Reprinted from Path of Light Volume 2
By James Kelleher
In India, Jyotish takes on many forms. Astrologers have learned to adapt it to each situation according to need. In fact, good jyotishis often do not need to refer to ephemerides or computers to calculate charts. Instead, they simply do the chart in their head, on the go.
The day I met J.N. Sharma, the great prashna astrologer, illustrates this kind of astrology nicely. Although my own astrological practice generally revolves around birth chart interpretation, prashna (question astrology) has always been a supportive tool. Frequently a question chart can give a very detailed picture of coming events, so I use them liberally in my practice. I had heard about J.N. Sharma from a friend, who told me that he was one of Delhi’s best prashna experts, and I was looking forward to meeting him. On this occasion, my friend set up a meeting, which was supposed to take place at a New Delhi restaurant over lunch. Unfortunately, during the morning before our meeting I began to feel nauseated. I decided to keep the appointment, however, thinking that the feeling would pass.
On the way to the restaurant, I began to feel very uncomfortable. My body ached, and the nausea increased. I opened the window of the car to get some air, only to be suffocated by the thick and toxic New Delhi smog. The very thought of food made me cringe. As our car pulled up to the restaurant, my friend pointed out Mr. Sharma, who was waiting for us outside. My whole body ached as I got out of the car. My friend introduced Mr. Sharma to me, and as I shook his hand, I could see the puzzled look on his face. “Are you alright?” He asked. Not surprised that I looked as bad as I felt, I said, “Yes, I’m OK. I just need to sit down for a second.” Dizzy, I started to squat down to get my balance when, all of a sudden, in one gigantic, uncontrollable convulsion, I regurgitated my breakfast and part of the previous night’s dinner right next to Mr. Sharma’s feet!
Some people bring a great astrologer flowers. Others bring him fruit. My only consolation was that I did not actually hit his feet, but aimed my offering skillfully so as to simply adorn the space in front of his feet. Concerned, Mr. Sharma repeated “Are you alright?” “Yes, Yes”, I said, “I’m OK. Let’s just go into the restaurant.”
Inside the restaurant, I quickly realized that I was actually very sick. While my friend and Mr. Sharma ordered dinner, I laid down on the bench of the booth at which we were seated. I can’t remember what we talked about, but I remember that I managed to eke out some sort of pleasant conversation, while assuring them both that I was really OK. Then a thought occurred to me, why not put an astrological question to Mr. Sharma. So I asked, “Mr. Sharma, can you do a prashna right now, and tell me when I will recover?”
Mr Sharma thought for a moment and then said, “At this time, Virgo lagna is rising, Mercury is in the eighth house. It is in a purn ithasala yoga with Jupiter. You will recover quickly, in one or two days!” “Incredible”, I thought. I said, “The way I feel, a one or two month recovery would be more in line. If I recover in one or two days it will have to be due to a miracle!”
As it turned out, a miracle is exactly what took place. The next day I dragged myself out of bed and I went to see Hans Baba, a great yogi who was staying outside New Delhi. As I approached his manch (a hut on stilts) I could see him sitting on his porch, completely naked, in spite of the cold morning air. Hans Baba took one look at me and asked, “You are not feeling well?” “No,” I said, “It’s my stomach”. He pointed for me to stand under his porch. He then put his leg over the side and placed his foot on my head. He said, “You will begin to feel warm now.” Then he began to chant loudly, while he channeled healing energy into my stomach. Immediately I began to feel warm. It was a nippy January morning and I was wearing a down parka, which I quickly shed. I continued to feel warmer and warmer and eventually began to sweat. Finally, I took off my outer shirt and stood there in my tee shirt. I had always heard that great yogis are able to control their body temperature and to withstand cold temperatures. Now I was experiencing the energy, by which this phenomenon is possible, first hand. I immediately began to feel better. After about twenty minutes, the nausea was completely gone and I felt great.
Mr. Sharma’s prediction had been exactly correct. When I returned to the United States, I began focusing on prashna again. For the next year I worked with Mr. Sharma once a week for an hour over the phone, learning some of his unique predictive techniques. I used the real question charts from my clients for our weekly discussions. The result was that my use of prashna greatly improved. When I think about our meeting and the disgusting omen which accompanied it, I can only say that the science of nemitta (omenology) is not always an easy one to interpret. In retrospect, I guess the act of regurgitation might have symbolized a release of ignorance. In any case, it is the mark of a great teacher that no matter what the student brings as an offering, he reciprocates with knowledge.