This article is an attempt to provide deeper understanding of Jyotish through the monumental classic Jataka Parijata, by the author Vaidyanatha Dikshita.
The work consists of original Sanskrit slokas translated into English with a detailed commentary on the same.
I pray that this work may be accepted in the Jyotish community and that it will encourage debate and research by teachers and students alike.

भारद्वाजकुलोद्भवस्य विदुषः श्रीवेंकटाद्रेरिह।
ज्योतिःशास्त्रविशारदस्य तनयः श्रीवैद्यनाथा सुधीः।
होरासारसुधारसज्ञविबुधश्रेणीमनःप्रीतये।
राशीस्थाननिरूपणादि सकलं वक्ष्ये यथाऽनुक्रमत्॥ २॥
bhāradvājakulodbhavasya viduṣaḥ śrīveṁkaṭādreriha |
jyotiḥśāstraviśāradasya tanayaḥ śrīvaidyanāthā sudhīḥ |
horāsārasudhārasajñavibudhaśreṇīmanaḥprītaye |
rāśīsthānanirūpaṇādi sakalaṁ vakṣye yathā’nukramat || 2||
Translation: I, wise Vaidyanatha, son of the learned Venkatadri and the offspring of the Bharadwaja family, who has complete excellence in Jyotiṣa śastra, will describe in regular order the whole matter (of Astrology) starting with the definitions of the positions of the signs to provide the mental delight to the multitudes of the learned ones with this knowledge of horā śastra full of nectar.

Commentary: Author is continuing his work in very traditional way wherein he starts second śloka by naming his, his father’s name as well his family gotra. This is, once again a very traditional way, wherein he is revealing his identity (being part of the certain linage) as well as praising his ancestors. Stating ones gotra is of immense importance and is required in all Hindu ceremonies. According to the Vedic scripts, all living beings are the descendants of ten sages called brahmarishi: Marichi, Vasishta, Angirasa, Atri, Pulastrya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Narada and Daksha. Bharadwaj gotra originally comes from Kratu brahmarishi and those belonging to Bharadwaj gotra recognize sage Bharadwaj as their ancestor and with that inherit some of the well known thirst for knowledge by which this sage is well known and recognized in old scripts.

The author is using the word rasajña which means nectar of knowledge but the word rasa can also refer to the seven oceans through which Sarasvati creates the seven loka and tala, hence a reference to creation.

Lastly author indicates who is to enjoy the knowledge exposed in his work namely those learned in hora shastra. This book is meant for those who are already learned in the subject by mastering Paraśaras and others Jyotiṣa classics as mentioned in previous śloka. The word vibudha is used to describe the type of intelligence and knowledge which is the trait for those who are deserved to receive vijñana.

 

प्रणम्य वन्दारुजनाभिवन्द्यपदारविन्दं रघुनायकस्य।
सङ्गृह्य सारावलिमुख्यतन्त्रं करोम्यहं जातकपारिजातम्॥ ३॥
praṇamya vandārujanābhivandyapadāravindaṁ raghunāyakasya |
saṅgṛhya sārāvalimukhyatantraṁ karomyahaṁ jātakapārijātam || 3||
Translation: Prostrating myself to the lotus feet of the Lord of Raghus, I prepare the work of Jatakaparijata abridging Saravali the head among scientific works.
Commentary: Hereby author is bowing down (praṇam) to the feet of the Lord of Raghus (raghunāyakasya) whose lineage is tracing its ancestry to Surya. Some of the great warrior kings such as Dasaratha and Rama himself are produced in the same dynasty; in fact Raghu is believed to be Śri Ramas grandfather. One of the possible reasons to do so is the fact that Rama is Viṣṇu avatar indicated by the planet Surya in the chart who is also the main significator for dharma and satya in this Bhu loka.

In the same śloka, author is indicating that what is following is somewhat based on the well known work of Saravali himself, but with the addition of the special knowledge on the given subject, namely signs, as he clearly states in the following śloka. Word mukya means that which is first, principal, leader, guide, first or best among; whilst tantra here means scientific work or doctrine, rule, theory, etc.

 

अथ राशीनां संज्ञविशेषाः।
atha rāśīnāṁ saṁjñaviśeṣāḥ |
Translation: Now comes a special recollection (knowledge) of the signs.
Commentary: In this, at first glance simple and clear statement, there is very important information which is hidden in the choice of word given by the author. Wise Vaidyanatha is using two terms: saṁjña and viśeṣāḥ. Saṁjña is describing the given knowledge as complete and may even go as far as ṣaṣṭiyaṁśa level knowledge (ṣaṣṭiyaṁśa is divisional chart which is also the main divisional chart to read about paste life karma, whose one of the names is saṁjña) or knowledge which is recollected from the previous birth.

Whilst viśeṣāḥ has different meanings like: special, peculiar, different, distinct and superior. With this author is announcing that the following ślokas will deal with the very special and superior knowledge on the given topic, i.e. signs.
Viśeṣāḥ is also well known special ascendant next to four other special ascendants and those are: Hora, Bhava, Ghatika, Vighatika and Pranapada.

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Jātaka Pārijāta Prārambhaḥ Part 1.1