Varahamihira is considered
the greatest authority on Vedic astrology after the era of the
sages like Parashara. He was born near Ujjain. His exact time
is perhaps not known but he is strongly believed to have existed
during the sixth century AD and to have embellished the court
of the king Vikramaditya. His most popular works are the Brihat
Jataka and the Brihat Samhita. The Laghu Jatakam is a rather abridged
version of the Jataka text. Presented in the Arya
metre, like the other works of Varahamihira, the Laghu Jatakam
is a highly useful classic composed by a master of unparalleled
astrological wisdom. Easy to comprehend and rich in substance,
it is a classic that must be studied alike by the novice and the
Shloka 1: Victory unto the Sun, of brilliant
rays, to whom, at the occasions of his rising and setting, (even)
lord Shiva (the three-eyed), whose feet are rubbed by the crowns
of the gods, with folded hands offers worship.
Comments : The Sun is of supreme importance
to the astrologer. Before undertaking this work on astrology,
Varahamihira offers his obeisance to the Sun-god whom even the
three-eyed lord Shiva offers worship at the time of its rising
and setting, the lord Shiva to whom the gods offer their obeisances
by bowing low to Him and rubbing their heads (with their crowns)
against His feet!
Shloka 2: Herein I present the essence, in the Arya
metre, of the (larger) Hora text which I have compiled after a
careful study of the classics.
Comments : Varahamihira refers to his larger
text, the Brihat Jataka, which he has compiled after studying
the works of the ancient classical writers. The essence of that
work he presents here in the form of the Laghu Jataka.
Shloka 3: This branch of science (the Hora Shastra) reveals
the good and bad results earned as fruits of Karmas done in past
lives, just like a (glowing) lamp (reveals) the objects placed
Comments : The Hora Shastra is a discipline
which enables one to reveal what is not obvious to an ordinary
individual. In that sense, it is comparable to a lamp which reveals
the objects lying in darkness. The Hora Shastra is the Jyotisha
or astrological wisdom as applicable to an individual. It involves
the study of a natives horoscope. By such a study, an assessment
of good or adverse events that lie in store for an individual
is possible. The good and adverse events in a natives life
are actually the fruits of past Karmas indulged in by the native.
These Karmas may belong to his present life or to an earlier lifetime.
Astrological wisdom thus reveals the results (fruits) of past
Karmas of an individual. Varahamihira is careful here to link
a natives future to his past Karmas, even those indulged
in during his previous lifetimes. He thus emphasises on the existence
of past lives and their influence on our present one, and by derivation
the influence of our present life on our future ones. Here is
a wonderful emphasis on the cause and effect phenomenon which
is the basis of all events in the manifest world. The stress here
is not on destiny or fate but on the cause and the effect.
Shloka 4: The (twelve) rashis from Mesha onwards are the
head, mouth (face), upper limbs, heart, (upper) abdomen, waist,
lower abdomen, private parts, thighs, knees, legs and feet (of
Comments: The zodiac of 360 degrees is divided
into twelve rashis (or signs) of 30 degrees each. These twelve
rashis are Mesha (Aries), Vrisha (Taurus), Mithuna (Gemini), Karka
(Cancer), Simha (Leo), Kanya (Virgo), Tula (Libra), Vrishchika
(Scorpio), Dhanu (Sagittarius), Makara (Capricorn), Kumbha (Aquarius)
and Meena (Pisces). These twelve rashis represent the various
body parts of the Kaalapurusha (the Eternal Time represented in
human form). Kaalapurusha in a way is the concept of imagining
a human form stretched along the whole zodiac, from zero degree
to 360 degrees (i.e., back to zero degree). Mesha, the first rashi,
represents the head of the Kaalapurusha. Vrisha represents the
face while Mithuna represents the two upper limbs. Heart (along
with the Chest) occupies the sign Karka. The upper part of the
belly, the upper abdomen, falls in the sign Simha. In Kanya falls
the waist while in Tula the Vasti or the region below umbilicus
(including the pelvic organs). Vrishchika represents the private
parts or the external genitalia, Dhanu indicates the two thighs
(and hip joints) while Makara indicates the two knees. The two
legs, below the knee joints, fall in the Kumbha rashi. Meena,
the last sign, represents the two feet of the Kaalapurusha.
Thus we see that the first four signs represent
the body parts from the head to the level of the diaphragm, the
muscular partition that separates the chest from the abdomen.
The next four signs of the zodiac govern the region below the
diaphragm upto the perineum. Thus, the whole abdomen, pelvis and
external genitalia occupy the middle four signs of the zodiac.
The last four signs represent the lower limbs, from the level
of hip joints to the feet. See the accompanying table for clarification.
1: Various Rashis and Body Parts
abdomen and pelvis
There is a little conflict of concepts here. Some
authorities believe that while Karka represents the chest of the
individual, the heart actually falls in the region of Simha (Leo).
Varahamihira, however, considers the heart to fall in the sign
We have seen that the twelve rashis represent the
various body parts of the Kaalapurusha. The twelve houses of the
horoscope may also be treated similarly. This means that what
is represent by the first sign of the zodiac is also represented
by the first house of the horoscope. What is represented by the
next zodiacal sign in also represented by the next, the second,
house of the horoscope. Thus, the twelve houses of a horoscopic
chart represent what is respectively represented by the twelve
signs of the zodiac.
Shloka 5: One should take into consideration the body parts
of the Kaalapurusha at the time of a natives birth. The
body parts represented by rashis associated with benefics are
healthy while those represented by rashis associated with malefics
Comments: A knowledge of the rashis and the
body parts they represent is important. Those rashis which are
under the influence of benefic grahas (planets) are healthy while
those influenced by malefics are likely to be diseased. Of the
nine grahas from the Sun to Ketu, the benefics are Jupiter, Venus,
(well-associated) Mercury and the (full) Moon. These planets grant
health to body parts that they influence. The remaining ones are
malefics. According to Varahamihira, the body parts of the Kaalapurusha
represented by the different rashis are to be taken into consideration.
This principle can be extended to the different houses of the
horoscopic chart also, as we have already pointed out. Thus, malefics
in the lagna or the first house may adversely affect the head,
those in the second the face, or the ones in the twelfth the feet,
etc. (To be continued)