Do Krsna devotees need Astrology?

Mayapur

For your guidance, the scripture is your astrologer. He knows your future, he knows your past. So therefore you should consult, you should consult, for our guidance.
- Srila Prabhupada, Lecture, Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 20.125, Nov. 27, 1966

So astrology is so nice! -Srila Prabhupada

In my horoscope it is written there, "At the age of seventy years he will go across the sea." It is written there. Yes. And there are so many things still. So this astrologer was so accurate. I have got that horoscope. Not here. If some day I shall, then will show. It is clearly written there that "This time he will go across the sea." Just see. The circumstances became so that I have come. So astrology is so nice.
- Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 6.149-50, Gorakhpur, February 13, 1971
Srila Prabhupada said that we not try and be more of a paramhamsa than him.
Do devotees need to visit an ayurvedic doctor? But Lord Dhanvantari who is Lord Krsna's avatar as the master of the science of Ayurveda is Lord Krsna Himself so why not just worship Lord Krsna and all the benefits of ayurveda. This is not the judgment of the acaryas though the application of mundane logic makes it looks "reasonable". "Reason", i.e., tarka, the Mahabharata rejects when applied upon inconceivable subject matters, CC 2.9.195

Acintya means inconceivable. You cannot speculate how it is happening, how in the lotus flower there is so hard nail that immediately, within a second, it could kill a great demon like Hiranyakasipu. Therefore it is acintya. We cannot conceive. Acintya. And therefore Vedic instruction is acintya khalu ye bhava na tams tarkena yo jayet: "Do not apply your poor logic in the matters which is inconceivable by you." There is no logic that how lotus flower can grow nails. They say, "Mythology." Because they cannot conceive within their poor brain, they cannot accommodate how things happen like that, they say, "Mythology." Not mythology. It is fact, but it is inconceivable by you or us. It is not possible.

Misuse of astrology doesn't make it useless

The law of nature is so subtle that every part of our body is influenced by the respective stars, and a living being obtains his working body to fulfill his terms of imprisonment by the manipulation of such astronomical influence. A man's destiny is therefore ascertained by the birthtime constellation of stars, and a factual horoscope is made by a learned astrologer. It is a great science, and misuse of a science does not make it useless. Mahäräja Parikshit or even the Personality of Godhead appear in certain constellations of good stars, and thus the influence is exerted upon the body thus born at an auspicious moment. Bhagavatam Purport 1.12.12

Some atheistic devotees are more paramhamsa Mahaprabhu's own grandfather, Nilambar Cakravarti!

Mahaprabhupa's grandfather prepares Mahaprabhu's astrological chart, yet some of our superbly advanced vaishanavas feel themselves beyond astrology
Nilambara Cakravarti, who was a great astrologer, immediately prepared a horoscope, and by astrological calculation he saw that the child was a great personality. 
Caitanya Charitamriya Adi Lila Chapter 13 Summary

Gour Mohan De, Srila Prabhupada's father, who Srila Prabhupada called a pure devotee consulted an astrologer.

An astrologer did a horoscope for the child, and the family was made jubilant by the auspicious reading. The astrologer made a specific prediction: When this child reached the age of seventy, he would cross the ocean, become a great exponent of religion, and open 108 temples.
A Child Sent by Krsna by Srila Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, Dec 1, 1981 | Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami, Srila Prabhupada's Biography, Volume-16 Number-12)

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu consults an astrologer

TRANSLATION:
"Please tell Me who I was in My previous birth," the Lord said. "Please tell Me by your astrological computations." Hearing the words of the Lord, the astrologer immediately began to calculate.
PURPORT
Through astrology one can know past, present and future. Modern Western astrologers have no knowledge of the past or future, nor can they perfectly say anything about the present. Herein we find, however, that after hearing Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's order, the astrologer immediately began his calculations. This was not a facade: he actually knew how to ascertain one's past life through astrology....(Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 17.104)

Pure unalloyed nityasiddha devotees who were great astrologers

1) Ramanujachraya, wrote the astrological treatise, Bhavartha Ratnakara
2) Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur wrote the astrological treatise, Surya Siddhanta
3) Mahaprabhu's maternal grandfather, Nilambara Cakravarti (Nilambara Cakravarti, who was a great astrologer..." - Caitanya Charitamrita, 1.13 Summary)
4) Srila Vishavanath Cakravarti Thakur, ("Srila Vishavanath Cakravarti Thakur, an expert astrologer..." - Bhagavatam Purport8.18.5)

Srila Prabhupada orders members of ISKCON to train children to be brahmanas(Astrologer, Ayurvedic doctors, priests, etc)

