Thursday, August 19, 2010

Planets influence rainfall.

Atlast some people have started realizing that the planets of the solar system have some impact on the climate of the earth. The magazine "Little India" published by Indians in the USA carried an article on how the ancient wisdom of Indians on predicting rainfall - its arrival, amount and the place where it arrives - based on the planetary positions, is true (given below). It is good news that the Meteorological department of India is taking note of this wisdom.

This wisdom is contained in what is called Medhini or mundane astrology. According to this there are a number of combinations and methods for forecasting rainfall in a place. All the planets of the solar system exert different levels of influence on each other that leave an impact on the atmosphere. In the sangam texts we often come across a reference to sighting Venus in the southern part of the sky that was linked to an impending drought year ahead. The distant Saturn - if it looked smoky to the naked eye was also considered as an indication for the lack of rainfall. Now scientists are coming to think that such influences are possible.

It is also possible that our earth exerts an influence on other planets - say on Venus in accelerating or decelerating the acid rain in that planet. We have not thought of how the earth affects the other planets, but our rishis have found out how other planets leave an impact on the climate of our earth.

According to this wisdom, three factors namely terrestrial, atmospheric and celestial sightings must be recorded on a day - to - day basis in every place. Terrestrial includes the condition of the planets and animals, atmospheric includes the conditions of air, cloud, heat, cold etc and celestial includes the position of planets with reference to each other. The first two conditions vary from place to place. Therefore the observation must be done in all places on all days. What is observed in a place may not be there in place few kilometers from there. In far off places the conditions may be totally different.

Varahamihira has detailed all the probable conditions and combinations pertaining to these 3 factors.
The hurricanes that strike the USA and other parts of the world can be predicted in advance using these parameters. 'In advance' means half a year in advance. This means that the conditions noted in a place on a day will have its effect on the same place when that place comes exactly 180 degrees away from the day in observation (opposite point in space). In astrological jargon we call it as the 7th aspect (or paarvai / drushti ). The rationale is that whatever happens on a day in a point in space and time will have its effect exactly at the opposite point in space and time. This looks as a kind of Karma theory of cause and effect. But it happens meteorologically too.

The amazing information is that the corresponding planetary positions for rainfall or lack of rainfall exactly falls in place on the opposite point of space and time. I don't know whether I am able to convey my thoughts here. All I want to say is that there are different sets of rules for predicting rainfall in a place. The most basic indicator is the three-some factor which I said above. They must be observed round the lock all through the year. For rainfall to occur, the relevant conditions give the result exactly half a year away from that day and in 180 degrees in space from that point in space.

There are other sets of rules for rainfall based only on planetary position. It is seen that they are in place on the day of rainfall when favorable rainfall is indicated in advance by the 3-some factors. For example the climate on the morning of August 15th (Independence Day this year) in Chennai was totally different. It was cool, reminding of the fog - or spreading the chill that we experience in fog - and it rained too. The day was Sukla sashti. The corresponding day half a year behind was Krishna sashti in the month of Maargazhi on January 6th 2010. That day was unusually foggy in Chennai ( fog in Maargazhi is an important atmospheric factor for rainfall). For what prevailed on January 6th, it rained on August 15th. It rained on that day.

In addition to the astrological factor that was noted in advance, that day (Aug 15) also came with a combination that indicated rainfall. Mercury-Venus nearer to each other (Budha - Shukra sameepam) ensured rain. Venus in Hastha nakshatra ensured rainfall. But the rainfall was not heavy on 15th August. If all the 3-some factors had been there on the corresponding day in maargazhi, there would have been heavy rains. Wherever the 3-some factors were sighted, there it would have rained. The point I want to note down is how the planetary position on the day of rainfall also was conducive. It shows that the heavens have a perfect map where the positions of planets fit in exactly to connect the cause and effect.

The rainfall yogas are many and the topic itself is exhaustive. There are momentary indicators of rainfall from the way the animals and birds behave and the way the wind blows and the sky shines. I will write them down whenever possible. At the moment I want the readers to take a look at the salient points given in the article posted below.



I Heard The Crows Call For Rain

As scientific tools falter in predicting rain patterns, Indian scientists turn to the Vedas and traditional knowledge for some fine tuning.
Jeet Alexander

Nearly 70 percent of India's population relies almost exclusively on agriculture, so accurate weather forecasts are extraordinarily important. During the past 100 years, the monsoon has been normal 85 times, so predicting an uneventful season is relatively safe. Nevertheless, during the last two decades, the official rainbow chasers have gone terribly awry.

