This translation of Brihat Jataka by my revered father, the late Prof. B. Suryanarain Rao, was commenced as early as 1908, when I was in the College classes and it was given as a supplement to The Astrological Magazine and then got up in a book form. It was not till 1918 that the first edition was issued and owing to change of residence and settlement at a village, many of the books were lost and a second edition was issued by about 1921. It was also sold out and circumstances did not permit the issue of the third edition immediately. When my nephew Prof. B.V. Raman had established The Astrological Magazine on a sound basis and began the reprint of some of my father's works like laimini Sutras', `Stree Jataka', etc., he asked me to revise 'Brihat Jataka' so that a third edition of the book may be placed before the public. What with the scarcity of paper, printers, and war conditions, the book is seeing the light of the day in 1948, after a lapse of more than 25 years. I have care-fully revised the translation and have added many concrete examples while discussing the Yogas and Bhavas and have tried my best to make it as intelligent as possible to a layman who takes it up for the first time to study. Brihat Jataka from time immemorial has been considered as the standard text-book on Astrology and all other works like Jataka Chandrika, Sarvartha Chintamani, etc., come only next to Brihat Jataka. More than the text, the commentaries by Bhattot-pala have made Brihat Jataka immortal and a standard work. A brief summary of Bhattotpala's life is given under Chapter IV on page 119 of this work. The Astrological Magazine has also devoted many pages to his work and times. This English version of Brihat Jataka by my father is not a mere translation as is found in the other editions of Brihat Jataka but the ripe experience of Mr. B. Suryanarain Rao for over 60 years in the field of Astrology and his sound judgment on doubtful points with as clear and as convincing language as ever written in astrological literature and to which standard very few have come up so far as my humble knowledge goes. As one who sat at his feet and learnt a few invaluable gems of astrological principles, I have placed this fourth edition, through the kind solicitude of my nephew Prof. B. V. Raman. The inclusion of the original slokas in Devanagari, will it is hoped appeal to a wider circle of astrological students.
In presenting the English translation of Brihat Jataka, to the educated public of the world, I make no appeal for their indulgence. This is a monumental work, where the difficulties in translating a beautiful, technical and suggestive work in Sanskrit had to be surmounted by hard labour, profound research, want of adequate expressions in a poor and non-constructive language like the English by the selection of the most comprehensive expressions and by laborious mental analysis, which would have a tendency to minimize the linguistic incongruities so difficult to reconcile. How far I have succeeded in my attempts to simplify the technicalities by my notes is a matter for decision by the succeeding generations.
In my introduction to the English translation of Sarvartha Chintamani I have plainly referred to these difficulties and doubts and would refer the readers to that work for greater explanations. The priceless commentaries of Bhattotpala in Sanskrit on Bri hat Jataka have been fully utilised by me in the course of my work and if I am to express my sense of gratitude to anybody I have to do so to him. Most of the English works on astrology are sorry performances and no reliance can be placed upon them. If Varaha Mihira is to be respected as the author of Brihat Jataka, his matchless commentator deserves even greater credit for the splendid way in which he has not only made clear many of the obscure passages but also for the valuable quotations he has given so copiously and so aptly in the course of his work. Envy and meanness are the index of lower minds and appreciation and generosity are the indications of a nobler psychic development. I shall close this preface with a simple request to my readers that when they read through my notes they can never complain of wasting their time. Their intellects will be sharpened and their knowledge will be expanded.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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