Shoba Mohan: Of course we know your father, Dr. B.V. Raman would be at the top of the list, but whom do you consider to be the major influences, both books and people, in your life as an astrologer?

Gayatri Devi: All the way, it is father. All my waking hours, until he passed away, were spent with him, even though I was married and had a family. I was very lucky that way. I considered it a great blessing . At a personal level, he was more of a Rishi. And just being around with him was an experience full of peace. It was so good to be just sitting by his side, or near him anywhere. He wouldn’t talk much, but his presence was such.

And in more recent times a little of my great grandfather.

His books are already available in the market. I had not paid that much attention, but now I am paying attention to what he says in his books. Regarding the books, its only the classics I follow. Regarding books – all of father’s books have influenced me greatly. I have learnt from those books. There was never a class or a session, like father teaching me specifically.

When it came to horoscopes, until almost 1996, charts were being cast manually. My father was not really a professional astrologer as such. When some of the big (name) people came to see him, he would give me the details and say ‘give me your comments’. I would do that, and then later, when they would come and he would be discussing the charts with them, he would ask me to be around.

So that way, I got inducted and trained. And even with muhurta, if x wants a muhurta for something, I would figure it out. He would say I had to strengthen some factor, or change some detail. So that is how it went.

The books that I have always referred to are Jatika Parijata, Jatika Tatva, Phala deepika, then Prashna tantra, and also Brihit Parashara Hora.

Shoba: What role do you think meditation, spiritual practices and consciousness plays in the development of an astrologer?

Gayatri: Of course, one of the qualifications that Varahamihira gives for an astrologer is One should have acquired perfection in a mantra. But our daily life was not divorced from spiritual practices. Like in any typical Indian home, praying is one of the things we did every day- or reading the Bhagavat Gita. Nothing specific as far as practices go.

Shoba: Could you talk a bit about the relationship between the individual and the astrologer and the responsibility the astrologer has to the individual. (and the individual to the astrologer)

Gayatri: An astrologer’s responsibility is very big, because what he says about a chart can make or mar a person’s life. So he has to be very cautious with the choice of his words. And where there is a seemingly hopeless situation astrologically, he should be very careful in conveying it to the person before him. For that it is important that he considers the moon sign and the factors that influence the moon of the native before him. If it is a weak moon, then the person might not take it in the right spirit.

Shoba: So the astrologer should “see” how the native would perceive what you tell him

Gayatri: Yes, that is very important. Especially combinations that show accidents or suicidal tendencies, or physical conditions becoming very severe, without hope . How you put it becomes very challenging sometimes. But you can’t also give them exaggerated hope of what is not there in the chart. So it sometimes is a very taxing job of conveying what the chart carries to the person before you.

Shoba: Do you feel it is our responsibility to tell him?

Gayatri: Not always. It is unfortunate, but sometimes you can’t. Someone who is 28 years old comes to you, and you find it is an alpayu horoscope, i.e. life ends at 32 or just crossing 33. How are you going to tell him? He is saying that he is planning to build a big house in the next 4-5 years…. With each chart you have to think of ways to communicate whatever can be communicated and whatever has to be withheld. Even when you withhold, if perchance later, some one else points their finger at you, you have to take the criticism.

Parents come for the matching of charts. You find that the son or daughter has a short life, you can’t tell them that. Or you don’t see marriage in their charts, which is another confirmation of short life. At times you tell them that because of these afflictions in the charts, you have to be very careful in matching charts.

In fact, some of these requirements on how to convey negative predictions to the person before you, is covered by the qualifications you were asking about before. He says You should be proficient in the predictive techniques, you should also be well-versed in the astronomical texts, you should have developed your influential ability.

That is a very important requirement.

Shoba: With advances in communications, transportation, education and the like, the world is becoming a smaller place. How important is it these days for an astrologer to know how to work with clients from different cultures?

Gayatri: It is very important. For one thing, these cultures also condition the minds of the people belonging to them. In India (but here also, this is changing), if you tell someone your son is going to live away from you, set up a separate establishment, he is going to be very worried. But in the west, it is very natural, after a certain age they are all independent.

Here, even if the father is 80 and the son is say 55, and is thinking of building a new house and moving into it, the father is displeased, the family is displeased, so these are all cultural differences.

So, it is good to know how to handle people from different cultures.

For example if you have a strong Kuja dosha caused by Mars in the 7th or 8th (although it is caused by Mars in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 12th , 7th and 8th, – 7th and 8th are more severe) , in India it may show loss of spouse through divorce or death. In the west, it can show loss of spouse through divorce or death, it can also show atleast 3 marriages. Here it may not show as 3 marriages though the 2nd marriage is not ruled out nowadays. But in the west, you can say with confidence, if a person in his 40s comes to you with a strong Kuja dosha chart, you have been married atleast 2 times or 3 times, you will be right. These are all because of cultural differences.

Shoba: What do you think about predicting longevity?

Gayatri: As a rule, we don’t predict longevity. But sometimes, when the family comes with a question, e.g. “a relative has been diagnosed with aggressive cancer, please let us know how fatal it is” we may have to look at it. Examining the longevity factor can also save your longevity.

