Interview With C.S.Patel By Gary Gomes, USA

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Interview With C.S.Patel


Gary Gomes, USA

Courtesy: Council of Vedic Astrology, America

This interview of the Late C S Patel was published in the CVA Journal just in June 2007, 2 months before he left his mortal coil at the age of 92. As some special points have been highlighted in this interview conducted by Gary Gomes which the Indian audiences would never be able to read hence with the permission of CVA this is published here as it is. This interview has a special meaning to the student of Mr. Patel who liaised between CVA & Patel Saheb. The reason is although Shri Patel has been featured many times in many magazines but he was too keen to see this interview in print form as if this was his last. The student did receive a scanned copy of the interview but he wanted to show the actual printed version to Mr. Patel, somehow things got delayed in post and Mr. Patel could not see the printed version of the interview. He incidentally asked his student several times re the interview and the student was very curious as to why Patel Saheb is so anxious to see the print form, maybe student felt that as most of the world thought that Mr. Patel is not alive so Patel Saheb wanted the world to know that he is lonely and still alive. Its only after he was suddenly no more the student realized the meaning of it & it pained him that he could not fulfill his Gurus wishes, this still haunts him. Below is the interview by Gary Gomes, President of CVA.

C.S.Patel is well known figure in the field of Vedic Astrology. Now 92, he has been a student of this science for most of his life and has authored several extremely well received books on this subject. His books are available from JDR Ventures and other distinguished Indian and Astrological booksellers.

I felt Mr. Patel would be a great subject for the Council of Vedic Astrology Journal because of the high regard in which he is held, and also because of his wonderful knowledge of many of the more unusual techniques in Jyotisha – for instance you will see numerous references to the Deva Kerelam/Chandra Kala Nadi, an enormous text which has only been available in an abridged and disorganized English translation, but which is an immensely important source of Jyotisha knowledge. He is also a link to a generation of older astrologers whose practical and source material knowledge may be lost unless we take special steps to preserve it. Finally, he was also the featured speaker at one of the ACVA conferences, so CVA already has very strong ties with him.

To facilitate the interview, I asked for the assistance of one of his students from Mumbai who referred the questions to Mr. Patel, acted as intermediary and added questions and comments where appropriate. In many ways, this is as much his interview with Mr. Patel as it is mine, so I thought it only fair to credit him. My major contributions were in developing expressions more understandable to an English–speaking audience, so the interview you are seeing does contain some repetitions, but I wanted to retain the flavor of the communication. I did edit out a few terms that I thought would be difficult to follow and rephrased some with my limited knowledge. As Brahmin priests do, I pray to Ganesha for forgiveness of any mistakes I have made in editing. Interestingly enough, when the dust settled, I found I had 27 questions and responses – one for each of the nakshatras.

This is a relatively short interview. It was conducted through email with the assistance of Mr. Patel’s family and his student, to whom I am indebted. And of course, I offer my most sincere thanks and pranams to Shri Patel.

Journal: When did you first start studying Jyotish?

Patel: I started studying Jyotish in August 1945 when I was 30.Journal: Who were your main teachers?

Patel: Before starting study I collected new and second hand books on astrology in Gujarati, English and partly in Marathi. I started studying them slowly. When I found some difficult terms e.g. “Vargottama” I tried to under stand by reading the same page again and again. In course of time I came in contact with Mr. C.A.S. Iyer (Co- author of my book Ashatakvarga).I used to confirm or modify the meaning of difficult terms. He taught me to prepare astrological chart by “Lankodaya Method” nowadays charts are prepared by Method.

In course of time I have purchased complete libraries of some old astrologer, who expired. This resulted in getting some rare books, which were written and published before I was born. After publication of our book on “Ashatkvarga” in 1957 I started collecting manuscripts in Sanskrit from various libraries of south India (GMOL Chennai, Oriental Library Baroda, Tanjour, Pune, Patan etc). To study Indian Astrology good hold over Sanskrit is must. I studied Sanskrit from 4th standard to 11th standard and in my college studied for two years but Sanskrit of astrology is simple in contrast to Sanskrit literature. I prepared three diaries related to astrological Sanskrit

  • Sanskrit word and meaning
  • Prayay (Synonyms) word .

