it, I feel tired. If I do it, I don’t feel tired. (laughs).

Charlotte: If you don’t do it, you don’t feel tired! I see, now that’s interesting. Because I see how you were being so nice to those ladies over there, and looking at their screen, and I find that Astrology, it takes a lot of energy doesn’t it?

Gayatri Devi: It does, yes it does.

Charlotte: And you have to really focus.

Gayatri Devi: Yes

Charlotte: So do you see individual clients at home?

Gayatri Devi: Well, since, for many years I was not doing it in a professional way, I wouldn’t take any money for it, I would do it free. Until almost 2003, or 2004. In 1972, on a regular basis, I would not really insist on a fee.

And much of my time was taken up by the Magazine work. And when father was working on his translations of Prasna Marga, I was assisting him, making notes, working out the illustrations and examples. So, most of my time would be taken up by all that.

But after father’s passing away, when the whole magazine would depend on me. Again, I would forgo consultations. But then you know, the pressure would begin to grow, first the friends coming for guidance or help, and then their friends, and their friends – and it kept growing – and I thought – the only way I could stem the pressure from all these people, was to charge them fees. But it didn’t help! Even with the fees, they would still come. So, I made it clear, than unless they had a very real problem, or serious, some serious situation, I was not available for consultations. So that way, I do not announce, even now, that I am available for consultations, in India. And, if someone, they’ve got a serious problem, if they call up my office, then after verifying that they really need to have their charts looked into, we entertain them. Otherwise, most requests, I do not entertain.

Charlotte: Well, I wouldn’t think you’d have the time. Basically, you’re giving such good advise through the magazine, you reach a lot of people.

Gayatri Devi: yes.

Charlotte: I think you do! I love the, well, I love all of the magazine. It really makes your brain work very hard.May I ask you a question, about that, what does “under check” mean, when you say that planets are under check in your magazine, what does that mean?

Gayatri Devi: Yes, you see when a planet is transiting a particular sign, and another planet, in another sign, based on their relative positions, the first planet can come under “check.”

That means, let us say, that your Moon is in Sagittarius, and Mars is in 6th from your Moon, in transit or Mars in the 10th and 11th from your Moon is supposed to give good results. Transit wise.

Charlotte: Right.

Gayatri Devi: Or Saturn in the 8th from the Moon, from your Sagittarius Moon, Saturn n the 8th, (in Cancer) while transiting, can give bad results.

Charlotte: Right

Gayatri Devi: But there are some other planets placed in specific positions with reference to these transiting planets, then their power to do good, or their power to hurt, gets “checked.”

Charlotte: Okay, alright, thank you. I’ve looked at so many examples, to try to figure that out, and I thank you for that!I notice that you have sold out all of your copies of your new book, in the book store! So congratulations on that!

Gayatri Devi: Thank you.

Charlotte: So, what re your plans for the future, do you have another book in process or are you teaching?

Gayatri Devi: As I have said before, I make no plans. I just drift with the tide. I’m busy, whatever it is. Whatever is God’s will, I’ll abide by it. And, if it is something that is difficult, I pray to God to give me strength to abide by it. I never ask Him to change anything, Him or Her. Whatever way you look at God.

Charlotte: Exactly.

Gayatri Devi: So, when I had to resign from the magazine. I said, “if it is Your Will, that I have to resign, “ . . . and I came out of it. And almost for eighteen months, I couldn’t touch my books, even for a single day, or a single hour. It was like being, like a fish out of water. Or you know, being without oxygen. I said, if its Your Will, give me the strength to understand and abide by it. And, I prayed a lot during that period, there’s no doubt about it.

Charlotte: Well, then you’ve come out on the best end of that then.

Gayatri Devi: (…softly) Yes

Charlotte: Well, do you have anything that you would want to comment on, on your impression on what you’ve seen here so far? The American students are so happy to see you, do you have any advice to students who are trying to do Jyotish in the West?

Gayatri Devi: See, Astrology cannot be divorced from Philosophy. If you want to understand Astrology properly, you also have to understand philosophy. And in that sense, I would say the philosophy of Adwita, that is the oneness of all Creation. That can be a great help in understanding a chart. Interpreting a chart. And, in also hearing any suggestions through the chart, for handling difficult situations. Astrology sans Philosophy, I don’t think will really deliver the goods. And, the most important thing, Father would emphasize, and before him, Great Grandfather, his Grandfather, who was Jyotishi Prof. B. Suryanarain Rao , was to never to give categorical predictions, but to always emphasize the role of effort. Which is how it should be.

Charlotte: Emphasize the role of effort.

Gayatri Devi: And whatever comes to you as Fate, is nothing more than your own predetermined and past existence.

Charlotte: Okay.

Gayatri Devi: I don’t know if you’ve heard the story of the Zen Master?

Charlotte: Please!

Gayatri Devi: There is the student, and there is the Zen Master. And the student, he goes to the Master and says “Master, which is stronger? Fate, or Free Will?” And the Master does not answer him. He says, “Go about your work, clean the back yard.” “Read the books.” The Student is very upset, he says “ Here I come to the Master, and ask the simplest question, and the Master does not answer it.

