The great Indian Astronomical Genius Varahamihira

Varahamihira is one of the greatest Indian Astronomer, astrologer, scientist and mathematician by whom great discoveries of Indian sciences and maths were made, and who the defined the capability of Indian geniuses way before the Western theorists. Varahamihira was born in Ujjain around 505 – 587 A.D. Ujjain was in the region of Avanti , which was under the rule of the Malwa kings. His father Adityadas, a Brahmin settled the Kapittha village, was an astrologer and a great devotee of Surya Bhagwan. He initiated his son into science and astrology at a very small age, and made him adept in the subjects. Varahamaihir developed great affinity towards the stars, planets and he studied astronomy in depth and became a master of it. He was also well versed in the languages of Greek, Egyptian and Roman too.

Initially, He was called by only Mihira, but there is an interesting story as to how the name of Varaha got attached to his name. Mihira was an astrologer in the court of Yashodharman Vikramaditya II of Malwa kingdom. Mihira predicted that the king’s son would pass away at the age of 18 killed by a boar(Varaha). The king was furious at this prediction and wanted to save his son at any cost. He put his son on the top floor of a building erected for this special purpose with no windows with high security and saw that no person could enter it, leave alone any animal.

In spite of all the arrangements, Mihira did not go back on his prediction. Meanwhile, the predicted day came. The young prince was playing in his room with the flag staff of the kingdom, which accidentally slipped and pierced in his chest, and he passed away. The great irony was that the flagstaff was a statue of a boar (Varaha) which was a national insignia of the kingdom. The king came to know about this and was shocked that Mihira’s prediction came true. Although in sorrow, the king praised the knowledge of Mihira and titled him with Varaha to be attached to his original name and since then Mihira came to be called as Varahamihira.

Varahamihira was not only a renowned astrologer, but a genius astronomer and a mathematician. Even before the Westerners could understand theories of science, India was way ahead in its various astrological and astronomical science theories. He was the author of the Brihat Samhita, where in many theories regarding planets, their momentary positions, eclipses, rainfall and how it affects agriculture and many more were mentioned. Another famous work was the Pancha Siddhantika in which he calculated the diameters of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. His greatest discovery was that of the presence of water and iron on Mars, the facts on which presently Research of renowned space agencies NASA and ISRO are working on

In Mathematics, he improved the accuracy of sine theories propagated by his mentor Aryabhatta. He also discovered the Pascal’s Triangle and the 4*4 square which is famous as the magic square in Maths.

As he was quite adept in the foreign languages of Greek and Roman, he could study and understand the theories propounded by them and develop accuracy in it. Varahamihira was truly a genius, yet a humble person who said about his work that Astrology is a vast Ocean, and his treatises are simple and safe boats to cross it. Varahamihira is indeed a great personality Indians can always be proud of.