Indians are not just cooking, Instagramming or taking online lessons while at home. They are also visiting astrology websites and connecting with online astrologers to know their post-corona future. Although our obsession with talking parrots and crystal balls goes back a long time, the pandemic and the prolonged lockdown has furthered our belief in the pseudoscience.
According to a report, a popular astrology website claims its revenues have gone up by 42 per cent during the lockdown. Whether it is students seeking career advice or stock market investors, people are turning to such online portals for all their answers amid this global uncertainty. Google Trends shows that the search for the word ‘astrology’ has surged after mid-March, right when the Covid situation in India started getting worse.
Online corona cure
Not just astrologers, tarot card readers too are in high demand. Live astrology or tarot card reading sessions on Facebook and Instagram have become commonplace, emerging as source for some of the most wacky theories and predictions about the worst flu the world has seen in the last 100 years. And while the scientific community across the globe is busy finding a vaccine, astrologers too are doing their bit–asking clients to chant Gayatri Mantra and urging them to worship the sun every day.
Some astro blogs even claim that coronavirus was predicted in Narada Samhita some 10,000 years ago. One has even accused Saturn and Rahu for the crisis.
People’s predictions are not limited to the pandemic. They even have insensitive theories explaining the deaths of actors Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor. A viral tweet from a news report claimed that there was a numerological connection between their death year and age.
According to a numerologist, Covid has an ‘occult number’ 21. So, the 21-day lockdown is ‘numerologically’ significant. Wonder how he would have defended his theory considering the lockdown was extended to 40 days. Likewise, Covid-19 has an occult number 4 and the year 2020 adds up to 4, which also shows that there exists ‘perfect harmony’, which is good for India, according to the numerologist.
Like many of you reading this, even I don’t understand the maths of occult numbers.
But my rational self forces me to ask this: why do we remember only now that the crisis was predicted? If the Narada Samhita knew that coronavirus is going to attack the world, why didn’t the Narendra Modi government start screening the airports or ban international travel well in advance, considering that it believes in traditional knowledge and advice?
People have postponed their wedding dates, an auspicious day, usually arrived after numerous consultations with astrologers, who ‘deeply study’ the kundalis. How did they not know if an inauspicious crisis like Covid was looming?
Death of science
Sorry, believers. It seems the coronavirus has also infected astrology, making its predictions inaccurate and delayed. Or was it always the case? But instead of listening to rational and scientific advice, people still betting on this pseudoscience. A virus won’t care if Jupiter is aligned with Mars or if Saturn is the ruling planet of the year. The arrival of a pandemic cannot be predicted, neither its exit.
The World Health Organization and scientists have predicted that the coronavirus is here to stay. It might return in many parts of the world. Theories about the effect of rising temperatures on the virus are still to be established.
Everyone is clueless, and anticipating what will happen next. But it’s easy to convince people to believe in some astrological phenomenon rather than give them genuine life-saving advice. Remember how people flocked the ration shops to hoard the day the lockdown was announced, thereby defying social distancing?
Covid-19 is an uncertainty and that is what astrology cannot predict. It cannot fathom uncertainty. No amount of number prediction or tarot card reading is going to tell you when the virus will leave, or when the economy will pick up.
It is only going to fill the pockets of these online astrologers who are charging from Rs 12 to 400 per minute for telephonic advice. It is time we turned to what we can truly rely on: science and logic.
Views are personal.