By Swami Harshananda
Vasantarāja-śakuna literally means ‘Vasantarāja’s treatise on prognosticatory signs’.
Significance of Śakunas
People of all the countries and civilisations have believed in prognostic from ancient times. Such beliefs persist even now. The Sanskrit word for prognostication is śakuna. Though the literature on the śakunas is quite extensive, mostly spread over the purāṇas, there are also works which deal with this subject in a specialized way. Out of these, the Vasantarājaśakuna of Vasantarāja is an independent and elaborate work on this subject. It contains 1520 verses in 20 vargas or chapters. It has a commentary by Bhānucandragaṇi.
Origin of Vasantarāja-śakuna
Vasantarāja was the son of Vijayarājabhatta and Sarasvatī. He was honored by the king Candradeva of Mithilā and wrote this work at his request. He mentions several works of an earlier period and pays his respects to many of the ancient sages like Atri, Vasiṣṭha and Vyāsa who had declared the knowledge of the śakunas. The following is a brief account of the subjects dealt with:
- Authenticity of the śakunaśāstra
- Honoring the guru and the eight lokapālas like Indra
- Directions and distances of factors associated with śakunas
- Signs of auspiciousness or otherwise, as applied to men and women
- Birds and their chirpings
- Signs as applied to animals
- Barking of dogs and howling of jackals
- Importance of the śāstra or science
A notable feature of this work is that 781 verses and more than half of them have been devoted to the sounds of birds.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore