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An ancient Hindu astrological treatise, said to contain details of millions of lives, with horoscopes drawn for the time of consultation. The original Bhrigu was a Vedic sage and is mentioned in the Mahabharata. As the Bhrigus were a sacred race, it is difficult to identify the compiler of the Bhrigu-Samhita, but according to legend he lived 10,000 years ago and had a divine vision of everyone who was to be born in every country of the world. He compiled this information in his great treatise on astrology, originally written on palm leaves.

No complete manuscript is known, but large sections are rumored to exist somewhere in India. A printed version is said to comprise some 200 volumes, but most Indian astrologers who use the system work with loose manuscript pages. These are supposed to give the name of the client compiled from Sanskrit syllables approximating names in any language, with details of past, present, and future life, as well as previous incarnations.

In addition to his fee, the astrologer usually proposes the sponsorship of a special religious rite to propitiate the gods for past sins. Indian astrologers reported using the Bhrigu-Samhita include Pandit Devakinandan Shastri of Swarsati Phatak, in the old city of Benares; and Pandit Biswanath Bannerjee of Sadananda Road (near the Ujjala movie house) in Calcutta.

In Fate magazine (June 1982), David Christopher Lane, a noted scholar of spiritual movements and cults, described a personal consultation with Hindu astrologers in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India, who were custodians of a set of Bhrigu-Samhita leaves. At the time Lane was researching the Radhasoami movement in India, on which he has become a world-famous authority. On July 22, 1978, Lane was taken by his friend Swami Yogeshwar Ananda Saraswati to a house in a back street of Hoshiarpur, where two astrologers had charge of a large set of Bhrigu-Samhita leaves tied in bundles.

The astrologers first compiled a graph, rather like a Western horoscope, but featuring the date of Lane's arrival at the house. According to Hindu tradition, all consultations with the Bhrigu-Samhita are preordained, and the moment of arrival is the key to discovery of the correct leaf, which indicates not only the life pattern and destiny of the inquirer, but also his name in a Sanskrit equivalent of the language of the inquirer.

Lane stated that after inspection of various bundles of leaves, taken down from the shelf and examined, the correct leaf was found in about 15 or 20 minutes. Lane was shown the leaf, and the Sanskrit inscriptions were translated: "A young man has come from a far-off land across the sea. His name is David Lane and he has come with a pandit [scholar] and a swami." Lane questioned how his name could be known, and the swami showed him the Sanskrit equivalent of the Bhrigu leaf. The reading continued: "The young man is here to study dharma [religious duty] and meet with holy men and saints." Other personal details were also given, including a sketch of Lane's past and present lives.

He expected to be able to make a copy of the leaf with its reading, but to his surprise he was told that he could keep the original leaf. The astrologer explained: "The Bhrigu-Samhita replenishes itself, sometimes with very old leaves and with some less aged. We do nothing; there is no need to. The astral records manifest physically at the appropriate time and place."

It was something of an anticlimax when the last lines of the horoscope stated that in order to expiate a sin in a previous life, Lane was advised to pay 150 rupees (approximately $20). But no pressure whatever was put on Lane to pay this modest sum, and the attitude of the astrologers and Swami Yogeshwar that there had been a divine revelation convinced Lane that this was no vulgar fraud. For such a small sum, the preparation of a fake Bhrigu leaf, and the willingness to allow Lane to take it away with him (and thus verify its antiquity) would have been out of all proportion to the work involved. Moreover, the specific details of the horoscope could not have been known in advance of Lane's visit.

Lane's experience was not unique, since a Canadian named H. G. McKenzie recorded that he used the Bhrigu-Samhita in the early 1970s and also verified its accuracy. He wrote: "I consulted Bhrigu-Samhita and found my name mentioned there, besides so many other things about my life that shows that one has no free will. The Bhrigu-Samhita states about me that I, Mr. McKenzie from Canada, am here with such and such people. It states some events of my past life and also predicts the future course of my life."

In 1980 Lane met and talked with Anders Johanssen, a professional astrologer from Sweden who was then visiting Los Angeles. Johanssen stated that he had used the Bhrigu-Samhita at least seven times and was convinced that it was an authentic work and the most accurate treatise he had encountered. He believed that the copy in Hoshiarpur was the most complete, although other versions were known in Delhi, Meerut, and Benares.

However, it was not clear what the nature of a Bhrigu consultation was on subsequent visits. If the leaf from the first consultation was freely offered (as in the case of David Lane), were other leaves available for each of the later visits? In Lane's case, his Bhrigu horoscope contained the prediction: "This young man will come again several times." On the first visit, Lane accepted the offered leaf, but left it with Swami Yogeshwar to make an exact English translation, planning to collect the original leaf and translation a few weeks later. However, Lane curtailed his trip due to illness and was later unable to contact the swami. Lane made a second visit to Bhrigu-Samhita at Hoshiarpur three years later, in 1981, in company with Prof. Bhagat Ram Kamal. He gave two days' notice of the intended visit, but no leaf for the visit could be discovered, arguing for the genuineness of the astrologers, since no fee was requested.

(See also Astrology )


Kriyananda, Swami. The Book of Bhrigu. San Francisco: Hansa Publications, 1967.

Lane, David Christopher. Fate (June 1982).

Pagal Baba. Temple of the Phallic King: The Mind of India; Yogis, Swamis, Sufis, and Avataras. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973.