Nature has endowed human beings with sufficient freedom to make or mar themselves. Astrology never disputes the fact that, since the spark of divinity is present in us, sincere efforts to perform actions in the right way will be rewarded. However, in another sense, our life is predetermined to the extent that each one of us enters the world with impressions (called samskarasin Sanskrit) that are the root emotions and tendencies that motivate our lives, all reflected in our birth chart. They are impressions carried over from our past lives in our subconscious minds which motivate desires, and in turn produce our thoughts and actions. Thus, human beings reflect their inner ideas on the outside world, and their perceptions are colored by their past experiences. Alan Leo, an eminent astrologer of the West, rightly stated, "Those who have studied astrology know that it does not teach absolute fatalism. We are not utterly bound; neither, on the other hand, are we entirely free. All our misfortunes are the result of our imperfect knowledge. Had we even but a little more knowledge, there would be so much less suffering." Our actions follow the avenues of our own karma in tracing us, but our will at each moment is free to fashion our future karma. It is determinism to the extent that it is shadowed by the unchangeable law of karma, our past, but life which is guided by free will does not follow any preordained pattern. Vedic philosophy has always denied the existence of a merciless fate which would play with human beings as it pleases. On the contrary, the sages have undeniably declared that human beings do have control over their actions.

May Highlights For USA

This month we examine coming trends for the USA as gleaned from the chart of its capitol city. The dispositions of the planets at the time of the new moon in Washington DC show the rising sign is Gemini and the ruler, Mercury, is well-placed in the 11th house in conjunction with Mars, ruler of the 11th house, which favors business enterprises and international trade. Mercury is aspected by the benevolent Jupiter, which indicates that there will be encouragement for research, scientific technology and educational activities. This is also supported by the aspect of Jupiter on Mars. Note that both Mars and Mercury suffer from papa kartari yoga(malefics on both sides of Aries) which indicates some financial constraints as obstacles for the progress in these areas. Mars/ Mercury conjunction might also indicate movements of the armed forces in the coming months, May to August, with increased attention to defense production. Retrograde Mercury in Aries with Mars may also indicate a shortage of grains due to wrong projections causing increase in food prices.

The rising sign, well associated by the presence of Venus and aspected by Jupiter, is indicative of the general optimism in the country, promoting progress all around and the president becoming optimistic and positive about future possibilities. It leads to positive diplomatic moves thereby increasing his influence with allies. However, the 10th house being occupied by Saturn and malefic Ketu and Saturn powerfully aspecting the royal planets Sun and exalted Moon situated in the 12th house is reflecting the government's struggle with the opposition. The opposition is trying to scuttle his power and popularity by digging up past activities which might affect his reputation, specifically during May/June. The struggle between the government and opposition increases between May to August and perhaps culminates during the eclipse in September/October when the Sun is in Virgo.

The 2nd house in this chart is ruled by the Moon, which is weak and powerless (due to the new moon and aspect by Saturn), indicating possible budgetary problems. It also suggests weakness in international trade balance. However, the aspect of Jupiter on Venus in the rising sign, as well as the ruler of the rising sign Mercury, will reduce the problems in the coming months and may bring favorable results, espcially in the field of communication and broadcasting, though there could be some administrative hurdles in full implementation of liberalization. Housing construction activities may increase. Special attention to children and children's education will be envisaged. Women take a more active part in their struggle for freedom (like pro-choice) which will be noticeably increased in the coming months. Their cause will receive support. Religious activities will increase which may be more rigid and constrictive in nature, and therefore one may feel lack of intellectual freedom. Problems of law and order, suffering of common people, safety of citizens, these issues will come up for discussion more intensely. The underprivileged and the less educated may feel side-stepped. Gains from international relationship and from trade will be more visible from this month.

In the case of India at the time of the new moon Libra is rising which indicates that whoever is coming to power after the general elections will bring optimism and confidence for the masses. The 6th house is occupied by Saturn and Ketu, 7th house by Mars and Mercury and is suffering from papa kartari yogaand the 8th house is occupied by afflicted Moon and Sun. These planets indicate movement of army, diplomatic failures in relationships with foreign countries and severe financial problems. These are the issues the rulers will face between May and August 1996.

It is only when the rulers understand the indications reflected by the planets and are willing to take measures to offset these indications that astrology will be of immense value to humanity.

Sri Chakrapani Ullal is a world-renowned Vedic astrologer from South India. He can be reached at: 12044 Kearsarge Street, Los Angeles, CA 90049 Ph: 310/476-9942 Fax: 310/471-3205.