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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 19:25 
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Indian Astronomy @Wikipedia

This is what Wiki says! Perhaps Kaushal ji can comment on this.

Quote:
As with other traditions, the original application of astronomy was thus religious, and would be considered astrology in modern terminology. Hindu astrology was heavily influenced by Hellenistic astrology during the early centuries of the Common Era, notably by the Yavanajataka, a Sanskrit translation of a Greek text disseminated from the 2nd century.
Quote:
By the early centuries of the Common Era, Indo-Greek influence on the Vedanga tradition becomes evident with texts such as Romaka Siddhānta and Yavanajataka. Later astronomers mention the existence of various siddhantas during this period, among them a text known as the Surya Siddhanta. But these weren't fixed texts but rather an oral tradition of knowledge, and their content is not extant. The text today known as Surya Siddhanta dates to the Gupta period and was received by Aryabhata.
Quote:
With the rise of Greek culture in the east, Hellenistic astronomy filtered eastwards to India where its profound influence became apparent in the early centuries AD. For example, Hellenistic astronomy is known to have been practiced near India in the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai-Khanoum from the 3rd century BCE. Various sun-dials, including an equatorial sundial adjusted to the latitude of Ujjain have been found in archaeological excavations there. Numerous interactions with the Mauryan Empire, and the later expansion of the Indo-Greeks into India suggest that transmission of Greek astronomical ideas to India occurred during this period. The Greek concept of a spherical earth surrounded by the spheres of planets, vehemently supported by astronomers like Varahamihira and Brahmagupta, supplanted the long-standing Indian cosmological belief into a flat and circular earth disk.

Several Greco-Roman astrological treatises are also known to have been imported into India during the first few centuries of our era. The Yavanajataka ("Sayings of the Greeks") was translated from Greek to Sanskrit by Yavanesvara during the 2nd century CE, under the patronage of the Western Satrap Saka king Rudradaman I.[citation needed] Rudradaman's capital at Ujjain "became the Greenwich of Indian astronomers and the Arin of the Arabic and Latin astronomical treatises; for it was he and his successors who encouraged the introduction of Greek horoscopy and astronomy into India."

Later in the 6th century, the Romaka Siddhanta ("Doctrine of the Romans"), and the Paulisa Siddhanta ("Doctrine of Paul") were considered as two of the five main astrological treatises, which were compiled by Varahamihira in his Pañca-siddhāntikā ("Five Treatises"). Varahamihira wrote in the Brihat-Samhita: "The Greeks, though impure, must be honored since they were trained in sciences and therein, excelled others....." Another Indian text, the Gargi-Samhita, also similarly compliments the Yavanas (Greeks) saying: "The Yavanas are barbarians yet the science of astronomy originated with them and for this they must be revered like gods"., while the Mahabharata compliments them as "the all-knowing Yavanas" (sarvajnaa yavanaa), "The Yavanas, O king, are all-knowing; the Suras are particularly so. The mlecchas are wedded to the creations of their own fancy."

Indian astronomy reached China with the expansion of Buddhism during the Later Han dynasty (25–220 CE). Further translation of Indian works on astronomy was completed in China by the Three Kingdoms era (220–265 CE). However, the most detailed incorporation of Indian astronomy occurred only during the Tang Dynasty (618–907) when a number of Chinese scholars—such as Yi Xing— were versed both in Indian and Chinese astronomy. A system of Indian astronomy was recorded in China as Jiuzhi-li (718 CE), the author of which was an Indian by the name of Qutan Xida—a translation of Devanagari Gotama Siddha—the director of the Tang dynasty's national astronomical observatory.
Fragments of texts during this period indicate that Arabs adopted the sine function (inherited from Indian mathematics) instead of the chords of arc used in Hellenistic mathematics.[33] Another Indian influence was an approximate formula used for timekeeping by Muslim astronomers. Through Islamic astronomy, Indian astronomy had an influence on European astronomy via Arabic translations. During the Latin translations of the 12th century, Muhammad al-Fazari's Great Sindhind, which was based on the Surya Siddhanta and the works of Brahmagupta, was translated into Latin in 1126 and was influential at the time.


:eek: :shock:


Last edited by RajeshA on 12 Jul 2012 20:39, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 19:33 
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Author Kosla Vepa
The Story of Indic Cosmology and The Time Keepers @scribd

Kaushal ji, in case this should not be linked here, please let me know.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 20:00 
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RajeshA wrote:
Indian Astronomy @Wikipedia

This is what Wiki says! Perhaps Kaushal ji can comment on this.

Quote:
As with other traditions, the original application of astronomy was thus religious, and would be considered astrology in modern terminology. Hindu astrology was heavily influenced by Hellenistic astrology during the early centuries of the Common Era, notably by the Yavanajataka, a Sanskrit translation of a Greek text disseminated from the 2nd century.
Quote:
By the early centuries of the Common Era, Indo-Greek influence on the Vedanga tradition becomes evident with texts such as Romaka Siddhānta and Yavanajataka. Later astronomers mention the existence of various siddhantas during this period, among them a text known as the Surya Siddhanta. But these weren't fixed texts but rather an oral tradition of knowledge, and their content is not extant. The text today known as Surya Siddhanta dates to the Gupta period and was received by Aryabhata.


:eek: :shock:

Dont be shocked. But they dont have all the information about Indian astrology.
Greek do not have any thing like nakshatra and it is used extensively in Indian astrology


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 20:43 
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There seems to be a determined effort going on from Europeans to prove the lie that India got her astronomy from the Greeks. It seems to be crucial for the West to deny India the authorship for astronomy, just as it is important to deny Indian roots of Sanskrit language, mathematics, early 'Aryan' mythology, etc.