Retired Air Vice Marshal Ajit Tyagi, director general of Indian Meteorology Department (IMD), admits, "The extremes are really difficult to forecast." The 135-year-old department, supported by dedicated satellites and hordes of sophisticated Doppler radars, predict the amount of rainfall (in percentage) annually. Every year, IMD projects precipitation levels on a scale, in which it predicts either a normal monsoon, a drought or a flood. The country's economic fortunes and rural lives hang on its projections.

However, the IMD has failed to predict a single drought in the last 130 years. Throughout the past 20 years, it has predicted only "normal" monsoons, whereas the country experienced floods in 1994 and catastrophic droughts in 1987, 2002, 2004 and 2009. IMD's projections have proven correct only four times in the last 16 years, representing a failure rate of an astronomical 75 percent.

Back to basics

In a country that boasts of being the pioneer in operational seasonal forecasting, such failures can be catastrophic, leaving poor farmers, who are solely dependent on rains for irrigation, stranded. Many turn to folk knowledge, especially Panchang, the traditional Hindu Almanac, which not only explains the religious significance of each day, but also contains the cipher of calculations to accurately foretell rains. Astrologers and pundits have long decoded the Panchang to predict rainfall years. Now Indian scientists are turning the Panchang pages too.

Parshotambhai Kanani, a professor at the Gujarat Agricultural University in Junagadh, was one of the earliest scholars to tap the Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) for rain prediction. He researched and published papers on traditional meteorological principles in Saurashtra from 1990-1998.

Kanani related how he was drawn to the research. In 1990, IMD predicted a normal monsoon for the nation as a whole. Although the monsoon was indeed normal in the rest of the country, it eluded the region of Saurashtra even in July, setting farmers on edge. Kanani chanced upon two unknown local meteorological experts, Devjibhai Jamod of Jetalsar village, an engine driver with Indian Railways, who recorded meteorological observations daily and predicted rainfall as a hobby, and a farmer and school teacher Jadhavbhai Kathiria of Alidhra village.

Ajit Tyagi, director general of Indian Meteorology Department: "The extremes are really difficult to forecast."
Devjibhai was emphatic that there was no possibility of monsoon in the region that year until Aug 15. "If it rains, along with lightning and mild thunder on the second day of Jayestha month, there will be no rain for the next 72 days," he claimed on the basis of a 12 century text Bhadli. Jadhavbhai made precisely the same prediction.

Kanani says, "We were intrigued by their observations and predictions. Their prediction came accurate." Kanani put out a public appeal for information on local meteorological experts. Hundreds of farmers wrote back. It was the genesis of a grass-root society, which organizes the annual Monsoon Seminar where state farmers gather to share data and figure out the onset of rains for the next year.

Kanani, with the Ancient Rain-Prediction Network (ARPN), prepares weather charts targeted at farmers. These agro-climatologists draw upon one invaluable resource — the farmers' panchang or almanacs, which have been in use since the 4th century BC. Based on folklore, astrology, rituals and ancient literature, the 30-odd panchangs across the country are the closest equivalents to the U.S. Old Farmer's Almanac. Two of the most-reliable predictors are based on Bhadli's couplets on wind direction on two specific days: Akshaya Tritya and Holi. Interpretations of the wind direction on these days foretell monsoon, and also diseases, pests, and expected yield of the crop for the season.

Dhansukh Shah: "I prefer calling it forecasting of monsoon based on the solar system and not astrology because as soon as you call it that, the brows rise."
Kanani later published a paper linking traditional and scientific knowledge in weather forecasting for a UNESCO World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2002. He published another paper, "Everything is Written in the Sky!: Participatory Meteorological Assessment and Prediction Based on Traditional Beliefs and Indicators in Saurashtra," in Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics. The papers elaborates on how traditional meteorologists use methods and principles developed by eminent astronomers and astrologers, such as Varahmihir (700-800 A.D.), Bhadri (1000-1200 A. D.), the poet Ghagh (1200-1300 A. D.), and Unnad Joshi (1350-1400 A. D.).

