Astrology – What’s Its Worth

Has astrology any relation with astronomy? Has astrology anything to do with astronomy?

Astrology is commonly known as ‘Jyothi Shastram’ or ‘Jyothisham’ in most of the Indian languages. ‘Shastram’ and ‘Shastra’ are terms used to refer to science. ‘Shastra’ word-connection with Jyothisham, that is astrology in Indian linguafranca, gave credence to the belief that astrology is a branch of science.   However there is absolutely no relation between astrology and astronomy. Astrology has nothing to do with astronomy. Astrology and Astronomy are two different branches of knowledge, the latter based on science while the former based on beliefs. There is nothing common in between astrology and astronomy. Astronomy is the scientific study of cosmos whereas astrology is a belief of falsehood. Astrology is a story book off assumptions; astrology assumes and professes to interpret the influence of heavenly bodies on human affairs on the basis of the assumption. Some pretentious intellectuals therefore prefer to call astrology as pseudo science: Astrology does not deserve to be qualified even in that way.

The perceived basis of astrological evaluations and predictions of past, present and future of individuals or entities, is the supposed position of planets, stars and moon at the time of birth of the individual or at the time of emergence of the entities. Astrologer prepares astrological chart for predictions on the premise that the position of the celestial bodies at the time of birth dictates the course of events during the life span of the individuals or the concerned entities.

Stars, planets and other celestial bodies in space have gravitational pull on Earth. But it is ridiculous to imagine that the gravitational influence decides the fate of humans who live on the earth; the gravitational pull decides the fate of people depending upon the planetary position at the time of birth of the individual or occurrence of events on earth.

Astrology developed hundreds of years ago when study of space and the celestial bodies was not even heard of. There was no scientific methodology to measure and to confirm the position of stars and planets in the space when any event took place on earth.

Scientists have irrevocably established that the light rays of the stars, planets and other celestial bodies one sees in the sky should have started traversing   through space many light years ago and by the time one sees the star or other celestial bodies in the sky, the actual position of the object of vision might be thousands of miles away from where light rays started to traverse. It is therefore abundantly clear that the father-formulator of astrology could not have been able to decide the actual position of the celestial body in the astrological chart for predictions based on the position of the stars and planets as viewed from earth. This apart, till now no astrologer or proponent of astrology could prove with evidence that the astrological charts, the basis of predictions and the astrologers themselves, hold any validity in areas other than subjective beliefs as against objective reality.

Astrology is a farce, the ‘names’ of the very few celestial bodies among the millions, mentioned in astrological charts may   be   the   only   common   link   that   can   be inferred as existing between astronomy and astrology because astronomy is the study of stars, planets and other celestial bodies in space and the universe.

During the course of existence, hundreds of events and happenings take place in the life span of individual humans. If at all any of the predictions charted by an astrologer coincided with a factual happening, such occurrence could be the result of accidental coincidence: A close evaluation of astrological predictions will undoubtedly show that the percentage of such accidental coincidences never exceed more than one percent. It establishes the truth that astrology is a farce because science does recognize coincidences only if they exceed twenty percent for being studied further.

End Of The Universe

Is there an end for the Universe? Will the Earth continue to exist without an end?

Average general public are not concerned about whether the universe will end one day or whether the universe will not end at all. But religionists lose sleep over the question. For the religious set of believers, Almighty Creator might one day destroy the whole world but He might certainly save his creations who served the Almighty Creator throughout their life. Intellectuals are really curious about the question and they continue to study available materials on the subject and speculate things about the end of the universe. For them the question continues to remain unanswerable because even as of now, they do not have any indication or evidence to prove that there is an end for the universe and if there is an end when that end will take place.

The position being as it is at present, it is interesting to trace what different religions have to say about the origin and the end of the universe before examining the theories propounded by scientists regarding the end of the Universe.

Many religions believe in the origin of the universe as explained in Genesis: According to them God created the Universe including everything thereon, living as well as non-living organisms. But there remains a doubt whether it is the earth, the sun and the stars those were created by god as per the Genesis or is it the universe as a whole that was created by god. From what is narrated in Genesis on creation, the right course of presumption would be that God created the Universe.

According to Jainism, the world is infinite (‘Shaswat’) and the infinite world was neither created by any entity like god nor will the world end at any time.

