The Book That Saw Tomorrow

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RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR

“If you can look into the seeds of time,/And say which grain will grow and which will not,/Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear/Your favours nor your hate.” — William Shakespeare

He was a ‘wacky’ seer who sculpted most of his prophecies with the best of intensions, if not clarity of purpose. You could also think of his amazing detailing as pure windfall — one that allowed the ‘prophet’ in himself to steer clear of ever being ‘proved’ wrong.

No prizes for guessing who the preamble is keyed to… and, whose spirit — if at all it’s possible — is cock-a-hoop at the present time. You got it right without battling your eyelids: Nostradamus, the famed mediaeval seer, the man who saw ‘tomorrow…’ even before it came… never ever, and never after…

That publishers, and booksellers, of a host of Nostradamus titles, are laughing their way to the bank, from Miami to Mumbai, is now passé. Because, the demand for the master crystal-ball gazer’s encrypted, sometimes puzzlingly ‘possible’ prophecies, in print, has multiplied manifold ever since 9/11, the Mumbai terror attack, and after, in a host of climes — tragedies never before incarnate in history? Indeed. But, one big question has not changed in its dimension. It continues to ‘haunt’ both the laity, which has lapped up the prophet’s work, lock, stock, and barrel, and the scientific community that has always had reservations vis-à-vis its prophecies. Not surprisingly, the huge divide has become all the more imminent now than ever before.

Agreed that the underlying principles of Nostradamus’ predictions cannot be scientifically validated, but what really takes the cake is their uncanny gist for far-reaching themes. While Nostradamus sculpted most of his prophecies with the best of intensions, if not clarity of purpose, some have been manipulated by his disciples, and also misinterpreted, or skewed, by a legion of scholars, who may have shot into limelight soon after an event — not necessarily before it.

As a matter of fact, Nostradamus himself acknowledged that his prophecies were perpetual, based as they were on a cyclical view of history. Yet, the seer’s model was not as simplistic, albeit its principle was faithful to the genre. Reason: history is often periodic, and what may have happened at any time is quite likely to happen again, given the right ‘planetary’ and human conditions. Nostradamus also implied, no less, that nothing, of course, could change the planetary variables. However, the only thing that could avoid, or bring about the event in question, scholars now acknowledge, was/is human behaviour itself.

This brings us to the postulate Peter Lemesurier, a noted Nostradamus researcher, and author of Nostradamus in the 21st Century, examines and puts forth, with an attached sense of detachment  —especially in view of the relevance of Nostradamus’ disturbing prophecies, be it Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, a Kim Jong Il, or what you may.

You have it all — out there, in Nostradamus’ fertile mind. Not only that. Lemesurier also chronicles a blow-by-blow account detailing the coming invasion of Europe, by a massive military power, through 100 new verse-translations. He contends that one should not view the seer’s prophecies as mere forecasts of inevitable doom, but as a project in which humanity can co-operate, or guide themselves — and, may be, avoid their ‘fruition.’ For one simple reason: forewarned is forearmed, more so, for humanity’s sake.

This is not all. Nostradamus was, quite simply, a genius, yes. He never ever gave a particular date to a possible future event. A fact, as Lemesurier says, has allowed his followers to constantly say, “Well, it hasn’t happened yet.”

Just think of it as pure windfall — one that has allowed the prophet himself to steer clear of ever being proved wrong.

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