Pseudoscience & Quackery

ASTROLOGY & UGC – A Letter To The Vice Chancellor, Mangalore University

This letter was written 10 years ago, addressed to the Vice Chancellor of Mangalore University, as a reaction to the inclusion of Astrology in the curriculum.

Mangalore
9.7.2001

The Vice Chancellor, Mangalore University, Konaje

Dear sir,

Pranam, I do hope that you will excuse my writing this letter in English. It should have been in Sanskrit, but, since I have no working knowledge of the language, I am forced to communicate with you in English, a pardesi language. However, I am overjoyed to learn that you have decided to grant Certificates in astrology and vedic sciences from your university to students of certain maths, and I wish to express the same in this letter to you.

I am writing this letter to your during rahu kalam on the chauthi of ashada masa. I also know that I should have enclosed a copy of my horoscope. Unfortunately, I do not have one. However, I am informing you that I was born, due to circumstances entirely beyond my control, on the 5th of February, 1951 at 4.30 a.m. You may kindly have my horoscope cast by the experts of your university, before replying.

In the meantime let me bring to your kind attention the past reputation of your university in predicting future events. There are many such instances, but one in my personal knowledge would suffice. In May of 1989, when I was a member of the academic council of your university, I was unceremoniously ejected from that body, directing that I cease being a teacher! This event took place 5 days before the communication to that effect reached me from the management of the Kasturba Medical College, where I had been employed as assistant professor! It is not surprising that a university with such talents in the administration start a course in astrology.

Though you claim to be a physicist, you have shown extraordinary talents in other fields. I do recall that once you were supposed to present a paper on rebirth. You have conducted poojas for the success of the programs in the university and have visited god men on these matters. While we can understand the state of mind you must be in, since you have a few months left for retirement, it is tragic that you have decided to thrust your personal superstitions on an authority of higher learning like a university.

It would be fitting that you introduce the following new courses from the next academic year onwards:

  1. B.Sc. degree in soothsaying: Syllabus for this could be inclusive of predicting future using cards picked up by parrots, astrology, planchet, spirit possession etc. We have a number of authorities in this field who can be seen in hotels, roadside and maidans. You could effectively use them to set the syllabi and as master resource persons to train the teachers.
  2. B.A.Degree in superstition: You could include local as well as foreign superstitions in the syllabus. Things like firewalking, materializing objects from thin air etc. could be included. We have many experts in these areas here. For “sciences” like faith healing, crystal gazing, signs of the Zodiac etc. you could invite outsiders.
  3. Ph.D in child marriage: Here researchers could go into the advantages of child marriages, their methodologies and devise ways by which these could place at the newborn or in the foetal stage itself.
  4. Ph.D. in widow management: Here new methods of managing widows could be tried out e.g. more efficient means of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their late husbands, better means of shaving their heads and keeping them inside houses, .new methods for usurping their properties etc. could be studied in detail.

When these new courses are to be introduced, the means for admission and examinations are also to be changed as per the new norms. I have suggestions for the same that I hope you will be kind enough to accept.

1. Entrances to courses based on caste:

Vaishyas only could be admitted for commerce courses, Brahmins for ‘sciences’ like astrology etc. As for Shudras, Daliths and non Hindus they not be allowed any education at all, as it would wean them away from their traditional designated roles in the caste system. Women should be specifically debarred from any education as their primary role is child bearing and taking care of their families.

At the time of admission all candidates should be asked for a recommendation letter from the priest of their temple or the Swamiji of the local math. To determine the suitability of the candidates, they should submit a copy of their horoscopes which will be examined by an admission panel consisting of eminent astrologers. The palms of the candidates could be read by a palmist at the time of the interview.

2. Examination Reforms:

Examinations should be conducted on auspicious dates only. Things like rahu kalam, yamaganda kalam should be taken into consideration when deciding the examination dates. If a candidate fails, the horoscope should be examined by a panel of experts who will suggest suitable rituals to propitiate the planets, gods, spirits etc.

However, these are purely temporary measures. Once the panel develops expertise, the degree could be awarded right at the time of admission itself after checking the horoscopes of the candidates since everything an individual does is predetermined at the time of birth.

Finally, we are very sad to know that your tenure as the VC of this university is coming to an end in a few months from now. However, since this has been preordained by planetary configurations at the time of your birth it cannot be helped. Our only request is that to continue this noble task that you have initiated, please kindly suggest to the appointing authorities that your successor may be chosen from a panel of astrologers, palmists and swamijis whose horoscopes con be scanned and the most suitable one appointed.

