How Fate Changed Its Course! (A Children’s Story)

The old man was a jyotish (astrologer), known to be infallible in his predictions. It was like he sneaked a peek at Brahma’s (creator’s) notes when he said what he said. People came from far and near with their horoscopes to consult him.

One day a poor daily-wage earning man came up to him: “Sir, I’m gasping for breath in the firm grip of dire poverty, deeply mired in loans taken from all possible sources. Further, there’re two daughters to be married off. Haven’t a clue how I’m going to see through it all. Could you kindly take a look at my horoscope, Sir, and suggest if there’s a way out for me?” janam-kundali

The jyotish took the horoscope and gave it a quick look. Rolling his cowries, he became pensive.  Breaking the silence, he said: “My dear fellow, I’ve some important tasks to complete. Your horoscope needs a more closer look. Leave it with me for today and come back at this time tomorrow – I’ll have my reading ready for you.”

Agreeing to the suggestion, the man inquired if he had to pay now any fees in advance. The jyotish said it wasn’t necessary, he would collect upon completing the job.

On the man taking leave, the jyotish’s daughter came up to him: “Appa, why did you fob him off, the poor man?  Only a little while ago, you said you’ve finished the backlog and you’re free to receive new clients for the day.”

The jyotish explained his action: “Dear girl, you’re an astute observer. Actually the horoscope was very clear saying his life would end tonight itself. And there may be no time or means to perform prescribed pariharam (remedial measures). I didn’t have the heart to tell him.”

In the meanwhile the poor man was headed back home picking his way through the paddy fields. On the way, suddenly, dark clouds gathered overhead. Very soon, rain broke out accompanied by thunder and lightning. Hastening his strides to find some shelter, the man came upon an abandoned mandap (a pillared structure). In a corner away from the shower he set his bag down – a long piece of cloth with its edges bunched and tied together to form a kind of pouch, usually slung over the shoulder – containing grains of rice for his wife to cook; and himself rested on a dry slab of stone forming the floor of the mandap at its center.

In an hour, the rain let up somewhat and he was ready to go. When he lifted his bag, it came off light in his hand and…almost empty! It was then he noticed on the floor a huge swarm of ants, countless, had raided his pouch and made away with the grains. There was little he could do. With a wan smile, he poured out whatever was left also for the ants and stepped out. The dinner tonight would be without staple rice.

On the following day, he went at appointed time to meet the jyotish.

Seeing him the jyotish was dumbstruck. His predictions never failed. Did he make a mistake? He took out the horoscope and examined again it diligently. He had not erred in his reading. Then how?? This man of meagre means could have hardly performed in short time the parihaaram needed to counter what the fate had ordained.

What had happened…after their meeting the day before? The jyotish asked him. There wasn’t much eventful that had happened previous evening to account for. The jyotish however persisted until he got it all from the man.

He went back and checked his palm leaves – inscribed on them was the jyotisha shastra (science of astrology). As he read the relevant parts, it took awhile for the full import to sink in…so that was it!!

While it was comforting to know he wasn’t wrong after all, at the same time he was awash with shame over his lapse; for, it was clear to him now he had not advised his client appropriately.  The man had performed the pariharam quite inadvertently, no thanks to the jyotish. The shastra had set out the pariharam in this instance as: he should feed a hundred hungry mouths before the day’s sunset to hold off the certain death fated for him. The swarm of ants feasting on the rice grains had ensured it was done…in excess too. There was no stipulation in the shastra the mouths must be human! Something the jyotish had unfortunately overlooked and considered the pariharam to be undoable given the man’s finances and the time available to comply.

It was a second life for the man, the jyotish explained. In the time to come a big upswing in his fortunes was predicted for him; the jyotish also impressed upon him the need to be always charitable and kind to all in his life.

The jyotish did not collect any fees this time, atoning for his lapse.




More stories here on winning over Fate:

How Fate Was Overcome…

How Fate Was Outwitted… (a 5-part story)





Source: Adapted from Palani Mohan’s post in FB and

The Jyothish (Astrologer) Who Failed To See His End Coming?

Another of those grandma’s quaint stories we got for eating up our spinach:

Part 1

The Kingdom of Gagangiri was going through difficult times. The reining and enormously popular Raja suddenly passed away under suspicious circumstances. The colorless fly-on-the-wall brother of the dead Raja unexpectedly usurped the throne declaring himself as the successor with the backing of a section of the army. The Rani (queen) and the young Yuvaraja (prince) were forcibly confined to their living quarters.

The common folks did not like the new Raja, his mode of succession, his disposition and his rule, but couldn’t do much about it. Instead of winning over his subjects, the Raja further alienated them by his unreasonable measures bordering further compounded by his stupidity. Taxes went up and minor infractions met with disproportionate harshness. Perhaps it was his way of ‘teaching them a lesson’ for not aligning with him yet. In private, people even wished for the neighboring King to mount an attack and depose the Raja.

One day news reached the Raja’s ears that a very well known Jyothish was in the city. He was summoned to the palace for a session with the Raja. He studied the Raja’s horoscope and his palm and fell silent.

The Raja ordered him to spell out his predictions.

‘My Lord, things don’t look too good for you in near times.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Most people are not with you.’

‘I know that already. Tell me what else.’

‘There are plots underway to overthrow you.’

‘Who would be that? Can you get specific? I’ll have them hanged outside the palace within the next hour.’

‘It would serve no useful purpose.’


‘My Lord, do what you may, you’ll not live to see the full-moon that’s tomorrow night.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes, Sir. I’m certain. It’s all clearly indicated here. I’m known not to go wrong in my predictions.’

’So be it, Jyothish Shironmani (an expert of high order), I’ll do something about it. Meanwhile tell me what do the stars tell about your life?’

The Jyothish failed to detect the sudden sarcasm in the Raja’s words. He was not informed about the Raja’s unpredictable ways.

‘My Lord, I am destined to live into ripe old age.’

‘I’ll prove how wrong you are. You’ll not live to see the sun rise tomorrow. So much for your predictions.’

He ordered his minister to prepare overnight a samadhi (enclosure) packed with inflammable dry grass and an opening at the top through which the Jyothish would be dropped inside. The pyre would be lit and the opening would be sealed at the top. The Jyothish would die a horrible death by the fire.

The Jyothish’s pleas fell on deaf ears as he was dragged to the jail. Everyone in the royal court was shocked at this whimsical cruelty, but could not raise their voice.

A spot outside the palace was selected and the masons were brought in. The minister was personally at the site all night to oversee the construction. And, the samadhi was ready to the Raja’s specifications before dawn.

Though it was early hours, the Raja came down to witness first-hand the dispatch of the Jyothish. The minister welcomed the Raja at the site and assured him all arrangements were made just as the Raja had ordered.

The helpless and wailing Jyothish was brought from the jail. The minister spoke to him some final words of consolation, so it seemed, before lowering him into the samadhi. In a few minutes, a burning pandham (torch) was thrown inside and the opening closed.

In a few minutes, the gloating Raja saw thick smoke leaking out of the samadhi, clapped his hands in satisfaction; he called out for the masons, generously recompensed them for a good job done and went back to resume his interrupted sleep.

(To be contd.)