GREAT WOMEN LILAVATI AND UBHAYA BHARATI (Post No.7464)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No.7464

Date uploaded in London – 17 January 2020

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog.

THE CELEBRATED ASTRONOMER AND MATHEMATICIAN BHASKARA FLOURISHED IN MAHARASHTRA IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY  CE. HIS DAUGHTER WAS LILAVATI.

One of the famous mathematical works of Bhaskara is Liilaavati. There is a tradition that this work was actually composed by the widowed daughter of Bhaskara whose name was Lilavati. We have also a story how Bhaskara failed to determine the auspicious moment for the celebration of his daughter’s marriage owing to a defect in the ‘ghati-yantra’ — an instrument for measuring time -Caused by a small stone that had fallen into it from the ornament of LilavatI.

Though there is no written proof for this story we believe that Bhaskara  was the author of the Lilavati  and he has honoured her by naming it after her. All the mathematical problems in the book are addressed to a girl, often expressions by like  ‘aye bale Lilavati-

 — o young Lilavati , although Bhaskara may have actually written the book Lilavati for teaching the subject to his own daughter.

XXX

BENGAL’S WISE WOMAN KSHANAVATI

In Bengal there are a large number of popular sayings that are attributed to a female astronomer named Khanaa or probably Kshanaavatii . These sayings are in old Bengali and relate to astronomy and astrology, often with special reference to agriculture.

Tradition has it that Khana was the wife of an astronomer named

Mihira , who was the son of another famous astronomer named

Varaha . This tradition has been apparently fabricated on the basis of the celebrated ancient Indian astronomer Varahamihira, who flourished in the sixth century CE, but had hardly anything to do with Bengal. But Khana may have lived in Bengal and she may be renowned female astronomer.

xxx

GREAT PHILOSOPHER UBHAYABHARATI

In the traditions that have grown around the illustrious name of

Shankaracharya , there is a story about a great woman philosopher of Mithila – probably named Ubhayabharati. It is said that in the course of his ‘dig-vijaya’ – visiting various institutions for scholarly debates resulting in victory – Shankara reached Mithila . There he was engaged in a debate with another famous philosopher named Mandana Mishra.  According to tradition Shankara defeated Mishra and Mishra’s wife Ubhayabharati was the mediator in the debate. When her husband was defeated by Shnakara, she challenged shankara with some questions about family life. Being a Brahmachari (celibate) he didn’t have any experience in Kama shastra. He asked for some time to answer her questions and then entered another king’s body who had  just expired. He was able to with his supernatural powers. After gaining some knowledge in family matters Shankara defeated Ubhayabharati also and both Mishras had become followers of Shankara.

People who has faith in tradition believe in these stories though we have no written records from that period. Even three Semitic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism believe in Moses though there is no historical proof for Moses until today. So there is no wonder Hindus also believe in their tradition.

–Source book – Great Women of India , Advaita Asrama, mayavati, 1953

tags – Lilavati, Ubhayabharati, Khana, Kshanavati

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