Interview With David Goldstein, Ph.D.

Juliana Swanson: Thank you, David, for taking time from your busy consulting schedule to grant us this interview for Jyotish Star.

David Goldstein: My pleasure!

Juliana Swanson: It is also my personal delight to do this interview with you, because when we became friends at the ACVA conferences a long time ago, we found out that we have something else in common besides astrology, which is that we both attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I was there in the early 70’s and you were there later on.

David Goldstein: Yes, I was there from 1978-1982.

Juliana Swanson: The fact that you went to Antioch Yellow Springs says a lot about your adventurous spirit of living and learning.  Please let us in on your Antioch days.

David Goldstein: My four years at Antioch College were some of the best years of my life. I chose Antioch because I was in an unconventional, anti-establishment phase of my life. They accepted me on early admissions, so I finished high school in 3 years and went to college at 17.  Since Antioch offered work-study (co-ops), I was drawn to that type of experiential education.  You could try out all types of real jobs and travel all over the country. I worked for six months at NIH in Bethesda, MD in the neurological diseases laboratory of a Nobel Prize winner, at the age of 18, an incredible experience. Another time, I worked at an Osteopathic Medical hospital, and on yet another co-op, I went to Oregon and worked on a goat farm. I still see life as one big co-op. I'm always thinking about moving to new locations, and can't get that out of my blood.

Juliana Swanson: When did you find yourself interested in Vedic Astrology? Were you initially involved with Western (Tropical) Astrology? Or, have you always worked with Sidereal Astrology and practiced Jyotish?

David Goldstein: My first exposure was to Western Astrology during childhood years. My older sister, Julie, had several Western Astrology books around the house during the 1960’s and 70’s. So, I read some of them and was particularly impressed with Steve Arroyo, Jeff Green and Robert Hand’s writings. I ended up dating a girl in college in 1979 whose father was a Western astrologer and he was friendly with Robert Hand, who lived in the New England region. I recall going to his house briefly and conversing, but at that time I was fully committed to scientific and medical studies, so I did not get deeply involved. Fast forward, during graduate school in psychology, I privately decided to learn Western Astrology and combine that with my traditional psychological training in the future. This was something I filed away in my mind but did not act on until later.

Juliana Swanson: Did you do some formal studies in Western Astrology?

David Goldstein: I started taking a correspondence course in Western Astrology and was studying seriously, yes. I had several consultations with a few different Western astrologers over many years during college. The omen at that time was that I kept meeting astrologers in many places without trying. One astrologer from Ohio in particular was phenomenal, Lynn McCown. She was one of the few astrologers I had met who successfully integrated Western and Vedic Astrology using her own unique methods, and made highly accurate, insightful comments and predictions related to the past and future. Again, I privately filed that experience away in my mind, continuing to study the sciences in college. 

Juliana Swanson: I do not know Lynn but have heard of her. I read that she calls herself a “Karmic Astrologer,” that she also attended Antioch and still lives in Yellow Springs.

David Goldstein: Yes, correct, I believe she did refer to the title, "Karmic Astrologer” and she is an incredibly gifted person. By using the term, “karmic,” you are probably referring to the fact that she has the ability to describe past lives through the chart itself. I recall asking her exactly “how” she was able to derive such vivid details. Her answer was purposely veiled; something about using the different degrees of the planets and combining techniques from both western and Vedic astrology. And, she used the term “Vedic” back in 1978 and that was the first time I had ever heard of Vedic astrology. Again, another omen of what was to come. I remember that she calculated the chart using an equal house system and used the Tropical Zodiac.

Juliana Swanson: How and when did you make the leap to Vedic Astrology?

David Goldstein: In the early 90’s, I happened to read an issue of Mountain Astrologer that was devoted solely to Vedic Astrology. I was extremely impressed and compelled to learn more. I was living in South Florida at that time and James Braha was the nearest Vedic astrologer I could find. I went to his house and spent several hours with him. That meeting changed my life forever. Intuitively, I knew my path would move toward Jyotish. For a short time, I studied both Tropical and Sidereal/Vedic Astrology. Then, I completely moved to Vedic Astrology by 1995.

