Varahamihira was one of the 9 gems of Vikramaditya’s court. There is a famous shlokam which says this. Kalidasa was one of the other nine. Kalidasa’s Megha Sandesam demonstrates a clear knowledge of Varahamihira’s observations on meteorology. So to get Varahamihira’s date is also to fix the date of Kalidasa and Vikramaditya.
The date assigned to Varahamihira is based on these verses of the PanchaSiddhanthika. Chapter 1, Verse 8 to 10. (Page 288 in the Reference : The Text and Translation of The PanchaSiddhantha by Mahamohopadhyaya Sudhakara Dwivedi and G. Thibaut, 1889. available at the Digital Library of India).
Varahamihira gives a way to calculate the ahargana, or the “count of days” from the beginning of the relevant epoch to the present day. For that he says that 427 must be subtracted from the present Saka Era. This merely implies that 427 Saka Era was the start of the Karanagrantha in use at the time. It does not specify Varahamihira’s birth, death or the date of the pancha siddhanthika.
Alberuni made two Assumptions both are possibly wrong:
- 427 Saka Era is the date of the Panchasiddhanthika
- The saka era of kalahana is the same as the saka era of Varahamihira.
Based on those 2 assumptions, he computed that the date for Varahamihira’s Panchasiddhantika was 526 years before his time. And based on this statement, Varahamihira is assigned a date in the 6th century CE (AD).
- Year 427 of the Saka Era referred to by Varahamihira in the Panchasiddhanthika is the year of the Karanagrantha.
- 2526 years separate the Bharata War and the start point of this Saka Era (Brhat Samhita)
- Kalahana and AlBeruni assumed that Varahamihira’s Sakam was the same as Kalahana’s sakam.
- Thus, AlBeruni calculated that 526 years separated him from Varahamihira and Kalahana calculated that Bharata War was in 653 Kaliyugam.. both were possibly wrong.
- Taking 3168 BCE (36 kaliyuga) as the Date of the Bharata war, we conclude that the Saka referred to by Varahamihira started in 612 BCE.
- Karana Granthas have astronomical significance and Sakas have historical significance.
- So we must look for an important astronomical event in 612-427=185 BCE and an important kingly victory in 612 BCE.
- We know that Varahamihira could not have lived prior to 185 BCE. This gives us an upper bound.
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