I hope some people who understand these things, can help correct what Wikipedia claims.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 20:46 
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I had seen a documentary long time ago which used the language of gypsies to trace their origin and it was clear that they came from Northern India. Apparently, their current language still has around 200-300 commonly used Hindi words such as "Roti".

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Where-Do-Gypsies-Come-From-72231.shtml


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 20:55 
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RajeshA wrote:
There seems to be a determined effort going on from Europeans to prove the lie that India got her astronomy from the Greeks. It seems to be crucial for the West to deny India the authorship for astronomy, just as it is important to deny Indian roots of Sanskrit language, mathematics, early 'Aryan' mythology, etc.

I hope some people who understand these things, can help correct what Wikipedia claims.

Could it be europeans or groups which want to make Hindu religion lower than the other religion.
They need to reduce the antiquity of India/Hinduism and then make Indian civilization after christian AD


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 21:04 
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Acharya garu,

I am expecting that in the next years, the efforts would be doubled by the AIT-Nazis and the AIT-Sepoys! Even though the "Indology" departments have been closing, there would remain a serious buy-out of Indian academics by the West to play pro-AIT and anti-Hindu.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 21:09 
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RajeshA wrote:
Acharya garu,

I am expecting that in the next years, the efforts would be doubled by the AIT-Nazis and the AIT-Sepoys! Even though the "Indology" departments have been closing, there would remain a serious buy-out of Indian academics by the West to play pro-AIT and anti-Hindu.

There are two things which are going.

One is the British system from which the Indian state has legitimacy. This legitimacy is based on following this version of the history even though it does not stand the archeology and genetic facts. Evangelical and Chruch based Indology, Sociology and anthropology are based on this covert and overt support from these western govts.

Then we have the islamic lobby and group which have increased their influence in the west which are trying to build their version of their history in the subcontinent. Pak has funded large Mughal and Islamic history projects in US and the west.

So India will be hit by these two groups and Indians will need all the support to resist and then dominate with its own history.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 21:14 
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I think Satyameva jayate needs to be changed as per the present time to "Satyameva jayate if you have money", else get ready for truth to be told to you what it is, it might not be truth at all. So truth is not given, it is taken by force and is dictated by powerful.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 21:20 
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venug wrote:
I think Satyameva jayate needs to be changed as per the present time to "Satyameva jayate if you have money", else get ready for truth to be told to you what it is, it might not be truth at all. So truth is not given, it is taken by force and is dictated by powerful.

Satyameva jayate with media control is important. India cannot have foriegn media to *dominate*. It should be less than 15% of the media view point inside India


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 21:28 
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venug wrote:
I think Satyameva jayate needs to be changed as per the present time to "Satyameva jayate if you have money", else get ready for truth to be told to you what it is, it might not be truth at all. So truth is not given, it is taken by force and is dictated by powerful.

Another change which is happening is the breakdown of science and science being seen as anti religion ( by Islam and Christianity). Hence any science based facts and truth are being ignored and anything which is against the faith is seen as wrong. Hence there is a vigorous effort to change the history (also science based facts) so that it does not make the faith seem *untruth*.

AIT is one such field that is very important to them in this effort. Also all genetic and archeology is dismissed since it is against the *truth*. Indology and sociology(after 1850s) were created to keep a watch on progress in science and new information and these subjects are in their control so that they determine what is the *truth*.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 22:01 
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Acharya ji, I think science will unravel Christianity and Islam. It is this fear that the west was in search of a religion, a philosophy which they can call theirs so begin with, being history centric religions but having small time scales to explain the origin of man, they both failed, hence they turned towards Hindusim and usurp it. The strength of science is inquiry. If they both shun science, that will be their undoing, if not now later. But I think they are still trying to subsume Hindusim into something proto-religion, hence this comparative religion crap. This PIE is for the same reason, with one wave of hand they will say "hey you know what, your hinduism is nothing but a ba$tard religion of a greater proto-religion of the aryans".

This proto-religion and PIE are the foundations they are laying now. They will further undermine hindusim. 50 years from now, organizations like KKK will revere Witzel and his friends. They will hold them in high esteem for showing the world that Aryans not only existed, but they were the pioneers of human civilization itself. One can already see this in Witzel's complaining - "those Indians think they are the pioneers of human civilization" he says sarcastically, and later he goes about proving that linguistically how wrong we are. This is bound to happen if we don't retake our history from them.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 22:25 
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venug wrote:
"Satyameva jayate if you have money".

well, if one does not see indic money, one will never ever get to read something like that. :)


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 22:32 
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venug wrote:
Acharya ji, I think science will unravel Christianity and Islam.


It has already unravelled. You are late to become aware of this.
In the 50s and 60s they were worried. Hence they started the control of media and education in their countries from that period. They have been funding media and education in other countries such as India, africa etc.

Indian who are unaware have been taking in this false media and education and arguing for foreign view points.

We had one poster more than 7 years ago who was thinking that education debate in India on history change was neutral. He says if one side is imposing change then the other side is also imposing change. He could never differentiate the forign inputs and foreign education inside India.
India's colonial history/education confuses lot of Indians atleast the english educated.


I am going to post this again. THis has to be read 100 times by everybody.


Acharya wrote:

Check this article about How to Bring Down a Nation

See if this applies to India and how long it has been going on.

http://mddall.com/sbss/1103.htm
How to Bring Down a Nation
Colonel Dan, SASS #24025, Life/Regulator


If you were intent on bringing down a powerful rival whose philosophy, as originally founded, was strong, independent and entirely opposite from your own—a country that you would not want to confront militarily—how would you go about it? The answer is simple; orchestrate the society’s destruction from within.

Although possibly taking longer than a military victory and requiring great patience, the damage would be just as effective if not more so. When you destroy from within, you do it by using that country’s own people, no blood is spilled in combat and the physical infrastructure is left intact.

