Varāhamihira (c. 505 – c. 587), also called Varāha or Mihira, was a Hindu astronomer and polymath who lived in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh, India). He was born in the Avanti region, roughly corresponding to modern-day Malwa (part of Madhya Pradesh, India), to Adityadasa. According to one of his own works, he was educated at Kapitthaka. The Indian tradition believes him to be one of the “Nine Jewels” (Navaratnas) of the court of ruler Yashodharman Vikramaditya of Malwa. However, this claim appears for the first time in a much later text and scholars consider this claim to be doubtful because neither Varahamihira and Vikramaditya lived in the same century nor did Varahamihira live in the same century as some of the other names in the “nine jewels” list such as the much older Kalidasa.Varāhamihira’s most notable work was the Brihat Samhita, an encyclopedic work on architecture, temples, planetary motions, eclipses, timekeeping, astrology, seasons, cloud formation, rainfall, agriculture, mathematics, gemology, perfumes and many other topics. According to Varahamihira, in some verses he was merely summarizing earlier existing literature on astronomy, Shilpa Sastra and temple architecture, yet his presentation of different theories and models of design are among the earliest texts that have survived. The chapters of the Brihat Samhita and verses of Varahamihira were quoted by the Persian traveler and scholar Al Biruni.Varāhamihira is also credited with writing several authoritative texts on astronomy and astrology. He learned the Greek language, and praised the Greeks (Yavanas) in his text for being “well trained in the sciences”. Some scholars consider him to be the strong candidate as the one who understood and introduced the zodiac signs, predictive calculations for auspicious ceremonies and astrological computations.

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