Technology weds Astrology

Anand Agricultural University (AAU) in Gujarat publishes Nakshtra-Charan, a forecast calendar based on planetary positions, which is popular among local farmers. M.C. Varshney, vice chancellor of the university says, "Planetary system obviously influences the gaseous atmosphere of the earth and so the monsoons. Our validation of the forecast indicates accuracy ranging between 40 to 73 percent for various zones across the state".

Similar predictions are published by astro-meteorologist Dhansukh Shah who links the amount of precipitation with Nakshatra, the position of planets. For example, planet Mercury is responsible for bringing rain in Saurashtra while Venus controls rain in Maharashtra, he says. His yearly predictions for the year's monsoon season are released in April-May. Shah says, "I prefer calling it forecasting of monsoon based on the solar system and not astrology because as soon as you call it that, the brows rise."

Shah says, "Since 1992, daily positions of the sun, moon and planets are being worked out, and the selected parameters based on relative motion of planets are applied to identify the probable rainy days. From the year 1998 to 2009, the date-wise actual rainfall data was collected and the skill of forecast verified on Yes/No basis. The results are encouraging. Maximum accuracy for one particular year 1999 was 80 percent and average accuracy is more than 67 percent for Saurashtra and Pune."

The IMD, jointly with the Central Research Institute for Dry-land Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad, undertook a pilot project of blending meteorological data with astrological kundalis (horoscopes) to predict rainfall. Earlier, CRIDA had scrutinised the Bio and Astro methods of rain predictions and published a book Indigenous Rain Forecasting in Andhra Pradesh, which validated several folk measures.

YS Ramakrishna, then-director of CRIDA and publisher of the book, said that the two expositions by sage Varahamihira — Brahad Samhita and Panchasiddhantika — provide precise details on how to perform the calculations and the principles used in formulating predictions. "Astro-meteorology combined with scientific observations is being proved to be better than mere scientific forecasts. There is an accuracy rate of 60 to 70 percent and there is always a relevance of ancient wisdom for weather forecasting for improving agro-advisories,'' Ramakrishna says.

A number of studies, both field and observation, according to the CRIDA study, validated folk methods of predicting rain. Dr. K Ravi Shankar, a researcher at CRIDA, says, "Even the positioning of the nest by weaver bird was found to be a good indicator of long-range weather forecast in Rangareddy district."

Dr. S.R. Joshi, a well-known astro-meteorologist says: "The basic factors taking part in forecasting rainfall are the same today as they were in the Vedic period. The planets that are moving in the solar system are governed by mutual attractions. Hence, the position of different planets in the solar system indicates the position of clouds."

Ashok Vasudev: "Modern day compartmentalization of spirituality and science has led us to ignore the age old wisdom of our ancestors."
Astrologer Ashok Vasudev, head of the J.R. Vedic Trust in New Delhi, says, "Our Vedas say, when the sun goes across star Krittika, the summer heat gets intensified as this star is associated with Sun, the god of fire. That is the exact time phase when temperature keeps soaring and droughts strike. The movement of sun and Saturn in conjunction imply that winters are ahead. Similarly, dry weather prevails when Sun and Jupiter run alongside, while with Venus rainfall is round the corner, so on and so forth. The equations are clear-cut and results sacrosanct."

He adds, "For more than a decade now, I have been predicting rains, floods, droughts and quakes and my forecast rarely go wrong. Meteorology departments' success rate can't stand against mine. All credit goes to our ancestors and yogis who wrote these Vedas and Upanishads. I am a mere decoder."

T Unnikrishnan, a Kerala astro-meteorologist who has collaborated with Dr GLHV Prasada Rao of Kerala Agricultural University, says, "The astrological predictions are occurring 99 percent true in Kerala. IMD predicted the onset of monsoon in Kerala from the first week of May to the 31st day of the month, whereas Astro-Meteorology gave dates from 9th of June to 6th of July this year. When I approached IMD they didn't believe me, when they went wrong, blamed it on El-Niño."

Srikant Jha of Patna's College of Agriculture says: "All across timeless India, those living off the land are turning to ancient portents rather than relying on a government forecasting machinery that invariably fails them." He notes wryly, "The Cray Supercomputers with meteorologists cannot match their accuracy."

Jha points out that long before the IMD predicted a drought in Rajasthan, the Bhil tribes of the Thar were already prepared. The extra bushy Khair trees and the wild cucumbers, which had sprouted everywhere, were omen
enough for the villagers. "Other indicators of a dry spell, as followed by village folk elsewhere in India, include crows cawing during the night, foxes appearing during the daytime and snakes climbing up trees. But should chameleons climb trees (besides changing colors to black, white or red) the opposite is indicated — torrential rain," Jha says.

