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House Systems in Indian Astrology
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been doing a bit digging around on the net. I managed to find an online copy of Johannes Vehlow's monumental 8 volume work Lehrkurs der wissenschaftlichen Geburts-Astrologie. Vehlow discusses his proposed equal house system (which cusps in the house centre) in Volume 1 which was published in 1933. This was two years before B.V. Raman's book appeared.

Vehlow had obviously been working with this system for several years before this publication. He doesn't mention any Indian influences in proposing this house system. Instead he seems strongly influenced by the Solar cycle and Egyptian mysticism. Vehlow points out the traditional orb of the Sun is 15 ° right and 15 ° left and imagines it rising on the ASC degree.

However, Vehlow does quote an English astrologer called EH Bailey who had written two articles in the ''British Journal of Astrology" from 1928 who advocated equal houses with central cusps. Bailey himself does attribute the idea to 'Hindu astrology' and quotes the astrological text of Sripati. At present he appears to be the first astrologer to propose this system in writing.

Although, from the quote Therese gave B.V. Raman may have been using the system successfully for much longer in private.

Mark
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Martin, are those texts only in Sanskrit then, no English translations?

The Tājikanīlakaṇṭhī is the one text that seems to be translated into English (and Hindi, etc) over and over again. Watch out for the many different transcriptions of the title: Tajik Neelkanthi, etc. It opens with a description of the signs, including their elements. The translations are generally quite free, as is common in India.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I wondering if anyone could clarify more on the history of divisional charts in India?

To Indian astrologers, the term 'divisional chart' will generally mean a chart (kuṇḍalī) representing a certain division of the zodiacal signs, such as the navāṃśa or dvādaśāṃśa. But if I understand you correctly, it is house division you are interested in?

Quote:
I have read that most of the traditional texts that explicitly teach a method of domification favour the Sripati system, described by the author Sripati in his 'Jatakakarmapaddhati' (c. 1050 CE).

Yes, I haven't seen any other quadrant system taught.

Quote:
I have also seen it suggested that in the 'Brihatparasharahorashastra' (c. ???) does not detail any one method of deriving the cusps, but it does contain passages which mention that the distance between two cusps is a variable factor, as with unequal house cusps.

It does, or at least some recensions do; and others even include chapters with explicit instructions on calculating (Sripati) houses. The problem is that there are so many versions of the BPHS about, probably with interpolations from different periods. Pingree puts the composition of the original text between c. 600 and 800 CE, but what was in that text is another matter.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:
[The Tājikanīlakaṇṭhī is the one text that seems to be translated into English (and Hindi, etc) over and over again. Watch out for the many different transcriptions of the title: Tajik Neelkanthi, etc. It opens with a description of the signs, including their elements. The translations are generally quite free, as is common in India.

Thank you, Martin. A Google search brought up Tajik Neelkanthi by D.P. Saxena available at vedicbooks.net. On sale for $9 U.S.
http://www.vedicbooks.net/tajik-neelkanthi-p-16085.html
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I have been doing a bit digging around on the net. I managed to find an online copy of Johannes Vehlow's monumental 8 volume work Lehrkurs der wissenschaftlichen Geburts-Astrologie. Vehlow discusses his proposed equal house system (which cusps in the house centre) in Volume 1 which was published in 1933. This was two years before B.V. Raman's book appeared.
(...)
However, Vehlow does quote an English astrologer called EH Bailey who had written two articles in the ''British Journal of Astrology" from 1928 who advocated equal houses with central cusps. Bailey himself does attribute the idea to 'Hindu astrology' and quotes the astrological text of Sripati. At present he appears to be the first astrologer to propose this system in writing.

I'm very happy to have this information, Mark. Thank you! You and others might find the full quote from B.V. Raman's A Manual of Hindu Astrology (Raman Publications 1935-1972) helpful, so I will give it here. I had left out a few words so as not to distract from the central issue. But after reading your post, it appears probable that Raman might have seen Bailey's articles since he studied western asrology, and there was the British-Indian political link. This doesn't necessarily indicate the origin of the system, but does privide support for a European-Indian exchange of astrological ideas. I have bolded the phrase I left out in my original post.

"...In India, there are two schools of thought bearing on the question of Bhava Sphutas (house-division). According to one view, shared by a vast majority of people not only in India but also in Europe and America, the length of each Bhava will be 30 degrees--the influence extending 15 degrees on either side of the ascending degree (equal house system).