Juliana Swanson: Was that when you become affiliated with ACVA (the American College of Vedic Astrology)?

David Goldstein: Yes, I attended my first ACVA conference in 1995 and met some of the best and brightest Jyotishis in our field. I made personal contact with several of them and attended many ACVA conferences every year from that day forward. I studied intensively and was mentored by Dennis Harness for several months to get oriented to Jyotish. Then, I was among the first group of students to complete the Level I and Level II ACVA certification training tracks in the late 1990’s. Ever since that fateful meeting with James Braha, my life transformed and became completely devoted to Vedic Astrology as it still is today.

Juliana Swanson: You have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Do you practice as a clinical psychologist now as well as an astrologer?

David Goldstein: I no longer practice as a clinical psychologist. My professional consulting practice is 100% dedicated to Vedic Astrology. 

Juliana Swanson: I assume though that your background in psychology is quite helpful to your work as an astrological consultant.

David Goldstein: Absolutely. In fact, I would not be in this profession without that psychological background and training. First, the process of obtaining a Ph.D. in a traditional university requires an enormous amount of dedication, focus and perseverance. One must juggle not only advanced courses and exams, but also engage in research, teaching, tons and tons of writing, publishing papers, and in Clinical Psychology, working with patients—all of this simultaneously. For the grand finale, there’s a several hundred-page dissertation based on research results, which must be “defended” against a committee before the Ph.D is awarded. This goes on for five years, including a clinical internship, without any breaks, seven days a week.

Juliana Swanson: That is a significant commitment. Please go on.

David Goldstein: This educational training conferred many salient skills that I continue to use daily in my Vedic Astrology practice. Moreover, the clinical training prepared me well for what I have encountered in my astrology consulting practice. I learned how to deeply understand the underlying, often unconscious, psychological dynamics and motivations that take place in any type of therapeutic situation. Engaging in an astrological consultation is just that, a therapeutic one where the client will often try to play out certain issues with the astrologer. The psychological training taught me how to “detach,” “listen,” and be an aware observer, without any emotional ties to the client or expectations regarding outcome. This is a skill that is taught and ingrained in the student in formal clinical psychology programs. I could write an entire volume about this topic. 

Juliana Swanson: I hear that, especially the part about an astrological consultation being a therapeutic one. The psychological counseling model is not everyone’s, of course. For instance, some contemporary Vedic astrologers follow more of a coaching style in astrological consultations, which is quite different in some ways from the kind of counseling that you are qualified to do. As another example, Vedic astrologers in Eastern culture have been more involved with making predictions or recommending upayas (remedies) without offering any counseling component …not that Vedic Astrology can’t be used to gain psychological insight.

David Goldstein: I have never accepted the viewpoint that Vedic Astrology is only good for predictions and that Western Astrology is better for explaining the psychology. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Vedic astrological chart is full of deep psychological information and patterning if you focus your lens in that direction and know what to look for. The Vedic astrological chart is actually a diagnostic tool if you have the advanced academic training in psychology, psychiatric diagnosis and personality theory. For example, I can determine whether a client’s reported “depressive episode” is an ingrained long-term chronic pattern or if it is more of an acute problem that will likely end after a particular dasha, bhukti or transit influence is over. It’s all there.

I’m not suggesting that every astrologer should follow my model, and I don’t necessarily counsel. I discuss the psychological dimensions of the chart to help awaken the person about his or her intrinsic personality, and to help explain why his or her life moves in the direction that is experienced. That is different from counseling. In my consultations, I also offer specific predictions, recommendations and remedial measures, where warranted. So, I do both.  But, all astrologers practicing in the West should realize that there is definitely a psychological dynamic going on between the astrologer and client. If that aspect is ignored, you will miss an important dimension. Dr. Harness has emphasized this in several of his lectures over the years, as well.

Juliana Swanson: Thank you for clarifying these finer points, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Please go on!