Anil Gupta, a professor at the Centre for Management in Agriculture, Ahmedabad, in scarcely surprised. "After all, what are these indicators? These are recognition of patterns in weather behaviour. Why should the search for patterns not deserve proper scientific scrutiny?"

In 1993, prominent Indian meterologist P.R. Pisharoty validated a crucial pattern first outlined in the Brahad Samhita, a 6th Century encyclopedia by Indian astronomer Daivajna Varhamihira, in a paper titled "Plant that Predicts Monsoon" in the Honey Bee journal, in which he councluded that the Amaltas or Golden Shower tree is a uniquely accurate indicator of rain as it bears abundant bunches of golden yellow flowers just 45 days before the onset of monsoon.

Says Vasudev: "Modern day compartmentalization of spirituality and science has led us to ignore the age old wisdom of our ancestors. But the ancient combined approach of religion and science could immensely help the society live a better informed life."


Bala said...

It is a very interesting post.

I will be keen to find out how far this knowledge gets acknowledged by different scientists, educated persons, government officials and others connected with the farm sector and used for the benefit of our farmers in the coming years. We need all such new inputs to improve farm productivity thereby helping our farmers also.

The Times of India published an interview with Dr. M.S.Swaminathan on 15th August, 2010 wherein he had mentioned that farmers are losing enthusiasm for farming due to low productivity and the low wages they get from NREGA. Further there are news about farmer suicides in Maharashtra and elsewhere.

His interview can be read here at this link:

So my interest is whether scientists like Dr. MSS will be keen to utilise such astrological and meteorological/technical connection for "evergreen revolution?" (as he had put it in the interview or as Dr. Narlikar - who normally ridicules astrology will say that such techniques are non scientific and pseudo science only).

But on a lighter vein I immediately recollected the connection between meteorological dept's rain predictions and the anger they raised in the cricket match between England and Australia in 1975!

Immediately after the end of the first World Cup they met for their first Ashes test at Edgbaston.

The weather bureau had predicted heavy rains in the after noon and hence the England captain Dennis Amiss after winning the toss put Australia in to bat even though there was no symptom of rain at the start of the match (it was a bit cloudy only).

Australia batted very well till the 2nd day's lunch and made a score of more than 350 runs. Post lunch after England started their batting the heavy rains predicted for the first day itself came down pouring!

To cut a long story short, England lost the match by an innings and the English selectors promptly sacked Dennis Amiss from not only his captaincy but also as a batsman once and for all.

This was due to the press becoming furious and screaming for his head for his decision to put Australia in to bat based on the rains which were supposed to be "arriving" in the later part of the day and not at the start of play! The press was unanimous in seeking his sacking and the selectors obliged them.

After winning the toss if a captain decides to put the opponents in to bat it would only mean that he lacks confidence in his team.


Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

I foresee revival of astrological principles for rain- forecast in the near future. As noted by Mr Narayanamurthy of Infosys recently, Business houses are likely to enter agriculture in the near future. When that happens, all sources of climate - forecast will be researched and that would expose the scientific approach of astrology to predicting climate and rainfall.

A similar approach is seen with the USGS which is open to any method to predict earthquake in advance. It is because what we call as science in these fields has not made us wiser, concede the experts in these fields.

One must know that the astrological predictions are not given as free thought. Like any theory of science we have relevant factors analyzed in a logical and methodical way. Such an approach has been handed down by the different rishis to whom we owe the knowledge of astrology. They have observed nature throughout the year and given the theories on rainfall.

If my memory is right, it is Vasishta who had said that an astute person must observe the 3- some factors (mentioned in the article)on all days and say beforehand on what day it would rain and at what time, how much and from which direction it would rain . He had added that the rishis have made such predictions based on their daily observations.

I have written on this subject in different articles in this blog. What I have mentioned in this post is one type of prediction for rainfall. Per this the dry or wet spell on a day is based on the 3-some condition that prevailed 195 days before that day in a given place. There are other methods also. A combined reading of all the methods gives a proper perspective of the climate in a particular place.

This also requires continuous monitoring of the weather and the 3-some factors. The monitoring must be done at all places as the atmospheric condition in one place in a particular time will not be the same as what it is in a nearby place.