Several opinions exist in popular circulation regarding the horoscope of Śrī Krishna. A few modern astrologer’s have their opinions. It appears, for example, that B.V. Raman suggests one horoscope, K.N. Rao another. My nature is not really to trust modern stuff that doesn’t firmly base itself on classical foundations – but even in the classical foundations there is more than one opinion about what Śrī Krishna’s horoscope is.
The modern format of astrology, focusing on planets in signs and houses, does not seem to have come into vogue in India until a little less than 2,000 years ago. That is a long time, yes, but it means that Purāṇa’s – which are mostly written prior to that time – do not give any description of Krishna’s birth that relates to planets, signs and houses. They speak instead of the more ancient, indigenous Indian system that focused mainly on stars and lunar phases.
As far as I am aware we have two classical sources defining Krishna’s horoscope in ways that pertain to planets and houses: (1) A 15th century poem by Sūra Dāsa, (2) A book called Kha-Manikhya.
Sūra Dāsa describes the horoscope as:
uccasthāḥ śaśibhauma-cāndriśanayo lagnaṁ vṛṣo lābhago jīvaḥ siṁha tulāliṣu kramavaśāt pūṣośanorāhavaḥ. naiśīthaḥ samayo ’ṣṭamī budhadinaṁ brahmarkṣamatra kṣaṇe śrīkṛṣṇābhidhamanbujekṣaṇamabhūdāviḥ paraṁ brahma taditi
“The Moon, Mars, Mercury and Saturn were exalted and Taurus was ascendant. Jupiter was in Pisces, Sun was in Leo, Venus in Libra, and Rahu in Scorpio. At midnight, on Wednesday, on the astami tithi, with the moon in the Rohini Nakṣatra, the lotus-eyed Lord Śrī Krishna appeared. Know Him to be the Supreme Brahman.”
As for Kha-Manikhya, the biggest problem here is that we can’t find a copy of it anywhere. It appears to have disappeared. I have found it only quoted in other works. One important place it is mentioned is in the 17th century commentary on Bhāgavata Purāṇa by Viśvanātha Cakravartī. Recently it came to my attention that it is also found referenced in the footnote of a Kannada translation of Bhāgavata Purāṇa. A significant problem, however, is that the two quotes don’t match. Viśvanātha’s quote, or at least the current presentation of it that I have read, seems to actually be a reference to Sūra Dāsa – for it is identical with the horoscope Sūra Dāsa describes. I will give the Kha-Manikhya quote from the Kanada version below, although we haven’t yet worked out all the details.
Vēda Ratna Vasu Khēćara Bhūbhŗdvyaļa Bāņaśara Ratnamahīśu |
Hāyanēşu Jagatōsya Ća Sŗşţē Dwarparāntasamayē Vijayābdē |
Dakśiņāyanagatē Haribhēkrē Śrāvaņasitagatē Kujavārē |
Aşţamī Tithiyutē Tu Niśīthē Rōhiņī Śaśiyutē Vŗśalagnē |
Karkaţē Kujabudhou Raviputrē Ćāstagē Bŗgusutē Ća Sunīćē |
Gāngapuşkarakarē Sarapūjyē Sadhwajē Dhanuşi Bhuvyavatīrņaha |
Dēvakītanaya Ēşa Ćidātmā Vişņurāśŗta Janāvanadīkśaha ||
4,989,785,591 years after creation [translator still uncertain of the exact number], at the end of Dvāpara-yuga, in the Vijaya year, with the Sun in the southern course, on the eighth phase of the Moon, with the Moon near the Rohiṇī star and in Taurus, Mars and Mercury in Cancer, Saturn in “the eighth”, Venus “nicely debilitated” the divine son of Devakī, Viṣṇu – who creates holy places and is the most worthy of worship, descended to the Earth.
The problem with Sūra Dāsa’s version is that it seems to be mathematically impossible. You can’t get any date near the vicinity of a few thousand years ago to come up with the planetary positions he describes. The Kha-Manikhya version, on the other hand, at least one researcher I know of was able to verify it. He, Manju Nath, says that midnight July 11, 4063 BC matches the description of Kha-Manikhya with the exception of Mercury being slightly off, such that it is in Leo instead of Cancer.
The beautiful thing about Sūra Dāsa’s version is that it can easily be read to paint a very accurate devotional picture of Śrī Krishna’s beauty, character and pastimes. I am not sure if the Kha Manikhya chart mentioned above provides the same access to the truth of Śrī Krishna, as it has only very recently come to my attention. The sticky point of Sūra Dāsa’s version being a scientific impossibility can be hurdled by considering statements in the Purāṇa’s (such as a statement in the sixth canto of Bhāgavatam describing the appearance of Viṣṇu’s Narasiṁha Avatar) that the planets move into non-mathematical positions when the transcendental Divine appears directly within the common world.
I merely want to keep you informed on the progress of research, and help bring Mr. Manju Natha’s work to light. I will continue to inform you of any future findings or developments on this topic.
Vic DiCara / Vraja Kishor dās