ASTROLOGICAL TIMING: While the idea that the planets and other heavenly bodies can influence plant growth is not new (consider the popularity of almanacks and the historical knowledge of ‘when’ certain crops flourish), this may be the first time that there has been a properly supervised scientific study that shows the influence of timing on growth at a cellular level!
BY DR ALEX HANKEY
In his continuing series of articles, Dr ALEX HANKEY, professor at S-VYASA university in Bangalore, continues to speak of his journey finding proof of the validity of Jyotisha astrology including a physical theory
This is the second article of two describing my research into astrology beginning in 2007 when I met Dr Rameshrao Narayan on the very day that I joined S-VYASA where I still work. In 2013, Dr Rameshrao was awarded his PhD after completing his revolutionary research on Jyotisha astrology. He had been a quite unique PhD student. Confounding scientific prejudice, his experiments had met with success. Then and since, their extraordinary results have converted many from disbelief to acceptance that the Jyotisha system of Vedic astrology is a valid field for scientific study and research.
For the past three years, I have been guiding another student, Vegaraju Prabhakar, Dr Rameshrao’s successor as it were, a man with long-standing interest in Jyotisha astrology, who has carried out remarkable experiments on the detailed growth of a common, easy-to-grow, non-pathogenic bacterium.
He has also made a remarkable new discovery in the field, which simply emerged unexpectedly from his data, something that scientists call a ‘post-hoc discovery’, because it was not part of the original hypotheses for the experiment. Dr Rameshrao’s experiments on bacterial growth and viral propagation had only measured final production levels of the vaccines being produced, because they consisted of observations of ongoing vaccine production levels at the institute that produces state-subsidised vaccines for all farmers in Karnataka, so that they minimise losses from various animal diseases. While such observations are fascinating and valuable, we then wanted to conduct experiments on the growth processes themselves, so that we could try to discover what was going on in more detail.
When one grows a bacterium in a nutrient-rich solution, a ‘growth medium’, it takes a certain amount of time to get started, but the cells then grow and divide at a constant rate for a period of several hours. At this time, when the growth cycle between one cell division and the next takes a constant time period (usually less than an hour in simple cells), cell numbers double at the same regular interval. Mathematically, the cell numbers are said, ‘to grow exponentially’, i.e. the logarithm of their number increases at a constant rate. That phase of growth is therefore known as ‘log-phase’ growth.
The new experiments first identified the time period of maximum log-phase growth, roughly from three hours to six hours after the time of inoculation (T.O.I.) of the growth flask, which was taken as the Muhurtha time for each experiment.
Over 70 experiments of this kind were conducted growing a well-known, non-pathological variant of E.Coli, one of the many species of bacteria growing in the human gut. Something that microbiology teachers and professors do not tell their students is that all such growth processes are very variable. Growth curves from different experiments have very different log-phase growth rates. Students are told the correct mean value of log-phase growth, but never that that value will almost never come up. The reason is high levels of variability in bacterial growth rates.
The scientific cause? A complete mystery to the biological community! Students have to repeat their experiment(s) many times to obtain the ‘correct answer’, they find it hard. Yet the fact that this will happen is well known to be true. Professors are often very unwilling to admit that there are phenomena which they do not understand and have not the least idea how to explain! Microbiological growth rates are one of them. They are an example of science at its very worst, where the professor teaching the class knows what will happen, but does not tell the students.
In our experiment, we correlated variations in growth rate during the time of maximum log-phase growth with the ‘shad bala’ strengths of the ‘Navagrahas’. Of them all, one stood out from the rest completely, the Graha Kuja: Kuja’s Shadbala at the time of T.O.I. correlated well with maximum log-phase growth; the statistical significance of the correlations was very good, less than one in 2,000.
Our attempt to look for astrological causes in growth rate variations on different days was conducted over a period of many months. We had vaguely hypothesized that it would be controlled by some known astrological property of a graha or combination of grahas. But when we investigated how rates of growth on different days correlated with Jyotisha’s concept of ‘planetary strength’, the planet’s Shadbala, the results we obtained seemed decisive — of all seven of the physical grahas (Rahu and Ketu are more metaphysical), only correlations with the Shadbalas of Kuja / Mangala, Mars, were statistically significant, and at a chance of less than one in 2,000, they seemed decisive.
We therefore deduced that the planet Mars is the one that is somehow in overall command of the process of cell growth log-phase, and then we asked, “Does that make any sense?” After all Dr Rameshrao’s experiments had yielded results that we were able to justify in hindsight, could we do so again here?
As it happens, we were able to do so: the role of Kuja is considered analogous to the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of an army: all the forces in the state are under his command. In the stage of log-phase growth, a cell is bringing all it forces to bear with maximum efficiency on the many processes involved in growth and reproduction. What entity would be more natural to choose to be in overall charge of those processes than the planet with the metaphorical role of being the Commander-in-Chief of the kingdom’s army?
We can now say with some confidence that Graha Kuja is the one that controls patterns of overall growth.
This leads us to consider the possibility of extending these findings to other bacteria, and to other processes in single cells. As we have seen, our research has now identified responsibilities of four grahas: Guru, Chandra, Rahu and now Kuja. We hope that future research will identify clear-cut roles for Surya, Budha, Shukra, and Sani.
This article offers some idea of the extraordinary power that emerges from connecting ancient Vedic wisdom with fields of modern science. The Vedic sciences concern subtle levels of existence; they bring powerful new possibilities in fields of research where modern science alone has nothing to offer.