There are in the market many books on Hindu astrology. I have seen some of them. Still I have been prompted to place a new one before the readers. That is because I feel I have been able to present some new points of view which the readers would not find in other works.
I do not claim to be original in the sense that I have evolved any new theories. It is difficult to do so in a subject which has been successfully dealt with by a host of savants and scholars through the ages. I have been perusing Sanskrit works on astrology since 1927 and have been practising astrology. I have had occasion to go through ten Sanskrit commentaries on the same work by eminent scholars who lived in the preceding centuries. I have been charmed by their subtleties in exposition. Besides, standard works on Hindu astrology deal with the same topics and the number of such works is too large and their perusal is a problem, particularly for the lay readers who do not know Sanskrit. Even many who know Sanskrit will find it a thorny path to follow fully the logic encompassed in difficult diction. for erudition does not always go with straight and simple expression. I have therefore picked and chosen what I have considered best and only presented in cumulative form a few drops of old wine in a new bottle. As such I do not claim that I have evolved ‘any new theories for I am only presenting the quintessence from the works of old masters.
While doing so, I have been conscious that I am writing a book which is to initiate new readers into this sacred science and if I pour into it all the wisdom of ancient seers it would add to the learning but become so formidable that new entrants will find it too difficult to follow, and it would defeat the very purpose of making it a popular text-book for the masses. I am fully conscious that I have not dealt with many intricate calculations and the readings based on them which can be useful for advanced students and scholars, but that would have made the book too voluminous and complex. All these matters I reserve for subsequent volumes.
I have observed that a large number of people are fond of astrology, but their interest in the subject becomes lukewarm as soon as they have to cross the wall of calculations. Only a small percentage has the patience and the perseverance to scale the wall and enjoy the fruit beyond. So I have kept the calculations at the minimum and diffused them in chapters 4, 7 and 12 so that they do not prove an obstacle at, any place and present an easy go over. Another feature of calculations is that in ancient India time was reckoned in Ghatis and Pains. One day, twenty- four hours, was divided into sixty Charts and each Chad was sub-divided into sixty Paths. All calculations in Hindu astrology are on this basis. But now-a-days time is recorded including the birth time, in hours and minutes. Many up-to-date ephemerides also furnish time in hours and minutes. So instead of following the complicated process of finding the sunrise time, calculating the time elapsed since sunrise till birth and calculating the rising sign and the ascending degree, I have introduced the modern method of ascertaining the ascending degree by the trigonometrical method as given in Raphael’s Table of Houses for the tropical zodiac or Lahiri’s Table of Houses for the sidereal zodiac. The duration of each ascendant varies with the latitude and since the tables referred to above cover most of them, that not only makes the calculation simple but more precise also.
Hindu astrology is side real. But in the West most of the astrologers base their calculations and inferences on the tropical zodiac. An increasing number of people in the West is, however, taking interest in the predictions on the sidereal basis and they want a text-book on Hindu astrology. To cater to their needs and to enable them to convert a tropical chart into a sidereal one, I have all through provided instructions so that the students and scholars of the West may take full advantage of this text-book. And with this view I have used the nomenclature Sun, Moon, Mars etc. instead of Surya, Chandra, Mangal etc. and Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc. instead of Mesha, Vrishabha, Mithuna and so on. I must add here that Western astrologers use she for Moon and Venus but in the Hindu texts the Moon and Venus are referred to as he. There is a mythology that the Moon had a liaison with Jupiter’s wife Tara and thus Tara gave birth to Mercury. Whatever be the import of the mythology, in view of the above and similar statements I find it difficult to refer to the Moon as she. According to Hindu texts Venus has a wife and I have in view of all this stuck to the Hindu code of referring to the Moon and Venus as he. While sticking mainly to the Western terminology I have utilised essential Hindu terminology where no single word in English could have conveyed the full import of the technical term in Sanskrit, Instead of referring to the term by circumlocution of English phraseology which would have been ambiguous and created confusion rather than clarification, I have preferred to use the technical Sanskrit terms which have been fully explained in the appropriate contexts.
Those who are beginners will find that in perusing this book they can start from the scratch and ascend gradually to the, high pinnacles of delineations and judgment. Those who are already acquainted with the subject will find many new rules and the discussions enlightening and throwing back the horizon of astrological knowledge. While bearing in mind that a large number of readers might be new to the subject, I have at places explained the various steps at length or clarified the obscure points which may appear unnecessary to those who are already aware of the technicalities or the import of particular configurations in the birth chart. To them my only apology is that though it would have been more convenient for me to skip over the familiar steps it would have landed in difficulty those new readers who have not the grasp of the subject. Their need has also to be kept in mind.
In regard to the calculations and predictions, fairly good matter has been provided. But as in medical sciences, so in astrology, one cannot become proficient by the study of theory alone.
A certain amount of practice is essential. I look forward to the prospect of this text-book being received with interest and approbation by the reading public. If my hopes are fulfilled I shall amply rewarded.
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