Balrāj’s approach to astrology is guided by the simple and profound wisdom of the spiritual traditions born on the Indian subcontinent. Generally speaking, these spiritual traditions provide a wide variety of practices for releasing awareness from the compulsions and anxieties of the habitual self.
These practices create the conditions for habits (or ‘karmas’ or ‘memories’) to disclose themselves, making explicit what had become implicit and habitual. These habits—which are inscribed in the body—have ancient and ancestral roots; they are memories that dwell deeper than any specific memory. In fact, these habits are expressions of ancient, ancestral, social, familial, and cultural histories, commitments, compulsions and anxieties, etc., all of which are rooted in a most primitive grasping for unconditional security. This desire for unconditioned security manifests as grasping for unlimited recognition, a bulletproof ego, for whatever will resolve—once and for all—every sense of lack/anxiety, of dis-ease. Ultimately, then, the habit to be released is the very grasping—the need—for unconditioned security, in whatever form it takes: financial freedom, unassailable mental health, unrivalled status, and even—perhaps especially—(the need for) enlightenment itself.
In becoming aware of these habitual modes of being—which are unavailable to simple introspection—there is opportunity for re-habituation. One is less encumbered by our automatic habits and reactivity, and more able and willing to pursue what is experienced as one’s deeper inspirations. These deeper inspirations need not be ‘found’ or manufactured, but become clearer (and louder)—though never as clear as the ego wants—as we begin to release our grasping for an absolute sense of being-complete (in all of its various incarnations).
To do this work (of ‘undoing’ or of ‘forgetting’—of releasing and being released) requires that one actively turn to face their own experience; in short, it requires active participation (and not a passive waiting for some future to grant us a permanent peace of mind). But an intellectual understanding of the depths of your inner life is insufficient to be free. Freedom requires that one face their painful emotions and unwanted thoughts and those people/places/situations that one has been inclined to avoid. To do this, awareness and courage are enough, and grace—which cannot be produced by the conscious will—is a welcome bonus. Of course, this work is not for the faint of heart: transformation is not optional, but who/what we become is not up to us.
Balrāj received the title of Yoga Vidyā from his yoga teacher and received his Diploma in Yoga from Annamalai University. He received a BA (Hons) and MSc (Oxon) studying South Asia and India respectively. He then abandoned plans to pursue naturopathic medicine and obtained an MA in philosophy, defending his thesis on phenomenological method. He left academia in order to teach classical forms of yoga from a phenomenological perspective, using astrology to show individuals that their freedom is hidden in their “shadow” (and why they should own up to their freedom to live a deeply meaningful life). This aim is what underpins his approach to astrology.
Balrāj received his initial astrological training from a respected South Indian family of paṇḍits spanning several generations in the Tamil Nāḍu region of South India. Balrāj continued to study two classical works of jyotiḥśāstra—Bṛhat Parāśara Hora Śāstra and Jaimini Sūtra—but paid special attention to a form of astrology in India known as Tājika. He employs interpretive techniques drawn from a range of astrological texts, both Indian and “western”, both traditional and contemporary.
In addition to his training in yoga, Balrāj also trained in North Indian classical music for six years and received the Saint Thyagaraja music award. Read more about Balrāj’s current projects and activities.