This study helped me to interpret each and every word in my own way (It is to be noted)
There are two well known ways to denote the number known as Katapayadi Sankhya and Arnavadi Sankhya, If one know use of these two methods of north and south of numbering only then one can interpret the verses correctly.

[Student’s Comment: After watching Shri Patel for such a long time, I feel this has been his strength over other authors from south and north, Patel Saheb knows both the systems whereas most of others know only Katapayadi system. Also I have personally observed Patel Saheb ponder over a shloka for days, just one verse he would at times spend days and days and finally he would get the hidden meaning, as if a Sage finally communicated to him. I have also observed during my travels that there is no doubt that even Sanskrit scholars all over India have the highest regard for Patel Sahebs translation.]

Journal: How would you recommend a student to study Jyotisha?
Patel: To learn Jyotish, a student must have an ardent desire to learn Jyotisha and not waste time in reading other books & literature. All his spare time should be given to study this subject. I advice them to study their horoscope when any incident occurred in their life and to find astrological means for that event in charts of whole family members.

Journal: What qualifications should astrologer posses?
Patel: An astrologer should have good hold over Sanskrit. Astrological Sanskrit is quite easy but authors have made free use of ‘Paryay’ and ‘Paribhashik’ word.

Journal: What preparation would you suggest a student take, to learn Jyotisha?
Patel: To learn Jyotish, a student must have an arden desire to learn Jyotisha, Jyotisha Jyotisha. He should not take interest in any other subject except Jyotisha and whenever he learns something new he should make a note of such matters.

Journal: Do you think it is essential for a student to engage in spiritual practice to be an effective astrologer? What practice would you recommend?
Patel: No it is not essential for a student to engage in spiritual practice. He must be pure at heart, having good character and no vices in him and have an obliging nature.

[Student’s Comment: There is one thing that one can learn from Patel Saheb which is of highest value ever, he often says ‘For correct predictions, never EVER LIE’ he always repeats this & today it is so much ingrained in me that even I say cow lies for business negotiations it hurts me a lot. I have followed this teaching of Patel Saheb and it WORKS to the T & phenomenal predictions ensue.]

Journal: What texts did you find most useful in your study of Jyotisha?

Patel: Brihat Jatak, Parasar Horashastra, Phaldeepika, PrashnaMarga and many more but the five books most important for Navamsa study are Devakeralam, Dhruv Nadi, Vidya Madhaviyam, PrashnaMarg and Horasara.

Journal: You are well known for your study of financial astrology and you have done well financially as we understand. Does this financial success come from your study of jyotisha or other factors?
Patel: I have made a little held way in financial astrology. Karaka planets ( Jupiter for silver) is important. When Rahu and Jupiter are in trine or conjunction in transit  the price of silver will rise considerably and ; when Jupiter make trine or conjunction with Ketu  the price of silver will fall (To evaluate shares and the stock market, its karaka Mercury is considered.)

Journal: How would you advise a student to study financial astrology?
Patel: One should note the falls and rises of the commodities in market, note those dates and try to make research in finance as to the reason for these rises or falls (Very often retrogation  date and direct date of planet of Kujadi indicates the turning point.)

Journal: How did R.G. Krishnan come to study with you?
Patel: In November 1982 one astrological society in Gujarat honored me and R.G. Krishnan by conferring a title. Since then we are friends.

Journal: You are well known for finding interesting and important but over looked combination in Vedic books. How did you get interested in this?
Patel: There are some important verses containing ‘Paribhashik’ words, it is difficult to translate such verses. I start to read these verses over and over again for days together after that I try to translate each copulet (Pada), after translating all four padas of verse I try to come correct meaning of verse.

