Q. How relevant is Numerology?

A. I consider what today commonly passes as Numerology useless for the following reasons:

A divinatory system should be independent and work in all circumstances but present "numerology" only "works" when using the Christian calendar and English alphabet but will not work for other calendars or alphabets.

For example take any date in the Christian calendar for instance March 8, 2006; the equivalent in Gaurabdha (epoch based on the appearance of Lord Sri Krsna-Caitanya Mahaprabhu) would be 23-12-519. That is, the 23 day of the 12th month in the 519th since the appearance of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. The former date reduces to 1 (3+8+2006 = 2017 = 10 =1) while the later reduces to 5 (23 +12 + 519 = 554 = 14 = 5). This is done by adding the digits together until they reduce to a single digit. There are of course various significant digits in Numerology but as you can see from this brief example that depending on which epoch you use you will derive a different number.

There are many different epochs in use in India and around the world. In India there is Vikram Samvat, Sakabdha, Kaliyuga Samvat (especially important in doing any sankalpa for a yajna) Kollam (era used in Kerela), Amli San, Fusli San, Sen-abdha used in Bengal, Saptarishi Samvat, and several other Vedic based ones. If that were not enough you also have in India Muslim Calendar, Buddhist calendar, Jewish calendar, Jain Calendar, Chinese calendar and Parsi calendar. And to make things more complex each of these calendars commence at various times of the year. And to add even more complexity some of these epochs have regional versions with different start dates.

An instance of this is the Vikram Samvat which has three (3) different New Years day depending on regional traditions. In 1996 which was year 2053 of Vikram Samvat the different New years day were March 20, 1996 (Lunar Caitradi – beginning of the Lunar month of Caitra), April 13 , 1996 (solar ingress into Aries followed in Punjab) and November 12, 1996 (lunar Kartikadi beginning of lunar month of Kartik). Hence any date in Vikram Samvat can have three different sets of representative numbers.

Reverting back to the various epochs used for calendric purposes in India and around the world in each one you will get a different set of numbers when you convert the birthday in that epoch. And hence a totally different result Numerologically.

However no matter by which system you define a particular moment in time the horoscope will always be the same. Hence Lord Caitanya's horoscope is the same whether you convert His date from Sakabdha to Muslim calendar or Christian calendar. But His numerology will be different.

So here is the essential difference: Jyotish is not dependent on a epoch for measuring time and is thus applicable in all times and places in the world unlike numerology which is calculated only according to the Christian epoch.

Another feature of numerology is to reduce all the letters in your name to numbers and then make predictions. But this again is based on the English alphabet of 26 letters. It can't work in Sanskrit which has 49 letters. Sanskrit has 3 sibilants where as English has only one. English is not phonetically consistent like Sanskrit because sometimes "C" is a guttural and sometimes it is a sibilant. In "Cynthia" it is a sibilant but in "Claudia" it is a guttural yet according to numerology they would get the same value. Anyway as one can see it makes no sense to give special preference to the English alphabet.

Some will argue that numerology is a mystic science promoted by great philosophers like Pythagoras. But we note that Pythagoras was Greek and certainly didn't read, write or speak in English. Hence any numerology he did, if he did any would be based on Greek and not English letters. Nor did he use the Christian calendar because he was born in the 6th century before Christ. Also he lived at a time before the concept of "0" (zero) was introduced to Europe from India by the Arabs.

To sum it up numerology is a waste of time for the serious student of astrology because as I have pointed out it is full of inconsistencies.

Your humble servant

Shyamasundara Dasa

PS During 1996 different regional calendars in India begin at the following dates here are few more examples (source: Lahiri's Ephemeris 1996):

Saka 1918 begins March 20 lunar or April 13-14 solar according to region

Amli San 1404 Sep 24

Fusli San 1404 Sep 28

Kollam 1172 August 17

Hejira (Islamic) 1417 May 19, 2007

Buddha Nirvana 2540 May 3

Mahavira Nirvana 2523 Nov 25

Kaliyuga era 5097 April 15