A few days ago scroll or manuscript fragment came my way\u2026\nThe naive art that supplemented the text got my attention. And I got drawn in\u2026\nThe year inscribed corresponds to 1841 A.D.\nWho\u00a0 is it about, where did it originate, what did it say?\nAs I look for clues about the story contained within, time passes like the flow of the river \u2013 with no noticeable divisions between one hour and the next. After all, in this journey into a history set a 150 years ago, the measure of hours and minutes seem too trivial to bother about. When my eyes can\u2019t keep up with my mind at 2 am, I try to sleep. But am unable to. One after the other unanswered questions nag me.\u00a0 My eyes struggle to open again\u2026 there is no choice. In the struggle between mind and body \u2013 the mind wins \u2026 and I look for more answers on my screen.\nThank god for google! What would I have done if I had been living this moment 30 years ago!!!!!! My curiosity would have killed me \u2026\nHere is the piece that I lost sleep over:\n\nAnd here are some of the answers.\nSo this old piece appears to be an astrological chart made in the year Vikram Samvat 1898 which is approximately 1841 A.D.\nEven though I do not understand the language sanskrit, I can read some of the script \u2026..but the words mean nothing to me.\nYet as I am a part of that culture (and that culture is a part of me) I can recognise many of the characteristics of this scroll and I conclude that this is a janam patri or birth almanac.\n[A janampatri is a Birth Chart prepared as per Vedic Astrology, a particular system of prediction developed by ancient pundits, is said to be a graphical representation of planets at the time of one\u2019s birth. Based on these birth details, a Janampatri, also known as a Kundali, can be prepared to throw light on all astrological prospects of a person\u2019s life. One\u2019s Ascendant (lagna), Zodiac Sign (Rasi), and movement or position of planets in a Janampatri influence his/her life from birth to death.\nGenerally speaking, a Janampatri represents the positions of seven planets and two shadowy planets. In the Janampatri, you would broadly observe a chart mentioning different Houses occupied by different planets. There are twelve Houses in one\u2019s birth-chart according to Vedic Astrology. These Houses show places of the planets Sun (Su), Moon (Mo), Mars (Ma), Mercury (Me), Jupiter (Ju), Venus (Ve), Saturn (Sa), Rahu (Ra), Ketu (Ke). And, these specific places indicate the auspicious and inauspicious influences that these planets have on one\u2019s life. ]\nAt the very top is the customary presence of Ganesh or Ganpati who is invoked to remove all obstacles.\n\nStudying it further reveals more mathematical charts written on both sides of the 2 metre long scroll alongside vertically arranged numbered rows of sanskrit script. The numbering goes from 1 to 15 representing the two phases of the lunar calendar that is the foundation for all the the mind-boggling number of Hindu calendars.\n\nThe paintings represent various aspects of life \u2013 there is a musical instrument, a bow and arrow and others representing the various areas the newborn must be trained in.\n\n\n\n\nI recognise a painting of a parables that offers a role model \u2013\u00a0 the scene depicting Shravan and his exemplary filial piety and a scene depicting Krishna\u2019s charm and romance.\nThough it is believed that these character maps are employed in the janam patri as a way of foretelling, perhaps it was a way of providing guidance and direction \u2026\u2026\n\n\nAnd then are other pictures that I personally cannot connect to my limited knowledge on the subject:\n\n\nWill show it to some seniors who might connect the pictures to our cultural heritage stories.\nSuch charts were routinely made at the birth of a child and I believe somewhere lost in the shelves of old papers saved by my grandparents we might be able to find one that was made for me.\nBut mine was not nearly as elaborate as this one.\nFor this one was made in the era of \u201cRaja Bhom\u201d as stated in the introductory paragraph.\nWho was Raja Bhom?\nTHIS is the question that took me down that night!\nOne hit after another on google led me to the the discovery of royalty and the dozens of princely states in India that I had never heard of!\nAnd through the pages and sub-pages of this website I learned a lot yesterday!\nIn school, we learned history for 10 years but much of it was either too broad of too narrow. We were too preoccupied with learning about the independence struggle against the imperial rule which is just a small fraction of the life of India \u2026and completely unrepresentative of the complete history.\nAnd even within lessons about that 100 year period that we were mainly exposed to, instead of learning about the indigo-dye-cultivation led famine by foreign rulers, or the selfish strategic mistakes made by the native rulers of the princely states, and many other mega stories of the time, we learnt trivial details like dates and the names of viceroys!\nBut the real annals of history of these princely states speak of not just strategy games that might be as useful as Carl Von Clausewitz\u2019s book \u201cOn War\u201d they also record the drama of the times. Political marriages of princesses, feuds for the throne, polygamy, murder, entrapment, negotiations of land and child are some of the other subjects that are as gripping as the thrillers of Hollywood & Bollywood!\nBut I digress\nAnd so I now turn to shreds of art to lead me into the paradise of the past \u2013 filled with countless stories that take my sleep away!!\nThe time has also come to understand the fundamentals of vedic astrology \u2026 who knows what physics I might learn in that subject!!\nFurther reading:\n\n\u00a0\njm\nApril 2017\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\nThe post Art \u2013 A Bridge to the Past \u2013 Reading a Janam Patri from Raja Bhom\u2019s era appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.