David Goldstein: Many psychological dimensions are revealed in the Vedic horoscope itself. The planets reveal the deeper personality style and just how that soul will play out his or her lifetime because of that ingrained personality structure. Personality is genetic and immutable to change, and the individual has to learn how to work within that reality in order to thrive and advance. Understanding personality from a comprehensive theoretical perspective (not just as a series of traits) has enhanced my ability to relate to individual clients, reach them and understand how they are likely to receive and deal with the information provided.

Juliana Swanson: In what ways would you say that your work as a psychologist has elevated your ability to be effective not only for your astrological clients but also for your own well-being?

David Goldstein: I understand how to set proper boundaries, and how to detach, yet be present in the moment with the client. I learned how to remove myself from that interactive equation and not get caught up in clients’ dramas and dilemmas. Since I worked clinically as a psychologist with individuals experiencing terminal illness, serious debilitating chronic diseases, death and dying, as well as a host of other medical problems in that role, I became quite comfortable assisting people who go through major life transitions and crises. It does not throw me off center or upset me. It’s all part of the reality of life experience, this wave of ups and downs that we all experience during certain dashas and bhuktis. It’s very familiar. During these intense crisis periods, a client may really open up and awaken and that’s where Jyotish has immense healing potential. I’ve witnessed this over and over, and that’s the gratifying part of this knowledge, seeing it being applied and of practical use for most people.

Juliana Swanson: Clearly, your long journey has afforded you a broad perspective. Where are you from?

David Goldstein: I was born and raised in South Florida. 

Juliana Swanson: What was it that spurred your interests in psychology and metaphysical knowledge?

David Goldstein: My entire life has always been transformative. It never stands still, that’s for sure. My journey has been one of combining knowledge from the fields of science and psychology with metaphysics and Vedic astrology. My patient parents had to deal with many sudden changes and decisions I made.  Never, in my wildest dreams did I anticipate becoming a Vedic astrologer professionally. At the age of six, I asked my father for a chemistry set. He told me that I would receive the set if I first memorized the entire periodic table of chemical elements. I did so and indeed he purchased the set to reward me. To this day, I can recite that table, which just demonstrates the plasticity of the brain in early childhood. By age eight, I was sure I would become a microbiologist and started studying microbiology. I continued this orientation into high school, focusing on science and math courses.

Juliana Swanson: Where or when did this fast track to traditional science intersect or start running parallel with your interest in metaphysics?

David Goldstein: Well, at 14, I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation (TM) and began meditating from that age. I was drawn to consciousness expansion and the concept of “enlightenment.” Ram Das (Dr. Richard Alpert) actually came to my high school and gave a great lecture, which influenced me a great deal. I read many of his books including, Grist for the Mill and Be Here Now. I studied the Tao De Ching. I read the Bhagavad Gita, among other sacred texts. At Antioch, I learned T'ai chi ch'uan and practiced that for several years. All of these practices opened my consciousness in many ways. The reason I took a second major in college of “Philosophy” was prompted by my interest in existentialism and eastern philosophy. So, these parallel interests were germinating for many years. My long journey took me first into the sciences, molecular biology, medicine, and psychology and then finally to Jyotish. It seems like a natural, logical progression to me. But, many are confused by it, as if these disciplines don’t go together. Yet they are intimately linked when one has direct experience with them.

Juliana Swanson: What did you do after completing college, prior to becoming a Psychologist and Jyotishi? Did you have a different educational path, or have you always been on your current path?

David Goldstein: As you might surmise, I’ve taken circuitous pathways to arrive here. While at Antioch College, I decided to complete pre-med courses, with two majors, Biology and Philosophy. I was accepted to medical school and completed the first year. Then, I left, walked out and moved to California. I wanted to shake things up and did not do well with such regimentation (medical school was a lot like being in the military).

Juliana Swanson: Spoken like a true Antiochian! What did you do next?

David Goldstein: In California, I worked as a molecular biologist at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in 1984-1985 and co-published several papers in cancer molecular biology. At the ripe old age of 23, I had Rahu visions of grandeur, believing I could win the Nobel Prize, alongside my mentors, for solving the cancer cell puzzle mystery.

