Brihat Jataka of Varaha Mihira
This is another authoritative work on Indian Vedic Astrology. The original work of Sage Varaha Mihira was translated into english by N. CHIDAMBARAM IYER, founder of the Tiruvadi Jotistantra Sabha. Chidambaram Iyer gives an excellent introduction by explaining the scientific nature of Astrology and Horoscopy. In a step-by-step manner he clears the myths and misconceptions about this ancient science.
In the Introduction MR. Iyer tells about the Indian proverb says that 'there is no man who is not a bit of a physician and an astrologer'; and it is equally true that there is no subject which is so ill understood as these two. The fact is that the broad medical and astrological principles are so many that everybody of necessity learns a few of these, but experiences a difficulty in mastering all of them.
By strong statements and evidence he defends Jyotish. He touched on Nadigrandham, a method of prediction. Nadi is practised in many places in India especialy in South India. It is not uncommon to see a signboard read as 'Agasthayar Nadi Nilayam', where an expert reads some palm leaves and tells about the past live. Most Nadi predictions are only about past. They can not tell about the future. The author explains the methodology used in Nadi. In the Introduction he gives the definition for horoscopy from the original sanskrit text.
"Horoscopy is stated to be science of 'Ahoratri' or the science of day and night - these being the broadest visible divisions of time - multiples of which give weeks, months, years, etc., and divisions of which give hours, minutes, seconds, etc., The first letter A, and the last legger tri, having been dropped, the term has assumed the shape of hora, and the author says that hora Shastra treats of the effects of the good and bad deeds of an individual in his previous birth.
The author explains the errors that cause the kundli chart that renders the horoscope faulty. In those days, with little scientific knowledge in astronomy and lack of equipments the calculation of palnetary positions were not accurate. There were different concepts about the Ayanamsha or "Precessiona of Equinox". The western astrology doesn't account for Ayanamsha (Sayana) and Indian astrology considers it (Nirayana method). The author tells that because of these mistakes in calculation the predictions go wrong. Below is an excerpt from the Introduction.
"Astrology rests on astronomy. The latter science was probably in a good condition at the time of Vikramarka. The tables for the calculation of the places of the planets which were then framed or then in use, were all suited to the time. Owing probably to the wear and tear of the several working parts of the whole machinery of the Solar System, the tables of one age are unsuited to another age."
"Since error in calculation is as sinful as the murder of a Brahmin, the correct places of the planets shall be ascertained by daily meridian observations."
Finally for the skeptics and non-believers the author gives the following word: "advise those who value truth to spend a few days in examining the principles laid down in this work and applying them to their own individual cases before they join the herd of the learned and the unlearned inn pledging their words to a false assertion, Viz., that Astrology is an unfoudned science."
First chapter is on Definitions and Elementary principles (Zodiacal) and chapter 2 is 'Definitions and Elementary Principles (Planetary) and chapter 3 is 'On Animal and Vegetable Horoscopy' and chapter 4 is 'On Nisheka kala or the time of conception' and chapter 5 is 'On Matters connected with birth time' and Chapter 6 is 'On Balarishta or Early death' and Chapter 7 is 'On Ayurdaya or the determination of length of life' and Chapter 8 is 'On planetary divisions and sub-divisions of life known as Dasas and Antardasas' and Chapter 9 is 'On Ashtakavargas' and chapter 10 is 'On Avocation' and Chapter 11 is 'On Raja Yoga or the birth of kings' and chapter 12 is 'On Nabhasa Yogas' and chapter 13 is 'On Chandara or lunar Yogas' and chapter 14 is 'On Double planetary Yogas' and chapter 15 is 'On Ascetic Yogas' and chapter 16 is 'On the Nakshatras or the Moon in the asterisms' and chapter 17 is 'On the Moon in the several signs of the Zodiac' and chapter 18 is 'On the Sun, Mars and otehr planets in the several signs of the Zodiac' and Chapter 19 is 'On Planetary aspects' and Chapter 20 is 'On the planets in the Bhavas' and chapter 21 is 'On the planets in their several vargas' and chapter 22 is 'On Miscellaneous Yogas' and chapter 23 is 'On Malefic Yogas' and chapter 24 is 'On the Horoscopy of women' and chapter 25 is 'On Death' and chapter 26 is 'On the Discovery of a lost Horoscope' and chapter 27 is 'On the Drekkanas'
Chapter 7 of this books is on Ayurdaya or determination of longevity. Everyone is interested to know his life span. Lord Brahma, at the time of birth of Individual writes his fate on the head. This is the old saying about fate. Astrology gives methods to calculate one's life span. This ancient text gives three methods, namely Pindayurdara and Lagnayurdaya. I have made this longevity calculation available in my astrology software 'Astro Guru'. The calculation formulas were taken from C.G. Rajan's 'Jataka Ganitham' book.
Finally the author write some biodata of the great sage Varaha Mihira who wrote this Brihat Jataka: "Varaha Mihira, the son of the Brahmin Aditya dasa from whom he received his education, obtained the boon of knowledge from the sun in the village of Kapitha, spent his days in the court of Ujjayani in the province of Avanti and has written this neat work on horoscopy after a careful examination of the works of the ancient sages on the subject." Download Brihat Jataka of Varaha Mihira for fee.