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Brihat Jataka

Brihat Jataka or Brihat Jatakam or Brihajjatakam (Sanskrit: बृहज्जातकम), is one of the five principal texts written by Varahamihira,[1] the other four being Panchasiddhantika, Brihat Samhita, Laghu Jataka and Yogayatra. It is also one of the five major treatises on Hindu Predictive Astrology, the other four being Saravali of Kalyanverma, Sarvartha Chintamani of Venkatesh, Jataka Parijata of Vaidyanatha and Phaladeepika of Mantreswara. The study of this classic text makes one grasp the fundamentals of astrology.


Brihat Jataka is considered as the standard textbook on Vedic astrology,[2] and sometimes described as "India's foremost astrological text".[3]

The work covers the wide and complex range of predictive astrology. The brevity employed in its composition is noteworthy. In an article titled On the Authenticity of the (Modern) Brhat Parasara Hora Sastra published in the July and August 2009 issues of The Astrological Magazine, Bengaluru, the Vedic astrologer Shyamasundaradasa writes that - "one was not considered a scholar of jyotish unless he had memorized Brihat Jataka and Prasna Marga not Brhat Parasara Hora Sastra. Brihat Jataka was considered to be a jewel among astrological literature and indeed in my early days of study there were many translations and commentaries on Varahamihira’s Brhat Jataka....In South India Brihat Jataka (and its commentaries) is held in the highest esteem,not BPHS. Why? Because of its many ancient commentaries by Bhattotpala and others especially the Dasadhyayi of Talakkulathur Govindam Bhattathiri..." [4] The classic text Jataka Parijata of Vaidyanatha has word to word borrowed several verses of Brihat Jataka to explain and/or illustrate its view-points etc.[5]


The original text, written in chaste Sanskrit, consists of more than 407 Shlokas or verses that comprise 28 chapters.[6]

  • Chapter I : Untitled; begins with a prayer and then proceeds to give explanation of various technical terms and concepts used in respect of planets and zodiacal signs.
  • Chapter II : Grahayoni Prabheda or Planetary natures; this chapter explains the characteristics, qualities, natures, positions, significance and relations of planets, their aspects, sources of strength, etc.,.
  • Chapter III : Viyoni Janama Adhyaya or Manifold births; deals with births of birds, animals and trees.
  • Chapter IV : Nisheka or Consummation of marriage; deals with conception, sex of child, effect of birth-time, birth of twins, triplets etc.;
  • Chapter V : Janama Kal Lakshana or Peculiarities of Birth; deals with normal and abnormal births, fate of new-borns, deformities etc.;
  • Chapter VI : Balarishta or Planetary combinations indicating early Death; deals with planetary situations indicating early death of new-borns, death of mother or father before birth or soon after birth, time of death, planetary combinations cancelling out early deaths;
  • Chapter VII : Ayurdaya or Determination of Longevity; explains methods to determine span of life of humans and also animals, grant of life-years by various planets, etc.;
  • Chapter VIII : Dasantradasa or Periods and Sub-periods of planets; this chapter details the directional effects of planets;
  • Chapter IX : Ashtaka Varga or Eight-fold inter-relationship of planets and results of their transit in various signs and houses;
  • Chapter X : Karamjeeva or Determination of Profession; deals with planetary situations/combinations indicating various professions, inherited wealth, legacies and other means and sources of earning/wealth;
  • Chapter XI : Raja yoga or Combinations for Royalty; gives combinations for royalty and political power, downfall, servitude, etc.;
  • Chapter XII : Nabhasa Yoga or Special Planetary combinations that have permanent influence and continuous effect on human lives;
  • Chapter XIII : Chandra Yogadhyaya or Results from Lunar positions and conjunctions of the Moon with other planets in different signs;
  • Chapter XIV : Dwigraha Yogadhyaya or Results from conjunction of two planets in different signs and bhava;
  • Chapter XV : Pravrajya Yoga or Sanyasa Yogas indicating Renunciation, results of concentration of many planets in a particular sign or bhava;
  • Chapter XVI : Rikshasiladhyaya or Influence of Constellations (Nakshatras) i.e. results of births in various nakshatras;
  • Chapter XVII : Rasisiladhyaya or Lunar effects i.e. results of the Moon in various signs;
  • Chapter XVIII : Rasisiladhyaya or Results of planets in various signs;
  • Chapter XIX : Drishti Phaladhyaya or Results of Planetary aspects, significance, strength of aspects, afflictions caused, etc.;
  • Chapter XX : Bhavadhyaya or Results of planets in various Bhavas or houses e.g. the Moon in Aries, Mars in Aries and so on;
  • Chapter XXI : Asrya Yogadhyaya or Special planetary combinations, results of planets in own, exaltation or other signs, of aspects on exalted planets, etc.;
  • Chapter XXII : Prakirnadhyaya or Mixed results; this chapter details typical situations and extraordinary combinations of planets, role of planets in different parts of sign, etc.;
  • Chapter XXIII : Anishtadhyaya or Misfortunes; details prosperity or adversity indicated by planetary situations, combinations and transits, fortunate or unfortunate marriage and issues, ill-health, poverty, slavery, etc.;
  • ChapterXXIV : Stree Jatakadhyaya or Female Horoscopy; results of combination of planets applicable to women, nature of woman ascertained via study of trimsamsa, widowhood, etc.;
  • Chapter XXV : Niryanadhyaya or Determination of Death, fatal diseases, unnatural death, fate of body after death, the past and future existence of soul, etc.;
  • Chapter XXVI : Nasta Jataka or Unknown Horoscopes; details method to construct horoscope based on query-time;
  • Chapter XXVII : Drekkanadhyaya or Results of planets in various Decanates;
  • Chapter XXVIII : Upasamharadhyaya or Concluding Chapter.


