The genesis of this book owes to a suggestion made by my grand-daughter, Ramya, during one of her vacations in Mumbai, for teaching her the rudiments of astrology through a series of e-mails. I was reminded of my college days when I used to sit with my father, (late Sri. R.M. Narayana Shastri), and getting briefed by him on the subject, simultaneously noting down important points. Over time, these notes were supplemented, with information gathered from classical texts. Without the basic knowledge acquired through my father, I could not have learnt the subject by merely reading books. It was therefore my feeling that, while writing a book on astrology, I should keep in view the difficulties faced by me in comprehending basis principles. I have given references to relevant books, at appropriate places, to facilitate a deeper understanding of the subject.
For this reason I deem this to be a guide-book, rather than a comprehensive treatise on astrology. I hope, this would act as a spring board for an advanced study.
In deciding about the content of the book, I was driven by the needs expressed by my friends for basic guidelines for scrutiny of horoscopes for matrimonial compatibility, from popular websites before reference to an astrologer. They opined that, with some fundamental knowledge on the subject, they would be able to filter out horoscopes which cannot be matched, and pick only those considered suitable for detailed examination. With this in view, I have attempted to cover the basic principles and essential details relating to examination of horoscopes, study of bhavas, the yogas, dashas, and details for matrimonial compatibility to be looked into. It is not the intention that the reader will become a full-fledged astrologer by studying this book, as one has to be under the tutelage of an expert astrologer for some years before practising as an astrologer. I shall, however, deem it a successful attempt if, with the help of this book, the reader is able to grasp the basic principles, and gets enough knowledge of the subject to enable him to make a preliminary study of the horoscopes of boys and girls, as mentioned above.
There are many classical texts like "Jataka Parijatha", "Parasar Hora" as well as books with original Sanskrit verses with translations, and many books in vernacular, available on the subject. I have found by my experience that one has to devote considerable time and put in immense effort, besides getting guidance of an expert astrologer, in mastering the subject. One cannot, therefore, equip himself with enough expertise for deciding about matrimonial compatibility, by examining horoscopes, merely by studying such books. Further, the practices followed in various regions of the country, in regard to checking matrimonial compatibility do not appear to be uniform. Being brought up in Kerala, my knowledge of the subject is moulded on the lines of traditional methods, being followed in that State. Such methods are in keeping with the guidelines given in books such as "Kaladeepam", "Jyothisha-deepamala", "Vidya Madhaveeyam", and "Prasna Marga". I was also much benefited by reading some of the recently published books in Kerala, like "Poruthasagari" by Brahamashri. S. Narayanan of Nelliyode, Thiruvallom, "Jyothisha Brahma-rahasyam" by Brahmashri. M Neelakanta Pillai, Eenjakkal Kizhakke Veed, Chirayankeezh, Kodungallur, "Bhava Kuthoohalam" by G. Kochusankaran Vaidyan, Thamarakkulam, Kollam, and books published in B.V. Raman series. I must also gratefully acknowledge the usefulness of Sri. S. Narasimha Rao's article on "Basics of Panchangam", posted on internet; I found it very informative, and was benefited by it in finalizing Chapter - 3 (on Panchanga) of my book.
My present exercise was initiated to provide a small booklet, covering guidelines on matching horoscopes for matrimony, but its coverage got widened in the process of explaining some of the essential principles. Thus the first three chapters were devoted to some of the basic concepts, like zodiac and ephemeris (panchanga), and the next six chapters to birth charts, grahas, nakshatras, and their relationship with human characteristics, and bhavas (houses). Four more chapters had to be added to coveryogas, dashas, strength of dashas, and female horoscopy. The next two chapters contain information for checking matrimonial compatibility, such as poruttams, dosha-samya, dasha-sandhi, papa-samya, and putra-bhagya. As it was considered necessary to identify favourable periods for marriage, gochara phala, and method of fixing muhurta (auspicious time) for marriages, another chapter was to be added, bringing the total number of chapters to sixteen.
From time immemorial, marriage in India has been accorded sanctity and importance. In Scriptures, we had couples, such as Vashishta-Arundhati,Agastya - Lopamudra, and Nala - Damayanti, who led their married lives ideally. Vishnu in his incarnation as Rama set an example for human race through his marriage to Sita and observance of Grihasthashrama Dharma. While the Hindu ideal is always Sanyasa or asceticism, the road for the same was through Grihasthashrama (life as householder). Some scholars hold the view that only a married person could become a Sanyasi and not a Brahmachari.
In India the starting point for a marriage is the compatibility of horoscopes of the boy and the girl. If the astrologer finds the charts of the boy and the girl incompatible, the marriage proposal gets rejected ab initio. The reason is simple; unless the charts match, the marriage will prove unsuccessful, however good the other factors might be.
When the charts of a boy and a girl are considered by an astrologer for matching, what exactly does an astrologer look into? The astrologer looks into the following to ascertain whether the charts are compatible:
1. star-wise compatibility
2. papasamya or equality of malefic influences
3. dashasandhi (period-wise junction) points between the horoscopes
4. rina-raniya bhava (the karmic relationship) for becoming husband and wife
5. longevity of the couple and duration of married life
7. overall marital prospects including happiness of the family and prosperity.
Only when all of the above are favourable, the astrologer gives his/her consent for the marriage.
Controversies surround star-wise compatibility. Take the example of the girl born in Bharani and boy born in Chitra star, Tula rashi. An astrologer from Kerala would reject the alliance citing madhyama Rajju dosha while an astrologer from Andhra Pradesh would gladly consent to the alliance citing the samasaptama rule. Obviously both of them cannot be right. Who is correct and who is wrong?
The other issue regarding star-wise compatibility is if the girl is born in Ashwini and the boy in Punarvasu, one astrologer might reject citing diva poruttam and stree deergham, while another astrologer would accept the match on the grounds of mahendra poruttam. The seventh star is a contentious issue because diva poruttam rules specifically reject that, while it is acceptable under mahendra poruttam. Taking a balanced view, some astrologers accept mahendra poruttam only when it is not the seventh.
To become husband and wife, a karmic cause extending from the previous birth of the individuals is vital. What is karmic cause and how to determine it? Mantreswara answers this question in Phaladeepika; (chapter X, verse 11).
Life span of the individuals falls into three broad categories: short, medium and long. Ideally both the husband and wife should live a long life. Some scholars say that a woman who predeceases the husband is a blessed soul as she dies a sumangali. This view is opposed by some who take the view that a woman who takes care of her husband till his life time is superior to a sumangali, as she does not leave her husband in difficulty, especially towards the end of his life. In olden times, the age gap between husband and wife used to be much more than what it is today. Nowadays, most girls prefer not to marry a boy who is older to her by more than 3-5 years. In olden days the age gap would be even 10 years and earlier to that, when child marriage was in vogue, the gap would be even 15 years. The concept of marriage has changed considerably today and India is now fast catching up with Western beliefs. However, many Westerners envy the Indian family system, which offers warmth and security badly needed for the aged.
Every boy wishes to marry a girl of the beauty of Helen of Troy, the courage of Joan ofArc, the glamour of Marlyn Munroe, the physical prowess of Steffi Graf, and the charisma of Ursula Andress. But do they succeed in getting such a wife? 'A ship is sate in the harbour; but that is not the purpose of a ship' is an adage. No doubt, beauty of the female is essential for a happy marriage and even scriptural texts say one should marry a pretty girl, but the person one marry need not be a Hollywood star.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Medical Astrology (47)
Original Texts (283)
Vedic Astrology (72)
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