About 1500 years ago, Varaha Mihira wrote his classic on Astrology called Brihat Jataka with the intention of putting together all the important ideas in Astrology, which then lay scattered in numerous books, written by different authors including the 18 great Rishies of India.   

 Kalyana Varma, sensing that Brihat Jataka was too brief and condensed on various aspects, wrote this great work.

Kalyana Varma is an adept in Veda Vidya. It is clear from slokas 2 and 3 in Chapter I that the author lived some time after the great Varaha Mihira. He says that the sages of India had written various books on Astrology and that Varaha Mihira condensed the subject, and in the process, he overlooked a few important yogas affecting prosperity, profession and longevity and he has, therefore, written this text for the benefit of posterity. This bold statement may lead shrewd thinkers to believe that presumably he was in disagreement with Varaha Mihira on some points else he wouldn't have bothered to write a big book like this one.

Saravali is, no doubt,  one of the most exhaustive texts on horoscopy. The author admits in sloka 11 Chapter 54, that he is including in this book everything important from the writings of adepts like Poulisa, Roumasa, Vasishta, Yavanacharya, Badarayana, Shakti, Atri, Bharadwaja, Goodagni, Kesava and Gargi.

Saravali, unquestionably, occupies a place among the Big Five in Astrology and is available in almost all Indian vernaculars. Whenever expert professionals cannot get to grips with any knotty horoscope, they refer to it for a possible solution. Top ranking astrologers the world over, failed to predict the election of President John F Kennedy. It was then, that the translators of this book were asked to justify the President's horoscope. With most of the Yogas in Saravali fresh in their minds, for the translation of this work was in progress then, they could at once spot out the Yoga which singled out JFK for the top honours. The effect of the Yoga formed by Mars, Mercury & Jupiter in Aries-Taurus in the 9th house bhava from the Moon-sign of JFK's horoscope - incidentally, Moon-sign happens to be more powerful than the Ascendant, is said to confer Mandala Adipatyam rulership over the World on him. (refer to sloka 77 Chapter 32). Not only this, there were a dozen other Yogas operating on the horoscope. These Yogas leave little doubt, as to why JFK became President no sooner than Jupiter's major period had started. Thus, the followers of Brihat Jataka in particular, and others in general, are bound to find in this work, a lot of additional useful information, which could enable them to read horoscopes with increased accuracy.

Speaking on the importance of Astrology, Kalyana Varma says in sloka 5 Chapter 2, that the science of Astrology helps one in earning; helps one in times of adversities like a boat in crossing the ocean; and whilst proceeding on journeys, it assists one like a minister. Further on, he says that Astrology reveals one's longevity, the knowledge of which would make one realise the value of time and thus assist one in not wasting one's life but spending it on religious pursuits and devotion. This naturally purifies one's mind; becoming God-fearing and pure at heart, would, in turn, bring peace of mind and happiness; thus one slowly moves on the path to realisation of God. 

Knowledge of Astrology coupled with belief in God, and, helping fellow-beings with that knowledge would take one to Heaven. This is corroborated by the Upanishads. The fountain-head of Astrology is Sun. Sun is the creator of the entire planetary kingdom; it is due to Sun that the astrological world is shining with brilliance.

Sun is said to be Siva-Swaroopi, symbol of the Creator,and therefore, is the significator for father whereas Moon is said to be Sakti-Swaroopi, symbol of energy, and therefore, is the significator for mother. The rest of the planets represent the five elements of nature. Thus it is clear that the planets are solely responsible for the entire creation.

Mahakavi Kalidas in his Raghu Vamsa compares Sun to Parameshwara and Moon to Parvati, implying that Sun is the father and Moon, the mother of the Universe. Even the modern scientists are beginning to realise that everything on Earth is attributable to the creative abilities of the planets.Sun represents creative power; Moon - matter. Union between the two results in Siva-Sakti or creation.

Hindu Shastras clearly say that Sun is Purusha Linga and Moon Stree Linga, and therefore, the two are the significators for father and mother respectively. Sun is, further, the significator for Atma soul, and Moon for mind. Nature-study reveals that the entire surface of the Moon is flooded with the light of Sun on Full Moon day. In the same way, with the strength of soul, the mind can shine with brilliance.

Union of Sun and Moon causes Amavasya and angular positions between them cause Lunar Days (tithies).

In Chapter 8 sloka 52, Kalyana Varma says that the astrologer should, through calculations, determine the conception time as also the time of birth; he should be well-versed in rasi-parimana, length of the 12 signs at various latitudes, graha-sputa exact location of planets in rasi, kala, vikala - sign, degree, minute, bhava sputa starting and ending points of houses, shad bala the 6 kinds of strength, strength of planets, and then only, after a careful consideration of all these, give predictions. That is to say, the author wants the astrologer to be an expert in mathematics and in casting horoscopes. Luckily, the preset day astrologers have accurate ephemeris and cusp books in abundance, which save a lot time and labour.

