"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" - So says Solomon the ancient sage, and the truth of these words of wisdom cannot be better comprehended than through the science of astrology, for the aim of the science is to guide humanity by pointing out periods of prosperity and adversity in individual as well as national life by defining the various stages in the evolution of man. By the beacon light of the stars the science helps us in locating the time and place of any event and depicting also the nature of the event. Thus is plays an important part in the life of the human race, and naturally fro times immemorial wise men of every country have been trying to discover various methods for calculating the time factor underlying every "season" of human life and for foretelling the quality of the harvest of the season.
It is well-nigh impossible to say exactly when and where astrology and its origin. But we may safely assume that the birth of the science was almost synchronous with the birth of the human race, for otherwise we cannot explain why we come across traces of ancient people lisping in the language of the stars in almost every nation that has some claim to high antiquity. As for India, it may be a moot point whether she rocked the cradle of astrology, but no one can deny the fact that she has contributed a very large amount of knowledge to promote the growth of the science. This great heritage of the past, or atleast a part of it, is being slowly re-discovered through the efforts of research scholars, and I am glad to say that one such welcome attempt to recover an ancient treasure from the hands of all-devouring Time has been successfully made by my friends Shri C.S. Patel and Shri C.A.S. Aiyar in compiling and publishing this treatise on the Ashtakavarge system.
The authors of the treatise have given us al full and lucid explanation of the principles and the modus operandi of the Ashtakavarga in the light of the knowledge garnered from every possible source, with the result that what they are presenting us today is not merely the re-hash of some moth-eaten Sanskrit tome but a critical compendium of all available information on the subject. I am sure that no discerning student will fail to appreciate the labour and critical acumen that the authors have brought to bear on this work.
Natal astrology consists of two distinct sections. The first section enables us to form a general idea of the sum-total of planetary influences scattered through the different houses of the horoscope, what the stars have in store for the native by way of success and failure, pleasure and pain, fame and notoriety. The second section mainly deals with the time factor governing the planetary and steller influences concealed in the birthchart, the Paka-kala (moment of maturity), as it is technically known, of the promise of the birthchart. The Paka-kala is generally deduced from the periods and sub-periods (Dasas and Antardasas) of planets. There is an overwhelcoming number of Dasa systems propounded in ancient works, but most of them have been consigned to oblivion. Of the three or four systems that still hold the field, the Vimshottari system is the most popular. Next comes the transit system which is equally popular, or even more so, among both Indian and European astrologers as a simple key to the timing of events. It is very often used quite independently, but sometimes it is also applied in combination with the ruling Dasa of current directions. The more philosophic among Indian astrologers make a subtle distinction between the function of the Dasa system and that of the transit system. The current Dasa and Antara, they say, show what we have to reap from the seeds of our past Karma while the transits denote the Karma we are sowing for our next life. Be that as it may, there is not doubt whatsoever that transits are the most facile and indispensable part of the astrologer's armoury in India as well as abroad.
Unfortunately the method of considering transits that is in vogue today is extremely puerile and shallow, to say the least! All that our astrologer wants to know is the sign occupied by the Moon at birth. He does not care to inquire what Navamsa or Decanate, much less the exact degree, is occupied by the Moon. Nor does he care to consider what house is tenanted by the Moon or by the transiting planet, for he is blissfully ignorant of the important of the house positions of planets! But the acme of absurdity is perhaps reached when on the entry of any planet into a new sign he presages a change of fortune, for better or worse, for every Tom, Dick and Harry! These Moon-sign or moonshine forecasts, if given in writing, usually end up with the stock phrase "Shubham bhavatu", God bless you, -or in other words, God save the client! If the reader is inclined to think that I am drawing an unnecessarily gloomy picture of the present plight of Indian astrology, let him browse through the pages of some of our popular astrological magazines and he will be convinced of the truth of my remarks. But, then, the trouble is that if the reader is familiar only with the horoscopy of the benighted westerners, he is bound to get bewildered within the mystic maze that passes for the horoscope in our magazines! He will be left wondering whether the figure is to be read from left to right or right to left or upside-down!
