In a yellow room decorated with peacock feathers and a crystal ball, astrologer Sanjay Sharma is busy judging the future for a guest life turned upside down because of Covid-19.
“People are really worried about their future right now,” said Mr. Sharma, whose hair was bobbing and a large vermilion dot between his forehead, in the room emitting the scent of smoldering incense and Apple laptop on the desk.
“How will they survive? Do they have a job? Will their business survive?” Sharma added about customer needs.
Astrologer Sanjay Sharma (center) advises his client in New Delhi, India, on August 22. Photo: Reuters.
Indians flocked to astrologers, tarot readers or spiritual healers, to satisfy their curiosity that what awaits them, as well as see this as the solution to health, financial, and mental issues are in the world’s third-largest epidemic region. India currently records more than 3.3 million infections and more than 60,000 deaths caused by Covid-19.
“Whenever our hearts are insecure and we feel anxious, we come here again,” said Anju Devi, 52, who turned to Mr. Sharma to ask about his son’s slumping business and her daughter’s marriage prospects. “People who have depression and are on medication, they feel better after coming here and that may help them recover,” Ms. Devi said.
Indian astrologers, palmistry viewers, anthropologists or tarotists estimate sales of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Ajay Bhambi, a prominent astrologer and spiritual consultant for politicians, Bollywood stars and professional athletes, said his business has grown about 40% since Covid- 19 outbreaks.
“You embrace the hope of life and see exactly what awaits the future. If I see even a small glimmer of hope, I can paint a brighter picture for them,” said Bhambi, a familiar face on Indian TV, said. Mr. Bhambi predicts that the Covid-19 crisis in India will improve from March next year.
However, not all spiritual experts are “popular” between Covid-19. Kripajyoti Nisha Singla, a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, said she had to cancel many courses because of the reduced demand.
“Power tells me people are saving money,” Singla said. “Everyone is worried about their finances, and not sure how they’ll survive if the crisis persists,” she said.