Friday, August 3, 2007

Interview of E K Dhilip Kumar in THE WEEK magazine 1998 March edition

Not just star struck

This 35-year-old expert systems programmer of astrological software is a diviner with a difference

Did you know that Newton spent the last decade of his life studying astrology? Or that Maharishi Parasara, the author of the classical book on astrology, knew before-hand that if he had sex with a woman at a certain woman at a certain time he would beget a son of extraordinary intelligence? Interestingly,he, a Brahimin, made love to a boatman's daughter. The offspring was the sage Vyasa of Mahabharata fame.

E.K. Dhilip Kumar, an astrologer 'with a difference', has many such stories on file. "These just go to show the hoary traditions of Indian astrology," said Dhilip, 35. Dhilip doesn't believe he can predict the entire future of an individual with full accuracy. "At best, astrology is like a road sing. It prepares you for the road ahead," he said. "Those who read the road sign are always at an advantage. Those who don't might still survive but won't have a smooth ride."

This is not the only thing that sets Dhilip Kumar apart from others of his ilk. His predictions, which depend a slot on his computer, are all about the 'minutes of calculation' and rarely involve face reading. The clients are more often than not informed of the prediction by post.

Instant predictions can only be very general but these are popular because most of the clients are impatient, he said. "More detailed predictions take time." Astrology was never Dhilip's first choice of profession. Born in Kannur, Kerala, and brought up in Chennai, he is the son of a baker and restaurateur. his father was quite knowledgeable in astrology and used to make predictions free. "His mental calculations were done even faster than a computer," recalled Dhilip.

But this initially didn't rub off on his son, who had doubts about whether astrology was 'a rational science'. He still believes that astrology is only a guide and not a 100 per cent predictive science. "Astrology is only a road sign on the pot-holed road of life."

After finishing his M.Sc. in Botany from Presidency College in Chennai, Dhilip started dabbling in palmistry. meanwhile, he enrolled for a diploma course in NIIT, where he excelled in his batch. This landed him a job with the institute in 1985 and proved to be a turning point. "NIIT posted me at Tiruchi, where the manager happened to have Linda Goodman's book on sun signs.I devoured the book and made some small experiments of my own," said Dhilip.

For instance, he learnt that the air signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are very intelligent signs. "While assessing the tests turned in by the students, I found it to be quite true," said Dhilip. "I felt more and more that there was some logic behind it." He also read books like Hindu Predictive Astrology by astrologer B.V. Raman.

Soon Dhilip acquired 'local' computer software and after practising making the astrological charts of his friends he set up a commercial establishment in 1989, which offered computer printouts of horoscopes. "When people came to get their horoscopes printed, they would ask me for some impromptu readings and I would oblige,' he said.

Dhilip then began applying the rules of astrology as stated in the classical book Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra by Maharishi Parasara. By repeated trial and error he rejected the rules that did not work. He believes that astrologers who go just by the date of birth and nakshatra (star) of a person are ignorant of the rules in the Parasara Hora Sastra. He maintains that forecasts using only the birth date and star only give general characteristics like appearance, behaviour, etc.-something which might be common to those born on the same day.

Some specific rules, he said, applied only to certain individuals and not universally. Why this was so might have been forgotten along with a lot of our astrological traditions. "If the disappearance of the guru-shishya tradition resulted in many gaps in the knowledge that came down the ages, the cryptic Sanskrit in which the classics were written only added to the difficulty."

India astrology has four main sources- Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, Jaimini Sutra, the presna system and Krishnamurthy padathi. Jaimini Sutra, authored by Maharishi Jaimini, dates back to Mahabharata times and deals with problems relating to marriage, profession and children. "By combining the Parasiri and Jaimini systems, one can give an accurate picture of the future possibilites," said Dhilip.

The presna system is based on the horoscope cast when a question is put by the client and the Krishnamurthy padathi was founded by the late Prof. K. S. Krishnamurthy. "In terms of practical application, three theories of life can be distinguished. One, life is predetermined. Two, it is determined by one's own free will, and three, the middle path, which is favoured by Indian astrology," explained Dhilip. He believes that astrology only indicates potential and cannot give exact predictions except when all the planetary indications point to the same possibility.

DHILIP went professional in 1994, though he had earlier started writing regular columns in astrology magazines like Raman's The Astrology Magazine. He wrote the monthly prediction column for a year from September 1994. But he was not very happy doing it since "it had to be too general". Around this time Dhilip got the opportunity to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Holland. He was more disillusioned than delighted with the exposure. "The emphasis was on costly pariharams (atonement rituals) than on astrology per se," he said.

Back in India this expert 'systems programmer of astrological software" opened the DIPA (Dhilip's Institute of Professional Astrology) to teach astrology through correspondence, both to beginners and to the initiated. The institute, which has one of the largest astrological computer programs, offers a three-month certificate course and a one-year diploma course.

Dhilip has two MBA graduates to help him out with the business consultations, which form a major of his work, and a couple of part-time astrologers. Dhilip's wife Kalpana is the proprietor of DIPA. "My charts indicated that I would never be successful if I started any business, while my wife's horoscope indicated that she would be very successful in business," he explained.

Dhilip has two children - six-year-old Deepak. "I have never cast the horoscopes of my own children because I feel I will be very subjective," he said. But there is nothing subjective about the data bank of more than 7,000 horoscopes he has build up. At present he is busy collecting horoscopes of people belonging to different profession and researching the question why certain planetary positions make a person act in a particular manner.

Dhilip is guided a little by numerology is not a fool-proof science, but can certainly improve thins," he claims. "For instance, my phone number, 4330764, adds up to 9, which is the lucky number of my wife," he said. "And the business has been very successful." he also believes in the maxim, 'Well begun is half done.' "So one should seek out the good muhurtam (auspicious time) before one starts on a new venture.

Another area in which Dhilip has faith is gemology. Lucky gems do have a meaning, according to him. "Let's say mercury, which denotes activity, is weak for an individual. If he wears an emerald (which is the stone for mercury), the planetary vibrations are induced, and the person becomes more active. Colours do have to say in our lives," he insisted.

Right now his priority is to build up his institute and encourage research into the various aspects of astrology. He has also started a library which boasts a collection of 150 books on astrology, numerology, palmistry, gemology and also spirituality. And when he is not at his computer he has a huge correspondence to get through.


The Week Magazine....Lifestyle
EK Dhilip Kumar, an astrologer 'with a difference', has many such stories on file. "These just go to show the hoary traditions of Indian astrology," said ...

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