Brahmanas generally used to become astrologers, Äyur-vedic physicians, teachers and priests...The important members of ISKCON should give careful attention to our Dallas school, where children are being taught Sanskrit and English to become perfect brahmanas. If they are actually trained as perfect brähmanas, they can save society from rogues and ruffians; indeed, people can live happily under the protection of qualified brähmanas.
-Caitanya Caritamtria 17 The Pastime of Lord Caitanya in His Youth, verse 103, Purport

Some devotees complain that they visited a karmi astrologer once and it was useless

The astrologer should
  1. be very highly qualified
  2. be very experienced 
  3. and most importantly have all good character as the scriptures prescribe, as mentioned here, right attitude towards the science and right intentions, right motivation

In other words, as Srila Prabhupada put, "Astrology can help if there is a first-class astrologer.*" 
*- Journey of Self Discovery - Chapter: Perspectives on Science and Philosophy
JSD 7.1: Plato: Goodness and Government 

Astrology can tell what should be the profession of the child

Srila Prabhupada: According to the Vedic culture, immediately after a boy's birth astrologers should calculate what category he belongs to. Astrology can help if there is a first-class astrologer. Such an astrologer can tell what line a boy is coming from and how he should be trained. (Journey of Self Discovery, 7. Perspectives on Science and Philosophy, JSD 7.1: Plato: Goodness and Government, Plato: Goodness and Government)

Not just kings but ordinary people also consulted astrologers


So this astrological calculation were then; still there are. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, when Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was written, it was five thousand years before. It is stated there that in the beginning of Kali-yuga, there will be buddha-avatāra, incarnation. Vabhisekha [?]. Vabhisekha means "there will appear." These are śāstra, these are astrological calculation, everything perfect. The other day, when I was discussed about Sanātana Goswami, how even an ordinary hotel keeper, he kept an astrologer who told the hotel keeper that "This man has got eight golden dollars." Just see. This is astrology. Even a thief could be conducted, guided by astrologer, and what to speak of others. So that was their system in India. So that example is being placed here by Lord Caitanya that the Veda, that is astrology for your guidance. For your guidance, the scripture is your astrologer. He knows your future, he knows your past. So therefore you should consult, you should consult, for our guidance.
Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 20.125 -- New York, November 27, 1966

Is astrology accepted by our Sampradaya's Acharyas?

Jaya-hari: Prabhupāda?, this morning you talked about astrology in your lecture. Is this accepted in the Vedic scripture and by the gurus?
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Astrology means... That is also Vedic. Jyotir-veda. Jyotir-veda. That is also part of the Vedas. (break) The brāhmaṇas, they learn these three things: astrology and medicine. These two things. A brāhmaṇa is supposed to go to every householder's place, and he will inform, "Today is such-and-such tithi. The such-and-such thing should be done."
And if required, if somebody inquires about "Now I am going to that place. What will happen? Just find out the auspicious moment," so they will give him. Still it is current. It may be wrongly done or rightly, but the system is still there, astrologer. The king should be always accompanied by a first-class astrologer. (break) ...there is a whole street, both sides simply astrology. (break) ...good astrologers.

Lord Venkatesh Balaji orders an astrological report each day

भाषापतिः पठति वासरशुद्धिमारात् शेषाद्रिशेखरविभो तव सुप्रभातम् ॥
bhāṣāpatiḥ paṭhati vāsaraśuddhimārāt
śeṣādriśekharavibho tava suprabhātam ॥
"... Nearby is Brhaspati who is reading out the planetary position (called Panchangam) of the day"
Venkatesh Suprabhatam, verse 6, composed by Srila Anantacaharya, disciple of Ramanuja and founder of the Venkatesh Balaji Temple
The Lord of Jupiter, brhaspati, he read's the day's planetary positions to the Supreme Lord Venkatesh Balaji every day. And we need more proof?

How to go beyond astrology?

Become a pure unalloyed devotee of Lord Krsna.

But we have heard Srila Prabhupada say, “Krsna consciousness is beyond astrology, if you surrender"
Do note, 'if you surrender'. Self deceptive devotees who fancy themselves advanced are quick to catch the "beyond astrology" part and not the "surrender" part. This is called self deception. And the only person who will be at a loss is you!
Prabhupāda: The chanting will be there, but you cannot expect that people will chant like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They cannot even chant sixteen rounds—(chuckles) these rascals, they are going to be Caitanya Mahāprabhu. ( Room Conversation Varnasrama System Must Be Introduced -- February 14, 1977, Mayapura)

Srila Prabhupada gets an opinion from not one but two Vedic astrologers at the time of his departure

