From the Jacket:
Prasna Marga, Part I, is an exhaustive treatise on the various aspects of predictive astrology of immense practical utility. The work can be considered as of exceptional interest and value.
The ancient classic deals not only with the various aspects of Prasna or Horary Astrology, but also with almost the entire range of the forecasting art - Jataka or predictive astrology, Muhurta or electional astrology, Parihara or remedial astrology and Nimittas or the science of indications (Omens).
This ancient work, an English translation, is embedded with copious notes incorporating the author's own experiences on different aspects of life. The book not only endorses the ancient principles of astrology but also extends beyond by giving novel methods of interpretations which are to be found even in such celebrated works as Brihat Jataka.
About the Author:
Dr. B.V. Raman was the renowned astrologer and author. He was the Chief Editor of The Astrological Magazine. He had number of titles to his credit. He held a string of titles such as Abhinava Varahamihira, Jyotisha Bhanu, Jyotisha Vignana Marthanda, Jyotish Ratna, Abhinava Bhaskara, Jyotisha Bhooshana etc. He was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, London and a Member of the Royal Asiatic Society. Dr. Raman had influenced the educated public and made them astrology-conscious. His special fields of research were Hindu Astronomy, Astro-psychology, weather, political forecasts and disease-diagnosis. He was widely traveled man and addressed the elite audience almost throughout the world.
Prasna Marga is a unique work on
astrology, natal and horary, of vital
importance to every astrological
scholar, practitioner and student. The
author, a Nambudari Brahmin of
Kerala who wrote this book in 1650
A.D., was a renowned scholar and has
culled valuable information from a
number of ancient sources.
This ancient work, an English
translation of which is presented here
in simple and elegant English
interspersed with copious notes
incorporating the author's own
experiences, touches on some of the
most important aspects of life'-
marriage, children, longevity, death,
disease, etc .
Part I is an exhaustive treatise on
the various aspects of predictive
astrology of immense practical utility,
which deals not only with the various
aspects of Prasna or Horary Astrology,
but also with almost the entire range
of the forecasting art-Jataka or
predictive astrology, Muhurta or
electional astrology, Parihara or
remedial astrology and Nimittas or the
science of indications (Omens).
Part II, is an encyclopaedic work
on matters that affect all areas of
human life, such as marriage,
children, causes of diseases as given
in karma vipaka and the remedies,
matters relating to deities, rulers, war,
natural calamities, travel, rainfall,
digging wells, details for finding
underground water, theft cases,
dreams and their interpretation as
indicators for death of disease and its
It is with justifiable feelings of pride and humility that
I present herewith an English translation of Prasna Marga
(Part I) a celebrated work on astrology largely in use ia
The idea to bring out an English edition of Prasna
Marga nrst occurred to me in 1940. This was largely due
to the persuasion of one Mr. P. G. Subrahmanya Iyer, then
working as an assistant in my office. Mr. Iyer was well
versed in astrology besides being a scholar in Sanskrit and
Malayalam. With his help and co operation a rough or
tentative translation was made and the matter left there.
For health reasons, Mr Iyer had to relinquish the job in
my office and return to his native land. I feel indebted to.
Mr. Iyer for the initial belp given to me.
I should say that the period between 1942 and 1962
was perhaps the most creative part of my life as it was
during these years that the greate r part of my intellectual
productions in the shape of books were made available to
the public. It was again during these) ears that I was busy
building up THE ASTROLOGICAL MAGAZINE, organising
research work etc.
Hence It was only in 1964-65 that the translation of
Prasna Marga could be completely revised and re-written
with copious notes and illustrations. But for various reasons
the manuscript had to be again kept in cold storage.
In 1977, thanks to tbe persuasion of my son B. A. Kumar
Babu and daughter Gayatri Devi Vasudev, I took up the
final revision of Part I and completed the notes and the
manuscript was made ready for the press.
I do not claim infallibility. Some of the stanzas may
not have been correctly translated or a meaning given
which may not have been intended by the original author.
I am therefore open to correction .
It is hoped that the book will be received with the
same warmth by my indulgent readers as all my other
publications have been received by them.
Each part of this great work is self-contained and can
be used without reference to the other. Hence one need
not have the apprehension that in the absence of Part II,
Part I may not be useful.
Though the title Prasna Marga suggests that the book
deals with Prasna or horary astrology, I have to make it
clear that the text gives equally valuable information bear-
ing on natal astrology which can be used with advantage.
The translation Of Part II (Adhvavas 17 to 32) is also
ready and I hope to bring it out in 1981.
In bringing the book to its final shane, considerable
assistance has been given to me by my daughter Gayatri
Devi Vasudev add I must record my appreciation of this
My special thanks are due to my esteemed friend and
colleague Dr. P. S Sastri who has kindly prepared An Index
of Technical Terms'.
I have also to thank Prof. M. R. Bhat and late Mr.
