MN Kedar Ji- Demise of Hanuman of Astrological Ramakatha

Seventh March 2019. The day was bound to be hectic and busy for me.  I had woken up a bit early. Twenty Five years back, I had entered into the marital bond; and family and friends had decided to celebrate the event with much fanfare. Many of relatives and friends had already arrived and many were coming. Arrangements were to be made to pick them up from the airport and railway station. The day was devoted to religious ceremonies and evening for music, dance, and celebrations. Naturally, I was excited as well as worried.

Suddenly, a phone call changed everything. MN Kedar or Mahendra Nath Kedar, fondly called as Kedar Ji was no more. The illustrious writer of many astrological books, a beloved teacher of astrology, a father figure for many budding astrologers across the nation, Daadji (Grandfather) for my son, Aditya and many things more,  Kedar Ji was no more. I was shattered and did not know, how to react to this disastrous news. He was not only close to my nucleus family (My wife Anita Ji, who is an acclaimed astrologer in his own capacity, and my son Aditya), but also to my mother and my three brothers. He had visited my parental home at Vindhyachal, more than one time, and so everyone in my whole family was knowing him in a positive way.

 

The sad news would have marred the festive atmosphere, for which preparations were going on for a month, so I kept this ominous news to me. Fortunately, my wife Anita Ji did not have any hint about all this, so holding the news became easier for me. I disclosed the bad news in my family very late at night when all the ceremonies were over, and the majority of guests had left. As expected, suddenly the whole environment turned gloomy, once I broke the news.

My association with Kedar Ji started, if I am not wrong, in the year 2001. In those days, Classes of ICAS (Indian Council of Astrological Sciences), East Delhi Chapter; were held in Banashthali Public School, New Delhi and after shifting to Noida from Meerut in 2000, I had taken admission in this Chapter of ICAS for the astrological courses.

Somehow, I did not find classes at ICAS, intellectually challenging; so started to skip them.  There were a few reasons behind it.  I had already done various astrological courses in some other cities and interacted with various astrologers of eminence, before coming to Noida.

However, when Kedarji started to teach us, I tried to create my renewed interest in the classes. We had already heard a lot about him. Besides that, many textbooks of ICAS prescribed to us were written by him. Certainly, these factors created an aura around him. But he was assigned ‘Muhurta’ (Electional Astrology) class for teaching, so there was nothing much to explore and discuss. But, with slight effort, we were able to drift him towards predictive aspects of Astrology, which I suspect even students of research classes at Noida Chapter of ICAS could do in the classes of Kedarji after we started this Chapter.

 

And one fine evening, instead of savoring Jalebi and Samosas at the adjacent sweets shop after the classes, a group of four students started to follow Kedarji, entangling him in our unending queries and confusions; and lo behold! We had reached the gate of his housing society. He resided at a nearby society. Due to courtesy or may be due to having no other option, as we were showing no signs of leaving him, he offered us to come to his home for a cup of tea. Without a second thought, we jumped the wagon and after five minutes, we were sitting around the study table of Kedarji, with an ease and confidence, as if we were coming to him since ages.

And then, after fifteen minutes or so, Mrs. Saroj Kedar (wife of Kedar Ji) appeared on the scene, carrying a tray of cups of tea and a plate full of snacks in the study room of Kedarji, and put them on the ever-cluttered study table of Kedarji. Our gang continued to enjoy the hospitality of Kedar household as well as discussions with Kedarji, in the coming days, although we were not sure whether they relished the same or not.

Initially, Mrs. Saroj Kedar (wife of Kedar Ji) restricted herself to the usual role of Indian homemaker, serving tea and collecting empty cups afterward. But with the passage of time, she started to take an interest, and even participate, in our discussions. We found that due to her long association with astrology ranging decades, even at the periphery, she could grasp its basics and even could give an observation, which was sometimes so objective and critical that at least I did not expect the same even from so-called astrologers.

 

Since she herself was not an astrologer, and even she did not pretend so; she did not have the compulsion to defend or eulogize this subject, which is full of controversies. She never hesitated in accepting that even best of astrologers could make such predictions, which may make it a subject of laughing stock.

As months and years passed, we not only understood nuances of Astrology from Kedar Ji, but we also had to witness renaissance years of evolution of Modern Astrology in India.

