On August 27, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been since prehistoric times. To scientists, this is a chance to send satellites into space to take pictures of the planet. To Hindu priests in India, it means doomsday, because Mars, or “Mangal,” the planet of war in Hindu scriptures, is associated with fire. “Mars will bring terrible bloodshed, riots, epidemics and lawlessness upon mankind,” says temple priest Lakshmi Narayan Shastri.

In the Indo-Asian News Service, Deepshikha Ghosh quotes Shastri as saying, “We are performing the Mahamrityunjaya Jap?prayers prescribed to ward against sudden death?and the Mangal Jap against the fear of fire. [But] what is the use of panicking? What will happen will happen, and no power on Earth can stop it. Death is the final truth.”

Indian astrologer Lachchman Das Madan says, “Planetary configurations are likely to become quite hostile to the world from July 29. Earthquakes and other phenomena are likely to cause heavy loss of life.” Interestingly enough, scientists are predicting heavy earthquake activity as well.

Just remember: There’s no such thing as Doomsday.

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