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Posted on Thursday, August 17 - 2006

" HISTORY: Horoscopes of contemporary people, Asian and non-Asian, written on ancient palm (ola) leaves have been known for decades in both Sri Lanka and in southern India, especially ..."

HISTORY: Horoscopes of contemporary people, Asian and non-Asian, written on ancient palm (ola) leaves have been known for decades in both Sri Lanka and in southern India, especially Tamil Nadu. They have been discussed in many issues of Indian astrological magazines, though mainly in the context of the subject of astrology but not on their history, or on why they were written or even with studies on their authenticity. One South Indian reader of these leaves who had dealt with these for over forty years in Sri Lanka told me they were originally written on goat skins, later transcribed on copper plaques, and then on ola leaves which are now claimed to be. hundreds of years old. If this is correct, the possibility of errors in transcription cannot be excluded. On why they were written, it has been surmised that they were tutorial exercises set by the ancient sages (rishis) to their pupils who were set the task of composing the horoscopes of persons yet to be born in a series of dates and times, or that the sages made these writings for the guidance of people, There were apparently seven (saptha) rishis (saptharishi) who authored these horoscopes individually or in conference of all seven (saprha-rishi vaakyam, seven -rishi stanzas). Since these writings relate to ordinary people, it does not appear that the authors were concerned only with important persons whose life histories could make vivid stories. Some clients are told that there are no leaves pertaining to them.

These leaves are claimed to have been in ancient Hindu temples in South India from where they were either stolen or bought during the British occupation of India. The British, it is said, took away the manuscripts of utilitarian value to them, such as traditional medicinal and alchemical texts. The remainder were the horoscopes. Since they apparently dealt with the lives of contemporary people, the present owners of the manuscripts have made a lucrative practice of reading them for their subjects in Asian countries. An occasional non-Asian has also found his leaf...

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