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Varhamihira

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Varhamihira pronunciation (505587 CE), also 1.2 Brihat-Samhita


called Varaha or Mihir, was an Indian astronomer,
mathematician, and astrologer who lived in Ujjain. He Another important contribution of Varahamihira is the
was born in Avanti (India) region, roughly corresponding encyclopedic Brihat-Samhita. It covers wide ranging
to modern-day Malwa, to Adityadasa, who was himself an subjects of human interest, including astrology, plane-
astronomer. According to one of his own works, he was tary movements, eclipses, rainfall, clouds, architecture,
educated at Kapitthaka.[1] He is considered to be one of growth of crops, manufacture of perfume, matrimony,
the Nine Jewels (Navaratnas) of the court of legendary domestic relations, gems, pearls, and rituals. The volume
ruler Yashodharman Vikramaditya of Malwa.[2][3] expounds on gemstone evaluation criterion found in the
Garuda Purana, and elaborates on the sacred Nine Pearls
from the same text. It contains 106 chapters and is known
as the great compilation.
1 Works

1.1 Pancha-Siddhantika 1.3 On Astrology


He was also an astrologer. He wrote on all the three main
Varahamitras main work is the book Pacasiddhntik
branches of Jyotisha astrology:
(or Pancha-Siddhantika, "[Treatise] on the Five [Astro-
nomical] Canons) dated ca. 575 CE gives us information
about older Indian texts which are now lost. The work is Brihat Jataka - is considered as one of the ve main
a treatise on mathematical astronomy and it summarises treatises on Hindu astrology on horoscopy.
ve earlier astronomical treatises, namely the Surya Sid- Laghu Jataka - also known as 'Swalpa Jataka'
dhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha
Siddhanta and Paitamaha Siddhanta. It is a compendium Samasa Samhita - also known as 'Lagu Samhita' or
of Vedanga Jyotisha as well as Hellenistic astronomy (in- 'Swalpa Samhita'
cluding Greek, Egyptian and Roman elements).[4] Vara-
Brihat Yogayatra - also known as 'Mahayatra' or
hamihira was the rst one to mention that the ayanamsa,
'Yakshaswamedhiya yatra'
or the shifting of the equinox is 50.32 seconds.
Yoga Yatra - also known as 'Swalpa yatra'
They [the Indians] have 5 Siddhntas: Tikkani Yatra
Srya-Siddhnta, ie. the Siddhnta Brihat Vivaha Patal
of the Sun, thought to be composed
by Ladeva,but actually composed by Lagu Vivaha Patal - also known as 'Swalpa Vivaha
Mayasura also known as Mamuni Mayan Patal'
as stated in the text itself. Lagna Varahi
Vasishtha-siddhnta, so called from one Kutuhala Manjari
of the stars of the Great Bear, composed
by Vishnucandra, Daivajna Vallabha (apocryphal)

1
2 5 NOTES

His son Prithuyasas also contributed to Hindu astrology; 3.2 Arithmetic


his book Hora Sara is a famous book on horoscopy.
Khana (also named Lilavati elsewhere), the medieval He dened the algebraic properties of zero as well as of
Bengali poet astrologer, is believed to be the daughter- negative numbers.[10]
in-law of Varahamihira.