In any country, there are but a few key areas that determine how the citizens mature, live, and develop their beliefs. These are the focal points that must be attacked. In his book, On War, Clausewitz referred to this concept of identifying and then focusing on select points as attacking the center of gravity.

The center of gravity is that key element, if controlled or destroyed, would most hurt your opponent and is the critical factor in achieving your objective. In this case, when taking control of or destroying a country from within, the key is to attack and control the mind of the inhabitants—you must shape the way people view life and the values upon which their life is based. Shape the mind and you control their direction. Control their direction and you can lead them down a pathway to hell.

The centers of gravity I would shape in orchestrating a country’s downfall from within are its perception of truth, its future generations, the political philosophy, its sense of nationalism and of course, the economy.

To shape truth, control the media: Most people absorb what they know about life from the major media centers these days. The media paints the picture for all to see. If that picture is constantly distorted, lies become accepted as truth, i.e. tell enough lies repeatedly and soon those lies are accepted as fact. Spin and concoct, distort and influence using the public platforms such as television, radio and print and you can influence, sway and control the mind of the vast majority of its population in any area you choose. This subversive influence includes pitting one group against another in order to foment internal discord as well as ridiculing, discrediting and challenging moral principles and national values in order to destroy any hint of a strong spiritual foundation or allegiance to a unique national culture. This is a much easier task if many in your target audience have become lazy, ill-educated, ill-informed, unthinking and apathetic.

To shape future generations, control the schools: Incrementally indoctrinate the children with principles that are sympathetic to your philosophy. Make future generations weak in mind, body and spirit. Avoid teaching children the basic facts about their own history, constitution or rights. Teach them that natural aggression is wrong and docile submission is right. Teach them that any basis of a moral foundation, like the principles of religion, is a weakness to be avoided in the name of freedom and also redefine the concept of patriotism to support your views. Teach them to cast off old values and traditions in the interest and name of sensitivity—after all, we wouldn’t want to offend anyone with our old fashioned or traditional beliefs now would we? And guns, guns are wicked, dangerous, and socially unacceptable—an evil that must be eradicated from society—for the good of the children of course.

To shape the political philosophy, infiltrate the government: Whenever and wherever possible place those sympathetic to your philosophy into office at all levels—the higher, the better—so they can sway the direction of the country within every function of government, promising solutions, handouts and benefits for all. In such a way you can tilt legislation toward incrementally increasing the control of and dependency on government—a government that you are shaping. Concurrently, if you can pack the courts with appointed judges who will not hold you accountable to the law and its constitution, you can act with virtual impunity. Infiltration at the highest levels can also be employed to weaken the military through budget cuts, unwarranted restrictions and over commitment, degrading both force morale and effectiveness. A country without a strong military is like a bull without horns or a tiger without claws—defenseless and vulnerable.

To shape the sense of nationalism, dilute the culture and the language: A strong society has at its foundation a unique culture and a common language. Simply put, it is the culture and language which ultimately defines and unites a nation. If you can manipulate these two critical elements through legislative action and social pressure, you can weaken the foundation of any country. How? Introduce and eventually force the acceptance of a multi-cultural concept and refuse to accept a common tongue as the official language. In short, prevent cultural assimilation and undermine any sense of nationalism. Encourage and orchestrate a mosaic society rather than a melting pot and you will eventually mortally wound the national fabric.

To shape the economy, spend, spend, spend and tax, tax, tax: A country with a strong economy is financially independent and its people unlikely to look toward the government for much of anything. If free people don’t depend on their government, that government has limited sway over them. By legislating large sums from the public treasury you accomplish two important goals. First you create dependents of the public and private business that are now subject to conditions, rules and regulations you dictate. Secondly, you are putting that country into unsustainable debt, reducing the value of the currency while undermining its economy. And of course, to support all this spending, you now make the case that the people must “invest” in all these government provided “benefits” so you tax them relentlessly stealing money from their pockets and independence from their lives. Eventually, if you tax and spend enough, you financially oppress the people to the point of serfdom and overload their economic structure to the point of collapse.

Through patient manipulation and clever coordination of these few centers of gravity, you can, in time, weave the downfall of even the most powerful nation, using its own citizens and systems to orchestrate the destruction.

The irony is that in just a few generations, the indoctrinated masses will be convinced this trail which has been shaped for them is truly the enlightened path for mankind and they will unwittingly look forward to the trip! You have thus taken control of a powerful rival without firing a shot or spilling a drop of blood.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 22:54 
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For the above one needs money.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 22:56 
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Make money


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 23:07 
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Thinking again, only good education can trump that, you can spend billions and pour into media, but a population which gets a good education, which can reason and knows facts, it's difficult to undo that no matter how much you spend. Sure some might get brainwashed, but not all. Take the case of missionaries, they pour millions, they still do, but they can't convert all. They can only influence those who can't reason and those who don't know facts...with good education this brainwashing cannot be easy. Media influence is only when you are a willing to be a scape goat, no will no way.

So I problem I see is control of schools. If they do that, it could be difficult.


Last edited by venug on 12 Jul 2012 23:16, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 23:10 
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RajeshA wrote:
Indians need to create a positive list of respectable faculties in Western academic institutions as well as a negative list of faculties which are considered unscientific, mediocre or pursuing political and ideological agendas, and a black list of all faculties who are pursuing an anti-Indian political and ideological agenda.

Good suggestion. But more than training guns at individuals involved in these disciplines - the more relevant target may need to be the way these disciplines have been formulated and shepherded by the West.

Three of these supposed 'social sciences' in particular - history, cultural anthropology & sociology - have been overwhelmingly suffused by ideological lenses, either that of Semetic/Christian dogma or that of Christianity's double, Marxism. The most damning indictment of the West's lack of academic rigor - those who have made a practice of viewing all cultures through either of these twin lenses have themselves, in many cases, been entirely unaware of their own usage.

