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Meghamala – An Ancient Hindu Text On Meteorology

Ancient Hindus took ken interest in meteorology, and their close observations resulted in the development of this science. Meghamala is an ancient Hindu text on meteorology.

Ancient Hindus were particularly involved in predictions about matters concerning rains, as they were very vital for an agricultural economy. And it was quite natural that it gave rise to several works on rainfall in different parts of the Indian subcontinent. One such works is Meghamala, which is known only through manuscripts, and is still awaiting a critical edition.

Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, possesses four manuscripts of this text. Of these, the first two are called Raudri Meghamala and the colophon of the first represents it is a section of Gargi Samhita (iti sri gargisamhitayam raduri meghamalayam garbha samyogam samaptam iti).

The third one was copied in Vikram Samvat 1759 (1839 AD). These differ very little from one another and are in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The topics dwelt in Meghamala include:
  • garbha lakshana (pregnancy of clouds), 
  • classification of clouds, 
  • way and means of ascertaining future rainfall,
  • sadyovarsha lakshana (signs of imminent rainfall), 
  • measurement of rains and 
  • some other related subjects.
Bibliography
A Cultural History of India (1975) A L Basham – Oxford University Press New Delhi.
Ancient India (1987) R C Majumdar – Motilal Banarsidass New Delhi
The Shape of Ancient Thought Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies (2002) Thomas McEvilley – Allworth Communications New York.
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VII page 131 - IHRF




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