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Dating Parashara

 
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 1379
Location: California, USA

Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:12 pm    Post subject: Dating Parashara Reply with quote

Dating Parashara

Al Biruni (973-1049) has given us an excellent snapshot of India in his lifetime. He traveled extensively in India between 1017 and 1030, the source material for his acclaimed book, India. In his books Biruni quotes from Brahmagupta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira and Vitesara. There is some mention of Kalyana Varma (Saravali), but no mention of Parashara. Does this mean that the Parashara texts came together only at a later date, post dating Biruni’s tme? We know that it has been very difficult to accurately date many of India' classic astrological texts.

Al-Biruni’s books:

The Chronology of Ancient Nations (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Forgotten Books.com, 2017. (Very nice inexpensive re-print)

Al Biruni’s India (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Rupa Publications, India, 2002-2016).

The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology (trans. R. Ramsay Wright), LondonLuzak & Co., 1934. (Now available in facsimile reprint from several publishers.)
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Samantha Werner



Joined: 06 Jul 2017
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Posted: Thu May 17, 2018 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Dating Parashara Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Dating Parashara

Al Biruni (973-1049) has given us an excellent snapshot of India in his lifetime. He traveled extensively in India between 1017 and 1030, the source material for his acclaimed book, India. In his books Biruni quotes from Brahmagupta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira and Vitesara. There is some mention of Kalyana Varma (Saravali), but no mention of Parashara. Does this mean that the Parashara texts came together only at a later date, post dating Biruni’s tme? We know that it has been very difficult to accurately date many of India' classic astrological texts.

Al-Biruni’s books:

The Chronology of Ancient Nations (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Forgotten Books.com, 2017. (Very nice inexpensive re-print)

Al Biruni’s India (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Rupa Publications, India, 2002-2016).

The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology (trans. R. Ramsay Wright), LondonLuzak & Co., 1934. (Now available in facsimile reprint from several publishers.)


Interesting indeed.
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Pierre Touchard



Joined: 24 Jul 2015
Posts: 61

Posted: Fri May 18, 2018 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Dating Parashara Reply with quote

But yes. Parasara and his work had been lost for several centuries. Which is why it made quite a splash when it resurfaced. Be cause he was known as one of the 18 sages who taught jyotisa early on.


Samantha Werner wrote:
Therese Hamilton wrote:
Dating Parashara

Al Biruni (973-1049) has given us an excellent snapshot of India in his lifetime. He traveled extensively in India between 1017 and 1030, the source material for his acclaimed book, India. In his books Biruni quotes from Brahmagupta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira and Vitesara. There is some mention of Kalyana Varma (Saravali), but no mention of Parashara. Does this mean that the Parashara texts came together only at a later date, post dating Biruni’s tme? We know that it has been very difficult to accurately date many of India' classic astrological texts.

Al-Biruni’s books:

The Chronology of Ancient Nations (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Forgotten Books.com, 2017. (Very nice inexpensive re-print)

Al Biruni’s India (trans. Dr. Edward Sachau), Rupa Publications, India, 2002-2016).

The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology (trans. R. Ramsay Wright), LondonLuzak & Co., 1934. (Now available in facsimile reprint from several publishers.)


Interesting indeed.
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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Location: California, USA

Posted: Fri May 18, 2018 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The modern Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra has a questionable pedigree, all agree. At the very least the text has many modern interpolations. As it stands now each person is free to believe whatever he/she wishes about the text, such as whether or not it's related to "18 sages" of ancient times. It's interesting, however, that the text was apparently unknown in Biruni's time.
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AJ



Joined: 01 Nov 2018
Posts: 185

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A pretty late post I know...
Even more incriminating in my opinion as to the unreliability of the modern BPHS, beyond the lack of reference to it by AlBiruni, is that there is no commentary on it that is more than a 100 years old.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AJ,

Better late than never! The modern BPHS has helped to compound the error that India's classical astrology related the four "elements" to astrological Rasis which was never the case. (Except that the later Persian influenced Tajika system does associate elements and Rasis.) Partly because BPHS lists the western elements for the four triplicities, these have been adopted by today's "Vedic" astrologers, resulting in much confusion in interpreting horoscopes. Western influence is also betrayed by references to the medieval western temperaments, bile, wind and phlegm. (BPHS, Santhanam translation, p. 50) And there are other western references as well in BPHS.

