Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra

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The Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (IAST: Bṛhat Parāśara Horā Śāstra) (abbreviated to BPHS) is a foundational compilation of Indian astrology, or hora.[1]


The Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra is the most comprehensive extant work on natal astrology in Hindu astrology ascribed to any Rishi or sage according to the text itself. Its oldest printed version is a composite work of 71 chapters, in which the first part (chapters 1–51) dates to the 7th and early 8th centuries, and the second part (chapters 52–71) dates to the latter part of the 8th century [citation]. A commentary by Govindasvamin (a mathematician) on the second portion, which presupposes the first, is dated to c. 850 CE and attests to the scope of the work at that date [citation]. The text says that this work was created by Sage Parashara, father of Vedavyasa who was the compiler of the Epic Mahabharata for the benefit of Kaliyuga. An English translation was published by N.N. Krishna Rau and V.B. Choudhari in 1963, in two volumes.[2]


The oldest edition by Khemraj Press of Mumbai having 71 chapters contains a verse saying that treatise has 100 chapters ("horā-shatādhyāyi": verse 14 of 71st chapter), and the first part had 11000 verses, although even enlarged modern editions contain only half that number of verses. But 29 chapters were absent in that edition. Later editions contain 97, 98, 99 and even 100 chapters. But the source and dating of the extra material is not known. One important later edition, by Pt Sitaram Jha, which has found its way into internet and which was the basis of all English translations, claimed that the Khemraj Press edition contained many spurious chapters. Thus, the number of non-controversial chapters will reduce to much less than 71. None of these editors used any material from any ancient commentary.

Currently, four versions of this treatise are available (all other editions use the text of Pt Sitaram Jha's version): by Khemraj Press, by Pt Sitaram Jha, by Pt Devachandra Jha, and by Ganeshadatta Pathak. These are all Hindi editions. The text prepared by Pt Sitaram Jha based on the manuscript supplied by Pt Jeevanath Jha was later used by all English translators and only this version is available online. Pt Sitaram Jha claimed in his introduction that he introduced many new things and revised much old material in the manuscript, so that the version of Pt Sitaram Jha is completely different from all other versions in syntax, although almost all verses carry same meanings. It seems as if some modern expert of prosody rewrote this entire text. The text of Pt Devachandra Jha was based on a large number of complete and incomplete manuscripts. Pt Ganeshdatta Pathak also used many manuscripts and his text differs from that of Pt Devachandra Jha at few places. The Khemraj Press edition contains a large body of unique materials, and although it has minimum number of chapters, it contains the largest number of verses: 5781 verses as compared to 4001 verses in Pt Sitaram Jha's edition. The first verse of the second part in the Khemraj Press edition says that the first part had 11000 verses in 80 chapters. The same text says that there were 100 chapters originally. Hence, the second part had only 20 chapters, although all modern editions have more chapters in the second part and much more in the first part than claimed by the afore-cited Sanskrit verse. No critical and comparative edition has been brought out to fix the problem of authentic parts of this treatise.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ from Greek ὥρα, although the BPHS (4.1-2) states that the word originates from ahorātra "day and night" after dropping its first and the last syllable.
  2. ^ Pingree, pp.86-87


  • David Pingree, Jyotiḥśāstra in J. Gonda (Ed.) A History of Indian Literature, Vol VI Fasc 4 (1981)

External links[edit]