The Non-Believing Astrologer

Feb 25, 2011

It’s as if Dixit Bhatta tumbled out of his mother’s belly with a birth chart in his hands, but this astrologer by birth doesn’t believe in astrology.

Dixit knows the science of astrology like the palm of his hand (and ours, actually); it’s as if he tumbled out of his mother's belly holding janam patris (birth chart) in his hands. The way readings roll off of his tongue with a single glance at our hands makes us wonder what he is studying for an MBA instead of pursuing astrology as a full time profession.

But Dixit will explain that that's what he is here to do – to clarify his non-believer's stance on astrology. He starts out by sharing his excitement for learning astrology. While his interest could have been sparked by the fact that his grandfather was also an astrologer, he confesses it was the desire to hold young women's hands while reading their palms that initially triggered this journey.

450 Dixit claims astrology is not related to science.

What started out as a frivolous interest turned into a deep inquiry as Dixit joined a proper institute to study astrology. After mastering and practicing it for a while, Dixit eventually began to find loopholes as reflected in his conversation with his guru.

"'Sir, if I see in someone's chart that he is going to die in the near future, is it possible to change that?' To this my guru said no. This made me very frustrated. If I can see someone's future but can do nothing to help him, isn't it the same as being a doctor and knowing that your patient is about to die but not being able to do anything to save his life?"

This, Dixit claims, is what gave birth to his negative feelings about astrology.

“With all the progress that science as made – I mean the average lifespan of a human has increased by decades in the recent past – astrologers have no right to say that nothing can be done .”

This dissatisfaction compelled him to dig deeper into the science of astrology and find out how it works; what is the connection between a person's life and their chart. To his surprise, he couldn’t find any evidence anywhere.

"There's nothing related to science. It's a pseudo-science," he says, and we can hear the frustration in his voice.

"The mathematical aspect is accurate, it is related to physics. But when we get to the part of fate, there is no logic. Nowhere does it say exactly how the sun, moon or planets affect our personality and our future. This is how I lost faith and my fascination with astrology started to wane."

When he refers to astrology as a pseudo science, both of us wriggle in our seats a bit. "But there are people out there who really believe in it,” we say. “What would you say to them?" He admits that it is fun up to a limit but cautions against taking things too seriously or taking astrological readings as absolutes.

Nowhere does it say exactly how the sun, moon or planets affect our personality and our future.

About the different kinds of people that come to him for readings, he says, “Some of them are crazy! Some show me their chart every time we meet. When I say good things they won't believe it. And when I say unpleasant things, they get upset. It's difficult to convince them."

Dixit continues, "It is easy to exploit anyone who is an eager believer. If you want to manipulate someone, you can tell him something negative."

“So astrologers have a great amount of power in that sense, and need to be constantly aware of the ethics of engaging with clients. When you foretell what will happen in a roundabout, poetic, slightly abstract way, people can look at it retrospectively, and see similarities, and link ambiguities in the prophecies with what happened in the past.

“This is what I feel makes the prophecies of Nostradamus so popular. Tell anyone you know that they will have an accident, no matter how much they might not believe in astrology, it is bound to affect them in some way."

Stepping back, we are struck by how unusual all this is - to interview a non-believing astrologer. Dixit defends that he’s “not going to say that astrology is a bogus science. But it has not yet given me a convincing reason to believe in it."

Strangely, his lack of faith in astrology makes us trust what he is saying all the more.


This post was originally published in V.E.N.T! in February 2011.