Utpala (astronomer)

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Utpala or Bhaṭṭotpala (Bhaṭṭa-utpala) is the name of a 10th-century Indian commentator of Vārāha Mihira's Brihat Samhitā. Brihat Samhitā is a Samhitā text of Jyotiṣa (Indian astrology and astronomy) . Samhitā is one of three branches of Jyotiṣa (Samhitā has many other meanings outside Jyotiṣa).

He is known for quoting six verses from Surya Siddhanta which are not found in its extant version. These six verses can be found in the 'Introduction' by S.Jain to the translation of Surya Siddhānta made by E. Burgess.[1]

He is also the author of a commentary on Brahmagupta's Khaṇḍa-khādyaka (7th century). In this, he is a successor of Prthudaka and a predecessor of Amaraja.

He was from Kashmir.[2][3][4][5]



In Sanskrit, the neuter noun utpala has two meanings, both given by Amarakoṣa (a lexicon of circa. 400 AD). The first meaning is white lotus also known as kuvalaya in Sanskrit, according to Amarakoṣa.[6][7] The second meaning of utpala is a variety of medicinal plant known as 'kooṭh' in Hindi and 'kusṭham, vyādhi, paribhavyam or pāribhavyam, vāpyam, pākalam' according to Amarkośa.[8][9]

Monier-Williams gives following meanings of utpala: (1) the blossom of the blue lotus Nymphaea caerulea (-Mahābhārata, Rāmāyana, Suśruta, Raghuvamsa, Meghdoota, etc.),(2) a seed of Nymphaea caerulea (-Suśruta), (3) the plant Costus speciosus (-Bhagavata Purāna), (4) any water-lily, any flower, (-lexicons) (5) a particular hell (-Buddhist literature), (6) name of a Nāga, (7) names of several persons, including an astronomer, (8) its feminine form utpalā meant a river (-Harivamśa), (9) its feminine form utpalā also meant a kind of cake made of unwinnowed corn (-lexicons);

An unrelated homonym, compounded from ud "apart" + pala "flesh" means 'fleshless, emaciated' (-lexicons) and is the name of a particular hell (-lexicons).

  • Monier-Williams, Monier (1899), A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
  • Śāstri, Hargovinda (1978), Amarkoṣa with Hindi commentary, Vārānasi: Chowkhambā Sanskrit Series Office


Utpala is a kind of flower which is usually appeared in the Thangka of Tibetan. It rises from mud, and is like water lily or lotus. Utpala is a symbol of the pure. Several traditional deities of Tibet including Tārā have been depicted holding Utpala flowers in hands. Tārā is a famous deity in Buddhism and is also worshipped by Shakti-worshipping Hindus as well esp. in Eastern India,e.g., Mithila.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Many publishers have published this translation of Surya Siddhānta by Burgess which was originally published in 1858. Orient Book Centre of Delhi published this translation of Surya Siddhānta by Burgess edited by S. Jain who wrote an introduction 50 pages long.
  2. ^ Bina Chatterjee (introduction by), The Khandakhadyaka of Brahmagupta, Motilal Banarsidass (1970), p. 13
  3. ^ Lallanji Gopal, History of Agriculture in India, Up to C. 1200 A.D., Concept Publishing Company (2008), p. 603
  4. ^ Kosla Vepa, Astronomical Dating of Events & Select Vignettes from Indian History, Indic Studies Foundation (2008), p. 372
  5. ^ Dwijendra Narayan Jha (edited by), The feudal order: state, society, and ideology in early medieval India, Manohar Publishers & Distributors (2000), p. 276
  6. ^ Amarakoṣa 1.10.37
  7. ^ For electronic edition of Amarakoṣa definition see: [1].
  8. ^ Amarakoṣa 2.4.126
  9. ^ For electronic edition of Amarakoṣa definition see: [2].


  • David Pingree, The Beginning of Utpala's Commentary on the Khaṇḍakhādyaka, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1973).
  • B. Chatterjee (trans.), The Khandakhadyaka (an astronomical treatise) of Brahmagupta; With the commentary of Bhattotpala, 2 vols., Calcutta (1970).
  • Surya Siddhānta (Text with translation and Notes) [A Text-Book of Hindu Astronomy], translation by E.Burgess, with Sanskrit text and edited by S.Jain. Oriental Book Centre,5824 New Chandrawal, Near Shiv Mandir, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi-110007,2005; ISBN 81-8315-017-9.
  • Yoga Yatra Vivritti of Bhattotpala
  • Brihat Jatak Vivritti of Bhattotpala