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 – Branka

Jātaka Pārijāta Prārambhaḥ

अथ जातकपारिजातप्रारम्भः
atha jātakapārijātaprārambhaḥ
Translation: Now begins Jātaka pārijata
Jāta-ka – Some translations of Jāta are: born, brought into existence by, engendered by grown, produced, arisen, caused and appeared. The word ‘ka’ implies that the event has manifest, i.e.. birth or the production has manifested/been created.

Therefore, it has been interpreted that this work is meant solely for birth chart, i.e. those charts of beings who have been given birth to.
To discern between the various parts of astrology the following table has been given:

Table 1: Parts of Jyotiṣa (Harihara, 1980)

Skandha Anga
Ganita Gola & Ganita
Samhita Nimitta
Horä Jātaka, Praśna, Muhurta & Nimitta

It is therefore apt to imply that this work of Vaidyanatha Dikshita specifically deals with natal horoscope and not any other part of Jyotiśa. By this is implied the four aspects of Adhana (conception), Jātaka (birth), Punya (death) and daśa praveśa charts (charts for the commencement of a period). These will be dealt with in the various chapters given in this work.

Pārijāta is another name for the celestial or wish-fulfilling tree; one of the five trees of paradise produced at the churning of the ocean; coral tree or Erythrina Indica. This wish-fulfilling tree is symbolized in two ways or as a kundalini with its roots in Mūladara and branches in Sahasrara lotus as well as a celestial tree with its roots in heaven where God sits on its branches and gives fruits to the people (Rath, A Course on Jaimini Maharishi’s Upadesa Sutra, 2007).

This word can be divided into two parts or Pāri which means around and jāta or produced or born and can possible also be interpreted as a circle of a rebirth, and the karma related to the same, which is the subject of this study.

Prārambhaḥ means beginning or undertaking.

The properties of signs

अथ राशिशीलाध्यायः॥ १॥
atha rāśiśīlādhyāyaḥ || 1||
Translation: Now begins chapter on forms of signs.
Commentary: The word śīla means form or shape and as such can be interpreted in stanza above as different forms of signs which are to be exposed. Another meaning is that which is a custom, practiced, usage and it can indicate that the author is inferring that the following characteristics of sings are indeed taught in the tradition of the author.

मायातीतमशेषजीवजगतामीशं दिनेशं रविम्।
नत्वा गर्गपराशरादिरचितम् सण्गृह्य होराफलं
वक्ष्ये जातकपारिजातमखिलज्योतिर्विदां प्रीतये॥ १॥
māyātītamaśeṣajīvajagatāmīśaṁ dineśaṁ ravim |
natvā gargaparāśarādiracitam saṇgṛhya horāphalaṁ
vakṣye jātakapārijātamakhilajyotirvidāṁ prītaye || 1||

Translation: Praise to be to the Sun who is the Lord of the day, Viṣṇu, Brahma and Śiva who is the lord of the immortal ganas of the light and the one who is beyond (or is entirely overcome) the Maaya of the birth and who lords the Universe, Here I present Jātaka Parijata as a complete jyotirvidya to delight of all as an acknowledgment of the works on results of horoscopes displayed by Garga, Parashara and others.

Commentary: This is the Mangala Caranam. It is very common to start such a spiritually rooted work (Jyotiṣa is a Vedanga) with the prayer to deities to support and bless the work. In fact, the usual practice is to start with obeisance and acknowledgment to one main deity who is to symbolize the work. In the case of Jataka Parijata, we can see the author celebrates Lord Vishnu (that too in the specific form as One beloved by Śri or Śrikanta), Brahma, Sun as the lord of the day as well as Śiva who seems to be the main deity of the mentioned work as author indicates by the long praise. The author specifically praises Shiva as the lord of the immortal jyotirganas, one who entirely transcends the illusion (Maya) of this continuous circle of rebirth and at the same time, he praises him as Jagannatha or the Lord of the Universe (jagatāmīśaṁ).

In this first shloka author indicates two very important aspects of his work. Firstly, this book is going to dwell on horāphalaṁ or interpretation of the planetary placements in horoscopes and its other four aspects mentioned before, and not the other parts of Jyotiṣa namely Ganita and Samhita. Secondly, that the whole work is founded on the basis of the ancient Jyotiṣa classics of which he specifically mentions Garga and Paraśara.

This work was originally published in The Jyotish Digest magazine.

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