Academic leadership should have implied formulation of rules for the disciplines, so either all ideological judgement is consciously set aside - or the ideological lens used is explicitly stated upfront. Instead, we have a scenario where Western ideological nutcases have been 'leading' these disciplines for centuries - with what has been promoted as social 'sciences' never having lived up to the moniker. Don't think the West can be trusted anymore for academic leadership on this front.

Being aware of one's ignorance is the first step to getting rid of it - the West, unfortunately, is far behind in even getting to this first step to awareness of its own ideological blinkers. Time for them to step aside and follow the lead of those who can bring a semblance of IQ back to these disciplines. Rajiv Malhotra seems to have been taking the first few steps in this direction.


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PostPosted: 12 Jul 2012 23:51 
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Rajiv Malhotra on the war Sanskrit-phobia:
http://www.medhajournal.com/geopolitics ... hobia.html


Last edited by A_Gupta on 13 Jul 2012 04:06, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 00:06 
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It would be good not to use the word war


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 00:27 
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If India were to make Sanskrit into India's national language AGAIN, then one can be sure that all those countries who are pissed off with Anglo-American hegemony and the use of English as the international language would be willing to also jump into the Sanskrit camp, and that includes the Slavic world also due to similarity with Sanskrit and it includes the whole of Southeast Asia due to historical ties to India.

In due time the Germans, Greeks, Armenians, Iranians, East Africans too would join in! And English would be an also-ran!


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 05:35 
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A_Gupta wrote:
Rajiv Malhotra on the war Sanskrit-phobia:
http://www.medhajournal.com/geopolitics ... hobia.html


A german told me recently that she will ask a Indian she meets what their name was and what is the meaning in sanskrit. If the Indian shows Sanskrit-phobia she knows that the Indian is a secretly a christian.

This is now being used for social engineering of Indians.
Next time when a western asks you the meaning of your name remember this

Quote:
However, successive generations of Indian intellectuals have replaced this with what this paper terms “Sanskrit Phobia,” i.e. a body of beliefs now widely disseminated according to which Sanskrit and Sanskriti are blamed for all sorts of social, economic and political problems facing India's underprivileged classes.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 07:05 
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Arun Gupta ji, thanks a lot for posting a great article. I wish more Indians learn Sanskrit and reclaim our Sanskriti, else loose our civilization for ever. I wish we have more schools which teach Sanskrit seriously. With respect to AIT, below is very imporant, even to Indian lurkers who oppose OIT :

Quote:
• Freudian and other trendy “theories” to analyze Sanskrit texts should not get privileged over indigenous interpretations, to restore balance and respect for the tradition as is the norm for other classical languages.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 08:59 
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Indian Astronomy @Wikipedia


Dr S Balachandra Rao mentions in his book about Hellenistic/Greek influence on Indian ASTROLOGY.

He, with enough examples, proves that there was no greek influence on indian ASTRONOMY.

Dr Rao's books are syllabus material in colleges and schools.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 15:09 
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Murugan ji,

I don't really have Dr. S. Balachandra Rao's books, nor have I been able to find anything on the Internet. Perhaps if you have time, you may like to elaborate a little bit what is the crux of S. Balachandra Rao's arguments as to why there was no Greek influence on Indian Astronomy.

Does he say anything on Yavanajataka ('Nativity according to the Greeks'), Romaka Siddhānta ('Doctrine of Romans') or Paulisa Siddhānta ('Doctrine of Paul'), etc?


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 15:37 
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I am posting the full chapter from KE's book on Ancient Indian Astronomy. I hope he doesn't mind.

Publication Date: August, 1999
Author: Koenraad Elst
Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate

Chapter 2: Astronomic Data and the Aryan Question

2.2. ANCIENT HINDU ASTRONOMY

2.2.1. Astronomical tables

One of the earliest estimates of the date of the Vedas was at once among the most scientific. In 1790, the Scottish mathematician John Playfair demonstrated that the starting-date of the astronomical observations recorded in the tables still in use among Hindu astrologers (of which three copies had reached Europe between 1687 and 1787) had to be 4300 BC.3 His proposal was dismissed as absurd by some, but it was not refuted by any scientist.

Playfair’s judicious use of astronomy was countered by John Bentley with a Scriptural argument which we now must consider invalid. In 1825, Bentley objected: “By his [= Playfair’s] attempt to uphold the antiquity of Hindu books against absolute facts, he thereby supports all those horrid abuses and impositions found in them, under the pretended sanction of antiquity. Nay, his aim goes still deeper, for by the same means he endeavours to overturn the Mosaic account, and sap the very foundation of our religion: for if we are to believe in the antiquity of Hindu books, as he would wish us, then the Mosaic account is all a fable, or a fiction.”

Bentley did not object to astronomy per se, in so far as it could be helpful in showing up the falsehood of Brahminical scriptures. However, it did precisely the reverse. Falsehood in this context could have meant that the Brahmins falsely claimed high antiquity for their texts by presenting as ancient astronomical observations recorded in Scripture what were in fact back-calculations from a much later age. But Playfair showed that this was impossible.

Back-calculation of planetary positions is a highly complex affair requiring knowledge of a number of physical laws, universal constants and actual measurements of densities, diameters and distances. Though Brahminical astronomy was remarkably sophisticated for its time, it could only back-calculate planetary position of the presumed Vedic age with an inaccuracy margin of at least several degrees of arc. With our modern knowledge, it is easy to determine what the actual positions were, and what the results of back-calculations with the Brahminical formulae would have been, e.g.:

“Aldebaran was therefore 40’ before the point of the vernal equinox, according to the Indian astronomy, in the year 3102 before Christ. (…) [Modern astronomy] gives the longitude of that star 13’ from the vernal equinox, at the time of the Calyougham, agreeing, within 53’, with the determination of the Indian astronomy. This agreement is the more remarkable, that the Brahmins, by their own rules for computing the motion of the fixed stars, could not have assigned this place to Aldebaran for the beginning of Calyougham, had they calculated it from a modern observation. For as they make the motion of the fixed stars too great by more than 3” annually, if they had calculated backward from 1491, they would have placed the fixed stars less advanced by 40 or 50, at their ancient epoch, than they have actually done.”