Hinduism upholds several beliefs about the origin of Universe: The prominent belief is that Brahma emerged from the navel of Vishnu to start the creation of Universe. Other beliefs which strangely have similarity with the scientific theory of origin of universe also exist in the mythological scripts of Hinduism. They describe the Universe as a primeval matter floating like an egg which exploded suddenly, resulting  in the formation or rather creation of galaxies, stars and planets.

Scientific era post-dates religious beliefs: Religions came up long before human kind saw the light rays of science and scientific inventions. It is therefore quite natural for religious views to change as time passes by to accommodate scientific views suitably adulterated to meet the needs of beliefs. Latest Christian belief is an example for this: Most Christian churches now accept ‘Big Bang’ theory as the origin of the Universe though according to them the bang was caused by the God.

According to the theories expounded by scientists, universe originated as a result of a ‘BIG BANG’ that took place some fifteen billion years ago: The Big Bang caused the explosion of an unimaginably dense and hot piece of object; the explosion disbursed matter, stars, planets, galaxies and black holes. Thus was how Universe was formed or rather emerged.

The Universe that was formed out of the Big Bang is fast expanding and new matter is being formed every moment. In that situation, end of universe appears to be an unlikely event. May be, there will be no end of the universe; maybe there will be an end for the Universe. If at all there is going to be an end, that end ought to have to happen  at the hands of humans: That is how it has to be premised out of the ever growing destructive activities those are taking place at the hands of humans in the name of god, religion and beliefs!

Miracles – An Overview

Miracles are everywhere. Look into the pages of ancient scriptures: We find descriptions of miracles on every page. Look around, it is miracles and stories of miracles at every congregation of Spiritualists, Priests and Religious Heads. Meet your neighbourhood believer; miracles are all what he has to say about.

Ordinary believers feel aghast at every miracle they encounter. Miracles do happen almost every moment to bewilder the believers.

When a deep pit in the riverbed got filled up with mud and sand due to the torrential currents of a heavy flood, it was miracle for the believers who prayed for the depth in the river to be levelled up.

When an out of the season spell of a heavy rainfall caused sudden floods, the event turned out to be miracle for the believers.

When, in an air crash or a train accident or a natural calamity like an earth quake, hundreds of thousands of people die but a few survive the death, it is certainly an unforgettable miracle for the believers.

When a seriously sick person recovers of the illness apparently without known medication, it is miracle for the believers.

When a god man waves his hands in the air and brings out a pinch of ash, a tiny gold chain or wrist watch, it is wonderful  miracle for the devotees.

If a devotee in dreaming mind sees a mythological figure it is also propagated as a miracle.

Anything and everything can turn out to be a miracle. There are no rules, regulations and parameters for a miracle to happen. Miracle can therefore be defined as an event or occurrence beyond the level of being objectively understood or deciphered by an individual or a group of individuals, at a given time or situation.

The definition forewarns that experience of miracles depends upon the mental stature of the perceivers depending upon situations.

Experience of miracles is confined to human mind. It exists only in human belief. No birds, no animals, no plants and no other living species except humans, have beliefs. Therefore only humans experience miracles.

Experience of miracle can well be explained in the light of science. Miracle can be either an illusory perception or a hallucinatory experience of the believer. Miracles in the category of materialization of tiny objects are jugglery of sleight of hands. Believers take such things as miracles. Seeing god-heads, mythological figures, dead persons, friends and foes in dreaming mind is the result of hallucinatory deflective mindset of the beholders. Whatever be the case, for true believers, their experience of miracles is real although the experience itself is not reflection of objective reality.

Experience of miracles may be categorized into two parts. The first one is wicked acts of cheats like the fake gurus, saints, sanyasis and god men who perform sleight of hands before gullible believers to show miracles. Even though production of the miracles at the hands of these cheats is of jugglery, the innocent believer looks at it as a real experience.

The second category belongs to the sphere of hallucinations. In these cases, the believer himself falls into intermittent cerebral fallacies and experiences hallucinatory perceptions of miracles.

The stories of miracles can be summarized in the following lines: The innocent and the gullible experience miracles out their unhealthy cerebral conditions. The crooks and the cheats make miracles out of their cowardly wickedness.

