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BPHS various varanasi editions By Shree KN Rao
Let me add something to the very scholarly note of Sri
Late J.N. Bhasin who woked in the Indian Defence Accounts
was a Sanskrit scholar and he compared many of such
Parashara texts and was firmly of the opinion that the
Venkatesh Press version which was the first to come to out
in Hindi was very authentic and dependable and also
different in context.
For instance, Mr Bhasin took the fifth, seventh and ninth
aspects of Rahu invariably and supported it by referring to
the Venkatesh Press edition.
The Varanasi editions I have talked of are the same that
have been mentioned here, by first Sitaram Jha, then
Devichand Jha and then finally Ganesh Dutt Pathak. There
was fourth one also by Achyutananda Jha. ( The correct
spelling is JHA)
There was a protracted litigation about copyright as
after the death of Sitaram Jha the later editions by others
were said to be plagiarisms.
Interestingly if you do a comparative study of these
editions you will find some differences in the contents of
even of the Jaimini pieces.
Out of the these three, Sitaram Jha, Devi Chand Jha and
Ganesh Dutt , it is the last Ganesh Dutt whose
understanding of the predictive elements of Parashara were
said to be superior as he was the one person who instead of
merely translating the Parashara text could have given some
illuminating commentar as well.
Out of these three, Ganesh Dutts son carried on the fine
interpretative tradition of his father in his translation
(which becomes a very good commentary also in parts) of
Jatak Tattwam of Mahadeva.
But when it comes to a commentary on Jatak Tattwam the
best one was by his son published from some city in Madhya
Pradesh, perhaps Ratlam.
Coming back to the Jhas of Varanasi do not forget that
they were from Darbhanga in Bihar and were Maithili
Brahmins who were encouraged by the Maharaja of Darbhanga
to popularise astrology through the magnificent astrology
wing he had during his time.
In fact, during my Patna days, I saw many Jhas, the last
of the suriving Darbhanga astrologers prepare horoscopes
in details. What use they had made of Jaimini is not
known to me but they invariably prepared in the horoscopes
they cast, seven Karakas of Jaimini only and put
Karakamsha in the birth chart and not in navamsha as Dr.
Later, I saw in the Jaipur and Rajasthan cast horoscopes
als out seven karakas and Karakamsha put in the birth chart
and all the karakas put in the nnavamsha and described as
Darbhanga was such an attractive centre of astrological
education and the only in eastern India after Varanasi,
that Hanuman Shastri the best known astrologer of Orissa in
the seventies and eighties, studied here. When I met
Hanuman Shastri in Jagannath Puri in 1985, he talked in
beautiful Hindi and I asked him could he be so fluent in
this language. He told me he had all that education in
Darbhanga univesity where he did five year course in
astrology as there were no such teaching centres in Orissa.
It was the great vice chancellor, Madan Mohan Malviya that
had succeeded in attracting such scholars from all over
India including S.Radhakrishnan, later president of India,
to Varanasi University.
Before Sitaram Jha there was the famous Ram Yatan Ojha
also from Darbhanga and later Gopesh Kumar Ojha etc. All
these people spread all over north from Varanasi to
As far as I know out of all these only Sri Gopesh Kumar
Jha could translate these works both into Hindi and English
and had like those Jhas excellent Sanskrit scholarship.
But if you come back to the comparison of the Parashara
texts, there is a vast difference between Venkatesh press
edition and the Varanasi editions.
Again, among the Varanasi editions, the contents change
here and there and the divisions of chapters are also
different. Whether it was because of differences in the
manuscripts they used or a clever rearrangement to avoid
copyright complications is not known to me.