"According to the other view, this system is unscientific because it ignores the relationship between the ecliptic and equator which should be considered for determining the dimensions of the Bhavas. Classical writers like Sripathi favor the determination of Bhavas on the lines given in the following paragraphs. In our humble experience extending for nearly 35 years the equal-house system appears to be yielding more satisfactory results." (page 96, revised 9th edition 1972)
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:17 am; edited 3 times in total
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:
Quote:
To Indian astrologers, the term 'divisional chart' will generally mean a chart (kuṇḍalī) representing a certain division of the zodiacal signs, such as the navāṃśa or dvādaśāṃśa. But if I understand you correctly, it is house division you are interested in?


Clearly, an unfortunate choice of words on my part. Following the theme of this thread though I was referring to a house system based on sign division in contrast to whole sign houses. The divisional charts (varga) are clearly a separate topic.

Mark
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
I'm very happy to have this information, Mark. Thank you! You and others might find the full quote from B.V. Raman's A Manual of Hindu Astrology (Raman Publications 1935-1972) helpful, so I will give it here. I had left out a few words so as not to distract from the central issue. But after reading your post, it appears probable that Raman might have seen Bailey's articles since he studied western asrology, and there was the British-Indian political link. This doesn't necessarily indicate the origin of the system, but does privide support for a European-Indian exchange of astrological ideas. I have bolded the phrase I left out in my original post.

"...In India, there are two schools of thought bearing on the question of Bhava Sphutas (house-division). According to one view, shared by a vast majority of people not only in India but also in Europe and America, the length of each Bhava will be 30 degrees--the influence extending 15 degrees on either side of the ascending degree (equal house system).

"According to the other view, this system is unscientific because it ignores the relationship between the ecliptic and equator which should be considered for determining the dimensions of the Bhavas. Classical writers like Sripathi favor the determination of Bhavas on the lines given in the following paragraphs. In our humble experience extending for nearly 45 years the equal-house system appears to be yielding more satisfactory results." (page 96)


Thanks Therese that is very useful. It is interesting that E.H. Bailey claims to have been using this middle cusp Equal House system for many years in his articles from 1928. Its an intriguing thought that he may have been influenced B.V. Raman. The British Empire dimension in India certainly made such intellectual cross fertilisation more likely. Moreover, the Theosophical movement had close ties to India too.

However, this may be a case of a quite independent stumbling upon a similar approach. Bailey had clearly studied the astrological text of Sripati, setting out his house system, which he cites in his article. Moreover, E.H. Bailey had previously collaborated with Alan Leo who advocated an Equal House variant with the ASC as the 1st house cusp from the turn of the century. So it wouldn't have been an immense leap for E.H. Bailey to have developed the idea quite independently of B.V. Raman.

The issue remains when did Johannes Vehlow first propose the system that carries his name in the west? Vehlow wrote a piece specifically on this house system in 1931 entitled , Das Häuserproblem in der Astrologie (AsBl, 13.Jhg., Hefte 6, 8-9) (The House Problem in Astrology (ASBL, 13.Jhg., Notebooks 6, 8-9)

He also wrote earlier astrological works on the German Republic (1922) and President Paul Von Hindenburg (1925). I dont know if Vehlow was using the middle cusp Equal House system as early as this or not. I have contacted the Vehlow Society in Germany to try to track down his earliest mention of this system.

I haven't seen Vehlow attribute his approach to any Indian sources but that doesn't mean he wasn't influenced by them at least indirectly. There was clearly a lot of interest in Indian astrology in inter-war Germany. For example Wilhelm Wulff , famous for being Himmler's astrologer, wrote a series of works on Indian astrology from 1929 onwards.

I will put in an update here if I find out any more.

Mark
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Therese,

Something I dont quite follow about the quote you have provided from B.V. Raman above is his claim to have been using the Equal system with central cusps for 45 years.

B.V. Raman was only born in 1912 so it wasn't possible for him to have been using that system for 45 years in 1935.

So either these comments were written in a much later edition of A Manual of Hindu Astrology or if they do stem from 1935 he was introduced to this house system by his astrologer Grandfather Bangalore Suryanarain Rao and was referring to a family tradition of utilising this technique.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Hello Therese,

Something I dont quite follow about the quote you have provided from B.V. Raman above is his claim to have been using the Equal system with central cusps for 45 years.