Hypnotherapy – Legal Issues

It’s alarming: Of late, the number of Hypnotherapists across the world has been on the rise. A random look at the advertisements in print media reveals the fact. That is one thing. On the other hand, more and more people are on the run to reach out to Hypnotherapists seeking treatment for mental deformities. The scenario does really support many quacks to present themselves as expert therapists in the field.

In this context, it is important for both the therapists and the patients to know the generality of hypnotherapy and its legal status in therapeutic field.

Hypnotherapy is recognized as a reliable system of treatment for certain types of mental deformities by the World Health Organization, British Medical Council and American Medical Association. In India, there are no guidelines and institutional recognition for hypnotherapy. There are also no regulations for what would constitute adequate training for Hypnotists for providing hypno therapy and counseling. Hypnotherapy and counseling are not regulated professions in India. As a result practitioners of hypnotherapy and counseling may become liable for litigation.

Hypnosis is not a system of medicinal treatment. According to The Medical Council Act, anyone who is not a Registered Medical practitioner is not permitted to practice medicine for treatment of patients. The Supreme Court of India had ruled that it would be quackery for professional Medical Practitioners to treat patients using any system of treatment for patients other than medication.

Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, Family-therapy, Counseling and Hypnotherapy are not regulated professions in India. In principle, therefore, anyone can practice hypnotherapy and or teach hypnotherapy in India. At the same time, it is not legal for such practitioners to treat patients who require treatment by medical practitioners.   However, helping people to improve themselves, remove bad habits and improve relationships through hypnotherapy is considered as legal practices. But that should have to be done by adequately trained hypnotherapists in view of Medical Council Act of India.

Precautions:

Possibility of litigation against non regulated clinical practices by hypnotists cannot be ruled out. Therefore, non registered Counselors, Therapists and Analysts should have to be vigilant, careful and wise to get their clients sign a suitably worded contract that clearly specifies that their only role is to help the person to improve his or her phobic mental conditions  and thwarted relationships and that they understand that their therapist has no legal right to treat or cure illnesses through medication and that their therapist would not be responsible for failure if any in hypnotic suggestion therapy.

The ministry of Health and Family Welfare clearly cautions that the term “Doctor” shall be used only by qualified practitioners of the Systems of Medicine which is recognized by the Government of India. Foreign qualifications have no legal validity in India unless they are recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) or Rehabilitation Council of India. It would therefore be wise to avoid the use of unrecognized degrees and other credentials on advertisements, visiting cards, name boards, websites etc and to avoid displaying such certificates at the places of practice.

All doctors, therapists, healers and counselors can face action under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for violation of these conditions and for misuse of hypnotherapy. In order to help hypnotherapists an informal format of ‘Proforma for Patient Consent’ is furnished below: The Proforma is meant for guidance only:

PATIENT DECLARATION AND CONSENT:

Dated at……………..the……..day of …………………20..

I  Mr/Ms………………………………….residing at……………………..do hereby declare that I along with Mr/Ms……………………………….., my (father/mother/husband/wife/relative/close friend discussed my emotional problems and experiences of phobic/depressive conditions with Hypnotist,  Mr/Ms………………………….. I am convinced that my malady may be cured through counseling and suggestion therapy under hypnosis. I therefore do hereby give my consent for being counseled/hypnotized for the therapy.  I do further state in confirmation that the therapist herein above shall not be answerable for and accountable to failure if any of the suggestive therapy under hypnosis which I willfully undergo in the above mentioned context. I am fully convinced that the therapist does not treat diseases with medicin and his therapy is confined to verbal suggestions under hypnotic relaxation.

Signature  of the patient…………………….,

Name and address of the  patient……………………

Witnesses:

1.

2.

The Memory Track

Ability of human mind to retain traces of past perceptions and sensations and to reproduce them as concepts and ideas is what is meant by memory. Memory constitutes experiences of the past and the present: Since there is no future experience in the present, non-existing future experience cannot constitute memory of the present.

