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The ancient lore of India is unique, for many branches, its attempt was to probe the mysteries of life and death. Of its lore, the most amazing has been the science of Jyotisha, Astrology.
The lore is doubtless fascinating. From very early days, I have taken interest in friends and astrologers trying their skill on the planetary chart of the heavens at the moment of my birth, for that is what a horoscope is. I have never closed my mind to the science.
In condemning astrology, we shut our face against a science, with a predetermined vision. If explored with patience, honesty and skill, it might perhaps break through the barrier which separates life from death, the present from the future; it might give an insight into man's endeavour and his ultimate destiny.
Dr. K. M. Munshi
By: G. B. Forbes (Principal JYOTISHA BHARATI)
Astrology is a divine subject and calls for extreme piety for the astrologer to delineate a chart. An astute astrologer must have the following attributes very clearly: He must be calm, peace loving, of clear thinking, well established in society, fearless, contented, independent, kind, believer in the theory of karma, devoid of jealousy, well versed in religion and most importantly, honest and truthful. He should avoid ego and be a good listener. At the same time he should be firm and fearless and should not hesitate to call a spade a spade. The theory of astrology must be applied to the point and good or bad predictions must be made without fear or favour and with extreme humility.
The father of Indian Astrology is said to be VARAHA MIHIR. The story of his life is the story of Indian Astrology. My revered Guru, late Shri Gopalkrishna Mody, used to draw our attention at all times that in the whole thesis propounded by Varaha Mihir, nowhere he has even made a mention of the word AYNAMSHA and thus his entire teaching is SAYANA. This is crucial and if understood properly, clears all cobwebs of the so called difference of Sayana and Niiryana concepts.
The following notes pertain to the life and works of Varaha Mihir, Trust you will find it interesting and illuminating, and will you a glimpse of the loftiness of INDIAN ASTROLOGY.
The author of Brihat Jataka, Acharya Varaha Mihira was born in or about 485 A.D. (i.e. Saka 407). His father's name was Adityadas who was a citizen of a town called Avanti. He had performed poojas in favour of the Sun in a village named Kapitha for the favour of a male child and hence through the blessings of the Sun, a son was born to him. He had named this son as Mihira (meaning the Sun). But Mihira's birth chart was considered evil for the family and hence he was placed in a wooden box and left in the nearby river. The box floated over the calm waters of the river and entered the sea and through rough waters reached the shores of Lanka. A brahmin saw the box and picked it up. When he opened it, he found the child, who was still alive. He took the child to his house and brought him up as his own and made him an expert in the science of Astrology.
After completing his study, young Mihira roamed around for quite some time and once arrived in Ujjain. Attracted by his fame as an expert astrologer, the king of Ujjain gave him a seat in his Court. Thereafter, a son was born to the King. The Court astrologers cast the horoscope and started making predictions. All astrologers except Mihira predicted long life and bright future for the heir to the throne. But Mihira predicted that the child would die due to the attack of a wild boar at a certain age, at a pre-determined month, day and time. Despite repeated and close questioning, Mihira did not budge from his stand. Time went by. Out of abundant caution, the king built a separate palace for the child which was always guarded by his best soldiers. Leave alone a boar, not even a sparrow could enter the palace which was lavishly provided with all comforts. The day predicted by Mihira arrived. The King asked him again; "How will the boar come now and inflict death to the Prince?". But Mihira was firm. He had unflinching faith in his calculations and in the science of Astrology. He said what is destined WILL happen.
The news of the well being of the prince was relayed to the King at short intervals. "The prince is cheerful, playing with his friends and enjoying". The predicted moment was nearing. The King asked Mihira in contempt, "What now?". Mihira said :"I wish the prince life for a hundred years, but what shall be - shall be". The king expressed a desire to go and see the prince. The King, all the Courtiers and Mihira went in the palace and inquiries about the whereabouts of the prince and his friends were made. They were informed that the prince and the children were playing on the terrace. They all went to the terrace, and what did they see ? The prince was lying prostrate on the ground. The state emblem of the boar (Varaha) which was hung on the dome of the palace had crashed on the Prince by a strong whiff of the air, and the nails of the boar had penetrated the prince's throat and had killed him instantly. Everyone was stunned to see the silent ways of nature!
