There is an explosion of interest in Hindu astrology, says Prabhu Guptara

 There is an explosion of interest in Hindu astrology, says Prabhu Guptara

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

What is Hindu astrology? How does it work? When does it not work? How has it been developed? Is it similar to other astrological systems? All this and more is contained in recently published Hindu Astrology: Myths, Symbols, and Realities. The book, authored by Oxford mathematician, Dr A P Stone, was first published in 1981. It has now been brought to India by Pippa Rann Books and Media, UK.

Prabhu Guptara

Life & More spoke with publisher Prabhu Guptara, who has researched and published on Indian philosophy, spirituality, yoga, and religion etc since long. Excerpts:

So, what made you bring this book now in India?
The open official encouragement of astrology from the very top levels in our nation, as well as the exploding interest in it, not least among young people.

How much research on the author and the subject did you do before publishing this book?
The author I knew well – from years before he wrote the book; the subject is one that anyone, certainly of my generation, did not escape.

Why would an Indian, who has direct access to Vedas and Puranas quoted in this book, pick it up? I mean, why not connect to the source directly.
Sure one can. Many people do. But most people also find helpful works of commentary and works of scholarship. Every book has its own advantages and limitations, whether it is one of the sources, or a commentary, or a work or scholarship.

How has the book been received by readers, including astrologers?
I have come across only positive mentions.  Not a single critical note about the book anywhere in the 40 plus years.

Do you think there is a renewed interest in Indian Astrology and other sciences these days? Why
There are two principal reasons: Official encouragement and exploding interest. But I should also mention the unprecedented financial investment in astrology-related apps which have made it simple, convenient, and accessible at nearly all times and places to have immediate information regarding the main questions that have over the centuries been put to jyotshis.

What other books are you bringing about Indic sciences, Indian systems?
All the books in the Pippa Rann imprint are exclusively to do with India and Indians. Of particular interest would be: Mantras for Positive Ageing, or if you are interested in a philosophical approach then the book, Beyond Religion, though I must mention two collections of short fiction: The Village Maestro, and East & West by Catherine Ann Jones who was married to our famous Vedantic novelist from the 1930s, Raja Rao. And there is a memoir by an American who arrived in India on his 20th birthday who has, in the 52 years since then, spent at least four months in India, visiting almost every single district in India, resulting, as he says, in his life being Transformed by India.

How do you check the veracity of the words written in these books, I mean the authenticity of the author, and information given therein?
Though I am a general publisher, not an academic or scholarly publisher, I check the authenticity of information from any author first against my own general knowledge (I was once a Distinguished Professor), and then by checking everything, particularly any points of doubt or debate, with the most knowledgeable and authoritative possible people in those specific fields. That is in fact that the standard way for checking material in all scholarly publishing too.

As a publisher, what is the frequency of books on Indic sciences that you bring about, say in a quarter of the year? 
I am a tiny publisher, what I bring out in a whole year is embarrassingly small compared to what is published in just a month by Gita Press. Nevertheless, I am always open to considering good material for publication, if it is written for the general public, by a non-Indian on any Indian subject, or by an Indian on any subject.


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