So, it turns out that the data given by the Brahmins corresponded not with the results deduced from their formulae, but with the actual positions, and this, according to Playfair, for nine different astronomical parameters. This is a bit much to explain away as coincidence or sheer luck.

2.2.2. Ancient observation, modern confirmation

That Hindu astronomical lore about ancient times cannot be based on later back-calculation, was also argued by Playfair’s contemporary, the French astronomer jean-Sylvain Bailly: “The motions of the stars calculated by the Hindus before some 4500 years vary not even a single minute from the [modem] tables of Cassini and Meyer. The Indian tables give the same annual variation of the moon as that discovered by Tycho Brahe - a variation unknown to the school of Alexandria and also the Arabs.”

Prof. N.S. Rajaram, a mathematician who has worked for NASA, comments: “fabricating astronomical data going back thousands of years calls for knowledge of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and the ability to solve differential equations.”7 Failing this advanced knowledge, the data in the Brahminical tables must be based on actual observation. Ergo, the Sanskrit-speaking Vedic seers were present in person to record astronomical observations and preserve them for a full 6,000 years: “The observations on which the astronomy of India is founded, were nude more than three thousand years before the Christian era. (…) Two other elements of this astronomy, the equation of the sun’s centre and the obliquity of the ecliptic (…) seem to point to a period still more remote, and to fix the origin of this astronomy 1000 or 1200 years earlier, that is, 4300 years before the Christian era”.

All this at least on the assumption that Playfair’s, Bailly’s and Rajaram’s claims about the Hindu astronomical tables are correct. Disputants may start by proving them factually wrong, but should not enter the dispute arena without a refutation of the astronomers’ assertions. It is something of a scandal that Playfair’s and Bailly’s findings have been lying around for two hundred years while linguists and indologists were publishing speculations on Vedic chronology in stark disregard for the contribution of astronomy.

2.2.3. The start of Kali-Yuga

Hindu tradition makes mention of the conjunction of the “seven planets” (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, sun and moon) and Ketu (southern lunar node, the northern node/ Rahu being by definition in the opposite location) near the fixed star Revati (Zeta Piscium) on 18 February 3102 BC. This date, at which Krishna is supposed to have breathed his last, is conventionally the start of the so-called Kali-Yuga, the “age of strife”, the low point in a declining sequence of four ages. However, modem scholars have claimed that the Kali-Yuga system of time-reckoning was a much younger invention, not attested before the 6th century AD.

Against this modernist opinion, Bailly and Playfair had already shown that the position of the moon (the fastest-moving “planet”, hence the hardest to back-calculate with precision) at the beginning of Kali-Yuga, 18 February 3102, as given by Hindu tradition, was accurate to 37’. Either the Brahmins had made an incredibly lucky guess, or they had recorded an actual observation on Kali Yuga day itself.

Richard L. Thompson claims that in Indian literature and inscriptions, there are a number of datelines expressed in Kali-Yuga which are older than the Christian era (and a fortiori older than the 6th century AD). More importantly, Thompson argues that the Jyotisha-shAstras (treatises on astronomy and, increasingly, astrology, starting in the 14th century BC with the VedANga Jyotisha as per its own astronomical data, but mostly from the first millennium AD) are correct in mentioning this remarkable conjunction on that exact day, for there was indeed a conjunction of sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Ketu and Revati.

True, the conjunction was not spectacularly exact, having an orb of 37° between the two most extreme planetary positions. But that precisely supports the hypothesis of an actual observation as opposed to a back-calculation. Indeed, if the Hindu astronomers were able to calculate this position after a lapse of many centuries (when the Jyotisha-ShAstra was written), it is unclear what reason they would have had for picking out that particular conjunction. Surely, such conjunctions are spectacular to those who witness one, and hence worth recording if observed. But they are not that exceptional when considered over millennia: even closer conjunctions of all visible planets do occur (most recently on 5 February 1962). If the Hindu astronomers had simply been going over their astronomical tables looking for an exceptional conjunction, they could have found more spectacular ones than the one on 18 February 3102 BC. And why would they have calculated tables for such a remote period, sixteen centuries before the Aryan invasion, nineteen before the composition of the Rg-Vedic hymns, a time of which they had no recollection?

2.3. THE PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOX

2.3.1. The slowest hand on the clock

The truly strong evidence for a high chronology of the Vedas is the Vedic information about the position of the equinox. The phenomenon of the “precession of the equinoxes” takes the ecliptical constellations (also known as the sidereal Zodiac, i.e. those constellations through which the sun passes)12 slowly past the vernal equinox point, i.e. the intersection of ecliptic and equator, rising due East on the horizon. The whole tour is made in about 25,791 years, the longest cycle manageable for naked-eye observers. If data about the precession are properly recorded, they provide the best and often the only clue to an absolute chronology for ancient events.

If we can read the Vedic and post-Vedic indications properly, they mention constellations on the equinox points which were there from 4,000 BC for the Rg-Veda (Orion, as already pointed out by B.G. Tilak) through around 3100 BC for the Atharva-Veda and the core Mahabharata (Aldebaran) down to 2,300 BC for the Sutras and the Shatapatha Brahmana (Pleiades).

