Predicting Natural Disasters

QUESTION: Can Jyotish predict natural disasters, such as the earthquake in January 2001 at Ahdemabed in which thousands of people perished?

Nearly all the current Panchangs predicted that a major earthquake would happen in India in January 2001. A Panchang is a yearly book published for astrologers containing much astrological information, including the degrees of planets, times of sunrises and sunsets, Nakshatras, etc. Also, many predictions about countries and the world are included. Using the Panchang, many astrologers make horoscopes by hand. The tradition of the Panchang is very old, and in earlier times it was produced on leaves.

Unfortunately, accurate dates and places for such events cannot now always be calculated, although such predictions used to be made. The place where an earthquake will occur is very confusing as much of the ancient texts are missing. Because some predictions are wrong, and others right, predictions in general are not taken seriously. There were, for example, many predictions of some bad event in May 2000. But then nothing happened.

In April 2000, and prior to that, various Panchangs gave many such predictions for India, including many Sanghatak Vipida (events involving Mass Death) for the world, as well as Chatra Bhanga for some countries (fall of the head of state, or the state being forcefully taken by another). It was also mentioned that these events would be more harmful for males than females. Up to April 2002 many similar happenings, including war tensions, for various parts of the world have been predicted.

It is thought that an earthquake will come should a transiting Mars and Saturn occur in front of each other, where Mars is exalted or in a Trine house or in Saturn's house, and Saturn is in Mar's house or in the 4th, 6th or 8th house from Mars, and Jupiter is powerless. Of course, such combinations occur very frequently every month, and perhaps as a result earthquakes are often observed, although most are only felt by machines.

In Ancient times there were two kinds of Panchangs. One was based on the Ujjain (a place in Madhya Pradesh, a state of India) whose time was taken as Zero time. Every year on the 20th of June the shadow of the Time pillar in Ujjain became Zero and remained like that for four days when the sun started moving in the northerly direction. In those times, India, the Himalayan range, Afghanistan, Burma, etc. were regarded as separate "islands" not a continuous piece of land. The world itself had seven different segments which were floating and colliding with each other. By creating an annual horoscope of the earth, the direction and collision of the segments could be identified. The year started from the month when the Sun goes to Aries from Pisces and the Moon is full. The month changes at the next full moon and the sun goes to the next Zodiac (approximately 5 to 9 days as the difference due to angle of inclination of earth from its axis to poles). By counting the Lessor Points in Astakvarg (Eight Planets Points) and dividing the horoscope into 4 directions, astrologers could predict the direction of various kinds of mishaps.

According to story and myth there are Seven Chakras (circles or stages) of Mother Earth's movement: (1) feet (2) knee (3) thigh (4) womb (5) waist (6) chest to shoulder, and (7) head. As she holds us in her arms, Mother Earth's feet are always moving as she dances on Fire. Her Thigh movements give life, while the movements of her knees and thighs cause the earth's seasons. Her womb is full of gems and metals. She has much love in her heart, but when she dances too much, she feels tired and stops to rest. As she takes deep breaths, the surface of the earth starts vibrating. If her shoulder moves, the roof (upper surface of the earth) under which she is dancing starts to crack. To prevent this, prayers are offered to her son (Mars) so that she take care of him and not dance too much. Praying to Mars and Earth by fasting on Tuesdays is a remedial measure for Mars, while burying a coconut filled with sugar in a lonely place is a way of praying to the Earth. Indeed, it is regarded as the very highest donation. Also, touching the feet of one's mother and taking her blessing is a way of praying to Mother Earth, since one's mother is the daughter of Mother Earth.

According to other myths, Sri Shesh Naag, (the thousand headed cobra on whose coils Lord Vishnu is lying) is holding and moving the Earth from one head to another. Praying to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shesh Naag to remain healthy and not change the earth from one head to another too frequently is a common prayer (along with donating milk to a snake) in many parts of India today. Astrologically it is a remedy related to Rahu and Saturn.

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