3- How to Judge a Horoscope by B.V. Raman
This is simply a modern classic. Before Dr. Raman, no astrologer endeavored to write on this issue and with such an organized manner. After comprehending fundamentals of Jyotish elements, this is an ideal book for acquainting how to apply these elements. This outstanding title is all about application of astrological principles. Raman’s explanations on hundreds of real life horoscopes enable a reader how to analyze contradictory criteria and how to synthesize probable outcome.
“How to Judge a Horoscope” deals with all major areas of life, and mainly rest upon three fundamental tools of analysis, that is, House, Lord and Karaka. For predictive purpose, Vimshottari Dasa and Gochar are generally relied upon. Volume One covers issues signified by 1st House to 6th House, and the Volume Two deals with affairs signified by 7th House to 12th House. In total, more than 400 horoscopes are discussed in both volumes.
This is a very coherent and structured book. Therefore one can equally benefit from it either through random browsing or sequential reading. Before discussing House-based affairs of life, author provides fair amount of introductory matters in first three chapters of Volume One. Chapter-1 deals with ‘General Introduction’, Chapter-2 focuses ‘Consideration in Judging a House’ and Chapter-3 highlights ‘Determination of Longevity’. Rest of chapters orderly deals with house-based affairs from First House to Twelfth House.
Every chapter maintains some unique sections. They are:
- Result of House Lords being situated in different Houses
- Important Combinations
- Planets in Houses
- Time of Fructification of the Results
- The Nature of the Results
Most of other books on same issue generally lack in-depth treatment of said issues, especially the results of house lords in different houses, and important combination (classical yogas) concerning that house. Notice that B.V. Raman has not preferred ‘Planets in Signs’ and ‘Planets in Houses’ as first or second judgment criterion. Instead effects of ‘Planets in Houses’ are mentioned after ‘Results of House Lords’ and ‘Important Combinations’. This is a pregnant clue for new students who usually overlook significance of ‘House Lords in different Houses’ and relevant ‘Yogas’ in horoscopic judgment.
Furthermore, author beautifully modernized the ancient teachings of house lord effect in different houses without spoiling the spirit of Sage Parashar. Hence a modern reader does not find this section like typical ‘cookbook’ content. On the other hand, the section of ‘Important Combination’ is a collection of thousands of handy yogas, mainly culled from classical Jyotish books. Raman included them not because they are taught by revered sages or ancient authorities, but on account of one important reason, that is, they work. These yogas really work when apply judiciously.
The section of ‘Planets in Houses’, in every chapter, is also logically presented. The benefic and malefic outcome is according to the teachings of ancient authorities. B.V. Raman modernized the results for readers, and also stated other necessary conditions that strengthen or weaken the effect of planet’s occupation in a house. While doing so, he does not deviate from the gist of Jyotish. ‘Time of Fructification of the Results’ and ‘The Nature of the Results’ are two other sections in every chapter that actually refer to the probable outcome of Dasha and Bhukti of planets related to House, Lord and Karaka. This section also encompasses important combinations involving Navamsa position.
B.V. Raman does not appear endorsing KP approach of Nakshatra lord usage, at least in Volume One. Instead he hints at practical application of Nakshatra Tara. In chapter on First House, he maintains that placement of lagna lord in Vipat, Pratyak or Naidhan tara from Janma Nakshatra intensifies the evil effects pertaining to first house, especially when lagna lord is in bad house or afflicted. There will be lessening of favourable indications, even if lagna lord is strong but occupies in mentioned evil tara.
Although, “How to Judge a Horoscope” focuses trio of House, Lord and Karaka in Rasi and Navamsa, but on some occasions Raman introduces Special Lagna, Sphuta, and Saham. For instance, author presents calculation and application of Beeja Sphuta and Kshetra Sphuta for happiness from progeny; Drekkana of Janma lagna for financial fortune; Dhana lagna for extent of wealth; 22nd Drekkana for cause of disease and death; and Pradesa Saham for long-distance travels. Nonetheless, these Special Lagnas, Sphuta, and Saham should consider subsidiary tools for refining main delineation and forecast. Dr. Raman also presents a little known application of Rithu (seasons) associated with planets. According to him, a disease may appear in the season of planets that are strongly related to dusthana, lagna lord or lagna.
As a whole, affairs of life signified by 1st house, 4th house, 7th house and 10th house are treated in detail. Since these Kenrdra houses rule major areas of life; for example, native, personality, education, home, vehicle, husband, wife, business, profession and authority. Similarly, matter of longevity (Aayush) is exhaustively dealt with the aid of many real life examples in ‘Eighth House’ chapter.
If one compares both volumes then Volume Two appears thicker than Volume One. First volume consists of 304 pages whereas second volume consists of 475 pages. This is on account of chapters on Marriage (7th house), Longevity (8th house), and Profession (10th house) falling in second volume. Interestingly there is an uncommon gap of nearly 40 years between publication of Volume One and Two of ‘How to Judge a Horoscope’. In fact, name of Gayatri Devi Vasudev is given as co-author in second volume. In Preface of Volume Two, B.V. Raman thanked his daughter Gayatri Devi Vasudev for assisting him.
Although, this is a unique title in many way but it also holds some shortcomings. Firstly, all horoscopes in this book are calculated with Raman Ayanamsa (which is slightly ahead of commonly applied Chitrapaksha Lahiri Ayanamsa). Reproduction of these charts with Lahiri Ayanamsa may change Navamsa lagna, and Rashi position of some planets, that are falling at initial or concluding degrees. There is no way to justify this contradiction. B.V. Raman always followed his own calculated Ayanamsa. Another shortcoming of the book is absence of parallel North Indian style chart format. This confuses beginners who are accustomed to North Indian style charts, and feel uneasy with South Indian style chart format. Lastly, in some case studies, calendar date of event is not given. Instead author mentions Dasa-Bhukti of particular event. With different Ayanamsa, it is hard to produce reconciliation between author’s given Dasha-Bhukti and Lahiri-based Dasha-Bhukti. Otherwise more than 400 charts would have become a great asset for researchers.
Despite said above shortcomings, “How to Judge a Horoscope” has ascendancy over other available counterparts. For its authentic content, coherent style and systematic approach, this is a must read for every Jyotish beginners. “How to Judge a Horoscope” is far ahead of “Astro Sutras” of J.N. Bhasin, “Analysing Horoscope through Modern Techniques” of M.S. Mehta, and “Scientific Analysis of Horoscope” of L.R. Chawdhri.
One may label this book Bible of applied astrology, since it is all about application of reliable tools and techniques of Jyotish. No other astrology book presents 400 real life case studies (mostly non-notable nativities). Whether you are novice or seasoned, “How to Judge a Horoscope” is such an invaluable title that it should remain on your study table, and under your pillow.