Note: The authenticity of this story is doubted but there is no doubt that Khanna or Lilavati was a great astrologer. We intend to present her great teachings in the recent future by translating some of her works. A television serial in the bengali language highlights her achievements.
Kalidas, Varāhamihira, Ghata Karpura, Dhanvantari, Vararuchi, Vetāla Bhatt, Kṣayapanaka, Śaṅku and Amar Singh – these were the Navaratna (nine gems) in the court of Vikramaditya, the Maharaja of Ujjain. Among these experts Varāhamihira was the best in jyotiṣa (although one text is also attributed to Kalidas). His calculations and prediction were simply astounding.
Varāhamihira was blessed with a son and prepared his horoscope. The great astrologer made a significant blunder in the calculation of longevity of his son – instead of a hundred years, he calculated this as ten years! Lamenting his misfortune he felt that he could not take the sorrow of death of his son in the tenth year and placing his child in a basket, set it afloat in the river. It is noteworthy that several years back during the time of Kṛṣṇa, Kunti had done the same for her eldest son Karna who was the son of Sūrya, the Sun god, and Varāhamihira was considered an incarnation of the Sun god. He belonged to a family of Sun worsshippers.
The Story of Khanna
This is the story of Lilavati lovingly called ‘khanna’ the mute or stammerer. Read on as to why and how she lost her speech.
Around the same time, Lilāvatī, the baby princess of an Island state was kidnapped and adopted by Asura after they killed her parents and destroyed the Island city. The asura were enamoured by her beauty, sweetness and innocence. She was adopted by the asura, from whom she learnt jyotiśa and other subjects. Varāhamihira’s handsome baby was also found by the same Asura and they adopted the boy. In due course of time they grew up and married. Lilāvatī went on to become the best jyotiśa among the Asura. The couple were not happy in the bondage of the asura although the asura king had a fondness for them. Choosing Mahendra Muhurta, they decided to escape from the city/bondage. The guards rushed to the king and informed him about the escape of Lilāvatī and Kumar Mihira.