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Jyotish Star of the Month
By Vachaspati Christina Collins
|Christina Collins: Simon, thank you so much for meeting with us today to talk about Jyotish and Ayurveda!|
Simon Chokoisky: Thanks for having me
Christina: You started out with a career in fitness and creative writing, could you talk about that path, and what caused you to detour into the brilliant career you have today as a Jyotish and dharma practioner?
Simon: As you know from shastra, having an active 5th bhava can make one a ‘poet,’ a ‘wrestler’ or a mantrin- a counselor. Having lived a pretty full arc of 5th bhava meanings, I started as a fitness consultant and moved towards a career in counseling clients on dharma.
Christina: As an author of numerous books, your book on life purpose The 5 Dharma Types, your relationship book Sex, Love and Dharma, and your new book Gambler’s Dharma are receiving great accolades! You must be just thrilled with their success! How did you come up with your unique and brilliant concepts on Dharma?
Simon: In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna spends a whole lot of time teaching the qualities of each Dharma Type (or caste, varna, or jati)- specifically saying that doing their dharma a person avoids the stain of karma: svabhava niyatam karma kurvan, napnoti kilbisham. I was baffled at the paucity of information about these Dharma Types- especially in the West. How can one really understand the Gita without understanding their sva-dharma- their individual purpose and destiny? And this is not just a problem for Westerners. Even in India, family doesn’t automatically confer caste. I know this will sound revolutionary, but it is a fact: in the Kali Yuga heredity is no longer an accurate predictor of Dharma Type. Watch any of a profusion of Bolly/Holly-wood movies over the past 40 years to see the theme of heroic characters struggling against their rigidly-imposed social destiny. In the modern age, being born to a certain family doesn’t mean you belong to that family’s tradition.
Thus, with most Westerners ignorant of their dharma and many Indians confused about theirs, I spent 8 years researching how to help people find their purpose; the result was The 5 Dharma Types, where I included simple tests to help anyone find their true dharma archetype. I put away much of what was useless (like social hierarchies that insist one type is ‘better’ than another) and brought forward universal themes for each type- some of which are not so obvious. For example, Educators have a tendency to passion and lust (think Ben Franklin and Gandhiji). In addition, I plotted a path of Evolution for each type to follow to become their best self, while avoiding their path of Devolution.
Vivekananda once said “We must revise smriti and reinterpret shruti”- that is, we must reinterpret eternal truth and revise human-made laws in order to keep divine wisdom alive for our time. That is what I’ve attempted with these two books.
Christina: You’re teaching via live webinars too! Anything coming up in the near future? Any appearances or speaking engagements that people can tune into or attend?
Simon: I am presenting the 5 Levels of Dharma at the Omega Institute in New York this May. In addition, I have an ongoing Dharma Type Certification course, in which I am training students to be dharma practitioners. By the way, the 5 Levels of Dharma and their correlate sciences are: the Physical (Ayurveda), the Environmental (Vastu), the Social (Dharma Types), the Cosmic (Jyotisha) and the Spiritual (Yoga, Vedanta, etc.). I find that knowing your Dharma Type is key to understanding all 5 levels of dharma, including right diet, and the appropriate spiritual practice for you!
Christina: Where did you do your training in Jyotish and Ayurveda?
Simon: Next Spring my new book, titled Gambler’s Dharma, comes out, published by Inner Traditions. As I mentioned earlier, having lived the arc of 5th bhava meanings, I’ve also applied Jyotisha techniques to predicting the outcome of contests and games. For me, this is a way to prove Jyotisha techniques in the black and white world of “wins” and “losses”- there is no gray area when dealing with contest charts! In the book I discuss the dangerous tightrope that predicting can be, especially when money is involved.
Christina: Do you work with kakshas and ashtakavarga too?
Simon: I do not. Many of the techniques I present in Gambler’s Dharma are original methods or variations on existing techniques, including KP- Krishnamurti Paddhati, Navamsha techniques, and Rashi analysis.
Christina: What would you recommend to people who want to figure out their life purpose? They can always purchase your books from Amazon or your website, but do you offer counselling sessions to help people figure out their path?
Simon: Sure, though now I am mostly teaching and training others to work with clients.
Christina: Yes, we are hearing great things about your training programs. What Jyotish techniques do you use for life purpose delineation?
Simon: To find the dharma type in the horoscope I use a combination of bhava vichara and nakshatra vichara. That is, I use the placement of the lagnesha in the bhavas and qualify it by the placement of the Nakshatras. For example, lagnesha going to the 5th bhava often (but not always) produces an Educator archetype.
Christina: Makes total sense as the 5th house indicates the mind. If someone wanted to get started learning Ayurveda, what steps would you suggest they take?
Simon: There are a number of fine learning institutions in the USA, Europe and India. In the United States I recommend first and foremost the Ayurvedic Institute, a hub of Vedic wisdom where my own studies of Jyotisha, Vastu, and other traditions began. [ http://www.ayurveda.com/ ]
Christina: I knew that you studied with Dr. Lad, and you taught Sanskrit classes there as well. What was that like, it must have been very rewarding, I think so highly of Dr. Lad, he is such a sweetheart.
Simon: Dr. Lad is the vehicle for a living vidya- a wisdom tradition- and a true blessing to his students. Along with Ayurveda, he is well-versed in Jyotisha, Hasta Samudrika Shastra, Vastu Shastra, and many other Vedic traditions.
Christina: Would you mind talking about your Tips for Optimal Weight Loss? Now that the season is changing, I imagine our readers would appreciate reading about this.
Simon: Very simple: increase Agni and reduce Ama! One way to do that is to drink 8-16 oz. water 15-30 minutes before lunch and dinner, and drink as little as possible during and especially after meals. This has shown in studies to not only reduce weight but to improve your BMI- body mass index. Easy and best of all…free!
Christina: Thank you so much Simon, for a fantastic interview!
Simon: My pleasure to be here!
Simon Chokoisky Biography: