“When we consult an astrologer, aren’t we trying to get the fruits of our work? And isn’t that in contradiction to the advice of Krsna in Bhagavad Gita?”
What a really, really wonderful question! Thank you so much for asking this.
First I will note that different people consult astrologers for different reasons. Some consult astrologers in ways that do not violate this principle of the gita. Most, however, do violate this principle in their astrological inquiry. But it is the duty of the astrologer to gently redirect them towards the wisdom of this Gita shloka in the course of addressing their inquiry.
We have a right to act, to do our duties.
Ma phaleshu kadaca NA:
but we never have such rights over the results of our actions.
Ma karma-phala hetu bhur:
So don’t try to cause results of your action
Ma te sango ‘stv akarmani:
but don’t give up action, either.
The wisdom of this shloka from Bhagavad Gita is saying that we shouldn’t only do things which we think will bring good results to us personally, giving up things that we think will bring us bad results. We should do what we are responsible to do, because we are responsible to do it.
This lifestyle is called “karma-yoga.”
The bulk of the Vedic scripture, however, is a precursor to karma-yoga. Most of the Veda is “karma-khanda.” In other words it is about karma, not karma yoga. It is a manual, a handbook for enjoying the fruits of life. Why? Because this is what the vast majority of the readership of the Veda (humanity) is interested in. By giving them a handbook to get what they want – human beings develop faith in the handbook – the Vedas. Thus eventually they come to the more important, though less proliferate, sections on the yogas: karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, and bhakti-yoga.
Jyotish is an appendix on the main bulk of the Veda, and thus mainly it is part of the system of how people can enjoy or not enjoy the fruits. Therefore yes, you are right, the main bulk of astrology is subordinate and inferior to the level of knowledge being expressed in that verse of Bhagavad-Gita.
Jyotish can and should be used to help people rise to this level of knowledge and beyond – just as the karma-khanda of the Vedas are meant for that purpose. That is why the astrologers, at least, should be interested in higher levels. If the astrologers are in karma-yoga, jnana-yoga or bhakti-yoga – then the less advanced persons who come to the astrologers for guidance about everyday material things can receive a great deal of benefit.
- Vic DiCara