Religion: Concatenation of Calamities

Just outside New Delhi, in low bamboo enclosures paved with dried cow dung, 400 Hindu pundits and priests have gathered this month to recite the Vedic prayer Gayatri Japan 10 million times. Night and day, squatting under TV lights beside shrines and ceremonial fires that they feed with the liquid butter called ghee, they raise their voices, powerfully amplified by loudspeakers, to the circling planets above. For according to India's astrologers, under the conjunction of the planets due early next month, the earth will be shattered by quakes, floods, air crashes, revolutions and wars, in what could be the worst concatenation...

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