Monday, June 1, 2009


The last few days have been very trying. A family known to us lost their 22 year old son in a motorcycle accident. It was a freak accident - the bike skidded and fell on the right side. Both the rider and pillion were thrown off the bike. The pillion fell on sand and escaped with minor bruises and driver fell on concrete and was fatally injured on the spot. The grief of the parents, relatives and friends was unbearable, and most of us were not sure how the parents could be consoled after such a grievous loss. Conversation seemed futile and very shallow, as the grief was unfathomable to most of us, and each one of us felt that injustice had been done to the parents. The funeral was conducted on Thursday itself. Friday was tough. On Saturday, the parents had organised a 'havan'. The 'havan' helped in coming to terms with the grief, and slowly life seemed to overtake the grief that had seemed insurmountable initially.

During the course of these days, we were exposed to a variety of experiences of life that each individual had had during the course of their lives. We visited the 'karma' theory and how our own life is not under our control and our destiny decides the broad pattern of our life, and as Sai Baba says, "What you meet in life is destiny, how you meet it is self effort (karma)".

I was reminded of a fatal air accident involving one of my pupils in 1980. I was a new instructor and AM was one of my first pupils on Kiran aircraft. His first few dual sorties were not up to the mark, and thus when he came up for solo check, I suggested to my supervisor that he was not ready and that he should be given a change of instructor for two sorties and then retested. The supervisor took him up for the solo check and cleared him solo, against my suggestion. Inspite of my reservations, AM cleared his progress test and all other tests.My doubts were rested, when my supervisor told me that I was a new instructor and did not know the standards required and that I was expecting too much from pupils flying jets for the first time.

My daughter was born during this period and I proceeded on 10 days leave to fetch my wife and daughter from Delhi to Hyderabad. On the day we boarded the train from Delhi there was a news article stating that, "Flt Cadet M killed in an air accident". I told my wife that this had to be my pupil. She reasoned with me that there were four cadets by that name and how was I so sure that this was my pupil. My worst fears were confirmed when we reached AFA the next day. AM's mother was inconsolable at the funeral and was looking for a ring that AM always wore, despite my asking him to remove the ring while flying, as it could lead to a fractured finger if he happened to slip on the ladder.

Later, I was told the story of the ring by B......

AM's mother believed in astrology and would do everything after consulting her astrologer. AM applied for NDA; passed the exam and was selected for the IAF. His mother was advised by the astrologer to not let him join, as his life was under threat from aircraft. Mum prevailed on him and did not let him join NDA. Instead, AM joined an Engineering College. While doing his engineering, without his parents knowledge, AM once again applied for NDA; appeared for the exam; cleared and was selected for the Army this time. His mother was very upset and did not want him to join NDA, but AM managed to convince her that he was joining the Army, and not the Air Force. She finally relented.

AM joined NDA and in his fourth term opted for a change of service to Air Force, which was accepted. When he went on leave and told his parents, his mother was very upset, but had been given a fait accompli. She again consulted her astrologer, who told her that this was not good for AM. He suggested an 'upaya'(remedy) - AM should wear a ring at all times made of iron that had been taken from the horse shoe of a black horse, and this shoe should be removed only on a full moon night and should contain a certain stone of a certain weight. This was the same ring that AM used to wear despite my disapproval. The ring could not be found after the accident but I have no reason to believe that AM was not wearing this ring on that fateful day.

I believe in astrology but do not believe that 'upayas'/remedies can help in overcoming pre-destined events. Life continues.... and the 'Gita' philosophy can help one understand the true import of events that are unfathomable... Body dies but the soul does not. During the 'havan', the family dog was very uncomfortable and it seemed that the dog could sense the presence of my friend's late son. As humans we can only sense the body; dogs can probably sense the soul too. Each one of us has had various experiences in life; have our own beliefs about astrology and destiny.

I believe astrology to be a very exact science but am not too sure if all practitioners of this science are suitably qualified. I am a firm believer of destiny BUT like to do my karma, because I believe my karma would create my future destiny.

What do you think and believe? I would be keen to hear about your experiences and beliefs about life, astrology and destiny.