Other references to the constellational position of the solstices or of solar and lunar positions at the beginning of the monsoon confirm this chronology. Thus, the Kaushitaki Brahmana puts the winter solstice at the new moon of the sidereal month of Magha (i.e. the Mahashivaratri festival), which now falls 70 days later: this points to a date in the first half of the 3rd millennium BC. The same processional movement of the twelve months of the Hindu calendar (which are tied to the constellations) vis-a-vis the meterological seasons, is what allowed Hermann Jacobi to fix the date of the Rg-Veda to the 5th-4th millennium BC. Indeed, the regular references to the full moon’s position in a constellation at the time of the beginning of the monsoon, which nearly coincides with the summer solstice, provide a secure and unambiguous chronology through the millennial Vedic literature.

It is not only the Vedic age which is moved a number of centuries deeper into the past, when comparing the astronomical indications with the conventional chronology. Even the Gupta age (and implicitly the earlier ages of the Buddha, the Mauryas etc.) could be affected. Indeed, the famous playwright and poet Kalidasa, supposed to have worked at the Gupta court in about 400 AD, wrote that the monsoon rains started at the start of the sidereal month of Ashadha; this timing of the monsoon was accurate in the last centuries BC. This implicit astronomy-based chronology of Kalidasa, about 5 centuries higher than the conventional one, tallies well with the traditional “high” chronology of the Buddha, whom Chinese Buddhist tradition dates to ca. 1100 BC, and the implicit Puranic chronology even to ca. 1700 BC.

2.3.2. Some difficulties

These indications about the processional phases may be unreliable insofar as their exact meaning is not unambiguous. To say that a constellation “never swerves from the East” (as is said of the Pleiades in the Shatapatha Brahmana 2:1:2:3) seems to mean that it contains the spring equinox, implying that it is on the equator, which intersects the horizon due East. But this might seem insufficiently explicit for the modem reader who is used to a precise and separate technical terminology for such matters. But then, the modem reader will have to accept that technical terminology in Vedic days mostly consisted in fixed metaphorical uses of common terms. This is not all that primitive, for the same thing will be found when the etymology of modern technical terms is analyzed, e.g. a telescope is a Greek “far-seer”, oxygen is “acid-producer”, a cylinder is a “roller”. The only difference is that we can use the vocabulary of foreign classical languages to borrow from, while Sanskrit was its own classical reservoir of specialized terminology.

Another factor of uncertainty is that the equinox moves very slowly (10 in nearly 71 years), so that any inexactness in the Vedic indications and any ambiguity in the constellations’ boundaries makes a difference of centuries. This occasional inexactness might possibly be enough to neutralize the above shift in Kalidasa’s date - but not to account for a shift of millennia (each millennium corresponding to about 14 degrees of arc) needed to move the Vedic age from the pre-Harappan to the post-Harappan period, from 4000 BC as calculated by the astronomers to 1200 BC as surmised by Friedrich Max Müller.

On the other hand, it is encouraging to note that the astronomical evidence is entirely free of contradictions. There would be a real problem if the astronomical indications had put the Upanishads earlier than the Rg-Veda, or Kalidasa earlier than the Brahmanas, but that is not the case: the astronomical evidence is consistent. Inconsistency would prove the predictable objection of AIT defenders that these astronomical references are but poetical tabulation without any scientific contents. However, the facts are just the opposite. To the extent that there are astronomical indications in the Vedas, these form a consistent set of data detailing an absolute chronology for Vedic literature in full agreement with the known relative chronology of the different texts of this literature. This way, they completely contradict the hypothesis that the Vedas were composed after an invasion in about 1500 BC. Not one of the dozens of astronomical data in Vedic literature confirms the AIT chronology.

2.3.3. Regulus at summer solstice

In the Shulba Sutra appended to Baudhayana’s Shrauta Sutra, mathematical instructions are given for the construction of Vedic altars. One of its remarkable contributions is the theorem usually ascribed to Pythagoras, first for the special case of a square (the form in which it was discovered), then for the general case of the rectangle: “The diagonal of the rectangle produces the combined surface which the length and the breadth produce separately.” This and other instances of advanced mathematics presented by Baudhayana have been shown by the American mathematician A. Seidenberg to be the origin of similar mathematical techniques and ‘discoveries’ in Greece and Babylonia, some of which have been securely dated to 1700 BC. So, 1700 BC was a terminus post quem for Baudhayana’s mathematics, which would reasonably be dated to the later part of the Harappan period which ended in ca. 1900 BC.

However, Seidenberg was told by the indologists that these Sutras, or any Vedic text for that matter, were definitely written later than 1700 BC. But mathematical data cannot be manipulated just like that, and Seidenberg remained convinced of his case: “Whatever the difficulty there may be [concerning chronology], it is small in comparison with the difficulty of deriving the Vedic ritual application of the theorem from Babylonia. (The reverse derivation is easy)… the application involves geometric algebra, and there is no evidence of geometric algebra from Babylonia. And the geometry of Babylonia is already secondary whereas in India it is primary.” To satisfy the indologists, he said that the Shulba Sutra had conserved an older tradition, and that it is from this one that the Babylonians had learned their mathematics: “Hence we do not hesitate to place the Vedic (…) rituals, or more exactly, rituals exactly like them, far back of 1700 BC. (…) elements of geometry found in Egypt and Babylonia stem from a ritual system of the kind described in the Sulvasutras.”

This is then one of those “entities multiplied beyond necessity”: a ritual, annex altar, annex mathematical theory, which is exactly like the Vedic ritual, annex altar, annex mathematical theory, only it is not the Vedic ritual but a thousand or so years older. Let us simplify matters and assume that it was Baudhayana himself who devised his mathematical theories “far back of 1700 BC”. Is there a way to find independent confirmation of this suspicion? Yes, there is: the precession of the equinoxes.