Mainly from Mrs. Kedar, and also from Kedar Ji, I knew that it was Rao Saheb (Shri KN Rao), who was instrumental in bringing Kedarji and many others into the stream of Astrology. They were very fond of telling stories regarding formative years of Kedarji, Kapoor Sb (Shri SN Kapoor, Ex-President, ICAS), AB Shukla Ji (Current President, ICAS), Gayathri Ji (Daughter of Shri BV Raman), JN Sharma Ji, Rangachari Ji, AV Sundaram Ji etc. in the field of Astrology. Obviously, this couple was witness to those historical years, in which Late BV Raman visited Delhi and ICAS was established with the cumulative efforts of some of the best brains in the field of Astrology.

How meetings of ICAS used to take place; how BV Raman left no stone unturned in establishing his Magazine of Astrology as well as Chapters/ Centres of  ICAS; and finally those turbulent years in which Rao Sb came out of ICAS and started independent astrological classes at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi, everything unfolded before us in such a lively manner, if each and every event was happening in front of our eyes.

 

Listening to those stories, from them, was not only an interesting experience, but it was also akin to attending a class in human behavior and psychology. Especially, Mrs. Kedar not only had an eidetic memory but had somewhat of a raw grip on analyzing and understanding the real reason behind human actions and conduct.

I was surprised to see the level of great objectivity, she was able to analyze the actors in the contemporary history of Indian astrology in the last four decades. At times, she did not hesitate in criticizing even her husband, Kedarji, for not having played a proactive role in those transitional years.

Her opinions not only helped me a lot in forming an objective opinion about so-called stalwarts of Indian Astrology; but also guided me in charting the path of my astrological evolution.

As times passed, to my surprise, I found that I could connect more to her, compared to Kedarji, with whom we apparently interacted more. When someone appreciated the fact that how Kedarji stayed at the residence of Rao Sb till the wee hours, just for the sake of astrological discussions; I used  to feel the pain of the lady, who used to wait for him for hours and hours, along with her bunch of small children, without an iota of communication. Nowadays, in the period of cell phone and internet, it is very difficult to fathom her difficulties, when even landline was a luxury.

I could imagine her difficulties in managing the materialistic affairs of her household, considering saintly and detached nature of Kedarji towards these, not so important, matters.

 

In the coming days, many times Kedar couple came to our home and I believe that my wife, Anita, successfully established a peculiar relationship with them, which was a mixture of a daughter and a daughter-in-law. We also enjoyed their divine company, while traveling to various religious places of India, sometimes in big groups and a few times, only our two families.

They became beloved Dadaji (Grandpa) and Dadiji (Grandma) of my only son, Aditya, which I believe; they were for many more families. In each interface, I never failed to notice that Mrs. Kedar always had her independent view about so many issues, which sometimes were divergent to those of Kedarji.

She as well as Kedarji might have to face, with passing years, the issues, related to health, security, monetary etc., which senior citizens, especially whose children are settled at far off places, have to face in their wee hours, but they faced them with Grace, composure, and self-respect.

 

While addressing seminars, workshops, the convocations of ICAS, especially relating to Noida Chapter, many persons must have noticed that I always addressed Kedar Ji as a Saint, and underplayed his identity of an astrologer. Many persons found this bizarre. People, who took this with a negative mindset found it degrading for Kedar Ji. Interestingly, some other people took it as an effort of my flattery for Kedar Ji. However, this was always a sincere and conscious decision on my part to address him in a particular way.

This conscious effort on my part was due to his peculiar habits, characteristics, and traits, which distinguished him from a whole lot of other astrologers. He neither had astrological lineage like Late BV Raman, nor brilliant family background like Shri KN Rao, nor he had command over language like these two. Professionally, his job at best may be described as a ‘Babu’ of an Indian Government Office, as he had started his career as a clerk in the Comptroller and Auditor General Office, and was promoted in a routine manner. So, there was nothing worth to be mentioned about his career, like Shri KN Rao, who joined the Government of India as a Class One Officer and retired from the highest possible level in his category.

