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Varahamihira, was an Indian astronomer, Indian astronomer, mathenatician, and astrologer
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Follow us on: Facebook Twitter. The Acharya then goes on to display his deep, intuitive knowledge of celestial bodies and planetary movements. He was the first to describe many astronomical phenomena such as equinoxes, solstices, eclipses, comets, meteors and even sun spots — which are now a scientifically-established phenomena. Varahamihira devotes several chapters on predictive astrology, based on the position of planets, bodily characteristics angavidya: chapter 51 , and omens.
These predictions pertain to natural phenomena and the general health, welfare and prosperity of people — both royalty and laymen. There are also some chapters devoted to auspicious days and times pertaining to birth, weddings, travel, etc. In three seemingly disconnected passages, Varahamihira tells us a man's fortunes depending on the smell of his semen 11! The common manner of practice of Hindu astrology as we know it today, owes a great deal to Varahamihira's masterful treatise.
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His methodical approach gave Jyotish its scientific status and influenced generations of practitioners in this field. Meteorology and allied subjects in the Brihat Samhita Because planetary activity and climate are connected, Varahamihira's Brihat Samhita deals with the subjects like meteorology, hydrology and seismology. The importance of rain in an agriculture-driven economy, has been underlined in this text. Chapters 21 to 31 are devoted to rain and other natural phenomena.
He writes on rain, on Yogas like Rohini and Swati, on winds, cloud formations, earthquakes, rainbows, dust storms and thunder bolts among other things. Rain gauging comes across as an important function of the ancient Indian astrologer. He writes several verses describing the colours of the sky, shapes of clouds, the positions of nakshatras , the growth of vegetation, behaviour of animals, the nature of lightening and thunder and associated rainfall patterns. Interestingly, Varahamihira not only talks about rainfall and resulting crop production but also comments on the rise and fall of prices of crops thereupon!
Varahamira describes the general geography of the region and also devotes an entire chapter to seismic activity and earthquakes. He classifies earthquakes by way of nakshatra time and gives many natural indicators predicting quakes and some mythological reasons for their occurrence. There is another remarkable chapter on 'Undercurrents' chapter 54 , where Varahamihira explains how to gauge underwater sources based on geographical pointers. He mentions different kinds of plants, reptiles, insects and other creatures as well as soil markers for groundwater sources.
Elaborate studies have been undertaken by contemporary scholars on this aspect and science has indeed corroborated the accuracy of many of the parameters described by the great ancient scientist. Architecture in the Brihat Samhita Four expansive chapters in the Brihat Samhita deal with the science and craft of architecture. These chapters, along with other Shilpa texts, form the basis of Vastu Shilpa and Vastu Shastra as we understand them today. Varahamihira describes in some detail the kinds and dimensions of houses to be built by certain classes of people.
He also expertly comments upon the technical aspect of cement mixtures and other masonic techniques. But it is in the context of temple architecture, religious sculpture and iconography that the Brihat Samhita has received a lot of importance. The Brihat Samhita lists 20 types of temples ranging from one to twelve storeys high The text also lists at least 56 design requirements in temple construction.
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The breadth of the entrance to the garbhagriha shall be a fourth of the breadth of the room and its height shall be twice the breadth. There are similar detailed prescriptions about the central and ancillary icons in a temple — whether Hindu or Buddhist — as well as sacred rules pertaining to their installation.
So popular was this section that it found place in Alberuni's 10 th century composition called Indica. A chapter on sculptures was translated and included in the said book Varahamihira devised and collated important tenets in Vastuvidya, fusing elements of mythology and architecture.
His square grid became a popular layout plan, with each grid accorded to a particular deity.
The Vaastupurusha concept, as elucidated in his book, is still observed in the field of vastru shastra. These helped create blueprints not just for the builder but also the priest. Installations rites of mortar and god were dealt with equally by the genius that was Varahamihira. Along with Manasara and Shilpa Ratna, the Brihat Samhita became an important source book for architectural guidelines in the ancient through medieval periods.
Environment in the Brihat Samhita Varahamihira shows an exceptional knowledge of the environment in his treatise.
In his chapter on Undercurrents see ii , he lists a number of positive and negative bio indicators that point to or negate the existence of groundwater at that point. In the exhaustive floral and faunal clues on water divination, Varahamihira lists the number of plants, reptiles, insects and other creatures, which offer valuable insights on the biodiversity, climatic and soil conditions of the period.
The Brihat Samhita also has a separate chapters on plants and animals. Chapter 29 is devoted to Flowers and Plants, in which he indicates and interprets what the growth patterns of certain plants and flowers means. He enumerates in great detail the kinds of plants that should or should not be planted next to each other and the distance to be maintained between them.
Plant nutrition and disease has also been touched upon.
Mention of grafting, pruning and fertilizing techniques further testify for the incredibly deep knowledge Vaharamihira had on matters on gardening and plant life. The Chapters 61 through 67 describe briefly the features of animals like dogs, roosters, turtles, goats, horses and elephants. Varahamihira also chronicles exceptional behaviours of animals in the section of omens, and between chapters 89 and 94, he explains the omens thereof. Chapter number 55 on gardening also demonstrates Varahamihira's knowhow on plant life.
Gemology in the Brihat Samhita Gems and jewels are first mentioned in the Brihat Samhita in the astrological context The text makes a mention of at least 22 types of jewels16, including diamonds, sapphires, rubies, beryls, amethysts, corals, moon-gems, etc. There are independent chapters 81 to 84 devoted to diamonds, pearls, rubies, and emeralds. These chapters elaborate the sources of these gems and their quality. The author describes the size, shape, clarity, purity, weight and even prices of some of these gems.
He also recommends the kinds of gems to be worn by people of different castes. Jewels were used not just for ornamentation, but also for astrological reasons like protection against evil. Pearls seem to have been popular in the Gupta Age, as Varahamihira describes many kinds of pearls and pearl necklaces: ranging from one-string necklaces to stringed ones These notes offer valuable insights on not just the technical points of gemology, but also their uses in astrology and the prevalent trade practices in that industry. At the core of Varahamihira's recommendation of gemstones in astrology lies a concern for human welfare.
This feature is almost a constant through the Brihat Samhita and this is what has endeared the writer to generations of readers. It forms the interesting non-technical content in the text, which appeals to the lay reader.