Is the future predictable through science or faith? My honest answer is Yes and No.
In the late 40’s my grandfather had a “gifted” mussalman friend. Although a working man, he spent many dark nights meditating in the burial ground. He once told my grandfather that he saw a vision of his son (my father) riding a white horse wearing a military uniform. Nobody knew what that meant, since my father had not shown any fauji tendencies ever. Sometime later, my father passed the competitive exams and was allotted the Indian Police Service. A cadet in the Police Academy, he sent my grandparents some photos of life in Mt. Abu. One of the photos showed my dad in police uniform undergoing equestrian training. He was riding— a white horse! There was no way the holy mussalman could have manipulated a priori information, because there was none.
What the Holy man saw !
When my son Anirudh was in college, his aim was not to join the IT industry or go abroad, but to be a regular engineer here. Many of his classmates were already picked up by IT companies in their 3rd year, but Anirudh found no takers yet from the brick-and-mortar industry. Out of the blue, he met a guy on the road who said he was a face reader who wanted to read his fortune. Anirudh’s reaction was skeptical: “I have no money to offer, so why don’t you spend your time usefully with another customer?” The face reader was still insistent: he made one prediction, “you will go abroad soon”, and cheerfully walked away empty-handed. In the placement interviews shortly thereafter, Anirudh got placed in an MNC in the Middle-East! Was the face-reader simply a player of probabilities (many youngsters of his generation would pay good money to hear that they would go abroad)? Or was he gifted? Was he “chosen” to deliver a message of hope? I wonder.
Some years ago, my nephew announced that he wished to marry a classmate of his. His mother was concerned: what was the success rate of TamBrahm -HaryanviJat marriages? She consulted an astrologer — India’s traditional psycho-therapist. This pundit did elaborate calculations with both kundalis and foretold that if my nephew married the girl, his father would die immediately. My sister in law was horrified. But her husband, a career soldier, produced a new dimension. “Let the marriage go on, I promise not to die”. And the prediction? Years have rolled by. The couple has a healthy, hyperactive son. The kid actively engages his father, grandfather and great-grandfather! All four generations in the pink of health, Jai Sriramji ki!
For several years we have been working on scientific sales forecasting in my office. The field guys collect a lot of primary data and make heuristic and statistical calculations every month. The information content is truly fantastic — comparable only to the output of crayon wielding first-graders: very sweet, but not capable of further analysis. Too much science, too little faith.
So do I still believe that can we see the future? I am very hopeful. Because an elderly kind-looking Sardar came to our house and told my wife some things an outsider could not possibly know. He ended up predicting that good fortune was imminent and collected Rs.101 for a Gurudwara. How did he select only our house, almost the only Hindi-knowing household (save the Muslim on the opposite side) in the entire street? Were we “chosen”? And for what— faith or gullibility? I am not asking. My wife is happy with the prediction, consequently I am happier. Good fortune has already arrived as predicted! Sat Sri Akal!