 

So, what was the factor, which keeps him apart from a big bunch of astrologers? It was simply his honesty, tenacity, and commitment to the cause of Astrology, without any personal ego, expectations or whims and fancies, due to which his name has been etched in the annals of the evolution of Modern Astrology.

While BV Raman Ji was busy translating great classics of Astrology into English and publishing his wonderful Magazine, KN Rao Ji was busy in creating astrology books with deep meaning, undertaking and guiding research papers; burden of creating books for common students, who had to learn astrology from a scratch, fell on the shoulders of sepoys like MN Kedar, VP Jain etc., who took their responsibility in a very sincere and successful way.

In this regard, the contribution of MN Kedar Ji was par excellence. As already told, he did not have any wonderful command over either of the language, English or Hindi. But, he singlehandedly, created basic books on astrology, in a very meticulous way, in both languages. These books were to play the role of proper textbooks in all the chapters of ICAS, as well as classes at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, for years to come, until they were replaced with sometimes better, or sometimes worse alternatives.

 

He not only created these wonderful books but was also instrumental in the creation of many other books relating to Astrology. He not only chosen some capable students in initial batched of ICAS, and promoted them, but also motivated, and sometimes pressurized them for creating books on the subjects, with whom he was not comfortable despite his best efforts.

In this regard, I will especially quote the books written by Shri VP Jain and Shri YK Bansal. Shri VP Jain and Shri YK Bansal have personally confirmed and vouched with me that these wonderful books, on technical aspects of Astrology e.g. Mathematical Astrology, ShadBala, Astronomy etc.,  were written by them only due to proactive persuasion by Kedar Ji.

 

Recently, a writer of a mildly successful astrology book pointed out to me that books by Kedar Ji were not as organized and precise, as one written by his is. However, just due to etiquette and manners, I did not point out to him that despite wonderful language, designing and presentation, his book is at best a cookbook, after merging and editing ten or so books on the same subject. When Late Kedar Ji was creating much-needed textbooks for common students, there was no model before him for guidance, and everything from concept, language and presentation were devised the first time ever. So, whatever Kedar Ji did, did on his own, in a period of Eighties, when there was no internet, no mobile, phones were costly means of communication, available to select few only. This makes his contribution unique and praiseworthy.

 

Another thing, which I want to mention here about him is his peculiar trait of humility, which incidentally is conspicuous by its absence in general in astrologers, barring a few exceptions. I firmly believe that the famous division of ICAS between ICAS under the leadership of Late BV Raman and School of Astrology at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi under the leadership of KN Rao would not have happened, if Kedar Ji would have his sway. As an objective observer of Astrological Arena in India, I have no qualms in saying that this was the most unfortunate event in the annals of Modern Astrology in India. Had these two stalwarts (BV Raman and KN Rao) remained together, we would not have to see mushrooming of the ‘run of the mill’ astrology schools in every nook and corner of this country, who distribute fake degrees and even fake Doctorates just at the drop of the hat. So, to our utter dismay, we are bound to see a bunch of astrologers, not having even basic astrological knowledge, declaring to have multiple Gold Medals in their kitty, and so-called holders of PhDs and Doctorates of Astrology and Vastu, who do not have even basic degrees in these fields, and ‘Life Time Achievement Awards’ to astrologers, who even do not know how to configure Varga Charts.

In the cold war of BV Raman and KN Rao, when there was a big fight to see who is real Rama of Indian Astrological Ramayana, Kedar Ji preferred to remain Hanuman for both the Ramas, and he successfully played his Role. Although, after the famous division, he took the side of BV Raman, and continued with ICAS, not joining School of Astrology at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi, he continued to treat KN Rao his Guru with all humility, whole life up to his last breath.

One event, I want to mention here. When in the convocation ceremony of ICAS, Noida Chapter, which I along with some friends had started, Shri KN Rao came as a Chief Guest, Kedar Ji literally took his sandals in his hands to utter surprise of modern-day students and followed him up to his car like a small child carrying his handbag. He was also instrumental in felicitation ceremony and bringing our a Souvenir on KN Rao in 2016. He virtually directed me to write a critical article on KN Rao, which I obeyed. Incidentally, the article was appreciated for my objective view about Shri KN Rao.

 

This may be one of the reason that in his writings, while KN Rao always reserved something sarcastic about stalwarts of ICAS in his unique and inimitable style, he always remained praiseworthy about Kedar Ji.