Abhirama: So I went to see the astrologer with Yasodanandana Swami, and he did more calculations on your chart.
Prabhupada: You can get on light.
Abhirama: So basically he explained when the difficult times will come, according to the planets. Then he made it very clear that beyond the planetary influence, it would be very difficult for calculations for a person in your position. For an ordinary man he can say very clearly. And he can say for you which planets will disturb, but he cannot say for sure how much they will affect, because being a saintly person, there is naturally some resistance to these influences. So he made that very clear, that you should not think that these are final. So he said, according to your birth, the longevity shows very clearly. And then he gave a date. The longevity is eighty-one years, five months and twenty-nine days, which means February 28, 1978, six months from now. This is according to birth and stars arrangement. But on this point he made it very clear that this was from your birth, this was set, but it can change. Due to pious activities, due to the hand of Krsna, this can change. So... And then he described that during the next six months, the first week of September, Saturn will pass over Ketu, and it will agitate the influence of Ketu even more. So the first week of September the resistance will go down, will become weaker. Then he mentioned that there may be some trouble from..., maybe financial or maybe from juniors, from subordinates. Then this period, if you can pass, through 1978, then there is four or five more years clear ahead, if you can pass through '78. This was what he said, that after '78 there would be four or five years which would be more or less clear of difficulties. He said that if you can pass through 1978, there after that there would be four or five years clear, without much difficulty. And he said according to birth arrangement, the fatal date is February 28, 1978, in six months. At that time there's what's called the completion of a Ketu mahä-daçä, which began at your birth. But he stressed several times that we should not take these calculations to be final on account of your position. He said these are for ordinary men. He said it is always the case that a man of spiritual advancement will have the ability to overcome his fate. He quoted the case of his father, who was in the Sri Sampradäya, and he was apparently very pious and he lived so many years beyond his fatal date. And even so many astrologers had given the calculation, but still, he went on because of... He said he would fast on ekadasi and so many days and so much japa, like that. So he said for a man of your position he could not even say for sure. He said that definitely the hand of Krsna would be involved. So like this, he seemed to have a very sober idea. And he was hopeful that the blue sapphire would have some beneficial effect, at least to relieve you to some degree. He thought that by now you should have noticed a little bit at least. [break] ...besides the gem, there is a good Ayurvedic physician. He can also relieve the effects. That they know the art if you can find the proper man. I inquired if there is a proper man in this district. He said he didn't know anyone in this area. He knows of a man in Delhi. I took his address, and I tried to contact him, but I have not yet contacted him. He was not available. However, we have contacted a man... We read the report to you the other night. Tamala Krsna read you when we were upstairs? He was suggesting the pearl and the oxidized gold and bark of Arjuna tree. That man is the chief physician of this big Ayurvedic hospital in Delhi. He's the chief resident physician there. He lives there at the hospital and he's in charge. He has expressed a serious interest in you, and he's a very, very pious man. He wants to come to visit Vrndavana. His wife is an Ayurvedic physician, he is the chief physician of the hospital, and there is another professor of Ayurveda. They all want to see if they can offer some suggestion. So on Sunday...
Prabhupada: Why not bring them?
Abhirama: Yes. On Sunday we have arranged. They will come for a visit of Våndävana, and they will come to see you, to see if they can relieve you of some difficulty. As far as we could find in Delhi, these are the most reputed men, and they are actively practicing and teaching. They are recognized.
Prabhupada: Make that arrangement. Yes. On Sunday?
Abhirama: Yes, on Sunday, Srila Prabhupada. Today is Thursday. So these were the major points, Srila Prabhupada. For six months there's trouble, especially in first week of September. And if you can pass through '78, then he sees four or five years ahead clear.
Tamala Krsna: That means divine intervention, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: The chart is given. The calculation there is finished. That doesn't matter. Rather, if I am finished now, it will be glorious.
Tamala Krsna: It will be what, Prabhupada?
Prabhupada: Glorious.
Tamala Krsna: Living will also be glorious.
Prabhupada: Yes. Let us see.... As Krsna desires. All right. Thank you. Would you like to send to that Navadvépa astrologer?
Prabhupada: You have got the janma?
Tamala Krsna: Oh, yes. I'll have Abhirama... What he has given, I'll have him write it up and add it to that other report. I have a file I'm keeping in case you want to hear again. Pradyumna is here, Srila Prabhupada.