L. Narain Rao fer their helpful hints and my Ions
B. Niranjan Babu and B. Sachidananda Babu who have been
of much help to me in proof-corrections etc.
I must put on record the helpful attitude that is being
displayed by my esteemed friends P. N. Kamat and B. K.
Anantharam of IBH. Prakashana in coming forward to
publish this bock
To the ancient astrological literature of the Hindus
traced to Sage Parasara there belong a certain number of
complementary works without whose assistance, the student
of astrology may not be able to understand the deeper
implications of the subject. Prasna Marga may be consi-
dered as one such work. It is an exhaustive treatise on
the various -aspects of Prasna or Horary astrology.
This work can be considered as of exceptional interest
The authorship of the work is attributed to a Namboo-
diri Brahmin of Kerala, written in Kollam 825 (1649 AD)in a
place called Edakad near Talasseri. It appears that at that
time our author bad an opponent by name Easwara
Deekshita living in Chola country. Another great disciple
of the author was Mochhattiloyit, a well-known personality
in Kerala in those days. Kerala Varma was also
a great astrologer. Kerala Varma's disciple Punnasseri
Nambi Neelakanta Sarma wrote a commentary in Sanskrit.
And in rendering the work into English reliance has been
placed on this commentary. Unfortunately the Sanskrit
commentary is available only for the first part consisting of
As regards the nature and value of the work, the
author appears to have been a renowned scholar and has
culled information from a number of ancient sources though
his favourite works appear to be Brihat Jataka and
The topic of the work, though called Prasna Marga,
covers almost the entire range of the subject: Jataka or
predictive astrology, muhurtha or electional astrology. pari-
hara or remedial astrology and nimittas or the science of
Here we have. essentially a work that touches on some
of the most important aspects of life-longevity, death,
disease etc. The value of the work is unmistakable, It
not only endorses the ancient principles of astrology but
also extends beyond by giving methods which are not to be
found even in such celebrated books as Brihat Jataka.
The English translation presented herewith, as in the
case of my other translations, is not word for word. It is
more or less a summary of the stanzas as I have been able
to understand, sometimes with the assistance of Pandits
who are well acquainted with this work. It is possible my
explantation may not render the intended meaning of the
author. I can only crave the indulgence of my readers
for any such short comings.
Though Punnasseri Neelakanta Sharma's Sanskrit text
has been generally followed a manuscript traced at the
Oriental Library, Madras, has also been made use of.
Some verses in the former have been omitted and some in
the latter included
As earlier indicated the author of Prasna Marga appears
to have been a scholar of exceptional merits not only in
different aspects of astrology proper but also in such
collateral subjects as omens and mantra sastra. Diagnosing
from the horoscope the nature of disease and the" spirits"
responsible, and prescription of remedies are an important
aspect of Prasna Marga. Today some" men of science"
may smile at the author's tracing different types of insaaity
to "possession" by evil spirits. To rid the world of
mental illness is surely the most ancient aspiration. In
this our author is not alone. Some of the western thinkers
have started believing in ghosts, possession etc., as causing
abnormal behaviour as the various therapies employed by
neuro surgeons cannot be the answer to a fight against
insanity. It is on record that many persons suffering from
such mental troubles (some of them seemingly incurable)
have been helped by mantra sastra.
According to ancient thought, whatever be the modern
jargon - schizophrenia, catatonia, dissociation, paranoia,
reactive and endogenous depression, melancholia, maniac
depressive psychosis-insanity is caused nit only by organic
factors but also by 'spirits' or disincarnate beings. All
the modern medical magic has not been found enough to
cure insanity. Hence the ancient teachings cannot be
Ignored as cut of date.
The first part has 16 chapters and the total number of
slokas is 1283. I shall deal briefly with the contents.
Chapter One begins with an introduction to Astrology,
its branches, and who may study the science with success.
The author tells us what type of karma is indicated by the
birth-chart and Prasna chart under different circumstances.
How an astrologer should begin his day by prayer and
what all he should note in any person" ho approaches him
with a problem forms the crux of Chapter Two. The
directions indicated by differentsigns and use of Arudha
Lagna are explained. Answers are to be given according
to Sutra, Thrisphuta, Ashtamangala and Suvarnavastha.
Muhurtas, favourable and unfavourable for queries, are
also mentioned. It also shows how omens, breath-variations
and avastha or the mental state of the astrologer are used in
answering queries. Sparsa or the part of the body touched
by a querent comes in for discussion. The persons or
objects encountered on the way to an astrologer, through
direction, the first syllable uttered, the way he stands, or
the object with him are all dealt with in this chapter.
Facial expressions and the sight of certain creatures in
interpreting prasna form the rest of the chapter.
Kala Hora and tbe significance of the different quarters
(east, south-east, south, south-west, west, north-west, north
and north-east) occupied by the Sun during his passage
across the sky ; the indications of omens appearing in these
quarters; are all discussed in Chapter 'Three.
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