Brihat – Samhita
Another important contribution of Varahamihira is the Brihat-Samhita. It covers wide ranging subjects of human interest, including astrology, planetary movements, eclipses, rainfall, clouds, architecture, growth of crops, manufacture of perfume, matrimony, domestic relations, gems, pearls, and rituals. The volume expounds on gemstone evaluation criterion found in the Garuda Purana, and elaborates on the sacred Nine Pearls from the same text. It contains 106 chapters and is known as the “great compilation”.
He was also an astrologer. He wrote on all the three main branches of Jyotisha astrology:
- Brihat Jataka – is considered as one of the five main treatises on Hindu astrology on horoscopy.
- Laghu Jataka – also known as ‘Swalpa Jataka’
- Samasa Samhita – also known as ‘Lagu Samhita’ or ‘Swalpa Samhita’
- Brihat Yogayatra – also known as ‘Mahayatra’ or ‘Yakshaswamedhiya yatra’
- Yoga Yatra – also known as ‘Swalpa yatra’
- Tikkani Yatra
- Brihat Vivaha Patal
- Lagu Vivaha Patal – also known as ‘Swalpa Vivaha Patal’
- Lagna Varahi
- Kutuhala Manjari
- Daivajna Vallabha (apocryphal)
His son Prithuyasas also contributed in the Hindu astrology; his book Hora Sara is a famous book on horoscopy. Khana (also named Lilavati elsewhere) the medieval Bengali poetess astrologer is believed to be the daughter-in-law of Varahamihir.
The Romaka Siddhanta (“Doctrine of the Romans”) and the were two works of Western origin which influenced Varahamihira’s thought, though this view is controversial as there is much evidence to suggest that it was actually Vedic thought indigenous to India which first influenced Western astrologers and subsequently came back to India reformulated. Number of his writings share similarities with with the earlier texts like Vedanga Jyotisha .
A comment in the Brihat-Samhita by Varahamihira says: “The Greeks, though Barbarians, must be honored since they have shown tremendous interest in our science…..” (“mleccha hi yavanah tesu samyak shastram kdamsthitam/ rsivat te ‘p i pujyante kim punar daivavid dvijah” (Brihat-Samhita 2.15)).