Juliana Swanson: Oh Rahu! I imagine he had all sorts of surprises in store.

David Goldstein: But of course! I lived next door to the East/West bookstore and read a lot of metaphysical literature. I was offered the incredible opportunity to attend Stanford and work on a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology. I turned that down because I could not envision myself working as a bench scientist breathing neurotoxic, carcinogenic chemicals for the rest of my life. Also, I could not stand harming animals for medical research purposes (I’m a huge animal lover). That really upset me. So, I began going deeper, studying psychology and metaphysics during that time, and took a few college courses at the University of California.  

Juliana Swanson:
And so how did you come to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from there?

David Goldstein: Back in South Florida at age 26, I was pleased to be accepted into the University of Miami Ph.D. program in Health Psychology. Upon completing my Ph.D., I worked in different medical settings and had a private practice. But, something was missing and I was not content. That’s when I came back to astrology, found Jyotish, and the rest is history. My career naturally fell into place and took off powerfully once I acknowledged my true dharma. I now understand that I had to go through these life-changing transformations to get to a higher place, and evidently still do.

Juliana Swanson: What teachers inspired you, mentored you or were your strongest support along the way?

David Goldstein: This is going to be a long list. First and foremost, my father Charles Goldstein has been the most important teacher of all. Both of my parents supported and planned for my education from the day I was born. My mother, Betty, was a huge supporter of education from day one. They worked very hard and made many sacrifices to give me that gift of many years of higher education. My father instilled in me the belief that I could be anything I desired. He encouraged me to follow my dreams in life, but to also work hard and be the very best I could possibly be, to work beyond 100%. Whatever I believed I was capable of, he told me to go beyond that, and never to be afraid of making a mistake, but to be fearless as I moved through life. He told me to plan for the future, think ahead, but to live life NOW, to “be here now.” That is what you have with certainty, this moment in time. My father’s life philosophy gave me a world of freedom and bolstered my independence and self-confidence.
And as my father is so honorable, he also required that I admit, try to resolve and own up to any errors and be responsible for every action. He taught me to take reasonable risks, to step out of the box and not to worry about what other people do or say. He demonstrated this to me daily through his own actions.

Juliana Swanson: What an incredible human being as well as a fine teacher and a great reflection of your auspicious karma. Is your father still alive?

David Goldstein: Yes, he is alive, age 80 and going strong! Anyone who meets my father is extremely fortunate. Everyone loves to be in his presence. They feel his generous spirit and they crave his wisdom. People constantly seek him out asking for advice, to this day, and he is not an astrologer or a psychologist!

Juliana Swanson: What was/is his profession?

David Goldstein: My father has been a successful businessman after having been poor during his early life. He had the vision, and he created his success all with his own efforts, blood, sweat and tears, against all odds. He never let hard times, setbacks or adversities stop him. After he retired, he became a great sculptor and fine artist. He has painted hundreds of paintings. I plan on doing the same thing in later years, developing my artistic side. I actually come from a family of artists and professional musicians. My great-grandmother, for example, played violin for the Czar in Russia in the 1800’s. My father loves life and all of its curves and turns. He really knows how to taste everything that life has to offer. He is unbelievably positive and optimistic about everything, but he is also a realist! He sees the big picture, always.

Juliana Swanson: How did your father feel about your interest in Vedic Astrology as a career?

David Goldstein: When I told him that I wanted to pursue Vedic Astrology, he was very open-minded about it, which shocked me. Here I was giving up a prestigious position to follow something about which he had no knowledge. We all know that “astrology” has suffered historically from a dubious reputation in the western world. Yet he was supportive. Over the years, he has developed an enormous respect for this knowledge and the path I have carved out.

Juliana Swanson: And your Jyotish mentors, teachers?