“Finally, one day, when he can no longer hold his frustration back, the student, he explores before the Master, “why didn’t you tell me which was greater, Fate or Free Will?” and the Master says “stand up on one foot.” The student is even more confused and bewildered. He wants to know the answer to the most serious question, and the Master is telling him to do something that is totally unconnected with it. But the Master says. “Stand up on one Foot.” Finally, he stands up, and he lifts up one foot. The right foot, let us say. He is standing on his left foot. Then the Master says, “now lift up the other foot.” The student, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t. Every time he tries to lift up the other foot, he falls down.

So the Master says, “this is the answer to your question.” “When I asked you to lift up one foot, you had the choice of lifting up the right or the left foot. But, once you made the choice, the result of the choice, made you rooted in a situation, and that is Fate.

Charlotte: That’s beautiful. I hadn’t heard that before. The readers are going to love that.

Okay, now I know its unfair to keep you any longer, and I know your husband’s looking for you. I think you’ve encouraged us through your lectures. We know how to reach you, to get subscriptions to the Modern Astrology Magazine, you’ve inspired us a lot.

Gayatri Devi: um hum

Charlotte: Well, in this case, I think Thank you for your time, unless you have anything else that you would like to say. General guidance in the future towards 2012 , I know that from your magazine you said that there’s no real problems with the year 2012.

Gayatri Devi: Yeah

Charlotte: It’s good to hear! You’ve also told us that the United States economy would improve after November of 2011.

Gayatri Devi: Um hum, yeah that’s right.

Charlotte: After the Fall of 2011, that’s very good news. Well, we’re glad you’re here, and we appreciate your time. Very much.

Gayatri Devi: Thank you very much. And I think it has been great sharing my ideas, my thoughts, with American friends, and I’m very happy to see the levels of interest in the subject. The questions they ask, and the seriousness with which they approach the subject. Its very heartening, coming from across the seas, to a culture that has nothing to do with Astrology, as it is known in the country of its origin.

Charlotte: That’s right

Gayatri Devi: And this too, also adds strength to the fact, that Astrology is an academic subject with people who have lived in an atmosphere of rationalism. Who are born, and — and who have grown up and lived in an atmosphere of rationalism should be approaching it with such seriousness, giving it their time and energy. Which also, is a very good thing to happen. Because, with all the rationalistic thinking, there could have the spectacles of no consequence. There could be no “stuff,” in it. The very fact that they are pursuing it with such zeal, is a compliment to Astrology.

Charlotte: Yes.

Gayatri Devi: And also analogy establishes it as a subject, that can be studied by anyone, as they would study physics, chemistry, literature, or any other subject. There is no magic, no mumbo jumbo, about it.

Charlotte: I hope you’re right. Well, I’m going to take your words at face value, and I’m going to hope for the day that it is back, and being taught in the schools. It would be good if it were taught in high school too. For teenagers as they start out, to let them know about themselves.

Gayatri Devi: They shouldn’t know about themselves. You should just at least introduce it to them. Because, at that stage in their life, it is better that they do not know about themselves that much. You know, there was a school next door to my parental house,

Charlotte: Yes?

Gayatri Devi: Yes, and a high school. They also had a middle school. And, one day, a young kid, maybe in the 5th or 6th standard, he came upstairs to our office, and Father was there, and he put out his palms, like this, and said “Sir, we’re having exams next month, can you please tell me, whether I will pass?” And – do you know what Father said? “When are the exams? “ And it was April 16th or 17th . “very good, study well, you will pass.“ And the lad went away, very happy. And, after the exams, he passed the exams, he came, and he told Father, “just as you predicted, I passed the exams!” He was too young to be given a prediction. And, this was the only kind of prediction, if you can call it that, that could be given to him.

Charlotte: You have to weigh it. Well, that’s charming. Well thank you!

Gayatri Devi: It was very nice talking to you.

Charlotte: Its very nice talking to you. We love you so much, its amazing, you really don’t know, we’re respectful of you, and we hope we’re not intruding on your time, we hold you in very high regard. For your work. For your coming to enlightening us! And Christina too, send her warmest wishes. I emailed her last night, and mentioned that you had mentioned her last night in your speech, that she was one of the pioneers of Jyotish and Vedic Astrology in the West – and she was very honored to hear this, as she holds you in such high regard, both as a mentor and as a friend.

Gayatri Devi: I am seeing her – in dark glasses, on the vacation (in India) – she is exemplary.

Charlotte: Yes. And this will appear in the interview too, your regard of Christina, she is quite a person!

Gayatri Devi: Yes.

Charlotte: So, I’ll stop here with my profound thanks for your time! Thank you, its so good to see you again in person after all these years, and I’m sure Christina extends her love and wishes to you as her personal friend and your family’s long time friend.

I wish to thank Ms. Kate Fluckinger, the Washington State Astrological Association President, for her help in recording this interview.

(This interview first appeared in ‘’ magazine)