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The Number Game

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[dropcap]S[/dropcap]tars often take on stage and screen names. Hence the metamorphosis of Norma Jean into Marilyn Monroe, Yusuf Khan into Dilip Kumar, Mahjabeen aka Meena Kumari, Harry Webb into Cliff Richard without the “s”… A remarkable story of the transformation a name change can bring about involves Gerry Dorsey, a talented but struggling torch singer, unable to break out of the UK “B Club Circuit” where he’d languished for 14 long years. At last, his manager, on one inspired day, changed his stage name to Engelbert Humperdinck, borrowing this so-unhip-that-it’s-hip name from an obscure 19th century German classical music composer. And immediately, overnight, Engelbert arrived, and stayed.

It may be clear from this aforementioned nugget that sometimes talent and, for that matter, destiny need a little nudge for the ready lamp to light. After all, not everyone is born with a name to suit — like rock King Elvis Presley — and even the pelvis had to dye his hair black.

Traditionally, the current trend of attracting a little magic in one’s direction was embedded into paths of least resistance taken at the suggestion of family astrologers.

Many, not placed on the right track at birth by prescient astrologers, develop the urge in these new aged times to make a course correction much later. Is there substance in numerology that is superior to the four-leaf clover or the rabbit’s foot after all?

Numerology harks back to the Hebrew Kabbalah and their practice of Gematrics, an elaborate scheme that lays out the interrelationship between alphabets, words and numbers, Chinese divinatory systems, ancient Egyptian writings and our very own Vedas.

Change your name, or even the way it is spelt, change your destiny — goes the promise. And more and more ordinary people are undertaking contortions of spelling to realign their names. This folk is following the examples set by role models, celebrities such as Shobhaa, Jayalalithaa and Viviek.

So which of all the numbers are auspicious? Bingo players will mumble “lucky 7”, but the thing is that every number comes with its own set of goodies and each letter of the alphabet in the Roman script corresponds to a given number. The premise holds true in other languages and scripts, too. So interpretation becomes quite a bitch. Take the word “shirt”: its numerical charge in English is 8, but, in Spanish, “shirt” is “camisa,” and the numerological equivalence is 6. So here we are, shirt-tail in hand, embedded on the horns of a meanings-and-implications dilemma. Numerology is probably a good way to start arguments, and, perhaps, if you have a meditative bent of noggin, a good way to exercise grey cells.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”A different school of astrology”]

An omen in Chaldean numerology
An omen in Chaldean numerology

How foolproof is the theory in numerology that people born on the 8th, 17th or 26th (sum of the digits = 8) of a month have a disturbed marital life, they do not get married at all or get married late? While Narendra Modi’s birthday reminds one of this theory in astrology, our readers may know several people personally whose lives bear testimony to this hypothesis.

Some people give the example of Roger Federer to theorise that a person born on one of these dates must spell his/her name in a way that the sum of the numbers corresponding to the letters used in the name according to Chaldean Numerology (ref: pic) should be 5: R 2 + o 7 + g 3 + e 5 + r 2 + F 8 + e 5 + d 4 + e 5 + r 2 + e 5 + r 2 = 50, whose digits add up to 5. It is believed to clear the omen!

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Here’s the roll call. Numbers one to nine are used in numerology to describe character, predict outcomes, attract good fortune and side-step the charge of enraged bulls. Compound numbers are tinctures and higher octaves of the same 9 primary numbers. Alphabets a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h and i take the first nine seats’ front row but the next set of nine get the same nine numbers in sequence and so on. This is how you land up with families of same number alphabets, about three to the pack. So j has a numerical equivalence of 1, just like a.

Words, names, street addresses, flowers, fruit, mountain, stream, trees, movie, TV series titles, shop fronts, and Victoria’s Secret, can all be tweaked. The myriad names of God, the Devil, lovers, heroes, heart-throbs, villains and banes, exes, pets: can all be reduced to sets of single and sometimes compound numbers, and analysed to reveal all.

Each individual number of a compound can likewise be analysed separately and in conjunction for all that they represent. The navigating principle in all of this is the bank of received knowledge, your native intuition and a good “feel” for sorting wheat from chaff and seeing woods for trees.

Playing around with numbers as a unifying principle: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing them, pondering likeliness and applicability, creating integers and formulae and other building blocks, did eventually give birth to calculus and modern computing. So it’s probably best if you don’t sneer at the esoteric by-products. It would be sneering at Pythagoras, a keen 6th century numerologist, for example.

And, as to meanings, let’s try a sampler. One (1) is the loneliest number as the song has it. Numero Uno, first, tough at the top, associated with the Sun, Sunday and immensely powerful. It represents the beginning, the start of things, the origin, perfection, absolutism and God — in monotheistic faiths, that is. Number One people, (born on the 1st,10th or 28th, those whose entire birth-date adds up to 1, or those whose most-frequently-used name numbers add up to 1), are happy, loving, dynamic and charismatic when they’re feeling smooth and fitted into their groove. But if they’ve got out of bed on the wrong side, the self-same Ones can be sharply egotistical, selfish and melodramatic. Ones are simply not afraid to be individuals, be obstinate, or go for a walk all by themselves.