B.V. Raman was only born in 1912 so it wasn't possible for him to have been using that system for 45 years in 1935.

So either these comments were written in a much later edition of A Manual of Hindu Astrology or if they do stem from 1935 he was introduced to this house system by his astrologer Grandfather Bangalore Suryanarain Rao and was referring to a family tradition of utilising this technique.

Mark


Hi Mark,

First, 45 years was a typo. The book says 35 years, but that is still too many years from Raman's year of birth. Either he edited the book later than the first publication date or (as you suggested) he was referring to a family tradition utilizing the technique. My book has a ninth edition preface written in 1972, and Raman states:

"Several chapters have been entirely revised, re-cast and at some places re-written." (p. 2)

It seems certain that the reference to 35 years of experience was added to a later edition.

I first learned Indian astrology from Raman's books in the 1970s and was under the impression that the equal house system with the cusp at the center was the normal method of house division in India. This may well have been an assumed error on my part, but at that time Raman's family WAS astrology in India, at least as far as English publications were concerned.

I have a copy of Robert DeLuce's Constellational Astrology published in 1963, and it looks like he was using Sripati's method of house division.

My final house guest for June-July is soon to depart, and then I'll have more time for replies on the forum.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject: Robert De Luce's Constellational Astrology Reply with quote

A book that was popular in the 1960s among western students of India's astrology was Robert De Luce's Constellational Astrology published in 1963. This book gives a perspective of India's astrology at that time, at least among the more educated. The book is highly mathematical, detailing the complex calculations of shad bala, ashtakavarga, dasas, etc. This was prior to the days of computers when astrologers had to have a working knowledge of mathematics.

De Luce had been studying astrology since the turn of the century (18th to 19th), and had later taken up the study of Sanskrit. But it was only in 1936-1938 that he traveled to India to converse with astrologers. De Luce became friends with V. Subrahmanya Sastri who had translated many of India' classical astrological texts, and who became a mentor to De Luce. (Since Constellational Astrology wasn't published until 1963, this may be the more accurate date for the astrology in the book.)

De Luce writes that the commonly used chart was the rasi (sign) chakra, but that classical Hindu works on astrology such as Sripati Paddhati advocated the use of the bhava (house) chakra which would give more accurate results in delineation. This was the chart used for the analysis of love, health, physical appearance, etc...and related to events which would deeply affect the personality and lead to key changes in the life.

This is the familiar Sripati chart which trisects the space between the Midheaven and Ascendant. De Luce illustrates this chart, drawing the cusps at the centers of the houses, and points out that that a planet near the cusps allowed for the full expression of a planet. Near the mid-point between cusps (illustrated by dotted lines) a planet's power was minimal.

So at least in De Luce's book (with Sastri as his mentor), there is no mention of the equal house chart with cusps at the center of houses that was favored by B.V. Raman and his daughter. We don't know which chart style was preferred by Raman's grandfather, B. Suryanarain Rao, who was Raman's teacher and mentor.
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been reading the book ‘Predictive Astrology of The Hindus’ by Pandit Gopesh Kumar Ojha. The copy I possess is a reprint of the 1972 first edition. One thing thing I like about this author is that he frequently cites a traditional text for where he derives a technique. Something you don’t see in most of the popular ‘Vedic astrology’ books today!

In chapter 7 Ojha discusses the astrological houses. He spends a few pages discussing house systems. He mentions the well known whole sign or rasi system. He also discusses the Porphyry house system but states this is not authentically Indian in origin. Although one could argue the same for whole sign houses! He does though acknowledge a variation of the Porphyry system with centralised cusps which is mentioned in the paddhati by Sripati.

Intriguingly though Ojha comes out in support of the Vehlow-Raman system on the grounds of both its efficacy and its antiquity within India.

Oijha states:
Quote:
'But as we consider the equal house division more scientific and the older Hindu method we are using it in this book.’


Could Ojha have been influenced by B.V.Raman? If he was he certainly doesn’t acknowledge him. Instead he claims this house system is actually well established in India and mentioned in several older Indian astrological texts. So was B.V. Raman really proposing a new house system or simply advocating an old one with some additional research?

