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Astrology books, Other books

The Yavanajātaka (Sanskrit: yavana 'Greek' + jātaka 'nativity' = 'nativity according to the Greeks') of Sphujidhvaja is an ancient text in Indian astrology.

According to Pingree, it is a later versification of an earlier translation into Sanskrit of a Greek text, thought to have been written around 120 BCE in Alexandria, on horoscopy. Based on Pingree's interpretation, the original translation, made in 149–150 CE by "Yavanesvara" ("Lord of the Greeks") under the rule of the Western Kshatrapa king Rudrakarman I, is lost; only a substantial portion of the versification 120 years later by Sphujidhvaja under Rudrasena II has survived. However, according to the recent research by Mak based on a newly discovered manuscript and other documents, Pingree's date interpretation as well as a number of crucial readings such as zero and other bhūtasaṃkhyā were based on his own emendation, not supported by what was written on the manuscripts. Furthermore, traditionally Yavanesvara and Sphujidhvaja were understood as referring to the same person, the former being an epithet to the latter, according to authors such as Bhaskara and Utpala. The date of the Yavanajātaka according to Mak is now revised to between 4th and 6th century CE.

Yavanajataka is one the earliest known Sanskrit works referencing western horoscopy. It was followed by other works of Western origin which greatly influenced Indian astrology: the Paulisa Siddhanta ("Doctrine of Paul"), and the Romaka Siddhanta ("Doctrine of the Romans"). However, the earliest known Sanskrit work on horoscopy is Vedanga Jyotisha

It was translated by David Pingree into English, which was published as volume 48 of the Harvard Oriental Series in 1978.


The last verses of the text describe the role of Yavanasvera in the creation of the text, and the role of Sphujidhvaja in its subsequent versification:

  • "Previously Yavanesvara (the lord of the Greeks), whose vision of the truth came by favor of the Sun and whose language is flawless, translated this ocean of words, this jewel-mine of horoscopy, which was guarded by its being written in his tongue (i.e., Greek), but the truth of which was seen by the foremost of kings (in the year) 71; (he translated) this science of genethlialogy for the instruction of the world by means of excellent words." (Chapter 79/60-61 The Yavanajataka of Sphujidhvaja)
  • "There was a wise king named Sphujidhvaja who versified this entire (text), which was seen by him in the year 191, in 4,000 indravajra verses." (Chapter 79/62 The Yavanajataka of Sphujidhvaja)
  • The dates employed in the Yavanajataka are based on the Saka era (see Chapter 79/14 "When 66 years of the Sakas have elapsed..."), meaning that the translation of the text into Sanskrit was made by Yavanasvera in 149 CE (year 71 of the Saka era, which starts in 78 CE). Accordingly, the versification by Sphujidhvaja was made in 269 CE.

    The Yavanajataka contains instructions on calculating astrological charts (horoscopes) from the time and place of one's birth. Astrology flourished in the Hellenistic world (particularly Alexandria) and the Yavanajataka reflects astrological techniques developed in the Greek-speaking world. Astronomical mathematical methods, such as the calculate of the 'horoskopos' (zodiac sign on the eastern horizon) was used in the service of astrology.


    Yavanajataka Wikipedia

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