The King was greatly impressed by the uncanny sense of Mihira's knowledge and awarded him the title of Varaha and hence he was called Varaha Mihira.
He has written several treatises on astrology, famous amongst which are Pancha Sidhantika, Brihat Samhita, Brihat Jataka, Laghu Jataka, etc. Such renowned scholars as Acharya Bhattotpal, Mohidas, Mahidhar, etc. have made critical reviews of his famous work Brihat Jataka.
Varaha Mihira has stated in the introduction of Brihat Jataka that Astrology is like a huge ocean. Detailed volumes have been written by many a scholars, but in Brihat Jataka, the complexities of the science are so lucidly narrated by him that even a layman can grasp its implications. It is the most authoritative volume on predictions through Hora Shashtra. It is a science and the most complete treatise on the subject. One can find minute details in chronological order right from conception to the death. The principles given in this unique work, if judiciously applied to times, places and individuals, can give amazingly accurate results in predictions.
The entire work is divided in 28 chapters and each chapter is properly linked to the other in such an absolute manner, that his contemporaries have not felt the need to amend its order. And as such it is called the most unique work in Astrology.
In the first chapter, the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, the relative strength, the names of the twelve houses, their significators, etc. have been explained in 20 Slokas.
In the second chapter, the characteristics of the planets, their strengths the things and persons ruled by them, genders, peculiarities, etc, which are important for any predictions are enumerated in 20 slokas. Keeping in mind the requirement of his age, matters relating to farmers, animals, birds, worms, trees, vegetation, seeds and such other matters necessary for the prosperity of the society are discussed in the third chapter under the title "Viyoni Janmadhyaya" in 8 Slokas.
Under the fourth chapter called "Nishakadhyaya" the native's entry into youth, puberty for females, sexual affinity, pregnancy and its muhuratas, the conditions of the foetus, etc. are described in detail in 22 slokas.
The next step after conception is birth and this is taken up in the fifth Chapter. Important guidelines for rectification, the description of the place of birth, the labour ward and its surroundings, the description of the new born child, the condition of the mother, etc are given here in quite some detail.
The birth has now taken place, but if there is no longevity for the native, everything else is of no use. Hence, this important factor is explained in the sixth chapter where the estimated age of the native, and more especially the conditions of the child deaths and such other delicate matters are discussed thread bare in the 12 slokas.
If there is no Balarishtha and if long life is assured then the fixation of life span and the manner in which the same can be determined is explained, in the seventh chapter, "Ayurdaya" where the system of calculating age, from Alpayu to Parmayu is given.
Thereafter, in the Ninth chapter, "Ashtakavarga" in 8 simple slokas, the author has explained the effects of transits of different planets in different houses vis-a-vis the natal position of the various planets. A dedicated study of this technique enables precise timings of events which is so very essential in predictions.
After discussing these practical and important considerations, the author has taken up the all important question of money, income and wealth in the Tenth chapter on "Karma-Jeevadhyaya". Everyone dreams to be a millionaire and adopts different means to achieve his aims, but does not necessarily succeed in this effort. How the native will achieve his economic and financial aim is discussed in only 4 slokas, which are loaded with information, each word being important and capable of being lucidly interpreted differently, self help, speculation, inheritance, gifts, aides, etc. are explained here in detail.
Political positions, authorities and powers are bestowed on some native heredically. Political ambitions are achieved either through the power of the brains or the power of the swords. Alternatively, quite a few nativities loose or abdicate such power and reduce themselves to low positions. Such intricate topics are discussed in 10 slokas in the eleventh chapter.
Planets placed in different houses create certain geometrical designs and depending upon the characteristics of such patterns, they give prosperity or poverty to the native. Mind boggling descriptions of such yogas are given in the twelfth chapter in 19 slokas under the head "Nabhas Yogas". This chapter covers up all sorts of possible combinations of planets at any given time.
In a natal chart Moon plays the most important part, and the lunar chart is given the pride of place in astrological analysis. The peculiarities of the Moon chart are discussed in the Chapter on "Chandrayogadhyaya" in 9 slokas in chapter 13. The 2nd, 12th, 7th, 6th and 8th bhavas are considered Marakas and how the planets positioned in these houses give good or bad results are elaborated here. In the fourteenth chapter, the results of the placement of any two or more planets in a bhava are detailed in 5 slokas.
