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Biographies-Introduction-2 - Bhagadatt
By Sreenadh in AIA Group, Aug 20, 2012
I have taken this article because it might shed some light on the history of astrology in India.

King Bhagadatt was the son of Narakaaasur who was the King of Praag Jyotish Pur and was killed by Krishn.  After killing him Krishn crowned Bhagadatt the King of Praag Jyotish Pur. When MBH war broke, he led the Yavan army to join the Kaurav in the great MBH war. Bhagadatt ruled Praag Jyotish Pur (or Kaam Roop or greater Aasaam). The greater Aasaam is ruled as a part of present day Nepaal, even if not all of it. These Yavan in all probability were the brave warriors from Nepaal. Even today the bravery of the Nepaalee soldiers is legendary. When they march shouting "Ao re Gurkhaalee" the heart of every opponent in war sinks.

The Yavan Jaatak was found only in Nepaal and nowhere else shows it could be of Nepaalee origin. The Nepaalee authorities refused to give the Yavan Jaatak to Pingree, when he visited Napaal and tried to get it personally. Good luck to him that Pingree could get a portion of that book from Professor PV Kane in the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune. He could get some portion of it from France. Finally he got the Nepaalee manuscript through the good offices of the American Ambassador to India and Nepaal. Pingree mentions about a commentary by Bhagadatt who refers to Chirantan Yavan. This leads us to the conclusion that the King Bhagadatt of Kaam Roop could be the Yavaneshwar (King of Yavan) and the name Praag Jyotish Pur implies the place, where the knowledge of astronomy was originally developed. There is a popular anecdote, which says that Lord Brahmaa created the Jyotiskas or the stars (including the Graha and the Nakshatra) from Praag Jyotish Pur.

Was it not for the same reason that that city was called Praag Jyotish Pur because Jyotish emerged from there.

David Pingree
David Pingree was a scholar working for Vatican and America, with an intentional interest to interpret anything in favor of West and Greek. Here is an extract from his autobiography available at:  "My interest in the transmission of scientific ideas from one culture to another was awakened in 1955, the year after my graduation from Harvard College where I had concentrated on Classics and Sanskrit. I spent that year in Rome on a Fulbright, studying the paleography of Greek manuscripts in the Vatican Library. In the margins of one such manuscript, Vaticanus graecus 1056, I noticed references to Indian astrological ideas.

In the library I found a printed edition of Varaah Mihira’s Brihat Jaatak, and found therein Nagaree transliterations of Greek technical terms. Since the material in Vaticanus Graecus 1056 was clearly translated from Arabic, it was clear that Greek astrology had traveled to India, from there to Islam, and thence to Byzantium. As I soon found out, very little research had yet been carried out in this field.

In order to familiarize myself with the ancient and Byzantine Greek traditions in astrology I spent 1956–57 and 59–60 at Dumbarton Oaks as a Junior Fellow and in 1958–59 I went to India to study Sanskrit astrological manuscripts primarily at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Poona. At the latter institute I happily met the great authority on Dharmasastra, PV Kane, who very kindly gave me the several folia that had been copied for him from the unique Kathmandu manuscript of Sphujidhvaja’s Yavana Jataka (Horoscopy of the Greeks). The final chapter of this manuscript is on astronomy, and I recognized in it the characteristics of Babylonian science. This discovery led to my meeting with Neugebauer on my return to America."

Was Bhagadatt a Yavan?
Now coming to your assumption that Bhagadatt might have been Yavan etc -

(1) King Bhagadatta was a king of Assam, to which Prag Jyotish Pur (of Narakasura) is part of. This place might have been one ancient seat of astrology, but enough proofs are yet to come by.

(2) Sphujidhwaja is thought to be a resident of Gujrat, even though not much proof regarding the same is available from within Yavana Jataka. Probably this assumption came into being because, Vriddha Yavana alias Meenaraja who wrote Vriddha Yavana Jataka and quoted a lot from Yavana Jataka of Sphujidhwaja was from Gujrat.

The following is the most important extract available in Yavan Jaatak of Sphujidhwaja that gives some clues about his time and place -
प्रजाः सिसृक्षुः किल विश्वधाता प्रजापतिः प्राग्व्रतमाचचारः।
सर्वाद्टरांशप्रभवान् स्वदेहान् छीर्षादितो वै भगणं ससर्ज।।56।।

तेभ्यः स मेषादिगणं प्रजञ्वे तेभ्यश्च तद्भेदविकल्पना स्यात्।
अतो भवर्गस्य विधिं प्रवेदे प्रजाभवाभाव विपर्ययश्च।।57।।

सषेव धर्मान् सुगतिप्रणेयो भूता.........(missing) ......... .।
संपञ्चसंस्थित्युदयो यमाख्यो विश्वात्मिको(अ)यं विहितो (अ)विकल्पः।।58।।

ततोभिरुग्रैर्विदुरश्विनौ तु प्रजापतेः शास्त्रमिदं यतो(अ)र्कः।
अतो(अ)श्वयुग्मं विदधौ विधाता शीर्षादि कालार्ध  शरीरचक्रे।।59।।

इति स्वभाषारचिता भिगुप्तां विष्णुग्रह ाब्धे..........(missing).....।
महीप मुख्यैरनुदृष्ट तत्वां होरार्थरत्कारकव ाक्समुद्राम्।।60।।

सूर्यप्रसादा गततत् व दृष्टिर्लोकानुभावाय  वयोभिराधैः।
इदं बभाषे निरवद्यवाक्यो होरार्धशास्त्रं यवनेश्वरः प्राक्।।61।।

स्फुजिध्वजो नाम बभूव राजा स इन्द्रवज्राभिरिदं चकार।
नारायणाङ्केन्दु मिताब्द दृष्टं कृत्स्नं चतुर्भिर्मतिमान्  सहस्रै।।62।।

यवनजातके होराविधिः समाप्तः।।
(Yavana Jataka by Sphujiwaja text ending Shlok from 56-62)



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