Journal: How do you know if a lesser known technique is working? Do you apply any tests?
Patel: By Appling to practical examples if it is found giving some results, I accept it. (e.g Bhrigu Bindu)
Journal: Are there any classical texts that you find more valuable or that you prefer – over others?
Patel: Practically every Standard text is valuable.

Journal: Are there any contemporary authors that you think should be studied carefully? Any one you would recommend for an aspiring student?
Patel: There are very few authors who have tried to translate Sanskrit standard texts into English such as V. Subramaniam Shastry. Nobody has done better work than him..

Journal: Do you do individual reading for people? Have you ever?
Patel: No I have not given life reading for any one. Casually some one comes and asks two or three questions and I have helped them.

Journal: Do you use remedial measure at all? Which do you recommend if any?
Patel: No I don’t recommend remedial measure but in an unmarried girl’s case I will recommend fasting in a particular way on the day of the seventh houses lord. Similarly, if someone wants fifth house results I will recommend fasting on the day of the fifth lord.

Journal: How would you prefer to be remembered for your contribution to Jyotisha?
Patel: I recommend students and astrologers to read my books more than once.

[Students Comments: Actually he always told me to read it minimum thrice, he would always repeat it thrice, thrice in his cute adorable manner.]

Journal: Is there any recommended period of time a student should study before applying astrological knowledge?
Patel: There is no period of time for study. It all depends upon how he studies the science. For my part any major event in my life, I tried to justify by the rules mentioned in my books. Still I am unsatisfied.

Journal: Any advice for a student to avoid the confusion of multiple schools of thought we see in Jyotisha?
Patel: My advice is to study Standard books in Sanskrit and their translation and apply these rules in life – in practice and study.

Journal: You are known to have deep study in nadi astrology can you tell us, which nadis you have studied?
Patel: I have studied Devkeralam(Chandrakala Nadi), Dhruv Nadi By Jaymuni[1], Bhargav Nadi, Bhrigu Nadi, Saptrishi nadi and others partially as mentioned in my articles published in various Astrological magazines.

[Student’s Comment: Patel Saheb is being humble here or his memory fails during the moment of this interview at this old age. In his possession I have seen many more nadis which he has read like Guru Nadi, Ansh Nadi, Budha Nadi etc]

Journal: You are known for your immaculate translation of Sanskrit verses where many previous stalwarts went wrong, how do you get it right? Do you ponder over a shloka (verse) for days?
Patel: Yes, I go on reading again and again till I am satisfied with the meaning. I tried to translate each couplet (Pada) separately. Then I think the meaning of the verse.

Journal: At this age of 92 are you still active in Jyotisha and are you writing on any subject?
Patel:  Yes, I am writing a book on retrogression against heavy odds. (Death of my daughter, my ill health etc.)

Journal: For over 30 years many have asked you to translate FULL Devakeralam, would you still oblige your fans or least to least would you create errata for us knowing that you have corrected previous mistakes in the translation.
Patel: At this age of 92, it is impossible to translate FULL Devakeralam but I think to publish some pamphlets over sight of R. Santhanam in translating to Devakeralam (Three Volumes)

Journal: Can you expand on Devakeralam, how may shloka in total as compared to what is present in R. Santhanam’s translation, how many versions of Devakeralam are there?
Patel: There are 9182 verses in Santhanam’s book on Devakeralam; it is only ¼ of the total verses[2]. Also, there are three versions of Devakeralam. There are some manuscript in GOML library (Chennai), Adiyar Library (Chennai) and Mysore Library (Mysore).

[Gary Gomes Comments: I am second to none in my admiration of the late R. Santhanam. However, the volumes of the Devakeralam he was responsible for translating are very disorganized. When I presented the final edit of this interview to the student of Mr. Patel he had the following comments: ‘……what can be added is that Patel Saheb is not criticizing Santhanam. Both of them were very good friends with great respect for each other. In Fact…..Patel Saheb gave Volume 1 of Devakeralam to Santhanam (who did not have it). This enabled him (Santhanam) to start the work, so Patel’s hand (is) in whatever we have of English translation of Devakeralam….We are obliged to both of them for whatever we have. After translating it, Santhanam gave it to Patel for corrections but by the time Patel could get back (Patel was very busy then) it had already gone into print. Since then, the publisher has kept on requesting errata from Shri Patel on the text.’

