Kalaprakashika, an astrological reference manual, hints at poor rainfall, insufficient crops, storms and a big battle this year. Attention must remain focused on Ketu throughout this year mainly because it is with Saturn and Mars in a dual sign. For spiritual persons, Ketu will bestow divine knowledge, but for doctors indicate a baffling disease which may not be treatable. The "big battle," which Mercury as the "Year Lord" indicates, should have direct reference to two major factors in the horoscope of the USA for the Hindu New Year starting from March 19, 1996. Conjunction of Saturn with this Ketu-Mars combination is occurring in the 2nd house of the USA, indicating mass deaths in future years, as a result of the spread of disease this year in the USA. Whether AIDS or tuberculosis or both combining in a new strain is for medical scientists to decide.

It is also correct to say the USA will gain monetarily through the sale of armaments. Already there are reports of the American debt gap getting reduced through such sales in 1995. In the New Year, there would be much bigger sales. It appears that, forsaking its idealistic professions, USA will be interested in exploring bigger markets for its armaments. In this way it will reduce its mounting foreign debts. USA will be in a proxy war mongering mood throughout the year, which is bad for world peace.

No country in western Asia can afford to overlook the self-destructive threat it is going to create for itself through its encouragement of religious fundamentalism. The horoscope of Israel is not showing any mood to tolerate it.

A prolonged and dangerous war, which will begin this year involving Muslims all over, will trouble the world intermittently for eighteen months. In later years, it can and will become a battle of the Mahabharataoutside Indian soil, but with only Kauravasfighting Kauravas.

Inside the USA there will be a great mood to explore higher spiritual wisdom more actively than ever before. America's spiralling divorce rates, stories of child abuse, wife beating and stories of broken homes will get reduced. The USA will be turning more to religion, emphasizing that each man can be his own guru.

The threat of contracting TB will lead once more, after the AIDS threat of an earlier year, to motivate people toward a controlled sex life, which is the essence of good spiritual life. That in turn will lead to recognizing the value of having a stable and ideal marriage rather than multiple relationships. Along with this, the USA is going to be recognized for some good literary men and poets this year. Some lyricism missing in US life will come back in a big way. It will be music with divinity, literature with lyricism, spirituality without bizarre UFO's stories and fanciful notions

Sri K. N. Rao is a world-renowned Vedic astrologer and founder of the world's largest astrological school in Delhi. He can be reached at: K. N. Rao, 291 Saraswati Kunj, Plot No. 25, Patparganj, Delhi 110092, Phone: 91-11-221-9030, Fax: 91-11- 221-9031