With best wishes from an aquarian.

Yours sincerely

(Narendra Nayak)

Mangalore University

About the author

Narendra Nayak

15 Comments

  • Just brilliant! Such actions of a person who is a VICE CHANCELLOR, no less (and a physicist to boot), should be strongly condemned. It is high time the rationalists made their presence felt by lowering the threshold for saying ‘enough is enough’.

    As GBS said somewhere, there are times and situations when it is immoral not to be indignant.

  • Sri Srikanth.G.N.’s Reply is brilliant. Those authors of “Gita” [Vaidic Purohiths] could not insert their Agenda of ” Chatur-Varna” Fatalism, and surrender to the Manufactured Divinity,that is Krishna, in the Deeply Philosophical work-“Yoga-Vashist”, There fore they rejected Yoga-vashist and cobbled up BhagavadGita.
    Above Article and the comments should be sent to Murali Manohar Joshi who imagines that he is the modern Varahamihira. I read books on astrology for nearly 10 years and found that Astrology had done incalculable harm to Hindu- Society. It is realy a Tragedy that prosperous,prominant and educated communities in Narendra Nayaks’s dist. itself are deeply sunk in the beleif of Astrology.

    • @keshava Shet, thanks for yor reply. It helped me understand why Yoga vashist was rejected. I always wondered why rational aspects of Indian Philosophy were alwasy masked and failed to understand the reason for this.

    • Yes. Belief in astrology is positively harmful, and it affects not just the believer, but many others as well. The harm gets compounded if the believer happens to be a person with political or administrative clout. Things get particularly disgusting if the believer is also a scientist of some standing.

  • I do not know about how Astrology works in terms of prediction but it seems that there is some basis for traits attributed for each zodiac sign.After all your physical environment does affect the way you think and people born in different seasons and cycles will have certain similarities based on their time of birth.And ofcourse, all this doesnt mean that you cannot change yourselves, its just and indication of certain inborn traits that can be rectified over a period of time.Having said that I dont believe in astrological predictions, they dont have any proper basis.So traits – somewhat yes, predictions- no

    • …people born in different seasons and cycles will have certain similarities based on their time of birth.

      Can you be specific on what the “certain similarities” are, and how well they correlate with time of birth? Are there any scientific studies that you can cite?

        • Looks like that study was done in latitudes where there is a huge difference between summer (15 hr daylight) and winter (8 hr daylight). Such conditions don’t occur in majority of India, the land of Jyotish. Same goes for temperature differences between winter and summer.

          Also, the study is hardly conclusive. Even though the article says that “The 2006 study wasn’t the final word on the subject, however.” and then goes on to discuss studies on mice, it isn’t necessary that what happens in mice has to happen in humans.

          Finally, I’d expect conclusive studies on every single trait that astrology lists before accepting that astrology can predict traits based on time of birth.

          • I appreciate your effort taken in reading the blog and watching the video.Actually there are such temperature differences in India,infact India as a country has one of the most varied weather patterns in the world.

            But yeah I agree its not conclusive but throws open a wide possibility.Astrology probably may not be 100% accurate(like for example, the number of planets are not the same as it was or as it was thought to be).But when they say that a person born in a particular part of the year or a certain month behave in a certain way,there could be a basis for it(even if it isnt accurate enough).

            And yeah,I also would like to see a conclusive studies on that

        • Speaking of scientific studies, a preliminary list of requirements which any research into astrology must fulfil in order to considered ‘scientific’ can be found here. Anybody who is game to participate in an experiment on such terms only needs to send in a request here.

  • Very nice letter indeed. was there any response to this letter from the vice chancellor??
    Introducing Astrology as a topic for graduation is worser than bull shit. Atleast bull shit can be used as manure!!!
    I have no Ideas of this but is the course on astrology still offered in the Mangalore university/ colleges under Mangalore university??

    P.S:This may not be related to the topic at hand .the pic used seems to be like St Aloysius college(which was also under Mangalore university) not Mangalore university campus:D

  • I am really shocked to hear a chancellor claiming himself to be a Physicist believing and introducing astrology in the curriculum. By doing this he has not only disgraced the position of a chancellor of the University but also shown what kind of undeserving people are ma
    de head of our institutions.

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