David Goldstein: Without the guidance and shared knowledge of numerous Jyotishis, I would be lost. Every single Vedic astrologer who lectured at the ACVA conferences over many years offered volumes of enormously helpful knowledge. However, there are a few individuals with whom I studied more intensively and with whom I spent a lot of personal time over many years, and they had the greatest influence in elevating my knowledge of Vedic Astrology. 

These include (in no particular order): James Braha, James Kelleher, Nalini Kanta Das and Dr. Dennis Harness. I also took Dr. David Frawley’s correspondence course in the beginning of my studies, which was very useful. I’ve been influenced by Dr. Charak, Dr. Raman, Chakrapani Ullal’s lectures, as well as Hart DeFouw’s lectures and writings. Intensive workshops with Dr. Dennis Harness, Christina Collins, Dr. Bill Levacy and Dr. Andrew Foss were invaluable.

There are so many more Vedic Astrologers who shared much of their knowledge and guidance over the years, too numerous to list. It would be like listening to an Oscar award speech. If they lectured at an ACVA conference, then, I was inspired and gained support from all of them in some manifestation. I hope they all know how much I appreciated their help and generosity in taking the time to answer my numerous questions during conferences and beyond. I attended every ACVA lecture I could possibly attend and for those lectures that I could not simultaneously attend, I purchased audiotapes to review them. I made personal contact with just about every Vedic astrologer who lectured and asked questions. They were all very generous in responding to my relentless inquiries. 

Juliana Swanson: That is a powerful lineage of teachers and I can feel the weight of their impact and importance through your deep expression of gratitude.

David Goldstein: So deep in fact that I have more to say about them!
  1. Dr. Dennis Harness was instrumental in mentoring me from the start. He agreed to teach me Vedic Astrology from the very beginning. I asked that he start with the most basic elements, as if I knew nothing of the subject. I lived in Sedona for three months with my patient wife, to completely immerse myself in Jyotish studies full time. Dennis was patient, clear, supportive and organized; he assisted me in learning the basic and most important factors—planets, zodiac signs, houses, yogas, and chart synthesis. He’s a wonderful teacher, very patient and understanding.  
  2. I recall experiencing one of my first ACVA lectures given by Nalini Kanta Das in San Diego and it literally sent chills down my spine and I was completely mesmerized by his shakti. There was a powerful, strong connection that I experienced with him. Since that time, he spent numerous hours sitting with me in-person at his office, generously going over and analyzing chart after chart. He is one of the clearest, most astute, direct astrologers I have known, and most importantly he taught me how to prioritize the most significant factors when analyzing a chart.  Just sitting in a room with him was a healing experience for me, even if we did not speak. He’s like a wise older brother to me.
  3. James Braha allowed me to review his second textbook and comment before its publication, and that experience gave me a lot of security when I was first beginning to analyze charts and meet with my first astrology clients. Without his texts at that time, I would have been quite lost. He has been a great friend and colleague for many years.
  4. James Kelleher has had a profound impact on elevating, I should say, catapulting my knowledge level and predictive ability over the past ten years. I became quite involved in all of his webinar courses, which are exceptional. Through James’ teachings, I went much deeper into so many important areas too numerous to name. Among one of his most unique and important contributions was sharing his knowledge of how to use the nakshatras to make more precise, detailed predictions, and how to incorporate the use of all of the varga charts for strengthening predictive depth and accuracy, in all areas of life. I assisted James Kelleher in editing both volumes of his latest texts, which are exceptional and make a unique contribution to our field. His pragmatic, thorough, organized and “in the trenches” approach to Jyotish is a breath of fresh air; it is this thorough, practical and illuminating style to which I also ascribe.
Juliana Swanson: What about your spiritual gurus and path? Did you have an Indian teacher who inspired you to learn Jyotish perhaps?

