|By Charlotte Benson|
Interview on April 4, 2009
|Charlotte: Thanks for taking the time to chat a bit. How did you get started in Astrology?|
Gary: I started around 1989-1990, relatively late. I'd just gone through a divorce, and both of my parents had passed away. I was one of those people who felt like he was totally in control of his life. So, I have an M.B.A. - people who have an M.B.A. usually tend not to go after astrology. But I was always kind of interested in Astrology, but never pursued it. I couldn't get Western astrology to work all that well for me.
In retrospect, I understood what I was doing wrong, but I never felt a strong enough connection to Astrology to study it. So, around 1989 I got initiated into Transcendental Meditation. I was always interested in esoteric things; I learned numerology right out of college; I had a tarot deck in college, and stuff like that.
Within a month of learning TM, TM started sending Jyotishis around to the various centers. So, I thought: I may as well get a reading to see if I'm going to get back into law school. When I had the reading done, for some bizarre reason, everything just clicked! It was the first accurate description I had heard of myself, in an Astrology reading. I have certain combinations in my chart which are pretty distinct. For instance, the first thing the astrologer told me was that this person would be interested in music and art - which was the core focus of my life since I was around 16 years old. Even though I went into other lines, I harbored thoughts about becoming a musician. So - long story short - I went to my friend, and said: If it's possible to learn this, I want to learn this. I learned through the TM courses. After that, I went off on my own.
CB: Yes, I remember those courses from the early '90's.
GG: I stayed with them for only a short while, for the foundation course. From them, I got the key to open up the knowledge. After that, I went off on my own.
CB: Well, bless your heart; and here we are today. Gary Ė what planetary combinations in your chart lead you from being a practical, earth-bound person with an MBA, to being a Jyotishi/metaphysician?
GG: I have three planets in my 12th house Ė Sun, Saturn and Mercury. And I was in my Saturn Mahadasa from the time I was 19 to 38. Age 39 was when I started moving into the esoteric stuff. Mercury is exalted. Saturn helped me out academically, but it was clearly the Mercury Mahadasa that did it. The interest was always there Ė but things donít ripen before their time. Even though theyíre both in the 12th house, they form a sort of Rajyoga involving the lords of the 4th, 5th, and 9th houses, for Libra Rising. So they will cause success connected with those endeavors, but it will be success with struggles, because itís a 12th house combination. This pushed me into spiritual areas.
CB: Interesting. Is this during the same time frame that you became an ordained Swami? And what is the meaning of your spiritual name?
GG: Yes. My spiritual name, Gangadhara Girish, is a representation of Shiva with the Ganges flowing through his hair. The Ganges is supposed to be the Milky Way Ė so itís the stars flowing through my hair. And Girish, is the family name of an order of Shaivites who come from the mountains.
CB: Very lyrical Ė I think, though, that Iíll call you Gary, for the time being. So Ė did you ever pursue your musical interests?
GG: Yes, I have been playing a little Ė keyboards mostly, practicing some guitar, and bass Ė with some people. But the opportunities arenít there as often as they used to be. You know, I find certain elements of music to be very close to those of Astrology. I mean, theyíre both intensely mathematical disciplines; music is all staffs, and scales, and combinations, and chords, and time signatures Ė and thatís all math. And itís all adding and subtracting Ė pretty much like Astrology.
CB: Good point. Iíd like to ask you about your influences Ė what did you start with?
GG: I started reading Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra very early on. I still remember receiving the two-volume set in the mail just after Christmas one year Ė I was very excited about it. I dug right into it. I kept saying: Wow! Do you realize this?! Do you realize that?! I still do thatÖLike in Parasara, certain things, like Rasi aspects, I was talking to people about in 1994. American audiences were just getting used to these ideas. But I didnít have any Western habits to break.
CB: Well, speaking from experience, that is a real advantage!
