Holy Cows, Holy Men, Horoscopes


Considered sacred by Hindus, she is everywhere in India, ambling through snarling traffic, oblivious to the vehicles rushing by and at the same time tolerated by all drivers. The western state of Rajasthan has a cow minister (not a cow that’s a minister but a person that’s a minister of cows. You know what I mean). There are campaigns demanding that the cow replace the tiger as the national animal.

She can live up to 25 years and she can be aged by the number of rings on her horns (if she has horns). She has four stomachs. All seeing, she has almost 360 degree panoramic vision. All smelling, her keen nose can detect odors up to 5 miles away.

She is beautiful. The historian Mukul Kesavan writes of the cow:”Its large eyes, its calm, its matte skin tinted in a muted palette that runs from off-white to grey through beige and brown, its painterly silhouette with its signature hump, make it the most evolved of animals.”


For Hindus (and many others) the planetary positions in the zodiac at the time of birth are believed to have a strong influence on a person’s life. The Hindu horoscope is called the Janampatri and is created using complex mathematical calculations derived from the exact date, time and place of an individual’s birth. A Hindu priest, or pandit, typically develops and interprets a janampatri.

Some lovely friends of ours (a mother-daughter team) have recently had a number of health setbacks. The mother consulted her pandit. He studied both of their janampatris to find an explanation for their health issues and propose a way to resolve them. According to the pandit, the health issues are related to multiple causes including the orientation of the bed in a bedroom; the location of the stove in the kitchen; and something to do with serpents. To resolve the issue(s), our friends were encouraged to donate roughly 40kg of grain to a temple. The stove and bed are re-oriented. The daughter is required to offer food, every day over the course of several months, to a cow.

One evening we joined the feeding mission. Equipped with chapatis and grains, we went to find a local bovine in a lot near our place. Here she is.


A few days later, we went to see the pandit to have Ida and Saga’s horoscopes made. We provided the girls’ names, dates and times of birth, and birth location. The next day we returned to have the horoscopes read.

The pandit:


His colleagues:

 The girls were born four minutes apart. There is a shift in the planetary positions in the zodiac every five minutes. We learned that because the girls’ births fell within this period of planetary stasis, their horoscopes do not differ significantly. 

The Janampatri is a 20-page document, in English, with planetary details and birth charts. Divisional charts tell us about strength, spiritual growth, wealth, destiny, spouse, knowledge and more. Several pages are devoted to Vimshottari and are followed by useful information- lucky colour, lucky number, inauspicious month and dates. 

As the pandit interpreted the documents, he read that Ida and Saga will lead good lives with professional, personal and inter-personal success. There could be minor health issues (e.g. weak left eye requiring spectacles). Marriage could happen in their mid-twenties. He also said he saw a future for them that involves travel. In the very near term, that’s bang on! As for the rest of the predictions, only time will tell.


4 thoughts on “Holy Cows, Holy Men, Horoscopes

  1. Hey Nigel – I had a similar type of horoscope done by a “doctor of astrology” in Hungary when I was 21. (I was opposed – my aunts gave him the info behind my back.) It’s still in the envelope, unread, in my parents home. I’m afraid it may tell me I will live to the ripe old age of 46 (this year!). I plan to read it when I’m in my 80s. Happy to hear the stars are well aligned for your girls.


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