Thus, before we reach the fifteenth chapter, the author has more or less covered every important facet of human life and its material happiness or otherwise in a life time. Now the author turns to the spiritual progress of a native. The science of astrology is not merely a barometer to gauge the material well being in life, but is indeed something more. The secrets of a highly evolved spiritual soul are carefully unfolded to us in merely 4 slokas on Sanyas Yogas. Such intricate subjects as the allocation and fixation of Ishta-Deva of native are explained here.
In order to bring precision in predictions, the entire zodiac is equally divided in 27 parts called Nakshatras. The rising Nakshatra, at the time of birth has a major significance on the native's mind, body, physique and character and how each nakshatra affects these and their main peculiarities are narrated in 14 slokas in the sixteenth chapter.
Thereafter, perhaps the most important component of prediction, viz. the rays and vibrations of Moon passing through different Nakshatras and its effects on a nativity are elucidated in the seventeenth chapter.
The effects of planets other than Moon in prediction, as also the effect of different Ascendants are unfolded in the 18th chapter in 20 slokas.
In the next chapter in 9 slokas the author has explained the effects of planets in various Shadvarga Charts, keeping Moon as the base. The relationship between the lords in Moons' Shadvarga charts are closely scrutinised. Similarly the author has dealt with the same matters from the Lagna and the Lord of Lagna and hence has accepted the importance of birth ascendant.
In twentieth chapter the author has disclosed the results of different planets in the 12 houses in 11 slokas.
The question of strength obtained by various planets as indeed by the Ascendant, are of paramount importance and have a direct bearing on the native's financial, social and political status. Similarly, the absence of such strength and of favourable aspects cause fall from power and bring poverty and weakness to the native. These matters are discussed in the 21 st chapter in 10 slokas.
In the twenty-second chapter, special effects of planets in mutual Kendras (or square aspects) as well as the results of various dash as and transits are narrated in 6 Slokas.
Certain yogas cause physical deformities to the native. These are listed in the 23rd chapter "Janmarishta". Certain matters such as pregnancy, labour and delivery, physical attraction, sexual life, bodily peculiarities, etc. are peculiar to female nativities only. Hence while examining a female's chart, her marriage time, the selection of the groom and such other related matters are lucidly explained and the peculiarities are clearly spelt out in the next chapter under the name of "Streejataka".
The end of all existence is death, which is perhaps the only certainty of life. The 25th chapter deals in 15 slokas with this delicate matter, wherein, the cause and nature of death, the location of death, the conditions surrounding death, life after death, the progress of the soul, etc, are discussed here and the yogas indicating those items are explained here.
Every person does not have details of his birth time. With a view that even such people can make use of the divine science of astrology, the author has taken special care to enumerate the chapter on Horary astrology, wherein results of questions asked on matters of immediate importance, their indications and taking into account the approximate age of the native the determination of exact time, tithi, (lunar day),weekday, nakshatra, season, ayana and year are discussed in 17 slokas in the chapter titled "Nashta Jataka".
Thereafter, the character and descriptions of Dreshkonas which are useful at different stages in predictive astrology are narrated in the 26th chapter in as many as 36 slokas.
Finally, at the end of the exhaustive volume the author has given a detailed index of topics discussed in the work as also the glossary of terms and has humbly sought the excuse of the readers if any important topic has been erroneously left out and has urged to refer to deserving scholars on such matters.
The authoritative work of BRIHAT JATAKA is like the Geeta of Indian Astrologers. The key to unfold almost every facet of life is incJ uded in this painstaking and voluminous work. Naturally, the various items stated there were applicable to the economic, social, political and castism prevailing about 1500 years ago when the monumental work was written. But keeping in mind the prevailing conditions and situations, if the principles stated therein are suitably and logically altered and then applied, the volume can still be of immense use to us today, nay indeed the work is nevertheless of relevance for all times to come. In fact, some yogas explained here are indeed a challenge to theintelligence of the 20th century space age and require to be interpreted and applied with great amount of control and balance.