Kesavan’s Musings

Astrology a mathematical perspective-6

The Success and failures of Astrology

A. Predictions and Mathematical admiration in the ancient History of India


araaha Mihira (499-587 CE), the great Astrologer and renowned Astronomer, once made the prediction that the prince of his country would die on the day of celebration of his 16th birthday.  Then the king enquired him about the modus operandi.  Mihra said that this would happen by way of a pig.  Then the king challenged it and said that he would see how this could happen.  Then Mihra said that he too not wishing for the event, but the fate would prevail.  Then the king celebrated his son’s birthday at first floor, and decreed that no one should allow him downstairs and his men should make a vigil of any entry of pigs. The doors were sealed. The prince waited in the first floor till the evening and got bored.  Since he could not go down, he went upstairs, where a statue of bronze pig was installed. They were the worshipers of Varaaha Avatara (Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as tusked forest wild bore and not the domesticated pig).  When the prince went near the statue of solid Varaaha and leaned on it, the statue fell on him and he collapsed.  From that day, Mihira was called as ‘Varaaha’ Mihira.

His book Pancha Siddhantha holds a leading place in the subject of astronomy. He pointed out that the moon and the planets are not emitting light on it own, but reflect the sun light. In Bruhath Samhita and Bruhath Jaataka, ‘Varaaha’ Mihira had unveiled his discoveries in the fields of the Geography, the constellation and the science of Astronomy.  ‘Varaaha’ Mihira was honored as one of the nine gems in the court of King Vikramaaditya in Avanti (Ujjain).    After ‘Varaaha’ Mihira’s period, the Astrology gained some more developments by Bhaskaracharya II.


HASKARAACHARYA II (1114-1185 CE) was born in the obscure village of Vijjadit (Jalgaon) in Mahaaraashtra.  Bhaskaracharya's work on Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry elevated him to fame and immortality. His renowned mathematical works are BeejaGanita, Siddhantha Siromani, Lilavathi (meaning beautiful woman – all advises to his daughter). Lilavathi was also quite learned in Mathematics.  He accurately predicted, well in advance that, his daughter Lilavathi would become a widow after the marriage, and in order to ward off the evil, he calculated the good time for marriage to change the fate.  Bhaskaraacharya developed an hour glass to measure the time, so that he can have the marriage in time and can escape from the prediction.  His daughter, a small girl who was looking the hour glass closely had not noticed a pearl from her ear fell in the hour glass which stopped the flow of water.  The time calculation went wrong.  But after the event, these things came to his notice.  He came to the conclusion that the twist of fate has to be faced and cannot be changed.


to be contd.


Kesava Ranga Ramanujacharya


Sep 01, 2016
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