Mahendra Sūri (ca. 1340–1400) was a fourteenth-century Jaina astronomer. He was trained by Madana Sūri and was a teacher to Malayendu Sūri. His fame rests on the work Yantrarāja, which introduced the astrolabe to the Indian astronomer.
Mahendra Sūri was patronized by the Tughlak ruler of Delhi, Firūz Shāh (r. 1351–1388), who evinced keen interest in astronomy. Firūz Shāh had earlier caused the Bṛhatsaṃhitā of Varāhamihira to be translated into Persian. At the sultan’s instance, Mahendra Sūri studied the astrolabe and introduced it to the Sanskrit audience in 1370 in his Yantrarāja. The Sanskrit orthodoxy seems to have accorded the work a lukewarm welcome, though. Its circulation was largely, if not wholly, confined to astronomers who worked within the Islamic and Ptolemaic traditions.
The Yantrarāja is best described as an astrolabe user’s manual. It explains how this king (rāja) of instruments (yantra) is to be constructed and commissioned for purposes of observation. The saumya-yantra...
KeywordsKeen Interest Ready Reference Islamic Tradition Indian Astronomer
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