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Varahamihira

Varahamihira

Varahamihira is an Indian Mathematician who was born during the early 6th-century. He was born in the Avanti region and brought up in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh, India).  

After Meeting Aryabhatta, He got the inspiration to become a mathematician and astrologer. He was studied at Kapitthaka. He is one of the “Nine Jewels” of the court of emperor Yashodharman Vikramaditya of Malwa. 

Varāhamihira’s most well-known work was Brihat Samhita. This book is all about architecture, mathematics, gemology, temples, planetary motions, astrology, cloud formation, eclipses, timekeeping, rainfall, seasons, agriculture, and many other topics.

Some Mathematicians even believed that he has a strong knowledge of the predictive calculations and zodiac signs. He used to perform astrological computations and auspicious ceremonies in India in those days.

Varahamihira
Varahamihira

Varahamihira Books:

He has written two books which became famous not only in India but also throughout the globe. His books were been translated into different languages.

Pancha-Siddhantika

In this book, he writes about mathematical astronomy. He explains about the five earlier astronomical treatises by five authors, namely the Paulisa Siddhanta, Paitamaha Siddhanta, Surya Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta.

In this book, He says about ayanamsa, or the shifting of the equinox is 50.32 seconds. He was the first Mathematician to speak about ayanamsa.

Brihat-Samhita

This is the second book written by Varahamihira.

This book has 106 chapters and hence this book is also called “great compilation”.

This book is all about divination. He even writes about other topics like astronomy, clouds, planetary movements, rainfall, eclipses, growth of crops, matrimony, gems, pearls, architecture, manufacture of perfume, domestic relations, and rituals. 

It is said that many of his books have been lost.

The Arub Travelers Ibn Batuta and Al Baruni who came to India to Learn Vedic Mathematics has translated his book into different languages.

Contributions of Varahamihira in Mathematics

  1. Sine tables were created by Aryabhata but were improved by Varahamihira. 
  2. He discovered a version of Pascal’s triangle.
  3. He created the first 4×4 magic square.
  4. He used it to calculate the binomial coefficients.
  5. He was the first to speak about ayanamsa.

Interesting facts about Varahamihira 

Though he was a mathematical astronomer, He had an interest in other fields too. 

  1. He was a great astrologer and astronomer. He used to see the positions of stars, sun, moon, and planets and used to predict many things.
  2. It is said that Varahamihira had constructed “Meru Stambh”.
  3. He proposed that planets and Moon are lustrous due to sunlight but not because of their own light.
  4. He even said that the earth was spherical.
  5. He penned all the three main sections of Jyotisha astrology.

Many other Indian Mathematicians has done great contribution in the field of Mathematics just like Varahamihira. A few of them are Aryabhatta, Mahavira, Madhava of Sangamagrama

To know more about Varahamihira, read the article written by the University of Maine.

FAQ

What did Varahamihira discover?

Varahamihira’s discovered the trigonometric formulas and improved many of the formulas. Sine tables, which were created by Aryabhata was been recalculated by him to improve the accuracy. He even worked on the number zero and negative numbers.

What is the contribution of Varahamihira?

  1. Sine tables were created by Aryabhata but were improved by Varahamihira. 
  2. He used it to calculate the binomial coefficients.
  3. He created the first 4×4 magic square.
  4. He was the first to speak about ayanamsa.
  5. He discovered a version of Pascal’s triangle.
  6. Using his mathematical calculations he said that the stars are “fixed” and the planets revolve around the star at a constant speed.

What is Pancha Siddhanta?

Pancha-Siddhantika is the name of one of the books written by Varahamihira. In this book, he mentions about astronomical treatises. Paulisa Siddhanta, Surya Siddhanta, Paitamaha Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and are the 5 authors. 

How did he get the name Varahamihira?

The term Varaha Means the boar (is the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu) and the Term Mahira Means Talented.

There is a story behind this name

The then king has rewarded Varaha-Mahira with the title ‘Varaha’. King Vikramaditya was alarmed by the Mihira’s prediction. King looked around the crowded court and asked in agony “Can it be true?” No one responded to the king’s question. Breaking the silence, Mihara sadly said “As per the position of the planets, the prince will die at the age of 18.”

Queen cried and said to the king “My lord, you should see to it that this prediction proves false.”

It is said that Mihira never made any false predictions. Even though the king took every precaution to protect his son from all the odds. But on the predicted day,i.e on his 18th birthday, the prince was been killed by a boar. From that day itself, he was been named as Varaha-Mahira.

1 thought on “Varahamihira”

  1. Yogesh Vachhani

    beautiful article

    Can you please the period during which Varahmihir lived in Bharat?

    Was he before Christian missionaries came to India/Bharat or after they came to India/Bharat?

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