David Goldstein: It’s interesting that I found Jyotish on my own, without prompting from others. I’ve had many Jyotish teachers and mentors along the way, as described. When I sought them out, they were right there. But, I will never follow one spiritual path or religion, as that is not my way. I learn from several spiritual disciplines, most are from the East and some are from the West. The tenants of Judaism are also central for me. For better or worse, I will likely never follow a singular spiritual guru or ever attend an ashram, have any group religious affiliation or anything of the sort. Jyotish is my spiritual path and any sages or teachers (in or out of body) of this discipline are my guides. I mean absolutely no disrespect toward anyone who views this otherwise. I approach Jyotish as a mystic and a professional, not from a religious perspective. I’m completely against any type of dogmatism or “groupthink” attitude when it comes to religion, spirituality or any body of knowledge. Each individual must attune to his or her unique lifetime and not judge others for taking a different track. “Let it be,” said the great sage John Lennon.

Juliana Swanson: What advice will you give that could be helpful for students of Vedic Astrology?

David Goldstein: When I first attended ACVA conferences, I observed something that completely blew my mind. These advanced Jyotish scholars and practitioners with 20 to 30+ years of experience were sitting in on these beginner’s basic lectures, listening attentively. I’d never witnessed that in my previous years in academia. Why did they do this? Because, they maintained the humble attitude that they can always learn something new; that there might be an important kernel of wisdom or information that would elevate their understanding or practice in some way; that they will always be “students” of Jyotish, forever beginners. 

Juliana Swanson: This is the same Beginner’s Mind that is called Shoshin in Zen Buddhism. These ACVA teachers are very inspiring in this way.

David Goldstein: The best of them never let their egos get in the way. They did not think of themselves as “experts” or that they knew more than everyone else. To this day, that humble attitude remains critical to one’s ability to advance in Jyotish, period. Nothing else really matters, it is all commentary. The mediocre astrologers did not take the time to refresh their minds with the basic foundational principles: planets, houses, signs, nakshatras, aspects, and yogas. They kept reaching for complicated techniques because they did not deeply connect with the central Parasari principles, hoping to find some secret short-cut to obtain a higher level of accuracy. None of that is necessary if you deeply learn the basic, major principles. 

Juliana Swanson: In addition to maintaining this humble attitude in Vedic Astrology, can you offer any other tips?

David Goldstein: Try to be organized, grounded and learn not to jump around the chart. Decide if you want to go topic-by-topic or house-by-house, or develop some systematic approach that is logical. It can get overwhelming and chaotic to your client if you just go by stream of consciousness. You can easily spend an entire lifetime focusing only on the planets and not even touch a speck of dirt on Mount Everest. So, take your time and get intimate with the basic foundational elements. When you get confused, come back to the basics.  Test out fancy techniques, and determine which techniques offer you consistent, reliable accurate results. Some techniques work for one astrologer and fall flat for another. There’s nothing wrong with that. There are several approaches that may be followed. Find your own personal approach and don’t worry about what other people are doing. Believe in yourself and make your own unique contribution.

Juliana Swanson: This is great advice.

David Goldstein: I would also suggest that if one has advanced knowledge in other fields, that will be a great asset to the work of Jyotish, i.e., incorporate those skills into your Jyotish work. Above all, approach Jyotish seriously and respectfully, studying regularly for many years or a lifetime. If the knowledge compels you and you feel pulled back to it, then that’s how you know it’s the right path for you to pursue. Jyotish itself is a spiritual discipline in its own right, without complicating it with other spiritual disciplines. It is one of the Vedangas (limbs of the Vedas).

Juliana Swanson: Do you recommend a particular style of learning Jyotish?

David Goldstein: Study with several teachers over the years, not just one. That way, you will learn many approaches to chart analysis and you’ll gain a broad spectrum of knowledge. Soon enough, you will find that you resonate with one approach more than another because that is in alignment with your personality. Go spend time with those teachers in-person. Feel their energy.  See how they live, work and how they function. Ask questions. You’ll absorb their shakti and it will raise you. It’s a powerful experience that you could never get from an Internet course, book or any digital technology.

Juliana Swanson: I find for many students it becomes challenging to handle all the intense energetic and life shifts that come along with the Jyotish path, not to mention the overwhelming amount of learning required. Do you have any suggestions on navigating this exciting but often rocky road?