GG: So I went straight into Jyotish. I learned a bit of Western Astrology afterwards. But I just got fascinated looking at all these different Jyotish techniques, like Jaimini, the Jaimini Sutra. And the other one Iím really interested in right now is called Iranganti Rangacharya Ė he was cursed, and blessed, with a very difficult name. The technique is fascinating. As soon as I would apply it, it worked.
CB: With your Saturn/Mercury conjunction, youíre very interested in immediately useful, streamlined techniques.
GG: Exactly. If you apply a good logical structure to astrology, you can interpret anything, even using some very rudimentary techniques. Itís simpler than it seems.
CB: Thatís an encouraging statement. Iím happy to hear it! Iíve never thought of Vedic Astrology as being easy.
GG: Hereís the key line: ďItís easier than it seems.Ē A lot of folks look at it and they get overwhelmed by the detail. But if you start at one point, and you follow it through, then youíll be able to get the entire chart.
CB: Is that what you teach in ACVAís on-line Astrology program?
GG: Essentially. When Iím teaching the on-line classes, I like to present questions to the students which will encourage them to think about how the chart can be interpreted in different ways. And how they can reach the same conclusions with different techniques. Because thereís one theory about metaphysical systems which makes a great deal of sense. Essentially, any metaphysical system is a series of heuristic paths.
CB: What does that mean?
GG: Itís a fancy word for probabilities. So, essentially what youíre looking at is all these systems branching off into different directions. And you have choices. Some people donít think you have choices in Vedic Astrology Ė but you have choices. And you also have these shortcuts. You just look at it and say: OK, I can do this, and go through five levels of analysisÖ Or, I can look at this, and I can jump over five steps, and Iíll still get the same result.
CB: Thatís amazing. Do you find that the Jaimini system helps you do that, somehow?
GG: Jaimini condenses a lot of techniques into one measure. When youíre dealing with Rasi aspects, and what are called ďmoveable indicatorsĒ like the Chara karakas, and also the arudha lagnas Ė those things are almost like a concentrated Astrology chart in and of themselves. So when you start applying those things, the entire chart starts to open up.
CB: Iím sure that makes your life easier. So, whatís on the horizon in the near future for you, Gary?
GG: As well as teaching at ACVA, Iím teaching a course on Hindu Mythology at Kepler College. Iím working on the next CVA Journal, and serving as President of CVA. And Iím going to be entering a doctoral degree in Education program at Northeastern University in Boston, in September. And Iíve been working on writing a book.
CB: Good heavens, youíre busy! Thanks for carving some time out of your schedule to talk with me. I think weíll all enjoy reading this conversation, and about your adventures in the years to come.
Gary Gomes Information:
Gary Gomes, BS and MBA, Sociology and Business Administration, University of Massachusetts. Gary Gomes has worked several years as State Vocational Education Liaison for 38 school districts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Grant writer for the City of New Bedford -- responsible for city's AIDS Education award from the National Science Foundation; President of the Council of Vedic Astrology; and Swami of the Temple of Kriya Yoga. He was among the first wave of Westerners to take up Hindu astrology and is a on the faculty of the American College of Vedic Astrology located in Sedona, Arizona. He has also lectured on Hindu Astrology throughout the continental United States, in Hawaii and in England. He is an ordained Swami of the Temple of Kriya Yoga and is a duly initiated practicing Hindu of the Shaivite tradition. He is a faculty member at Kepler College, was an Assistant Professor of Jyotisha (Hindu Astrology) at the Hindu University of America and is a Reiki Master.
New Bedford MA
508-990-7898 or 508-994-5725 ē firstname.lastname@example.org
Web sites: www.councilvedicastrology.org or www.crystalexpectations.net
Charlotte Benson (Jyoti Devi)
Diplomate: AFA, NCGR, ISAR
Executive Director, American College of Vedic Astrology, Inc.
President, Arizona Society of Astrologers, Inc.
Phoenix, AZ USA.