Mahinda Rajapaksa had complete faith in his chief astrologer Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena, which is why under the latter's counsel he even scheduled a snap presidential election much ahead of time. Even hours before the final tally was released, Rajapaksa, confident in his astrologer's counsel had declared that he was heading for a "resounding victory".
However, the predictions went terribly wrong when Rajapaksa, after a decade of autocratic power, was toppled by rival Maithripala Sirisena to become the President of Sri Lanka. Abeygunawardena who had been lavishly rewarded by the man he calls "Our Sir" after advising him for 32 years, has been avoiding the media since last Thursday's election; his reputation having been tarnished by his most famous patron's loss.
Abeygunawardena has finally broken his silence by comparing himself to Michel de Nostredame, the French apothecary and reputed seer whose published collections of prophecies became successful predictions.
"Not all of Nostradamus' predictions have come true either," Hindustan Times quoted Abeygunawardena as saying. He also added that it was not just astrological help that could help one achieve something, but lady luck should be on their side as well. "There was only so much I could do to help him win, maybe 5%. But you must have luck to be the president," the 63-year-old said.
Admitting to maintaining a low profile, the celebrated astrologer assured that this minor setback would not falter the beliefs of his dedicated followers. "I am avoiding talking to people, especially the media, but I have a big following and they will not abandon me," he said in a phone interview from his home in the coastal city of Galle.
He also claims that he knew the former president would lose, but did not have the heart to tell him so. "If I did not tell him he was going to win, he would have been psychologically shattered. His defeat would have been much worse," he said, adding, "In this case, the opponent's horoscope is more powerful than that of Our Sir."
Abeygunawardena also revealed that although he had tried to console Rajapaksa after the tragic outcome of elections, his had made a quick departure from the presidential home during the early hours of Friday. The historic election not only tarnished his reputation, but also lost him his limousine, chauffeur and the seat on the board of a state-run bank, along with the keys to a grace-and-favour bungalow.