Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada
One day an astrologer came who was said to know everything—past, present and future. Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu received him with all honor and put this question before him. “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. [Chaitanya Charitamrita - Ādi 17.103-104]
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. A still-existing treatise called the Bhrigu-samhitā describes a system by which anyone can immediately get information about what he was in the past and what he is going to be in the future. The brāhmanas who went door to door as if beggars had perfect command of such vast knowledge. Thus the highest knowledge was easily available even to the poorest man in society. The poorest man could inquire from an astrologer about his past, present and future, with no need for business agreements or exorbitant payments. The brāhmana would give him all the benefit of his knowledge without asking remuneration, and the poor man, in return, would offer a handful of rice, or anything he had in his possession, to satisfy the brāhmana. In a perfect human society, perfect knowledge in any science—medical, astrological, ecclesiastical and so on—is available even to the poorest man, with no anxiety over payment. In the present day, however, no one can get justice, medical treatment, astrological help or ecclesiastical enlightenment without money, and since people are generally poor, they are bereft of the benefits of all these great sciences.
Brāhmanas generally used to become astrologers, āyurvedic physicians, teachers and priests. Although highly learned and respectable, such brāhmanas went from door to door to distribute their knowledge. A brāhmana would first go to a householder’s home to give information about the functions to be performed on a particular tithi, or date, but if there were sickness in the family, the family members would consult the brāhmana as a physician, and the brāhmana would give instruction and some medicine. Often, since the brāhmanas were expert in astrology, people would also be greatly inquisitive about their past, present and future.
Although the brāhmana appeared at Lord Caitanya’s house as a beggar, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu received him with great respect because he was a qualified brāhmana who knew the astrological science perfectly. Although brāhmanas would go door to door just like beggars, they were honored as very respectable guests. This was the system in Hindu society five hundred years ago, during the time of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This system was current even one hundred years ago; even fifty or sixty years ago, when we were children, such brāhmanas would visit householders like humble beggars, and people would derive great benefit from the mercy of such brāhmanas. The greatest benefit was that a householder could save a great deal of money from being spent on doctor bills because the brāhmanas, aside from explaining the past, present and future, could ordinarily cure all kinds of diseases simply by giving instructions and some medicine. Thus no one was bereft of the benefit of a first-class physician, astrologer and priest. Therefore the Bhagavad-gītā (4.13) gives special stress to the division of society (cātur-varnyam mayā srstam guna-karma-vibhāgaśah). Unfortunately some people are now claiming to be brāhmanas simply by birthright, with no qualifications. Therefore the entire society is in chaos.