The following information is derived from "On the Authenticity of the (Modern) Brhat Parasara Hora Sastra" by Vedic Astrologer Shyamasundara Dasa:[7]

Kalyanraman refers to twenty commentaries on Brihat Jataka of Varahamihira[8] and Alberuni in his memoirs has mentioned that Balabhadra, who lived before Bhattotpala, had written a commentary on Brihat Jataka.[9] Bhattotpala, who had written his commentary on Brihat Samhita as Utpala, and in his writings refers to Vikramaditya Saka i.e. Vikram Samvat and not Salivahana Saka or Shalivahana era, completed his commentary, Jagaccandrika, on Brihat Jataka in the year 832 A.D.[10][11] by which year he had also finished commenting upon other works of Varahamihira. His commentary of more than eight thousand verses on Brihat Jataka includes numerous illustrations. There are also three lesser known commentaries on Brihat Jataka considered to be one of the best works on Hindu astrology, they are - Subodhini, Muraksari and Sripatyam.[12][13] Commentary by Rudra titled - Vivarna though based on Dasadhyayi of Talakkulathur Govinda Bhattathiri is considered to be the superior of these two.[14] Jyotisa, allied to metaphysics, has a philosophical background and aim. A disciplined body, mind and spirit makes one adept in Jyotisa which feature emerges prominently in Brihat Jataka as a basic work on this science and which feature is also brought out with remarkable clearness and force in various commentaries on this text including that of A.N. Srinivasaraghava Aiyangar’s Apurvarthapradarsika.[15]


  1. Ronnie Gale Dreyer (1 May 1997). Vedic Astrology: A Guide to the Fundamentals of Jyotish. Weiser Books. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-0-87728-889-3. https://books.google.com/books?id=SwnPdKhjEFkC&pg=PA20. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  2. Brihat Jataka is listed at S.No.3. of the 15 Astrological Classics recommended by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Delhi Kendra. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  3. Ronnie Gale Dreyer (1 May 1997). Vedic Astrology: A Guide to the Fundamentals of Jyotish. Weiser Books. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-0-87728-889-3. https://books.google.com/books?id=SwnPdKhjEFkC&pg=PA20. 
  4. On the Authenticity of the (Modern) Brhat Parasara Hora Sastra - Importance of Brhat Jataka. Shyamasundara Dasa. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  5. Jataka Parijata Vol.2 [Translated and commented by V.S.Shastri]. p.319. Scribd. Retrieved October 27, 2012. "Adhyaya VI - Marring of a Horoscope - Six slokas,viz No.s 48,49,50,52,99 and 100 have been taken from Brihat Jataka."
  6. "Acharya Varahamihira's Brihat Jatak". http://www.vedicbooks.net/acharya-varahamihiras-brihat-jatak-p-16090.html. Retrieved 26 October 2012. 
  7. On the Authenticity of the (Modern) Brhat Parasara Hora Sastra - Brhat Jataka Commentaries. Shyamasundara Dasa. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  8. Indian Astrology - an appraisal, of V.S. Kalyanraman Published in 2007 by CHB Publications, Nagercoil, India.
  9. India as seen in the Brhatsamhita of Varahamihira of A.M.Shastri published in 1969 by Motilal Banarsidas, Delhi. p.26.
  10. Note on Bhattotpala of B. Suryanarain Rao pages 156 to 159 of his translation of Brihat Jataka
  11. Mohan Lal (1 January 2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume Five (Sasay To Zorgot). Sahitya Akademi. p. 4494. ISBN 978-81-260-1221-3. https://books.google.com/books?id=KnPoYxrRfc0C&pg=PA4494. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  12. The Brihajjatakam of Varaha Mihira ISBN:9780404578121 Published by Ams Press, New York. 1974 Edition.
  13. Aryan Miscellany, Astrological Series. The Brihat Jataka of Varahamihira. p.23-24.
  14. "Varahamihirahorasastram Adyar Library1951 edition pages XXV and XXVI of Introduction by A.N.Srinivasa Raghava Aiyangar". https://www.scribd.com/doc/18183425/Varahamihira-Hora-sastram-ANS-Aiyangar. 
  15. "Varahamihirahorasastram Adyar Library1951 edition p.X of Foreword by K.V.Rangaswami". https://www.scribd.com/doc/18183425/Varahamihira-Hora-sastram-ANS-Aiyangar. 

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