That BPHS has been almost universally accepted as a standard Jyotish text indicates the need for critical thinking and thoughtful research on the part of today's astrologers. It takes a lot of time and concentration (not to mention the cost of finding and purchasing books) to really dig into classical Indian texts.

Astrologers are busy with clients, webinars, conferences and other activities. It seems easier for students to simply study two or three "Vedic" astrological texts by contemporary authors. Many of these books are heavily influenced by the tropical backgrounds of the authors and carry a different emphasis than the older Indian texts.
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AJ



Joined: 01 Nov 2018
Posts: 185

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:

That BPHS has been almost universally accepted as a standard Jyotish text indicates the need for critical thinking and thoughtful research on the part of today's astrologers. It takes a lot of time and concentration (not to mention the cost of finding and purchasing books) to really dig into classical Indian texts.

Therese: I totally agree with you. This modern idea that BPHS is the crown jewel text of Jyotish is so entrenched that I have been vilified at times for even suggesting that modern BPHS is either: not the original text, or is riddled and confused from foreign (non-original) material. The hodgepodge of Jaimini elements that abound in modern BPHS should alone be enough evidence the text is extremely corrupted or a later forgery.

Your caution about critical thinking resounds.

BPHS has taken on an almost mythic reputation in modern Jyotish. Another point where we see eye to eye is modern Jyotish being tainted by Tajik/Western ideas. I use Tajik from time to time, but I do not mix the systems.

I don't want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" though. There may be some original material in the modern BPHS. I am not a Sanskrit scholar, but maybe someday qualified pundits can do a thorough and critical comparison to extract what bits of the original that remains in modern BPHS, or kill the notion that it is, in fact, the text written by Parashara.

My feeling is that the original BPHS has already been eaten by rats and insects, and/or crumbled into dust. Lakhs of palm leaf manuscripts have been lost due to neglect and ignorance, especially since colonization.

It would be best IMO if learners would take BPHS off of their reading list. It does more harm than good to learn Jyotish. Brihat Jataka is a much more reliable text.
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AJ wrote:
Quote:
I don't want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" though. There may be some original material in the modern BPHS. I am not a Sanskrit scholar, but maybe someday qualified pundits can do a thorough and critical comparison to extract what bits of the original that remains in modern BPHS, or kill the notion that it is, in fact, the text written by Parashara.

I suppose it's inevitable that India's astrology is becoming mixed with western concepts since the birth of the ACVA (American Council of Vedic Astrology) in 1992. Even B. V. Raman has jumped on the "Vedic" bandwagon as in 1992 he renamed his early Experiments (1940-1985) The Autobiography of a Vedic Astrologer (additional material added).

I do get the impression that the current practice of India's astrology by Western students barely scratches the surface of the depth of India's techniques and wisdom. I doubt that few western astrologers (if any) have really studied the older texts beginning with Brihat Jataka. I personally also like Jataka Parijata, the English translation by master translator V. Subramanya Sastri.

I think we'd all have an eye-opening experience if anyone ever takes the time to compare passages in the newer Hellenistic, Persian and Medieval translations of western texts to passages in Indian texts. But BPHS: It's so obviously a compilation from many diverse sources. It's certainly a red flag clue that there have been no commentaries earlier than 100 years as you stated. But like other Indian texts, ancient truths will have made their way into BPHS. We are badly in need of astrological scholars to begin to sort out the confusion!
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The highly questionable supposed ancient authenticity of our surviving versions of the BPHS is something Shyamasundara Dasa raised in this article back in 2009:

I thought it was worth sharing again.

https://shyamasundaradasa.com/jyotish/resources/articles/bphs.html

Mark
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