Mahendra Sūri

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(fl. western India, 1370)


A Jain and a pupil of Madana Sūri of Bhŗgupura (Broach, Gujarat), Mahendra Sūri wrote the first Sanskrit treatise on the astrolabe, the Yantrarāja (1370). He evidently used an Islamic source (see essay in Supplement); in it, for instance, R = 3600’ = 60 parts; e = 1415’ = 23;35°. Furthermore, the commentary by his pupil, Malayendu Sūri, lists the latitudes of ā dane (Aden), Makkā (Mecca), Badaṣasāna (Badakhshan), Balaṣa (Balkh), Nayasāpura (Nīshāpūr), Samarakanda (Samarkand), Kāsagāra(Kashgar), and other Islamic cities, as well as “Himsārapirojāvāda which is inhabited by the king Pīroja” (the king is Firūz Shāh Tughlaq [1351–1388], and the place the Hiṣar palace begun by Fīrū at Firozabad, near Delhi, in 1354), and both the Persian and the Indian (Sanskrit) names of thirty-two stars.

There is another commentary on the Yantrarāja by Gopīrāja (1540) and a set of examples for the year 1512.


The Yantrarāja was edited, with Malayendu’ commentary, by Sudhākara Dvivedin (Benares, 1882) and by K. K. Raikva (Bombay, 1936). There are notices on Mahendra in S. Dvivedin, Ganakataran¯ginī (Benares, 1933), pp. 48–49, repr. from The Pandit, n.s. 14 (1892); and in Ś. B. Dīkṣita, Bhāratiya Jyotiḥśāstra (Poona, 1896; repr. Poona, 1931), p. 351 in repr. See also S. L. Katre, “Sultān Fīrūz Shāh Tughluk: Royal Patron of a Contemporary Sanskrit Work,” in Journal of Indian History, 45 (1967), 357–367.

David Pingree