In Chapter 36, the author says that because benefic and malefic effects conferred by a planet on a native are dependent on the number of rasmies possessed by a planet, he will deal with the subject exhaustively as advocated by Manindha and others.

In Chapter 8 sloka 10, the author seems to hint that the planetary influences prevailing at conception time get mixed-up with the past karma of the native being conceived and that the future of the native is shaped accordingly. For this specific reason, the author insists that the astrologer should find out the conception time and and ascertain the planetary positions prevailing then. As regards the usefulness of Astrology Varaha Mihira observes that just as the various things in a house at night are seen and located with the help of a lamp, so is the future of a native to be read with the help of Astrology.Kalyana Varma adds that future of a native is written on his forehead by Lord Brahma known as Akshara Maalika, which has to be read with the eye of Jyotisha.

Jyotisha is compared to a Kalpa Vriksha, a mythological tree in the garden of the Gods capable of granting all wishes. This science is useful for everyone irrespective of caste, creed or religion, and can be tested and verified by eveyone. This Kalpa Vriksha has three main kavara, layers or coverings, namely, Ganitha - astronomy, Samhita - natural and planetary phenomena, and Hora - Astrology six branches, namely, Jathaka natal astrology, Gola mundane, Nimitha causative, Prasna horary, Muhurtha timing of events and horary, and Ganitha mathematical aspect of astronomy.The two branches Gola and Ganitha comprise what is now known as Astronomy. Samhita comprises all about birth and death of animals and sub-planets, earthquakes and other phenomena including Nimitha. Jathaka covers Natal Astrology, Prasna covers Horary Astrology and Mahurtha covers Electional Astrology.

Aryabhatta, Bhaskara Acharya, Varaha Mihira, Parashara Maharshi, Narada Maharshi, Yavanacharya, Satyacharya, Shankara Murthy, Soorya, Vasishta Maharshi, Brahma, Roumasa Maharshi, Poulisha Maharshi, among others, have written about all the six branches of Astrology.The following is a list of ancient texts on various branches of Astrology :-

  • Gola Kriya    Bhaskara Acharya has written Gola Kriya and Aryabhatta Arya Bhatiyam
  • Ganitha         Brahmam and Bhaskara Acharya's Sidhanta Siromani are available.
  • Nimitha         Varaha Mihira's Brihat Samhita is a complete text on this branch
  • Horoscopy    Maharshi Parashara's Brihat Parashara Hora and Varaha Mihira's Brihat Jathaka are acknowledged texts.
  • Prasna          Sarwartha Chintamani (certain portions thereof), Arya Saptati, Shad Panchsikha, Prasna Jnana, Krishniyam are available.
  • Anushtana Padhati Madhaveeyam, Sara Sangraha Lampakam, Ananda Sundari, Gyana Deepika are good books on this branch.
  • Mahurtha       There are numberous books on this viz.
Mahurtha Padavi, Mahurtha Dipika, Mahurtha Tatva, Mahurtha Marthandam, Mahurtha Sindhu, Mahurtha  Ganapathi, Mahurtha Dipam, Mahurtha Chintamani, Mahurtha Muktavali, Mahurtha Madhaviyam, Kaalamrutam, Kaala-vidhanam, Kaala Gyanam, Mahurtha Sara Sangraham.

  • Astrology      Nahni Datta's Pancha Vimsathika, Laghu Parashari, Jataka Chandrika, Sambhu Hora Prakasam are the 4 books which deal with portions contained in Parashara Hora.
        Other standard texts on the subject of Astrology are :-
Santhana Dipika, Jataka Parijata, Narada Samhita, Bhrigu Samhita, Nashta Jataka, Jataka Tatva, Jataka Sangraha, Jataka-bharanam, Jyotir Vidabharanam, Jyotir Vibhushanam, Jyotisharnavam, Bhava Kutoohala, Brihath Yavana Jataka, Manusha Jataka, Yavana Jataka, Lagna   Chandrika, Lagna Varahi, Sangraha Siromani, Stree Jataka, Loumasa Samhita, Sreeyoga Chintamani, Jatakadesam, Bhavartha Ratnakara, Phala Santosha Deepakam, Phala Deepika.
Saravali consists of 54 Chapters comprising 2,538 slokas. In this translation, Chapter #s have been strictly adhered to. Chapter 53 in the original Saravali is on the subject of Viyoni Janma births other than human, while Chapters 52 and 54 are on Ashta Varga. To ensure continuity of subject matter, these 3 Chapters have been re-numbered as 52 - Viyoni Janma, 53 and 54 - Ashta Varga.
Bhrigu keralam is not part and parcel of the original Saravali. Since the subject matter of Chapter 51 and Bhrigu Keralam are on Nashta Jataka, it was decided to include the same as an additional Chapter in this book.
Om Sadguru Paramathmane Namaha
Om Namo Bhagavathe Sivanandaya

Bombay, 31st October 1961                                                          Signed NN Krishna Rau & VB Choudhary