In their Vedic Index of Names and Subjects, A.A. MacDonell and A.B. Keith cite the opinion of several philologists about a reference to a solstice in Magha in the Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra (as well as in the Kaushitaki Brahmana 19:3), to which the Shulba Sutra is an appendix. Magha is the asterism around the star Regulus, but the name is used for an entire month (names of months are typically the name of the most prominent one of the two or three asterisms/nakshatras which make up that one-twelfth of the ecliptic), spatially equivalent to a zone of about 300 around that star, so any deduction here must take a fair degree of imprecision into account. The 18th- and 19th-century philologists cited disagree about whether a Magha solstice was in 1181 BC or in 1391 BC. The authors themselves consider it “only fair to allow a thousand years for possible errors”, and settle for a date between 800 BC and 600 BC, “quite in harmony with the probable date of the Brahmana literature”.

However, it is very easy to calculate that Regulus, currently at almost exactly 600 from the solstitial axis, was on that axis about 60 x 71 years ago, i.e. in the 23rd century BC, Though we must indeed allow for an inexactitude of up to 150, equivalent to about 1100 years, the Magha solstice described is much more likely to have been in 2200 BC than in 1100 BC, and Keith and MacDonell’s 600 BC is quite beyond the pale. It may have taken place even before the 23rd century BC: maybe only the asterism around Regulus had reached the solstitial axis but not yet the star itself. Most likely, then, this reference to a Magha solstice confirms that the Bra and Sutra literature including the Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra (annex Shulba) dates to the late 3rd millennium BC, at the height of the Harappan civilization. In that case, Seidenberg’s reconstruction of the development and transmission of mathematical knowledge and the astronomical references in the literature confirm each other in placing Baudhayana’s (post-Vedic!) work in the later part of the Harappan period.

2.3.4. One Veda can hide another

At this point, the only defence for the AIT can consist in a wholesale rejection of the astronomical evidence. This can be done in a crude way, e.g. by simply ignoring the astronomical evidence, as is done in most explicitations of the AIT. A slightly subtler approach is to explain it away, as is done by Romila Thapar, who affirms her belief in “the generally accepted chronology that the Rig-Vedic hymns were composed over a period extending from about 1500 to 1000 BC”. When “references to what have been interpreted as configurations of stars have been used to suggest dates of about 4000 BC for these hymns”, she raises the objection that “planetary positions could have been observed in earlier times and such observations been handed down as part of an oral tradition”, so that they “do not constitute proof of the chronology of the Vedic hymns”.

This would imply that accurate astronomical data were indeed made from the 5th millennium onwards, and that they were preserved for more than two thousand years, an unparalleled feat in oral traditions. If such a feat is not an indication of literacy and of written records, at the least it supposes a mnemotechnical device capable of preserving information orally, and the one that was available then was verse. So, some poems with the memory-aiding devices of verse, rhythm and tone must have been composed when the information was available first-hand, i.e. close to the time of the actual observation, and those hymns would of course be the Vedic hymns themselves. Otherwise, one has to postulate that the Vedic hymns were composed by borrowing the contents of an earlier tradition of verse, composed at the time when the equinox was observed to be in Orion.

In other words, the Rg-Veda contains literal (though unacknowledged) quotations from another hymns collection composed 2,500 years earlier. This is as good as asserting that Shakespeare’s works were not written by Shakespeare, but by someone else whose name was also Shakespeare. However, the point to remember is that even Romila Thapar does not deny that somebody’s actual observation of these celestial phenomena was the source of their description in the Vedas.

It is not good enough for those who don’t like this evidence, to object that they are not convinced by these astronomical indications of high antiquity, on the plea that their meaning might be somewhat unclear to us. it is clear enough and undeniable that the Vedic seers took care to mention certain astronomical positions and phenomena. A convincing refutation would therefore require an alternative but consistent (philogically as well as astronomically sound) interpretation of the existing astronomical indications which brings Vedic literature down to a much later age. But so far, such a reading of those text passages doesn’t seem to exist. In no case is there astronomical information which puts the Vedas at as late a date as “generally accepted” by Prof. Thapar and others.

2.4. ADDITIONAL ASTRONOMICAL INDICATIONS

Apart from the hard evidence, there are a few elements in Hindu astronomical tradition which would not count as evidence all by themselves, but which may gain a new significance when studied in the company of the more solid elements already considered. We will mention four of them: the Saptarshi cycle, the Vedic description of a particular eclipse, cosmic number games in Vedic texts and ritual, and the surprising presence of the Zodiac.

2.4.1. The Saptarshi cycle

A lesser-known Hindu system of time-reckoning is the Saptarshi cycle of 3600 years (possibly based on the 60-year cycle, see ch. 2.4.5. below). At any rate, by the Christian age we find writers who take this concept of a 3600-year cycle literally, and it is hard to either prove or refute that this may have been a much older tradition.

The medieval Kashmiri historian Kalhana claimed that the previous cycle had started in 3076 BC, and the present one in AD 525. J.E. Mitchiner has suggested that the beginning of the Saptarshi reckoning was one more cycle earlier, in 6676 BC: “We may conclude that the older and original version of the Era of the Seven Rsis commenced with the Seven Rsis in Krttika in 6676 BC, used a total of 28 Naksatras, and placed the start of the Kali Yuga in 3102 BC. This version was in use in northern India from at least the 4th century BC, as witnessed by the statements of Greek and Roman writers; it was also the version used by Vrddha Garga, at around the start of the Christian era.” This would roughly coincide with the start of the Puranic dynastic list reported by Greco-Roman authors as starting in 6776 BC.

