Origins of the Tājika System of Astrological Aspects and Dignities




Balabhadra, Tājika, Hāyanaratna, Sahl ibn Bishr, Samarasiṃha


The astrological doctrines of aspects and planetary dignities found in the authoritative texts of the Tājika (Sanskritized Perso-Arabic) school are examined with respect to their origins and historical development, with particular emphasis on Balabhadra’s encyclopaedic Hāyanaratna (1649) and its quotations from the perhaps earliest work of the school, Samarasiṃha’s Tājikaśāstra (thirteenth century). It is argued that a major source of these doctrines is Sahl ibn Bishr’s Arabic-language intro­duction to astrology (ninth century), possibly in abbreviated or paraphrased form. Several of the constituent ideas have been imperfectly understood by their Indian epitomists, resulting in reinterpretations and innovations.


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Author Biography

Martin Gansten, Lund University

My research, which is philological in orientation, concerns two main areas: first, the indigenous religions of India – in particular, classical and contemporary Hinduism – and second, astrology and related forms of divination from Hellenistic Egypt to fin-de-siècle Britain, with a focus on South Asia. I have engaged primarily with previously untranslated or wholly unstudied texts, mostly within largely unexplored fields of study. My current research interests concern Hindu and Jaina reception of medieval astral knowledge systems from the Perso-Arabic cultural area.

My primary classical language is Sanskrit, and I have published direct Sanskrit-to-Swedish translations of the Bhagavadgītā and the early Upaniṣads. I have taught History of Religions at Lund University since 1998, designing a number of courses on various aspects of Indic religions and the history of astrology, and Indology with Sanskrit at the University of Copenhagen since 2005.

Cover of a nineteenth century lithograph of the Hāyanaratna




How to Cite

Gansten, Martin. 2018. “Origins of the Tājika System of Astrological Aspects and Dignities”. History of Science in South Asia 6 (August). Edmonton, Canada:162-99.