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This is a poorly written treatise in guise of a guru sishya talk. But it is a rambling, egocentric, didactic and inaccurate rendition of Indian astrology. Much of the information can be gotten for free on the internet. So what one looks for these days is a cohesive rendition and a reckoner for the practice of this art. Would recommend "Light on Life" by Hart Defouw & Robert Svoboda on paper back.
This is the best book on Vedic Natal Astrology that I've ever read... for such a big book, it was a very quick read. It was the equivilant of taking a 9 week course, but much more affordable! I like that Braha is objective- he qualifies his opinions, and challenges theories with good reasons. As a 'Western' astrology student, I also appreciated his western twist on the subject.
The only downfall on this book is the minimal reference to the Hindu Dasa system (which he says he explained clearly in his previous book on prediction- that's my next purchase). Also, most of his examples include analysis of planets within a tight orb of a exalted or fallen planet, which is helpful. However, he doesn't say much about wide orbs to friendly or enemy planets. However, he backs that up early in the book by stating that the friend/enemy theory is overrated in his view.
Overall, a fantastic book for a non-beginner (or 2nd level) Vedic Astrology student... a must have that I'll use as a reference over and over again.
This book is written plainly enough and organized effectively enough to be accessible and very helpful to beginners, yet it is also deep enough to be a great resource for serious long-time Vedic Astrology students. I regularly have "light bulb" moments and deepen my own understanding of certain astrological concepts when re-reading parts of this book for what must be literally at least the 7th or 8th time. The student-and-teacher question-and-answer-dialogue format used here is great for learning IMO and I'd love to see more Vedic Astrology books - (plus more books on a variety of other topics, too) - incorporate this general format. Braha's insights are deep and meaningful, yet expressed in a manner that is easy to understand... and there are multiple levels to the dialogue, which has allowed me to keep returning to this book and learning from it in new ways as I progress in my own astrological study.
I am a beginner in learning Vedic astrology. After reading through the great classics (including the excellent beginners book by the same author) and after going through an excellent online course by the dirah academy, I still felt the need for one on one lessons from an experienced astrologer. Well I could not afford one, but this book comes very close to being almost as good. Whether you are a beginner, or experienced astrologer, you will enjoy and learn immensly from this book. I was especially impressed by the author's honesty in dealing with conterversial areas like Neechabanga and Vargottama. From the charts I have analyzed since reading this book (including my own chart) I have to agree that this author has a good point. If you want REAL, PRACTICAL and BRILLIANT advice on how to interpret charts based on practical experience and not just thoeritical knowledge, buy this book. It is too bad James Braha is not still practicing astrology. However, for any one interested, DR.David Goldstein, the first reviewer of this book, is a brilliant astrologer himself.
If you want to get some idea of how Vedic Astrology actually works and not just a list of facts, this book is pretty interesting to see how someone might actually look at a chart. I don't know why more teachers of this subject don't do something like this. With that said Braha also doesn't really know Jyotish deeply so I would tread with caution. While he has been around a long time and see more charts than I probably ever will, I don't think he ever really went deep with his studies over in India as he doesn't even know how to look at divisional charts properly nor understand nakshatra usage much. If you want to learn the subject I would also recommend Vaughn Paul Manley's internet course which will give you more of a ground up start in understanding how to think within this system and serves a nice introduction to chart reading. If you want a traditional approach which will give you some answers to all the things Braha cahttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/communities/reviews/preview-active._V192249892_.gifn't answer in this book check out Sanjay Rath.