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Some facts about Varahamihira

Some facts about Varahamihira

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Published by Kosla Vepa
Daivajna Varāhamihira (Devanagari: वराहमिहिर; fl.123 BCE), also called Varaha, or Mihira was an Indian astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer who lived in Ujjain was the son of Aditya Dasa. He is considered to be one of the nine jewels (Navaratnas) of the court of legendary king Vikramaditya (thought to be the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II Vikramaditya).
Daivajna Varāhamihira (Devanagari: वराहमिहिर; fl.123 BCE), also called Varaha, or Mihira was an Indian astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer who lived in Ujjain was the son of Aditya Dasa. He is considered to be one of the nine jewels (Navaratnas) of the court of legendary king Vikramaditya (thought to be the Gupta emperor Chandragupta II Vikramaditya).

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Published by: Kosla Vepa on Mar 16, 2009
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55
CHAPTER VARAHAMIHIRA
Daivajna Var
ā
hamihira
(Devanagari:
वराहिमिहर
;
fl.123 BCE), also called Varaha, or Mihira was an Indian astronomer,mathematician, and astrologer who lived in Ujjain was the son of Aditya Dasa. He is considered to be one of the nine jewels (Navaratnas) of the court of legendary king Vikramaditya (thought to be the Gupta emperor Chandragupta IIVikramaditya). Though little is known about his life, in one account he supposedly hailed from South Bengal, where inthe ruins of Chandraketugarh there is a mound called the mound of Khana and Mihir. Khana was the daughter-in-law of Varaha and a famous astrologer herself. Modern Shakadvipi brahmanas, esp astrologers, regard Varaha Mihira as theirancestor, although there is no ancient documentary proof in favour of this belief.
CONTENTS
 
When did he iive
 
Works
o
 
Pancha-Siddhantika
o
 
Brihat-Samhita
 
Western influences
 
Some important trigonometric results attributed to Varahamihira
 
Notes
EXTERNAL LINKS WHEN DID HE LIVE
In order to decipher the period in which he lived , we have marshalled the following factsIn the Panchasiddhantika
27
there occurs the following sloka
28
 
साि
 
   ेद 
 
 ं ं
 
शाककालमपा
 
 
 
  ुादौ
 
 
अा  रिमत   े
 
भानौ
 
यवनप  ु   े
 
सौा
 
िदवसा   े
 
sapt¡¾vi v£da sa¯khya¯ ¾¡kak¡lamap¡sya ¿a caitra ¾ukl¡dau |arddh¡stamit£ bh¡nau yavanapur£ saumy¡ divas¡dy£Meaning
Sapta – seven, ¡¾vi – two, Veda – four (makes 427), S sa¯khya¯- Reckoning or counting from ,¾¡kak¡lam – Saka era, Apasya – Having left , completed, caitra – caitra month, ¾ukla – the Briogth or light half of thelunar month, ¡di – Beginning , primordial, arddh¡ - half, ¡stama – setting, bh¡nau – sun, yavanapur£ - the city of Yavanapuri, Saumya- Buddha – the planet mercury, Divasa - day
27
Panchasiddhantika,
(
1) Edited with Sanskrit Commentary. - and Eng. Translation by G. Thibaut andMahamahopadhyaya S. Dvivedi, Reprint, Motilal Banarsidas, 1930, reprint Cosmo publications,2002, 8
th
sloka of thefirst adhyaya, page4 of the English translation , pages in the book are not consecutively numbered
28
I am indebted to the work done by ML Raja in unearthing these important facts in his monograph on Aryhabatta
 
56Deduct the number of years 427 of the Saka era elapsed, (i.e. deduct 427 from the number of years in Saka era,forwhich we are calculating the Ahargana – the ahargana is analogous to the Julian day count at the beginning of thebright half of Chaitra , when the sun has half set at Yavanapuri at the beginning of Wednesday. This means that VarahaMihira compiled the Panchasiddhantika in the 427
th
Year of the Saka KalaThis leaves us the task of deciphering thebeginnning of the Saka era. However , loosely speaking there are 3 Saka eraswhich were in use during that timeThe Sakanripa Kala year of King Kurash II(Cyrus) son of Kambujia (Cambyses) of the Aryamanush or HaxaManishdynasty of Parasikam (Persia)The Vikram saka year (57 BCE)The Salivahana Saka year (78 CE)In order to deduce this we need to refer to the other work that he wrote , the Brihat Samhita, 3
rd
sloka of the 13
th
 Adhyaya (Chapter)
आसघास  ु
 