The Ashtakavarga is recognized as an outstanding system of prediction among the several systems advocated in the standard works on astrology. It has been commended as the best and the most indispensable key, so that all predictions have to be made only after a consideration of the Ashtakavarga. But the treatment of the system - its methods of application and interpretation- found in the existing works is not exhaustive and thorough enough for students to understand, which is a serious deficiency in the outfit of the modern astrologer. The present work consisting of about 950 verses and treating exclusively of the Ashtakavarga and its practical application is an attempt to fulfil this long-felt desideratum. The work contains in one volume materials collected mainly from available standard works on astrology, the last two chapters being based on manuscripts hitherto unpublished. The plan of treatment is, we hope, quite suitable from the student's point of view: The original Sanskrit verses come first; then follows their translation in English with copious explanatory notes and comments, and examples horoscope has been worked out in detail so as to give a clear idea of the application of the system. The idea of computing Ashtakavarga on the basis of Bhavakundali, in preference to the usual Janmakundali, first suggested by Shri Uttamram Mayaram Thakar in his Gujarati work Jyotish Vijnan Ane Laghu Parasari, has been adopted for reasons given in the Prologue and the text. The book is also furnished with appendices containing the minimum details necessary for the Ashtakavarga calculations (except, however, the calculation of the Shadvarga strength which is beyond the scope of this book). A noteworthy addition is the Sarvachanchachakra (p.64) which will prove useful in connection with Chaps. XVII, and the Ashtakavarga Ayurdaya calculations in Chap. XV.
We wish to express our grateful thanks to Shri Yeshwant K. Pradhan. Jyotishacharya, for the encouragement and co-operation that he has given us while this work was in progress, as also for writing the Foreword; to Shri Amritlal L. Shah. Hon. Secretary, Bombay Astrological society, for his unstinted help; to Prof. N.A. Gore, M.A., Dip. Lib. (Bom.), Librarian, Asiatic Society of Bombay, for procuring transcripts of manuscript copies of the Jatakatilaka and the Brihatyavanajataka and correcting the Sanskrit text in proof form ; to Shri K.S. Sivaramkrishna lyer, B.A., for his guidance and interpretation of the difficult passages in the text; and to Shri Pranjivan Amin and Shri Anant Pandya, M.A., for their unsolicited help in correcting the proofs.
We also wish to acknowledge our indebtedness to the Asiatic society of Bombay, for permission to publish the chapter on Ashtakavarga from the manuscript of the Jatakatilaka of Kamalakar; to the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona, and the Oriental Institute, Baroda, for supplying the Photostat copies of the chapter on Ashtakavarga from the manuscript of the Brihatyavanajataka of Meenaraja and permitting its use; to the Janmabhumi Panchanga Karyalaya and the Bombay Astrological society for helping us in many ways ; and to numerous friends and well-wishers who prefer to remain anonymous, for their constant support and co-operation.
Any suggestions or comments regarding necessary additions or improvements to be made in this work shall be gladly received and considered for the next edition. We shall consider our labour amply rewarded if this work proves helpful in enabling students to make predictions with greater confidence and greater success than at present and brightening the name of the much maligned science of astrology.
Preface to the Second Edition:
This second edition herewith presented, is more or less reprint of the first edition. We have only added one more chapter, as XVIII one. It includes in a nut-shell, all our researches of the last forty years, published in various magazines by way of articles and explained in many workshops conducted by us on the subject. It is hoped, the students taking interest in the study of "Ashtakavarga" will welcome them.
We are heartily appreciative of interest shown and speed with which Shri Narinder Sagar, in bringing out, this second edition attractively before the learned readers.
We wish to express our grateful thanks to (1) Shri Naresh M. Sethia of Baroda, who contacted the "Publishers" and arranged the publication and (2) Shri Hariprasad S. Bhatt of Mulund, (Bombay), for his unsolicited help in correcting the proofs and for other anciliary jobs.
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