Two (2) is altogether more amiable, Moony and Mondayish. Twos represent duality: partnerships and interaction with others on the one hand, and disunion and polarities on the other. In symbolising partnership, 2 implies that individual achievements are not always sustainable and benefit from co-operation and teamwork. You also most definitely need two to tango and sustain der master race. Two has great fun with synonyms and antonyms, Chinese Yin and Yang medallions and considerably less when buffeted by the tension generated by some of those infamous polarities. Twos have feminine virtues, like the Moon, thought of as feminine, in contrast to the fiery and masculine Sun. Twos display intuition, they nurture and protect. Having said this, a negative twofer can be a right-pain-in-the-a: full of the petty vexations of the human spirit. It’s the grief of being Number 2, the frustration of being a perpetual Tonto but never The Lone Ranger.

Three (3) is expansive Jupiter’s number with Thursday all to itself. And By Jove, it puts a third leg to the see-sawing polarity of two. This injects stability, integration and the wholeness into the occasional table. Three is the number of the Holy Trinity in more than one major world religion. Three jives with mind, body, and spirit. Our visible world is 3-dimensional. Three is lucky, a money magnet and career builder. Three associates with successful communication of all kinds: expression, drama, acting, humour. On the upside, Threes can be wise, understanding and knowledgeable. On the flip, Threes can be sad sacks, foolhardy and take unnecessary risks particularly when attempting to run three-legged races.

Four (4) is ruled by Rahu, the Shadow Planet Dragon’s Head, and shares Sunday’s with Number One. The first “composite” number; that is to say, the first number that can be created from multiplying numbers other than itself. The simplest solid, a right square, has four sides. There are four cardinal points as any weathervane will tell you, (North, South, East and West), months have four weeks mostly and some lucky climes have four seasons. There are four Christian gospels and four “elements”: viz. Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. The “composite personality” of the Foursomes often leads to fiercely independent, “out-of-the-box” thinking. Dilbert must have been created by a 4. In the Jewish religion, the number four resonates with the four-letter name of the God, Yod-He-Vau-He. The other four-letter word we live by needs no introduction. However, Chinese numerology doesn’t like 4 because the word “four” is a homonym of the Chinese word for death. So the Chinese skip the 4th floor on their buildings just as much of the rest of the world skips the 13th (a higher octave of the self-same 4).

Five (5) stands for sensual awareness in the form of the five senses. If Lolita spoke up, this might well turn out to be her number. Associated with the thinking planet Mercury and Wednesday, Fives are highly analytical but can over-ponder an issue too. Contrast this contradiction with their Quicksilver temperaments which bestow great and instant grasp and can exude killer charm. Fives are versatile and kinky, scandalously open to new ways of doing “it”. Bet you can’t wait to meet one armed with this intelligence.

Six (6) is Venusian, not specially rich but very comfortable thank you. Number Six is surrounded by luxury and sensual fulfilment. But line ‘em up three in a row(666) and it becomes the number of The Beast (The Antichrist, who it is prophesied, will rule the world with the consummate charm of the Devil). By itself, Sixers are tactful, beautiful and harmonious. And why ever not? The Six deals primarily in attraction and pleasure, possess charm, grace and the ability to make diplomatic small talk in abundance. But piss off a Chakka and you get trashed. The Sixer will go on a philandering spree, bitter as gourd, vengeful as the whole rack of wrath with no barbecue sauce to help things along. Still, should you want to play math footsie, Six is the first “perfect” number, in that the sum of its divisors, other than itself, is equal to itself: 6 X 1 = 6 and 3 X 2 = 6, and 1 + 2 + 3 = 6. Interestingly, the product of its divisors, other than itself, also equals 6.

Seven (7) is Neptune’s number, illusive and veiled, fish-tailed and armed with a trident. Seven is also ruled by Ketu, the Shadow Planet Dragon’s Tail and shares Monday with the polar Twos. Lucky Seven is concealed and sacred. Three Sevens in a row (777) is God’s own number by Biblical tradition. In Islam, however, the number is 786 being the total value of the letters of “Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” in Jummal reckoning. Then you have 7 days a week, the Bible says God created the world in 7, the ancient solar system had 7 planets (getting a bit messed though, what with recent discoveries). There are 7 chakras too. But when it comes to 7 people, it does take a bit of doing to find the light under this complicated and dreamy bushel.

Eight (8), on the other hand, packs a Saturday Night Special. Eight also serenades you with all 8 notes (octave), of the musical scale. The Chinese love 8 best of all and set up a clatter of chatter in praise of the “good luck” number, mainly because Eights move heaven and earth to achieve wealth and material success. To the Chinese, this wealth and pelf thing is THE IDEAL.Saturnian, the Atka is loaded with sinuous ability to tame karmic influences. Eights work hard for their money and learn avidly from experience. The number of seriously rich and famous Number Eights is a legion because nothing deters them from their objective. Lovers love their ardour. Everyone say Salut! Tamamshud.

Nine (9) is the number of the genius, ruled by warrior planet Mars and reformist Uranus. Innovative, changeable, do-gooding Nines possess all our Tuesdays and are happiest making some kind of difference.

And those of us who cannot yet find a truth in all of this are worshippers of Zifr, the Arabic zero, the sublime Fool of the Tarot deck, the unborn, full of possibility.

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Gautam Mukherjee
Gautam Mukherjeehttp://ghatotkachseriesthree.blogspot.com/
Commentator on political and economic affairs

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