  ुनयः
 
शासित
 
पृ 
 
  ुिि   े
 
नृपतौ
 
 
षट  ्
 
िक
 
पणचिय  ुतः
 
शककाल
 
ाज
 
।।
 
¡sanmagh¡su munaya¦ ¾¡sati p»thv§¯ yuddhi½¿hir£ n»patau |½a¿ dvika pa³cadviyuta¦ ¾akak¡lastasya r¡j²a¾ca ||
The Seven sages (Ursa Major – the Great Bear) were stationed in the Asterism Magha, when King Yudhistira was rulingthe earth . The commencement of the Saka era took place 2526 years after the regnal period of that monarch.We know that Yudhishtira of the Pancha Pandava won the Mahabharata war during (3102 +_ 36) and then ruled for 36years up too 3102 BCE. Twenty five years after Kaliyuga began , when, Yudhishtira left the world in 3076 BCE. (thestarting year of the Saptarishi calendar or the Laukika or Kashmirabdham) the Saptarishi Mandalam was in the Maghaconstellation, as per the astronomical data,and Varahamihira states that the Saka era he is refering to started 2526years after this, which puts us at 550 BCE. So the Saka era he was talking albout must have been The Sakanripa kala of King Kuru (Kurush) of Persia. So now we are ready to determine the date that Varaha was talking about as being 550-427 = 123 BCE.. The Sakanripa kala did’nt find much usage after the Persians lost control of the territories they hadgained during the reign of Kurush. This sloka from the Brihat Samhita is mentioned also in Kalhana’s Rajatarangini. TheRajatarangini was written in 1148 CE, This quote occurs in the 56th sloka of the 1
st
Taranga.The confusion regarding the different Saka eras was created by the British , by their hopeless mangling of thechronology starting with the Misinterptretation of the Greek synchronism
29
where they concluded that Megastheneswas the ambassador to the court of King Chandragupta Maurya, whereas he was most likely an ambassador to thecourt of the Gupta empireAccording to the British chronology, According to their chronology, the Vikram Saka isnamed a fter a King who ws not yet born
WORKSPancha-Siddhantika
Varahamihira's main work is the book
Pañcasiddh
ā
ntik 
ā
(or
Pancha-Siddhantika
, "[Treatise] on the Five [Astronomical]Canons) dated ca. ? gives us information about older Indian texts which are now lost. The work is a treatise onmathematical astronomy and it summarises five earlier astronomical treatises, namely the Surya Siddhanta, RomakaSiddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and Paitamaha Siddhantas. It is a compendium of native Indian aswell as Hellenistic astronomy (including Greek, Egyptian and Roman elements).
[1]
 The 11th century Arabian scholar Alberuni also described the details of "The Five Astronomical Canons":
29
Vepa, Kosla The Pernicious Effects of the Misinterpreted Greek Synchronism in Indian history” Presented at the ICIH2009, Available in Souvenir Volume
 
57"They [the Indians] have 5 Siddh
ā
ntas:
 
S
ū
rya-Siddh
ā
nta, ie. the Siddh
ā
nta of the Sun, composed by L
ā
a,
 
Vasishtha-siddh
ā
nta, so called from one of the stars of the Great Bear, composed by Vishnucandra,
 
Pulisa-siddh
ā
nta, so called from Paulisa, the Greek, from the city of Saintra, which I suppose to beAlexandria, composed by Pulisa.
 
Romaka-siddh
ā
nta, so called from the R
ū
m, ie. the subjects of the Roman Empire, composed by
Ś
r
 ī 
she
a.
 
Brahma-siddh
ā
nta, so called from Brahman, composed by Brahmagupta, the son of Jish
u, from thetown of Bhillam
ā
la between Mult
ā
n and Anhilw
ā
ra, 16 yojanas from the latter place."
[2]
 
Brihat-Samhita
Main article: Brihat-Samhita
Varahamihira's other most important contribution is the encyclopedic Brihat-Samhita.Varahamihira also made important contributions to mathematics. He was also an astrologer. He wrote on all the threemain branches of Jyotisha astrology:
 
Brihat Jataka - is considered as one the five main treatises on Hindu astrology on horoscopy.
 
Daivaigya Vallabha
 
Laghu Jataka
 
Yoga Yatra
 
Vivaha Patal
 
His son Prithuyasas also contributed in the Hindu astrology; his book "Hora Saara" is a famous book onhoroscopy.
WESTERN INFLUENCES
It is a facile assumption that Occidentalists make based on phonetic similarity to the words Romeand Paul that the Romaka Siddhanta should be translated as the "Doctrine of the Romans" and thePulisa Siddhanta should be regarded as the "Doctrine of Paul" . But the Pulisa siddhanta looks a lotlike another siddhanta of Indian origin and talk about Yugas and timescales that are nowhere elseto be seen in any greek document of that vintage. Furthermore the author of the Romakasiddhanta is frequently mentioned as one Srisena. It is assumed that his work is based on Romanrather than Greek sources. But there is no valid reason for doing so since there is no evidence thatthe Romans had anything to teach the Indians .A remark in the Brihat-Samhita by Varahamihira says: "The Greeks, though impure, must behonored since they were trained in sciences and therein, excelled others....." ("mleccha hi yavanahtesu samyak shastram kdamsthitam/ rsivat te 'p i pujyante kim punar daivavid dvijah" (Brihat-Samhita 2.15)).But it is a definite leap in faith to assume he was equating Yavanas with Greeks,There are sufficient reasons as we have said already to assume that Varahamihira was not referringto Greeks when he was talking about Yavanas . See for instancehttp://www.scribd.com/doc/13298002/Yavanas-Are-Not-Greeks
SOME IMPORTANT TRIGONOMETRIC RESULTS ATTRIBUTED TO VARAHAMIHIRA

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