Chakrapani Ullal has been called the “father of Vedic astrology in the Western world.” A great Vedic astrologer who came to the U.S. from South India in 1979, he previously studied law and business in India, having learned Vedic astrology from a young age at the feet of his father and grandfather. He first became widely known internationally as the astrologer for Swami Muktananda, who invited him to come to the U.S. in 1979. His service to so many clients in his busy astrological practice over the decades, and the knowledge he shared with so many students and practitioners will be treasured for many years to come.
Chakrapani died on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 3:10 a.m. Pacific time, Beverly Hills, CA. He had been suffering since August with the return of a leukemia-like condition, and in the hospital since early September. I received a message that morning, but because I was involved all day in a memorial service and various family events for my sister-in-law in the San Francisco area, I did not pick up the message until 6:30 p.m.
Chakrapani’s passing is indeed a moment of great magnitude for me. I was concerned for his health this year, as many of us were. It was also 29 years (a full Saturn return) since my first-ever contact with him. He provided my first serious introduction to Vedic astrology and was a decisive catalyst. He has been a great friend and mentor to me ever since, especially from the early 1990s onward, when we collaborated on various astrological research projects. We spoke often by phone, and fortunately we had a chance to have a wonderful evening together in Los Angeles in early June. He had some back pain but was otherwise in excellent spirits.
My partner Jim and I were in Oakland, CA for five days from Thursday, October 26th, staying with Jim’s son and daughter-in-law, Galen and Casey. We were there especially for my sister-in-law’s memorial service Saturday morning, preceded by a tour of the new sanctuary. She was a Sufi, and very involved in that organization for decades. She died on August 26th. The service and reception were at the Sanctuary for Sufism Reoriented in Walnut Creek, CA, founded originally by the Indian-born spiritual master Meher Baba.
Just a few hours after Chakrapani passed (which I did not know about yet), we were at this magnificent sacred building full of light and images depicting the evolution of consciousness. It was completed in March 2017 after five years construction, and built in a circular design in all white Cararra marble intended to last for 700 years. Here is how the Sufi Murchida (their living teacher) Carol Connor describes it:
“In all spiritual traditions, the design of a sanctuary strives to be an outward expression, in material form, of the still, sacred space at the center of the human heart where man is joined with and can know God. It therefore aspires, first, to be the most beautiful form its creators can envision.
The sanctuary’s curvilinear design is based on the form of the circle. Like God, the circle has no beginning and no end. This expresses eternity, the eternal life in God the Infinite. The circle is also recognized as a symbol of unity since all points on the circle are equidistant from the center, as all beings are in relation to God. This symbol embodies the essential unity of Creation and the Universal Love at the heart of all life.”
The whole day and previous evening were spent in this mode, followed by a dinner for 12 at Galen and Casey’s house in Oakland, an event they call “Friendsgiving” and a preview to Thanksgiving. At the end of the meal, each person at the table spoke for a few minutes about what they were grateful for, and I told them about my extraordinary day so full of confluences, and the passing of a man earlier that morning who has been an extraordinary influence in my life: my mentor and great good friend, Chakrapani.
Bio: Edith Hathaway is an international consultant in practice since 1980, author, teacher, and lecturer of Vedic astrology. Among her many awards and certifications are NCGR’s Level IV (Consulting Astrologer, 1989), Jim Lewis’s Master AstroCartoGrapher, 1988, plus numerous awards from Vedic astrology organizations, U.S. and India. From 1992 she served as faculty and board member of the American Council and American College of Vedic Astrology. Her audio course The Vedic Chart: An Expert Guide Through the Twelve Ascendants(2002) was re-released in 2015 on mp3s with PDFs, and her latest book was published in 2012: In Search of Destiny: History, Biography & Culture As Told Through Vedic Astrology. For her articles, audio course and lectures on mp3s, please see: Edith Hathaway. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org