David Goldstein: Live a clean, healthy, honest lifestyle. If your mind, body and soul are healthy, clear, light, and energetic, then you will be able to tap into this great body of knowledge at a higher level. Take breaks, get away from the studies for periods of time and clear your mind. Try to maintain a balanced, detached attitude with everything and you will then be successful.

Juliana Swanson: OK, that sounds like good doctor’s orders! Now let’s move onto the topic of your own writing. Do you have books, either that you have written or that you recommend to the aspiring student? Do you plan to write a book in the future?

David Goldstein: I have published numerous journal articles in the fields of Vedic Astrology, Health Psychology, and in Cancer Biology over the past 30 years. The majority of my Vedic Astrology publications were printed in the ACVA journals since 2000. They may be found on my website as well. http://www.dgoldsteinphd.com I love writing, probably more than anything else. I write a monthly newsletter describing the transits in force, some mundane astrology describing current events, and offer some predictions and insights. This may be found on my website each month and it’s become quite popular reading around the world. I offer a free subscription to this newsletter, as a public service.

Juliana Swanson: Your newsletter is always at the top of my own reading list every month! What a great service, greatly appreciated by so many. It must be challenging to find time to write anything, with your busy consulting schedule.

David Goldstein: I don’t multi-task very well and currently, I am focused on maintaining my consulting astrology practice and keeping up with a heavy client caseload. So, it may be an excuse, but I find it hard to find the extra time to write a book.  For me, it’s an all or none experience. I find it hard to start and stop and pick it up again. Yet, I also find that I am constantly writing on some topic. I also have this elitist, perfectionist attitude when it comes to writing. I refuse to write yet another book about an area that has already been published many times over. When I am ready to offer a unique contribution, I will sit down and write the volumes that are meant to be written. That day is coming in my future, no doubt. I will likely be living in the mountains, and out of the trenches of private practice, which occupies my daily existence at this time.

Juliana Swanson: Many of us in the Jyotish world will patiently await your book(s), whenever the time is ripe. And now, changing topics again, would you care to comment on being a vegetarian, or following an Ayurvedic diet?

David Goldstein: In keeping with my philosophy, I think each person’s physiology is unique and the nutritional needs and dietary considerations must be tailored to that person. This is a very complex subject, with many areas to consider. Nutritional needs change across the lifespan as well. One size does not fit all. To imply that everyone must be a vegetarian is shortsighted.  Philosophically, I think it is much better for humans to be vegetarian for the sake of the larger Universe. But, try telling that to your cat. Even if someone stays vegetarian most of the time, that’s an improvement over rejecting a vegetarian diet completely.

Juliana Swanson:
Well said! And, do you follow a vegetarian diet at this time in your life?

David Goldstein: Yes I do, and I function fairly well on that for many reasons.  I’m sure I would benefit from following an Ayurvedic diet tailored to my strongly Pitta/Vata constitution. I love spices, but my body can’t take them very well and I have allergies to just about every food in existence, including many fruits and vegetables. But, I work with it and rotate my diet, which helps enormously. Recently, I followed a strict vegan diet for 3 years, lost some excess weight and did exceptionally well, but I got bored and changed it again. It’s a work in progress and constantly needs to be revised due to my food sensitivities. Nutrition and diet are enormously important for health, well-being and development. I spend a lot of time on this aspect of living and cook and prepare most of the food I eat. I think the person who handles your food injects his energy into it and that can either harm or enhance its effects.

Juliana Swanson: Besides nutrition and diet, what else is important?

David Goldstein: Living a healthy, clean lifestyle is of utmost importance and it takes dedication and discipline, but one is nicely rewarded for the effort. I also exercise regularly, run over 20 miles/week, hike trails, and engage in weight lifting and kayaking. My connection with nature and many animals is also a huge primary aspect of my existence. Oh, and don’t forget to keep your sense of humor. My favorite movie is “Night at the Opera,” starring Groucho Marx, my father’s hero! You can learn all about life in that one single film.

Juliana Swanson: Thank you so much, David. This has been quite illuminating and again, we appreciate your taking the time to talk with us!