When the book landed on my table in August ‘13 for a review, the cover design caught my attention. I quickly flipped through the book and was very impressed with the colourful pictures (55 in all) of the zodiac showing the nine planets and twenty-seven stars, the glorious sun at the centre and the earth revolving around the sun.The glossy art paper added lustre to the attractiveness. I wondered whether I would really be able to understand about the stars and planets in our solar system and our co-ordinates in the universe which the cover page of the book claimed. I also doubted my competence to review such a scholarly work. It is human nature to procrastinate when the task ahead is daunting. I put the book aside to read later in leisure. I almost forgot about it till I got a reminder from the Editor asking me whether I had completed the review of the book. I decided then and there to read the book page by page.
The book is an unusual, very original and a magnificent effort by a brilliant author. Sri Subramaniam is an engineer and an industrialist. He is also an active Rotarian. Besides his professional qualifications and skills as a transformer design engineer, he has vast knowledge of cosmology, astronomy and astrology and has participated in international conferences. Through this book, Sri Subramaniam has tried to share with his readers- young and old, amateurs and professionals, his masterly understanding and deep knowledge of cosmology and astronomy acquired over the years.
Our earth is a tiny speck in a vast universe which continues to remain a great mystery for humankind. The author places the reader in centrestage with all the stars and planets revolving around him and tries to give him a panaromic view of the staggering vastness of the cosmos, the beauty of creation and its unfathomability. Fundamental issues like how the universe emerged, where do we come from, where are we in the grand scheme of things and what is our destiny are addressed. By providing an easy ephemeral reference, the readers get to see the planets and stars positioned at a particular point in time.
The book is divided into four parts.
Part 1 puts things in perspective. Our location in the universe, the rotational movement of the earth, measurements of stars and planets, and viewing them in the morning as well as at night. We get a total bird’s eye view of the planets and stars as if we are perched at a place millions of miles away from the North Pole.
Part 2 covers the planets and the cosmos with vivid descriptions of the magical colours that can be seen in the sky.
Part 3 dwells on aspects of creation of the universe, the scientific explanation and the meaning of unified force (Brahman/God-particle). After dwelling on the basics of astronomy and the theory of creation and their inter-linkages, Sri Subramaniam moves into Astrology, predictions and its uesfulness. In this Part there is a full chapter on meditation on the panchabhoothas (five elements), the navagraha (nine planets) and the 27 nakshatras (constellations). For those who regularly meditate this is bound to be of immense benefit.
Part 4 contains data on constellations and their degrees of brightness with an apt summary of what we have learnt and what we should analyse and contemplate upon. It has a chapter on Navagraha Nakshatra Vana. Here the planting of trees is done in a circular form with nine flowering plants representing the planets and twenty-seven trees representing the nakshatras. Tree is a form of divinity according to Vriksha Shastra. They bless the worshippers and also purify the environment. By maintaining such ‘vanas’, humankind is bound to reap huge benefits for itself and the plant and animal world around.
It is a phenomenal book, very authentic, authoritative, cogently written, extremely readable and with a fine blend of science and spirituality. The author’s Guru, Sri Vethathiri Maharishi (1911-2003) was his spiritual mentor and guiding force. His Theory of Creation has been explained and compared with the creation theories of the modern day. Albert Einstein said “The most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible.” Sri Subramaniam, through the medium of this book, has made the Universe easily comprehensible to all of us who are keen to understand this difficult and profound subject. Sri Subramaniam has tried to achieve in this book, by his own admission, the saying in the Yajur Veda that one who acquires knowledge of the movements of planets and stars will lead an enjoyable and long life with good progeny. It is a book which should be kept in every school and college library to enable the minds of our youth to get ignited for their material and spiritual advancement.