Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Part 3 in the series of notes on Astrological Calendars
A janampatri or kundali is a Birth Chart prepared as per Vedic Astrology.
It is a particular system of prediction developed by ancient pundits, based on the configuration of planets and stars at the time of one’s birth from the vantage point of the location of one’s birth. This configuration represented graphically through a mathematical system of diagrams and charts it is the foundation of the kundali.
Based on these charts, predictions are made about favorable and unfavorable phases / alliances for work / love / prosperity etc and these acts as guiding lights on all aspects of a person’s life.
It is believed that one’s Ascendant (lagna), Zodiac Sign (Rasi), and movement or position of planets in a Janampatri influence his/her life from birth to death.
The presence of a planet in any particular constellation at the time of birth along with his birth space-time coordinates fixes the newborn’s coordinates. Then the movement of the planets, their crossing over and juxtaposition with constellations and with each other influences the various facets of the newborn during the course of her life. And, these specific positions indicate the auspicious and inauspicious influences that these planets have on one’s life.
While there are countless astrological events predicted during the life span of a newborn, only those configurations that are strong enough to make a significant impact are noted in the janam patri. This document is consulted time and again over the years by well-meaning family members who would like to ensure the best possible outcomes for their children.
So important events are planned on days / times that would be most favorable to the person e.g. the start of one’s educational journey, the start of one’s business venture or the time to conduct wedding ceremonies. Most of these are no longer practiced but one that is prevalent even today is the matching of charts prior to arrangement of a marriage.
Janam Patri # 1
This beautifully painted Kundali from Nepal begins with a painting of the nine gods that preside over each of the nine planets , the sun and Vishnu and Ganesh. Also seen are the important Buddhist symbols.
Janam Patri # 2
This one set in Rajasthan at the time of Raja Bhom, after the essential charts and invoking the presence of Ganesh, goes on to elucidate the prediction of the character of the newborn.
We see the character of Shravan – who was known for his filial piety – perhaps this is to say ‘this child is going to be like Shravan’. We see many skills – archery, music – maybe these are predictions that the newborn will excel in these areas. There are several other scenes but my knowledge is not sufficient to decipher them – I will have to ask some elder to make the connection. And if time permits – to find out what the words in Sanskrit mean…
Until the palimpsestic layer of the story within eludes us, let’s just enjoy the art…