3.3 Combinatorics
1.4 Sankhya-Siddhanta
He was among the rst mathematicians to discover a ver-
Another of Varahamihiras lesser known works is the sion of what is now known as the Pascals triangle. He
Sankhya-Siddhanta. Not much is known about this work, used it to calculate the binomial coecients.[11][12][13]
since only a fragment of it was recovered. From what
has been recovered, archaeologists state that it dealt with
advanced arithmetic, trigonometry, as well as some rela- 3.4 Optics
tively basic concepts.
Among Varahamihiras contribution to physics is his
statement that reection is caused by the back-scattering
2 Inuences of particles and refraction (the change of direction of a
light ray as it moves from one medium into another) by
the ability of the particles to penetrate inner spaces of
The Romaka Siddhanta (Doctrine of the Romans) and the material, much like uids that move through porous
the Paulisa Siddhanta were two works of Western ori- objects.[14]
gin which inuenced Varahamihiras thought, though this
view is controversial as there is much evidence to sug- 1. ^ the Paca-siddhntik (Five Treatises), a com-
gest that it was actually Vedic thought indigenous to In- pendium of Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Indian astron-
dia which rst inuenced Western astrologers and subse- omy. Varhamihiras knowledge of Western astronomy
quently came back to India reformulated.[5] Paulisa Sid- was thorough. In 5 sections, his monumental work pro-
dhanta is often mistakenly thought to be a single work and gresses through native Indian astronomy and culminates
attributed to Paul of Alexandria (c. 378 CE).[6] However, in 2 treatises on Western astronomy, showing calculations
this notion has been rejected by other scholars in the eld, based on Greek and Alexandrian reckoning and even giv-
notably by David Pingree who stated that "...the iden- ing complete Ptolemaic mathematical charts and tables.
tication of Paulus Alexandrinus with the author of the Encyclopdia Britannica (2007) s.v.Varahamihira ^
Paulia Siddhnta is totally false.[7] Number of his writ- 2. E. C. Sachau, Alberunis India (1910), vol. I, p. 153
ings share similarities with the earlier texts like Vedanga
Jyotisha.[8]
A comment in the Brihat-Samhita by Varahamihira says: 4 See also
The Greeks, though barbarians.,[9] must be honored
since they have shown tremendous interest in our sci- Hora Sara
ence..... (mleccha hi yavanah tesu samyak shastram
kdamsthitam/ rsivat te 'p i pujyante kim punar daivavid List of Indian mathematicians
dvijah (Brihat-Samhita 2.15)).

5 Notes
3 Contributions
[1] J J O'Connor & E F Robertson. Varahamihira.

3.1 Trigonometry [2] History of Indian Literature. Motilal Banarsidass Publi-


cations. 2008. p. 46.
Varahamihiras mathematical work included the discov-
[3] Ram Gopal (1984). Klidsa: His Art and Culture. Con-
ery of the trigonometric formulas
cept Publishing Company. p. 15.

[4] the Paca-siddhntik (Five Treatises), a compendium


sin2 x + cos2 x = 1 of Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Indian astronomy.
( ) Varhamihiras knowledge of Western astronomy was
sin x = cos x thorough. In 5 sections, his monumental work progresses
2
through native Indian astronomy and culminates in 2 trea-
1 cos 2x tises on Western astronomy, showing calculations based
= sin2 x
2 on Greek and Alexandrian reckoning and even giving
Varahamihira improved the accuracy of the sine tables of complete Ptolemaic mathematical charts and tables. En-
Aryabhata . cyclopdia Britannica (2007) s.v.Varahamihira
3

[5] Sen, Samarendra Nath; Shukla, Kripa Shankar (2000).


History of astronomy in India. Indian National Science
Academy. pp. 85, 114, 345.

[6] McEvilley, Thomas (November 2001). The Shape of An-


cient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian
Philosophies. Allworth Press. p. 385. ISBN 978-1-
58115-203-6.

[7] See David Pingree, The Yavanajtaka of Sphujidhvaja,


Vol. 2, Harvard Oriental Series, 1978, pgs. 437-438.
Also see Pingree, The Later Paulia Siddhnta, Centau-
rus 14, 1969, 172-241.

[8] Velandai Gopala Aiyer. The chronology of ancient India:


beginning of the Sat Yuga, Dwaper, Treta, and Kali Yuga
with date of Mahabharata. Sanjay Prakashan. p. 63.

[9] Monier-Williams. Denition of , Monier-


Williams.

[10] History of Mathematics in India.

[11] Varahamihira.

[12] History of Mathematics in India.

[13] J J O'Connor & E F Robertson. Varahamihira.

[14] Varahamihira.

6 External links
O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F.,
Varhamihira, MacTutor History of Mathematics
archive, University of St Andrews.
Pancasiddhantika, Brihat Jataka, Brihat Samhita
and Hora Shastra Various editions in English and
Sanskrit. (PDF)

The Brihat Jataka (1905) Pdf edition internet


archive
4 7 TEXT AND IMAGE SOURCES, CONTRIBUTORS, AND LICENSES

7 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses


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