Varahamihira is the author of the Brihat Samhita and the Pancha Siddhantika. He travelled to the land of the Yavanas as well as Persia and translated the panchatantra into pahlavi at the request of the Persian king.

Time,  place and contemporaries:

  • There is a Sanskrit shloka that says that Varahamihira was one of the 9 gems of Vikramaditya’s court along with Kalidasa. Ghatakarpara was another.
  • Dhanvantari, Kshapanaka, Amarasimha, Sanku, VetalaBhatta, Ghatakarpara, Kalidasa, Khyata (famous) Varahamihira, Ratnani Vai (are gems),  Vararuchi, Nava Vikramasya (of the new Vikrama) or it could mean are the 9 gems of Vikrama.
  • Mainstream historians have made so many errors with our history that they they labelled Vikramaditya as mythical and now they don’t know who Varahamihira’s king was! But modern thinkers are are trying to correct this problem. (As usual, since the erroneous claims were made first, it becomes our headache to clear up matters. Eventually Satyameva jayate!)
  • Varahamihira has been referred to as Avantika, ie a person of Avanti or Ujjain by his commentator Bhattotpala.
  • According to Persian tradition, Varahamihira visited Persia and translated the Panchatantra into Pahlavi at the instance of the king of Persia 531 to 576 AD.
  • In 1030 AD AlBeruni said that the PanchaSiddhantika was composed 526 years before his time, which gives us 505 AD. It also means that Pancatantra was already written by Varahamihira’s time.
  • The Panchasiddhantika refers to 427 Saka Year. So this could be a proof for Saka Year 0 = 78 AD, or there may be some circular reference hidden this argument which may emerge later.
  • 3795 Kaliyuga. Vikaramaditya as per the Bhavishya Purana. Then Kaliyuga start point would be around 3290 BCE, which is in the ballpark of the traditional estimate of 3102 BCE (BC) for the zero point of Aryabhatta Kaliyuga. (This means we are okay with using this zero point to resolve other kaliyuga dates. eg. It give us ~1740 Kaliyuaga as the time of Gautama Kaasyapa Buddha, which is about 1500 BCE. Which further confirms that Chanakya’s Chandragupta is not Alexander’s Sandrokottus and that Buddhism is approximately as old as Judaism)
  • (This Vikramaditya had Vetala sent to him by Parvathi and had a magnificent throne given to him by Siva and he defeated the Sakas and revived the Arya Dharma.)
  • Varahamihira – Really 427 of Saka Era? : Pancha Siddhantika

Predecessors :

  • Varahamihira quotes Kapila (pradhana – first or primordial matter of nature), the founder of the Sankhya philosophy as well as Kanada (atomic theory – Vaisesika system). He refers to laukayatikas (emergent phenomena) and th those who give Kala or time as the cause of the universe.

Work :

The Brihat Samhita has been translated into English by M. Ramakrishna Bhat and published by Motilal Banarasidas Publishers.

  • Samhita means compilation. Brihat means great.
  • It was the style in ancient times to first quote what every previous author said on the subject and then to give one’s own view.
  • (Alberuni did not understand this and made some rather silly comments. I won’t repeat them here. But we know that Varahamihira lived before AlBeruni.)
  • In the Brihat Samhita, Varahamihira first praises the Sun, his favorite deity.
  • Varahamihira said that even if an ordinary person who is not a rishi makes scientific sense he  is worth listening to.
  • Even if he is a mleccha (foreigner) like the yavanas.
  • Kalidasa also said that you cannot swear by everything because it is old and reject everything because it is new. (Puranam ityeva na sadhu sarvam, na chaapi kavyam navamityavadyam..) This was a familiar sentiment of the time. Similarly, Kalidasa’s Meghadutam demonstrates a clear knowledge of clouds – content, travel paths etc, which Varahamihira’s works demonstrate.

Names of the days of the weeks and rasis (zodiac signs) :

  1. Varahamihira gives a reference to the day of Kuja (Mars). Mars is also called Kshiti – Tanaya (the sun of the earth).
  2. He says ths day is inauspicious whether the one who says so is an ordinary man or is Pitamaha (lit means grandfather.. in this context it means Brahma).
  3. (In the Valmiki Ramayanam, I do not recall seeing any reference to the day of the week.)
  4. I have seen a reference to the day of the week (Somavasara – Monday) in Janamejaya’s Dana Sasana Patram. Janamejaya was the grandson of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna.
  5. Swami Vivekananda says that the etymyology of the words shows us that the days of the week were named first by Indians and the meaning borrowed later by the greeks and romans. (Some mlecchas are descendants of Yayati who were banished west.)
  6. Similarly, the names of the rasis are mentioned by Parasara in his Parasara Hora Sastra. Parasara was Vyasa‘s father and he lived long before Chanakya.  We know this from the Kautilya Arthasastra.
  7. Karkataka Lagna (Cancer Ascendant) was mentioned in the Balakanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, to indicate te time of Sri Rama’s birth.

Comparitive Study on cometary records from Brhat Samhita and Brhadbahu Samhita

Links to Varahamihira’s works

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