Also, I have heard of other texts that are regarded as definitive in the West, but which are known in India to be available to us in abbreviated forms. I hope to provide some more information on this to the CVA readership in the future.]

Journal: Can you give us an example of Bhrigu Bindu & Rahu Ketu Kendra transit influence on it, this aspect seems to have not been written at all in your old articles on the same but we have heard that had evolved further on Bhrigu Bindu.
Patel: Read the articles 1-(13), 2(31) in the book- “Prediction through Navamsa and Nadi Astrology”

[Student to Gary: Actually this method I wanted him to write here in detail, what we had asked him is not in his book, he had taught me this method last year unfortunately those notes where destroyed, anyways one day I will explore it from my memory and test it out completely over various charts and share with u. He has avoided this question I do not know why but I knows cant stretch him at this old age.]

Journal: When you are looking at only the basic Rasi chart, how do you at times ‘Predict’ the SAV bindus of each house with near about accuracy? We have heard that somehow you can do this and we find this fascinating.
Patel:  Refer my book ‘Ashatakvarga’ chapter-14 verse no.11. if there more than two or three planets in a sign –bindus in eleventh house from that house will be 33, 34 or more and at the same time bindus in the seventh house will 20-19-18 or less.

Journal: Please tell us the drawback of “Ego” when it comes to learning Jyotisha?
Patel: When someone becomes egoistic, advancement in study of astrology ceases. There is no two doubts about this.

Journal: The current generations do not know much about the chronology of your written work
Patel:  My published books – Ashtakvarga Published in -1957; Prediction through Navamsa and Nadi Astrology Published in -1996; Navamsa in Astrology Published in -1997; Nadi Astrology Published in -1998; Arudha System of Prediction Published in -2000. The book on Retrogression is under preparation.

Journal: Again, my most heartfelt thanks to Mr. Patel for his time and for his life’s work.

[1] This is not Jaimini but JayMuni, they are two different people.

[2] Saptarishis Astrology: Unfortunately, this fact that the current English form of Devakeralam being JUST 1/4th none of the modern nor old scholars are aware of. Also, Patel had 3000 more shlokas of Devakeralam which many of us have seen. Infact, if you observe his writings you would see him often referring to a different shloka compared to Santhanams version and sometimes shlokas which are not in Santhanams version. As my mentor says still we owe it to Santhanam, though every scholar in Delhi criticizes Santhanam for erroneous translation (at some places) but only Santhanam who was an extremely hard worker could have done it and none of us who keep on criticizing him. Let us be grateful and we need to give Santhanam the much deserved credit.

Tribute to C. S. Patel


Keven Barrett

Courtesy: CVA & Gary Gomes, President, CVA

During my visit to India in July 1988, and staying with Dr. Parasmani. He asked what you want to learn. Who can teach me the Ashtakavarga. He thought for a while and said that there is only one, C.S. Patel, but he probably will not teach a foreigner, but would ask him to come to meet me anyway. Well, a servant came and said he was waiting in Parasmani’s office. I walked in and Patel was sitting there with his arms tightly folded, and I thought that’s it. Anyhow, after introductions he sat immobile. I took a look at his face and said, I have seen you before, was it in Ahmadabad in 1981. It’s you the Australian he said. Those men running the conference would not allow me to speak to you. I even chased after your cab he said. He then stood up and said give me a hug. It was a while before he let go of me. Come on off to your room, and for a week he travelled to Bombay every day with intensive

studying and teaching. Finally, he said Barrett you have learnt in a week that others have taken years to grasp. Patel gave me one of the last copies of his ‘Ashtakavarga Book” first edition. A very humbling experience. He will always be a great man, and will be sadly missed, not only by his family, but astrologers everywhere.

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