In 1986 I was in India studying Samkhya Philosophy with a remarkable teacher. How I came to be there is another story but after six months immigration law decreed that I had to leave India because my visa had ran out. Since I was not prepared to spend three months in a Nepalese jungle, so that I could return to India for another six months with a renewed visa, as my room-mate Kevin did, I went to Canada, on to Kent, Ohio in America, back to Kitchener and Waterloo in Canada and then back home to the UK. I was away eleven months in all.
Shortly after I reached Canada I was invited to go to see a friend called Shivdat Talwar. Shiv is a warm, kind, gentle man, also from India, who was a professor at the local university. I arrived and a few moments later was shown into the sitting room where two men, both Indian, were engrossed in conversation. They stopped and looking up introduced themselves. One lived permanently in Canada and the other had recently arrived from India on a visit. I was told that he spoke very little English. I sensed from him a brooding, arrogant hostility.
After a moment or two the one who lived in Canada said, “This is my friend from India. He is a very famous astrologer and he has cast a horoscope for the next person to walk into the room and that’s you. Do you mind if he reads it to you.”
“But”, I said, “he knows nothing about me so how can he write my horoscope?”
“It’s not for you”, he said, “its for this place and this time.”
“Okay” I said trustingly.
The man from India picked up a small piece of paper that lay on the table. On it he had written a simple statement. He handed it to his friend who proceeded to read it aloud.
“The person to whom this horoscope relates is a renunciate in the wrong garb. He left worldly life due to pain. That pain is now passing away. He will go back into worldly life and live out his days as an ordinary man.’
I noted that the man from India had distanced himself from being wrong by handing it to the other to read. The reader looked up at me and asked, “Well, is it right.”
I was shocked. “It is surprisingly accurate.” I affirmed to the astrologer. He had expressed what I had silently acknowledged for some time but was determined to resist. I turned to the man holding the piece of paper. “Can he tell me anything else?”
“What ‘ you want to know?” said the astrologer sharply in perfectly acceptable clipped English.
“Will I get back together with my wife?” I asked earnestly, suspecting that I knew the answer before I had asked the question.
“Why do you still love her after what she did to you.” The implication was that I was a foolish and infatuated man. “She is (socially) in her proper place now.” he continued, “Forget about her.”
“If only it were that easy,” I thought. I fell silent for a moment then ventured, “Will I be married again?”
“I cannot tell’, he said haughtily, “You have been married too many times in this life for me to be able to tell.” He seemed to draw a certain smug satisfaction from putting me down.
The other man explained and I understood that in India an intimate sexual relationship was a marriage. “Okay,” I said, “but have you any advice?”
“Yes, you should go back to the UK and start your business again. Can you do that?” I nodded. “Whatever you put your mind to you will be very successful. But there are two dates that are dangerous for you. On either of these dates you could be married again.” He read them out and I noted them down.
I was called to go. “Thank you.” I said putting my hands together, “Namaste.” As I rose to leave the astrologer handed me the piece of paper, which I later taped into my diary. I still have it.
He was accurate on all counts even the dates he gave me. I was, in Indian terms at least, married on both dates. But this was not the most disturbing thing he said to me that day. The harshest thing he told me was that I would live out my life as an ordinary man. I knew what he meant and for two years I struggled with that small piece of information because Seers are not ordinary men. To a man with such soaring ambition his statement felt like a curse that I could try to ignore but which had found its mark!