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Varahamihira and His Times

Ajay Mitra Shastri (Author)
Synopsis The present work deals with some interesting problems concerning Varahamihira, who was one of the greatest Jyotisa writers of ancient India and a true representative of the life and culture of the Gupta age, and his numerous writings. The questions dwelt upon include, inter alia, the genesis of his name which was due to certain socio-religious phenomena, the determination of the Saka-kala employed by him, the chronological and historical implications of his allusion to Maharajadhiraja Dravyavardhana of Avanti, the reconstruction of the text of the Samasa-samhita, the abridged but quite important version of the Brhat-samhita, the bearing of the Yoga-yatra reference to the practice of carrying the images of the divine guardians of directions at the time of a military march on the determination of the divine image held aloft by the army of Porus while on move against Alexander, references by him to the traditional polymath Nagnajit and his work Citra-laksana vis-?-vis the existing work going under this title, iconological data in his writings, the true meaning of the Ajivikas mentioned by him, the ascertainment of his place in the history of Vastuvidya and of the Arabic polymath Alberuni’s references to him, and of his supposed relationship with the Jaina patriarch Bhadrabahu as narrated by some medieval Jaina writers. Some allied questions including the date of Kalyanavarman, the author of the Saravali, and certain problems concerning Bhattotpala, Varahamihira’s well-known commentator, have been touched upon in appendices. The views of the author on these questions reflect the results of his sustained studies spread over nearly last three decades. The studies comprised in the present work evince author’s excellent grasp of literary and archaeological sources and would, hopefully, be found useful and thought-inspiring by students of early Indian history.
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About the author

Ajay Mitra Shastri

Prof. Ajay Mitra Shastri (b. 1934), a reputed historian, epigraphist, numismatist and indologist, has retired recently as Professor of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology from Nagpur University. A former Editor of the Journal of the Numismatic Society of India, he is currently Editor of the Numismatic Digest. Formerly Chairman of the Indian Coin Society, he is now Vice-Chairman of the Epigraphical Society of India, Convener of the Inscriptions of India, Programme of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, and Chairman of the Advisory Board (Ancient Period) and as such a member of the National Commission for History of Science, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi. Professor Shastri has been Sectional President of the Indian History Congress (1978), Andhra Pradesh History Congress (1980), Maharashtra Itihas Parishad (1986) and the All-India Oriental Conference (1994) and General President of the Numismatic Society of India (1981), Epigraphical Society of India (1987), Third International Colloquium of 'Coinage, Trade and Economy at the Indian Institute of Research in Numismatic Studies, Nasik, Tamil Nadu Numismatic Society, Indian History and Culture Society (1991), the Vidvat Parishad of the Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti (1994), South Indian Numismatic Society (1997), Member of the History panel of the University Grants Commission (1980-82), UGC National Lecturer (1985) and UGC National Fellow (1987-89) and is currently UGC Emeritus Fellow. He has been felicitated by the Numismatic Society of India with its Akbar Silver Medal (1984) and Altekar Gold Medal (1995); presented with a plaque of honour by the Coin Study Circle, Calcutta (1989), a copper-plate by the Epigraphical Society of India (1992), James Campbell Memorial Gold Medal by the Asiatic Society of Bombey (1996), Jijamata Vidvat Puraskar of the Chhatrapati Pratishthan, Nagpur (1997) and honoured with a couple of festschrifts: one published from Indore (1988) and the other in two tomes from Delhi (1989). He has also delivered numerous prestigious endowment lectures.

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Bibliographic information

Title Varahamihira and His Times
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1991
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
length xvi+248p., Plates; Appendices; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.
Subjects History