In the last years, his voice, in the research classes being conducted at ICAS, Noida Chapter, had started to become a bit unclear, so and due to some other reasons, he abandoned regular teaching. However, more and more he got into inner observation of astrologers, their thought pattern, their intellectual dishonesty, their urge to become a millionaire overnight, and so many things like this, he had started to feel alienated from the astrology as such. He personally told me so many times that if it is a condition of astrologers, what is the use of astrology at all. In the last years, he had the least interest in the astrology. It was heartbreaking to see a person, who had played a very active role in the post-independence, Indian Astrological Renaissance, which was instrumental in bringing Astrology into intellectual mainstream, now feeling totally cut off from the Astrology discipline. But, it was a truth, a bitter truth.

 

Somehow, he also started to feel, and rightfully so, that ICAS, to which he has given his whole life, has not done justice to him. His blunt expressions and reactions to the issues and his habit of calling a Spade a spade were mainly key factors, due to which he was repeatedly sidelined in the hierarchy of ICAS. But, organizations run like this. If you are not befitting their structure, you are bound to become the odd man out, one day or the other.

Another organization,  ‘Bharatiya Prachya Evam Sanatan Vigyan Sansthan’, created by him was also not faring well, in his last years. It was a general impression that the persons, to whom he had given the responsibility to grow it further, did not do anything substantial on that front due to this and that reason. A few programs organized in the last a few years could be described at best as photo session opportunity for the associated persons. Probably due to some ulterior motives of a few persons associated with Sansthan, a message went around that the Sansthan is trying to become and grow as an alternative to ICAS, and this partially true observation went against the Sansthan, as persons, at the helm of affairs of ICAS started to maintain distance from Sansthan. I knew that Kedar Ji was not behind all this mess, but there was no one to clarify or explain, so damage was done.

 

After severance of my relationship with ICAS, Noida Chapter, to which I was serving as Chairman, my interactions with ICAS persons had become sparse to some extent. However, communication with Kedar Ji was continuing, even if it was not frequent. But, surprisingly, in the last one month before his death, the frequency of communication increased without any reason or rationale. More than one time, he confirmed his desire to attend our Silver Jubilee function. Even, I received his calls for discussing some of my FaceBook posts. All this was very surprising, and naturally, I became a bit apprehensive, taking a cue from my past experiences with other senior persons. My doubts came correct after I got news of his sudden demise on Seventh March.

 

Mrs. Saroj Kedar left us on February 23, 2013, and after approximately six years, Kedar Ji also left us on March 7, 2019. Yes, apparently both of them were not a part of our family, but due to emotional connection, we had developed with them, both the events were a personal loss to us. Let the almighty God give them a place near Him, reserved for most benevolent souls. The only assuring thing for us is that we were not alone in this hour of loss. There are so many persons like us, who are sharing our pain and suffering.

I didn’t attend the last ceremonies of Kedar Ji, as it would have become very difficult for me to see the doublespeak of the persons, who did everything to sideline and backstab him in his life, especially in his last years. His legacy has been used and usurped by the persons, who had only some calculations in his mind. But, I don’t think that Kedar Ji would have bothered all these lowly material things. He was a Saint, in the true sense, and he will continue to remain the same in my memories, and also in the memories of persons, who got associated with him without any expectation, or any calculation.

Note: In this Obituary, Āchary Kalki Krishnan, mentor of  AstroDevam.com, and Founder & Ex-Chairman of Indian Council of Astrological Sciences (ICAS), Noida Chapter, remembers the role of MN Kedar in his astrological evolution as well as Development of Modern Indian Astrology. Kedarji was a writer of many astrological books, especially useful for beginners and students of Vedic Astrology; and was part of post-independence, Indian Astrological Renaissance, which was instrumental in bringing Astrology into intellectual mainstream. Books, written by Kedar Ji and some other authors, and published by ‘Bharatiya Prachya Evam Sanatan Vigyan Sansthan’ are available on AstroDevam.com.

 

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Comments

  • Achary Meena Malik
    .
    Wonderful observations, Sir. An obituary in a real sense, only expected from a great person like you. You are also a saint, in a true sense. Pranam.

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