A gentleman was diagnosed with throat cancer and was told you would have to undergo surgery. If we operate, we have to remove the sound box in which case you will not be able to speak, if we don’t operate we cannot say when it could be fatal. So his family was in a very big dilemma, they could not make a decision either way.

An examination of the chart showed he had good longevity. And a second house (the house of speech) showed there was nothing wrong or going to be wrong with his speech! So his speech was also protected. So we told him whatever the condition diagnosed by the doctor cannot kill you. Then, your 2nd house is well placed, so you are not going to lose your voice. They went to the doctors, who were offended, their expertise had been questioned. This was sometime in the 1990s. In Jan 2010, the relative said that the cousin was in good health and they did not proceed with the surgery. At the same time, another uncle went through the surgery and passed away within a week.

As far as cancer / health are concerned, many surgeries are unnecessary, and they can benefit from astrological analysis.

A 10 year old boy from Kashmir, he was suffering from blood in his stools. It was not piles, the doctors said it was cancer (rectum) and would have to remove the cancerous part. The parents were very worried. After taking a good look at the chart, I thought it was nothing but due to hardened stools. I told them to give him caster oil for 10 days and he would be fine. They did not go through the surgery. After some time the father of the young boy came to me and thanked me saying you have saved so much money for us!

So in certain circumstances, you have to examine longevity. You can say that longevity is not comfortable. You do not need to give an exact date and time.

Nowadays, even in India, astrology is a tool for guidance.

Shoba: In your personal life, what experience originally convinced you of the validity of astrology?

Gayatri: My brother, Surya Prakash, was about 26 years, he was in Madras practicing astrology. He had passed his engineering from BMS engineering college here in Bangalore. And in 1963 July or August, he wound up his practice , closed shop and came back to Bangalore. Mother was looking for a bride for him, they would have interviews – the girl’s family would visit and we were very small, and would be around for all that. Then my brother would say “don’t look for brides for me, I am alpayu.” I think father was aware of it but he said nothing. My mother never took him seriously, I think that is what Maya does to you. That fateful day, we were all playing cricket in our huge compound, and by 12:30 he asked mother for some lime juice in water, he collapsed and was rushed to the nursing home where he passed away.

I remember him saying “I am an alpayu, why do you look for brides”. So that also made an impact on me. And the fact that he could see it.

Shoba: What is it in your chart that compelled you to become a Vedic astrologer?

Gayatri: Mine is a very tricky chart. Nothing there shows my interest in Astrology, which means subjective factors must be at work. But one thing is 9th lord is in the 10th . 9th shows the father and 10th the career so in a very broad sense you can say, career is linked to father or father’s career.

Shoba: How has astrology helped you in your personal life? How has knowing what was is in your chart helped you through challenging times?

Gayatri: It has made me stoic, accept reality, and when times have been very bad, it has given me great strength to drift with the tide, without resisting it, which also gives you a lot of strength.

And your chart is your passbook, it shows you what you have put in and what you have taken out. I have put in all the painful details and situations in it and now I am curious.

Shoba: What is your proudest achievement as a Vedic astrologer?

Gayatri: I don’t think I can claim any achievement, I enjoy the subject, I work at it, it gives me a lot of satisfaction and pleasure. And if I don’t work at it for a few hours every day, I feel like I haven’t had my food!

Four predictions, you can say, gave me a sense of great satisfaction, apart from several on earthquakes and calamities:

One was Indira Gandhi’s assassination, which I had predicted in the pages of the Astrological Magazine, going by the dasha and bhukti.

Another was Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, in March 1991, I delivered a talk at the Indian Institute of World Culture. When I spoke on the trends for the coming 12 months, the elections were due in May 1991. The question from the audience was will Rajiv Gandhi win the elections? At that time there was also some talk about bringing legislation to ban political predictions. I said he will not be around. So they asked me who would then be prime minister, I said none of the contenders would win, it would be someone else! I could not say that Rajiv Gandhi was vulnerable to great physical danger, I said “the Rajiv era is over”. That was something that God made me say.

WTC being bombed: The previous January annual issue carried it, we were discussing the Annual American chart, and I said  “the US will rouse the ire of the Arab world. Going by the Mars Rahu opposition/conjunction, which was across the sign Sagitarius, the United States ascendant, I said, there will be a major national calamity or danger. This was a very crude and obvious terrorist attack.

Lastly, in early 2014, I said Narendra Modi should be careful against attacks in Sep/ Oct 2014. In October in Patna, he narrowly escaped danger from land mines placed near his talk.

Shoba: Your thoughts on Dakshina vs. fees:

Gayatri: Taking a fee is alright, but it should not become exploitative. And when you help someone with the chart, the fees factor should not figure or influence your judgement.

Even clients can be exploitative, not only astrologers. You can charge a reasonable sum, because you can�t live off the air. For most astrologers, it is their main means of livelihood and now cost of living is very high, it should be reasonable.

In a marriage ceremony, apart from the bride and groom the priest is the most important person. The ceremony is considered a vedic sacrament. If you put a small dakshina, it is unfair and insulting to the priest. Without the priest, the marriage wouldn’t have any sanctity. So people have to be liberal, and if people get anything free, they tend to treat it with contempt.

By Shoba Mohan

Watch Short Video of Gayatri Devi Vasudev Message to ACVA