Brain activity that leads to reflection of objective reality of the outside world begins with sensations. Brain does not react directly with the outside objects, but it acts through receptors known as sense organs which are connected to sensory centres in the frontal cortex of the brain. Brain has five sensory centres each representing the five sense organs. Sensation is the primary mental reaction induced in the cerebral cortex of the brain by different stimuli emanating from internal or external environs. The stimuli interact with sensory nerve endings:

The interaction produces sensation in the nervous system. ‘Sensation’ is the initial stage of cognitive activity  which is generally termed as thinking process. By nature, Sensation is the elementary step in cognitive process: Sensation does not portray the object of information in its entirety or in its complete form. The process, by which the entire picture of an object of information is reflected, is known as Perception. Perception is the second stage of cognition. What is perceived through sensations leaves traces of images in the brain and when the encounter is over, the images become capable of being reproduced: That scenario represents what is called ‘memory’ and ‘memorization’. But at that stage,  images are subtle and the memory is unstable. This can well be compared with a growing child:

When the child starts growing, its mental development also starts picking up. In the early stages of growth, the images cast in its brain are poor and unclear. As the child grows, its brain starts developing Second Signal System which is identified as speech. Then the child’s world of images gets enriched: In adulthood, perceptions become clearer and with fully developed Second Signal System that is the use of language termed as speech, the adult becomes capable of generalization and segregation of concrete images. The capability of generalization and segregation of images is Conception. Sensations, Perceptions and Conceptions undergo evaluation and judgment. And thus ‘memory’ becomes stabilized and capable of being reproduced in proper and complete order. The whole process confirms that Conception is the torch bearer of memory and memorization:

Conception is facilitated by Second Signal System of language: Language plays a key role in brain activity of humans; language makes the major difference between humans and animals. Memory can be traced to experiences which one has encountered. Experiences can be of the past or of the present. Since experience of future does not exist in the present and since experience of the future did not exist in the past either, it does not contribute anything to the constitution of memory in normal brain activity. However in abnormal brain activity through and by imaginations, it is possible for some persons to build up memory in their brain. The fundamental principle of such memories relates to different beliefs nurtured by individual human beings.

Memory of past experiences sometimes leads to different emotional and attitudinal changes in humans. These changes may relate to matters of happiness, joy, pleasure and feelings of wellness, sorrow, worries, agonies and distresses. Due to conditional situations of something or the other, the emotions and attitudinal changes affect certain section of the people very adversely. As a consequence they  lose their mental equilibrium. Such persons are generalized into the category of mentally deranged persons. Mentally deranged patients need appropriate clinical treatments to bring back their cerebral functions into normalcy.

‘Word’ Connection With Signal Systems.

‘Word’ is the path-breaker of human to human Communication System. Word is deployed in the communication system either through speech or by writing down on material surfaces. These are well-known facts which need no specific mention. However, when it comes to spoken words, there comes something worth noticing: Spoken words entail sound and that makes the difference. Sound cannot be written down in normal, known platforms. Both word written and word sounded are symbols of signals.

Human Brain has two Signal Systems by which ideas, information and knowledge are received and conveyed from person to person. The two signal systems are categorized as the First Signal System and the Second Signal System.

During the course of evolution, Homo sapiens developed an extremely important addition to its nervous activity. In animals reality of the surroundings is signalized by situations and the traces they leave behind in the cerebral hemispheres of brain which come directly to the nerve cells through visual, auditory, olfactory or other receptors. This process belongs to the category of First Signal System which humans too possess by way of impressions, sensations and notions in relation to the world around, – the world that represents both the natural and the social environs. As far as humans are concerned there is a well-laid path of communication constructed by and through ‘word’ that is heard or ‘word’ that is seen in writing. That path of communication falls within the Second Signal System.

The Second Signal System is the special capability of human brain. The special capability of second signal system is of words written and or of words spoken. The knowledge the word conveys may be of impressions, sensations and notions in relation to the world around. Process of understanding the meaning and knowledge that the word conveys, either separately or jointly, depends upon the working condition of the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of each individual human being: Idiots, imbeciles and morons may not understand the meaning and or knowledge that word represents or conveys. But an intelligent person whose sensory reactions to signals from the environs are sharp, might in all probability, understand the meaning and knowledge a word conveys  with consistency as compared to morons, imbeciles and idiots.

Humans cherish the additional ability of Second Signal System of communication through words while they overtake animals, birds and every other lower specie to maim and succeed. Humans think, evaluate and invent through the magic wand of Second Signal System along with support or help from First Signal System.