Oijha states
Quote:
‘ the original Hindu method is what is known as the equal house division. Parashar, Jaimini, Mantreshwar , all followed this method.’


Is Ojha correct? He certainly translated texts like the Phaldeepika of Mantreshwar so I assume he had researched this topic before stating this.

I was trying to read the Google books translation of the Phaldeepika by Mantreshwar translated by Ojha but the most relevant section is not for public view (it seems to be section 15.Bhava Chinta (House Analysis) p261-281)

Plus the poor electronic copy of the older translation by P.V.S. Sastri (1950) I possess is a total nightmare to read.

Would someone who has this text be kind enough to check this bit of the text to see if Mantreshwar mentions an equal house system anywhere?

Alternatively, if you have any of the other traditional texts mentioned by Ojha please take a look.

Thanks

Mark
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bhava chinta is not about house systems but results of houselordship and planets in houses.

Use the DLI downloader mentioned in another thread and you can download

The Siddhanta Sekhara Of Sripati (1947)

It is in English.

PD
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pankajdubey wrote:
Quote:
Bhava chinta is not about house systems but results of houselordship and planets in houses.


Yes I saw it was about that but it seemed to discuss sign division of houses in that context so I thought it might be relevant. However, clearly the whole text needs investigation.

Pankajdubey wrote:
Quote:
Use the DLI downloader mentioned in another thread and you can download


Thanks I will take a look. Its just a lot of these free online copies come from quite poor photocopies of the originals. Plus the lay out and the English style in some of these older translations are not that easy to follow. Especially, when they the decide to leave all the Sanskrit terms untranslated! Thats why I favoured looking at Ojha's translation of the Phaldeepika as it seems well set out and fairly straightforward in presentation.

Quote:
The Siddhanta Sekhara Of Sripati (1947) It is in English.


Thanks again. It will be interesting to see Sripati's discussion of his house system. Does this text include the Paddhati by Sripati?

Beside the Phaldeepika Ojha also suggests evidence of this equal house sytem can be found in the work of Parashara. I assume Ojha is referring to the Brihat Parasara Horashastra? and the Jaimini Sutram. Again if anyone has the time to check this topic out it would be much appreciated.

Mark
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Mark

A search for Sripati will give you Sripati Paddati as well(Sanskrit -English) by Subramanya Sastri.

There is Siddhanta Shekhar and Pingree's Jyotihsastra as well.

PD
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I have been reading the book ‘Predictive Astrology of The Hindus’ by Pandit Gopesh Kumar Ojha. The copy I possess is a reprint of the 1972 first edition. One thing thing I like about this author is that he frequently cites a traditional text for where he derives a technique. Something you don’t see in most of the popular ‘Vedic astrology’ books today!
(...)
Intriguingly though Ojha comes out in support of the Vehlow-Raman system on the grounds of both its efficacy and its antiquity within India.
(...)
Oijha states
Quote:
‘ the original Hindu method is what is known as the equal house division. Parashar, Jaimini, Mantreshwar , all followed this method.’


Is Ojha correct? He certainly translated texts like the Phaldeepika of Mantreshwar so I assume he had researched this topic before stating this.
(...)
Would someone who has this text be kind enough to check this bit of the text to see if Mantreshwar mentions an equal house system anywhere?

Alternatively, if you have any of the other traditional texts mentioned by Ojha please take a look.


Your post is fascinating, Mark. I found Ojha's book in my bookcase, apparently purchased in India in 1986 since 'Vedanta Book House, Bangalore' is stamped on the title page. It must have been Ojha as well as Raman which led me to believe that the Vehlow-Raman house system had been in standard use in India for a long time.

I do have a copy of G.S. Kapoor's translation of Phaladeepika (Ranjan Publications, 1991), and a quick look found the statement below. I have limited time this morning, but will try to check more thoroughly later today. (I happened to have underlined these sentences....sad that my deficient memory had forgotten this text.)

"Amongst Mercury and Jupiter, whoever is in the Bhava madhya [house center] of the 1st Bhava (Lagna) (East) gets 1 Rupa of strength. Their strength is nil if located in the 7th Bhava madhya (West)." (p. 39, Chapter 4, "The various kinds of strengths of planets and houses")

There are many references to 'bhava madhya' in the text. I'll have to do more reading later today, but obviously the reference here isn't to whole sign houses. I also have the translations of the other authors you mentioned.
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