Historical Actors ˃ Nityānanda Miśra

Nityānanda Miśra (fl. 1630/50)

Nityānanda Miśra was a seventeenth-century Hindu astronomer who entered the service of the Mughal court of Shāh Jahān (r. 1628–58) at the behest of Shāh Jahān’s prime minister (vazīr-i āʿẓam) Āṣaf Khān. He translated Mullā Farīd’s Zīj-i Shāh Jahānī into Sanskrit in the early 1630s, calling it the Siddhāntasindhu ‘The Ocean of Siddhāntas’, and later in 1639, composed the more traditional Sanskrit canonical treatise, the Sarvasiddhāntarāja ‘The King of all Siddhāntas’. He is also believed to be the author of a Sanskrit table-text called the Aṃrtalaharī ‘The Wave of Nectar’ composed around 1649/50.

The biographical information on Nityānanda is scanty; the colophon of his Sarvasiddhāntarāja states that Nityānanda was a Gauḍa Brahmin of Mudgala gotra (patronymic) resident in Indrapurī1 close to the Kurukṣetra.2 He belonged to a family of learned astronomers and is identified as the son of Devadatta, the grandson of Nārāyaṇa, great grandson of Lakṣmaṇa, and the great great grandson of Icchā (trained in the tradition of Ḍulīnahaṭṭa).3


1 Indrapurī (or Indraprastha) can be tentatively identified as the area around Old Delhi, perhaps, the walled city of Shahjahanabad built in 1639, or the area around the Purana Qila ‘Old Fort’ west of it.

2 Kurukṣetra is an ancient city located in the modern-day state of Haryana. It lies around 150 km northwest of Delhi and is adjacent to the pilgrimage town of Thanesar (Thāneśvara or Sthāneśvara) on the banks of the river Saraswati through which the Indian Prime Meridian was thought to pass.

3 The word Ḍulīnahaṭṭa (variant: Dulīṇahaṭṭa) indicates the name of a marketplace (haṭṭa) at Ḍulīna or Dulīṇa, perhaps identified with the modern-day village of Dulina in the Jhajjar district of Haryana, located 55 km southwest of Delhi. Nityānanda’s oldest ancestor is said to follow in the tradition (anuśāsana) of Ḍulīnahaṭṭa, and perhaps, the reference to this particular school of learning is also a toponymic (sur)name revealing the native origins of Nityānanda’s family.


Dvivedī, Mahāmahopādhyāya Sudhākara (1933), Gaṇaka Taraṅginī or Lives of Hindu Astronomers. Benares: Jyotish Prakash Press.
See pp. 101–102, under the entry ‘नित्यानदः। १५६१’.

Peterson, Peter (1892), Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Library of His Highness The Maharaja of Ulwar. Bombay: Times of India Steam Press.
See pp. 227–228, under the entry ‘५९६ सिद्धान्तराजः-नित्यानदः।’ and
pp. 231–232, under the entry ‘६०० सिद्धान्तसिन्धुः-नित्यानदः।’.

Pingree, David (1970–94), Census of the exact sciences in Sanskrit, Series A, Volumes 1–5. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.
See A 1: p. 46a, under the (erroneous) entry ‘AMṚTALĀLA’,
A 3: pp. 173b–74a, under the entry ‘NITYĀNANDA (fl. 1628/1639)’,
A 4: p. 141ab, under the entry ‘*NITYĀNANDA (fl. 1628/1639)’, and
A 5: p. 184a, under the entry ‘*NITYĀNANDA (fl. 1628/1639)’.

Vaidya, R. V., transl. (1981), English Translation of Bharatiya Jyotish Sastra (History of Indian Astronomy) by Sankar Balakrishna Dikshit, Part II: History of Astronomy during the Siddhantic and Modern Period. New Delhi: Indian Meteorological Department.
See pp. 165–166, under the entry ‘SIDDHĀNTARĀJA OF NITYĀNANDA (ŚAKA 1561)’.