Astrology can detect diseases difficult for medical science to detect

Prabhupada: No, no. That is calculation, calculation. This astrologer, this astrologer was a very big astrologer and when I was in service, Dr. Bose's laboratory, so Dr. Bose was treating one patient. He was vomiting blood. So he was treating as tuberculosis. Then he could not cure him after giving all medicine. Then he asked the astrologer, this astrologer who made my horoscope, "What is the matter? Panditji, can you tell?" So he calculated. He said, "You are making wrong treatment. He has got some sore in the throat. It is not heart." And he treated, he was cured.
Yasomatinandana: Vedic science is so perfect.
Prabhupada: Yes. He knew it.

About the donning of gemstones to help with astrological maladies


Srila Prabhupada is actually beyond astrology, yet as an uttama adhikari who is tasked with preaching and hence externally acting on the the madhayama adhikari platform he consults astrologers and wears the appropriate gems when need be, since all of this is a regular practice under varnashrama dharma. Srila Prabhupada has the greatest gem, Lord Krishna, he doesn't need any gems to help him through a bad time, however to teach the rest of us by his personal example he does so.

Srila Prabhupada had asked us to consult an astrologer, regarding whether he should travel.  This afternoon, Yasodanandana Swami, Dr Sharma, and Bhakti Prema Swami each presented a report from a different astrologer.  I asked each to give his report separately, so that we could see how they agreed and differed.  Bhakti Prema's was useless, Dr Sharma's was fair, and Yasodanandana's seemed the most reliable.  All three agreed on one point: the next two months would be the most difficult of Srila Prabhupada's life, and traveling was to be avoided.  The astrologer Yasodanandana consulted recommended the wearing of a blue sapphire.  After hearing all the reports that forecast his future, His Divine Grace said, "So it is not hopeless.  At least for five weeks, keep me very carefully.  For the time being, no travel.  Secure this blue sapphire and chant Hare Krsna."
Biographies and Glorifications of Srila Prabhupada-TKG's Diary: Prabhupada's Final Days-July 30th-Tamala Krsna Goswami

“After lunch, Srila Prabhupada had me read again the astrologer’s report brought by Yasodanandana Maharaja.  Prabhupada found it to be quite accurate regarding his past.  For the future, it stated that Saturn was exerting a very bad influence, which could be counteracted by wearing a blue sapphire.  Abhirama contacted Guru-krpa Swami in Hong Kong, who was going to purchase one there or in Delhi.  Srila Prabhupada described the precaution to be taken with the valuable stone when it was purchased.  "It should never be allowed to pass into another’s hands."
Biographies and Glorifications of Srila Prabhupada-TKG's Diary: Prabhupada's Final Days-August 4th-Tamala Krsna Goswami

So Srila Prabhupada even know about the precautions to be taken while purchasing it. Thus there must be purity in act of purchasing the gem as well.

“This morning, Guru-krpa Maharaja arrived and immediately placed a blue sapphire ring on Srila Prabhupada’s right ring finger.  The mounting was made of white gold and was studded with diamonds.” Biographies and Glorifications of Srila Prabhupada-TKG's Diary: Prabhupada's Final Days-August 9th-Tamala Krsna Goswami
The sapphire ring was left on Srila Prabhupada’s body when it was put into samadhi on November 15 1977.

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But what should we say to those devotees under PMS, Prahlada Maharaj Syndrome, who think themselves beyond Varnashrama dharma?

This is our position. If you like, then you make progress. If you don’t like, that is your option. But we cannot make any compromise. We must present the sastra as it is." - (Srila Prabhupada, 1974/09/27,sb 1.2.19, Calcutta)

However the purpose of human life is Krishna bhakti. 

There is not astrological remedy for release from the cycle of birth and death.
prāpte sannihite kāla maraṇe: "When death will be nearer, your this grammatical interpretation, ḍukṛñ karaṇe, this pratha (?), that pratha (?), arguing, jugglery of words, will not save you, will not save you. You please worship Govinda." - Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, adi-lila 7.109-114, Caitanya-caritamrta Feb. 20, 1967 San Francisco
No astrology will help when death will be near. There is no gem which confers immortality.
So astrology is never meant to replace the shuddha siddhanta only to compliment it in such a way that it amplifies the message of our previous acharyas and does not mute it. Thus I always encourage them to perform devotional service very nicely and to view astrology or any of the Vedic sciences as not something which is above Krsna-Bhakti. Thus if you see all Vedic sciences, they start with an elaboration on the purusha sukta. This the tool to see all things and all Vedic sciences as an emanation from Lord Krsna and not separate from Him. However if you look at all karmis who engage in the study of any Vedic science they will skip the first chapter, which is the essence of it all. The essence being - how to see Lord Krsna in all acts. Without this all Vedic sciences become instruments of maya, meant to delude the conditioned soul further.

Hari guru vaishnava das,
Kaustubh,