Astrology and Enlightenment, Part 1

Most people with a deep interest in astrology, especially Vedic Astrology, are spiritually oriented. This leads to a particular interest in viewing the charts of the spiritual teachers whom one is most influenced or moved by. I share this interest in viewing the charts of sages, but it’s not because I think I’ll find a clue to enlightenment. It’s just because I find most sages interesting as people.

Actually, if astrology clarifies anything regarding enlightenment it should be that, as modern American sage Wayne Liquorman (whom I don’t have birth data for) often emphasizes, “enlightenment is an impersonal happening.” By studying sages’ charts, we can see that enlightenment is expressed through all sorts of different personality types, which underscores this statement. Actually, if there is something I might go out on a limb and argue the charts of sages do suggest, it’s simply that their core personalities tend to shine through in a clearer way than with most of us.

Let’s take a look at three great sages who were at the forefront of enlightenment teachings for decades, their overlapping prominence extending from shortly after World War II and Indian Independence until their deaths, all between 1981 and 1990.

Jiddu Krishnamurti had no interest in being anyone’s guru yet, quite ironically, found himself stuck with a greater following than the one he tried to dissolve as a young man. Conversely, Osho (who had been Bhagwan Rajneesh before and Chandra Mohan Jain before that) founded the largest metaphysical commune in recent times and lived in luxury. Meanwhile, the humble but quick-tempered Nisargadatta Maharaj spoke to whoever visited his small flat near Bombay’s red light district… but often kicked out those who were insincere or lacked focus.

For this first entry in my “Astrology and Enlightenment” series, I’ll focus primarily on Krishnamurti. Upcoming entries will focus on Osho and Nisargadatta.

Natal Chart for Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Krishnamurti was never exactly the life of the party. In my late teens, when I initially read some of his essays, I wasn’t sure I liked him enough to maintain my interest. Of course that’s a bit like refusing to take life-saving medicine because it tastes bitter… but Ascendant Lord Saturn in the 10th conjunct Uranus and opposite an exalted Sun can provoke some strong reactions. Krishnamurti was so Saturnian that he repeatedly dismissed the entire hippy movement at the height of the 1960s, suggesting those involved were simply not earnest enough to bring about meaningful societal change and, as he always did, nudged the individual to look inside oneself and abandon any idea of the group or society as salvation.

Krishnamurti’s mother died when he was a pre-teen (one possible, very literal meaning of Moon in 12th house) and he and his brother were raised by his father, a member of the Theosophical Society, a popular East-meets-West new-age movement. While observing some of the children attending an Indian Theosophical school, High-ranking Theosophical Society member Charles Leadbetter, who was known to have siddhis (i.e. the sort of “psychic powers” most people in the West think are superstitions and most people in the East accept as a reality), claimed to see an unusual aura around 14-year-old Krishnamurti.

At the time Theosophists were on the lookout for  “The World Teacher,” whom they believed was essentially a combined reincarnation of past avatars, including Christ and Buddha. After spending some time with Leadbetter, Annie Besant and other Theosophical leaders, a teenage Krishnamurti was declared The World Teacher and accepted as such by tens of thousands of official Theosophical Society members and many more who generally believed in the group’s views and mission. At that time, Besant officially adopted Krishnamurti (and his brother) and dedicated herself to preparing him for his role.

What happened 20 years later strikes me as so amazing I’m surprised it isn’t better known: Krishnamurti called a meeting of the Theosophists. He then told all assembled that their belief in him as an Avatar or the reincarnation of anyone special was a fantasy and, acting as the Head of what was by then known as The Order of the Star in the East (a group with over 75,000 official members), disbanded it and suggested everyone seek his or her own, personal truth and stop worshipping him, anyone else or any organization.

Saturn opposite Sun breaks up any group or structure it comes into contact with, Uranus facilitates sudden change and Mula Nakshatra, where Krishnamurti’s Moon is located, wants to gets to the root of everything even when that means digging it up and pulling it out. And if that isn’t enough, Krishnamurti’s Moon is in his 12th house of loss and he was in a Moon mahadasha (major period) in 1929, when he made this announcement.

For over 50 years after Krishnamurti made the ballsiest move in… well, pretty much history, hordes of people followed him around asking questions anyway. He generally answered these questions – although, often with more questions – and engaged seekers in sincere dialogue, but he became increasingly bothered by how little his core message seemed to resonate. Towards the end of his life, Krishnamurti became established as a strong philosophical influence (especially for his series of dialogues with physicist David Bohm, “The Ending of Time,” available online as a PDF) but his message had not resulted in the wave of spiritual growth he expected. In his last days, dying of cancer, one of his final requests was not to have any monuments or memorials built to him.

If you’re familiar with the personalities of the other great sages from Krishnamurti’s era, it’s probably easy to guess which of his contemporaries immediately ignored this request, mischievously declaring that the only sort of person who deserved such a tribute was one who insisted against it. He’ll be the subject of my next post.


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