Indeed, the Puranic king-list as known to Greek visitors of Chandragupta’s court in the 4th century BC or to later Greco-Roman India-watchers, started in 6776 BC. Pliny wrote that the Indians date their first king, “Liber Pater” (Roman equivalent of Dionysus), to “6,451 years and 3 months” before Alexander the Great (d. 323 BC), while Arrian puts “Dionysus” as head of the dynastic list at 6,042 + 300 + 120 = 6,462 years before Sandrokottos (Chandragupta), to whom a Greek embassy was sent in 314 BC. Both indications add up to a date, give or take a year, of 6776 BC. This would, according to the implicit chronology of Puranic tradition, be the time of Manu’s enthronement, Manu being the Aryan patriarch who established his kingdom in North India after having survived the Flood. One of Manu’s heirs was Ila, ancestress of Yayati, whose five sons became the patriarchs of the “five peoples” who form the ethnic horizon of the Vedas, one of them being Puru; in Puru’s tribe, then, one Bharata started the Bharata clan to which most of the Vedic seers belonged.

It so happens that in the 7th millennium BC, the oceans were still in the process of recovering the ground they lost during the ice Age, when the sea level was for thousands of years nearly a hundred metres below the present level. The importance of the Glaciation, which peaked ca. 16,000 years ago, in the reconstruction of Eurasian migration histories can hardly be overestimated. The Channel between Britain and France, with sea bottom at ca. 40 metres, was a walkway until it was inundated again in ca. 6500 BC, when the sea was already more than halfway back to its normal (or at least its present) level. This means that for centuries before and for some more centuries after that time, the sea level was progressively rising. Since large populations had settled in the coastal areas vacated by the receding sea at the beginning of the Ice Age, the progressive melting of the ice-caps led to the progressive flooding of ever higher-situated population centres, for several millennia until perhaps 5,000 BC.

One can imagine what would happen if today the sea level would rise a mere 10 metres: densely populated countries like the Netherlands and Bangladesh would get largely submerged, along with major cities like New York and Mumbai, and at least a quarter of the world population would have to move. But that was, for several millennia, the human condition: one after another, low-lying villages had to be abandoned to the rising sea. It must have seemed like a law of nature to them that the sea was forever rising, forcing men to seek higher habitats. And this process was probably continuous only when looked at from a distance, the reality being more like periods of stable sea levels followed by sudden jumps, catastrophes when considered on the scale of a human lifetime. Most probably, that is the origin of the Flood story.24 The Puranas describe Manu as the leader of mankind after the Flood, and if we apply a realistic average length to the rulerships of the kings mentioned in the Puranic dynastic lists, Manu may have lived in the 7th millennium BC, the time of the rising waters, warranting the suspicion that the Flood story is related to historical events at the end of the ice Age.

The myth of Atlantis and other submerged continents probably has a similar origin. The Tamils have a tradition of a submerged land to India’s south, of which the Maledives and Sri Lanka are remaining hilltops: KumArIkhaNDam or, in the parlance of the Madras-based Theosophical Society, Lemuria. The city in which their poets’ academy or Sangam (recorded in the early Christian era, but claimed to be ten thousand years old) was established, was said to have been moved thrice because of the rising waters. Though it is hard to see how poets working at the turn of the Christian era could have a memory of events five millennia older, one cannot dismiss as pure fable a story which tallies neatly with the known geological facts of the rising sea level at the end of the Ice Age.

And if such memory was possible, the existence of a system of time-reckoning going back that far is not impossible either. But we must admit that for the time being, this is merely “not impossible”. However, even if we let the Saptarshi cycle start only in 3076 BC, unrelated to Manu and the Flood, this is still hard to reconcile with the theory of an Aryan invasion in the 2nd millennium BC.

2.4.2. A remarkable eclipse

For another chronological marker, Rg-Veda 5:40:5-9 describes a solar eclipse. From the description, one can deduce a number of conditions determining the times at which it could have taken place: it was at that site a central, non-total eclipse, which took place in the afternoon on the Kurukshetra meridian, on a given day after the summer solstice, at least in the reading of P.C. Sengupta. Only one date satisfies all conditions, which he calculated as 26 July 3928 BC.25 We have to add, however, that this calculation stands or falls with the accuracy of the unusual translation of the word brahma as “solstice”. This reading is supported by later scriptural references to the same event, Shankhayana Aranyaka 1:2,18 and Jaiminiya Brahmana 2:404-410. N.S. Rajaram has identified an even more explicit use of brahma in the sense of “solstice”: in Rg-Veda 10:85:35, where brahma is associated with the division of the solar cycle in two halves.

Moreover, the astronomical interpretation (e.g. by B.G. Tilak) of Rg-Veda 10:61:5-8, where brahma is the equinox and the fruit of the union between a divine father and daughter, i.e. the two adjoining constellations MRgashira/Orion and Rohini/Aldebaran, if not more abstractly the intersection of two related celestial circles, may be cited in support: equinox is not the same as solstice, but it is at least one of the cardinal directions, a purely astronomical rather than a religious concept; the common meaning of brahma would then be “cardinal direction”. The division of the ecliptic in 4 parts of 900 by the solstice axis and the equinox axis is already obliquely referred to in RV 1:155:6, so the concept of “cardinal direction” was certainly understood. Still, this construction remains sufficiently strange to be a reasonable ground for skepticism. On the other hand, it is up to the skeptics to come up with a convincing alternative translation which fits the context.

2.4.3. Cosmic data in Vedic ritual

A different type of astronomical evidence, not to fix a precise date but to give an idea of the scientific spirit of the Vedic Aryans, is the interpretation of numerical facts about the Vedas as implicit references to astronomical data. If this seems far-fetched, it should be borne in mind that ancient mythology and religion were primarily concerned with the visible heaven-dwellers, i.e. the heavenly bodies. Many myths are nothing but anthropomorphic narrations of celestial phenomena such as eclipses, solstices and equinoxes, the angular relations between the orbiting planets (e.g. the regular overtaking of the planets by the fast-moving moon, therefore imagined by the Greeks as a huntress, Artemis), the analogy between the twelve-month solar cycle and the twelve-year Jupiter cycle, and even the precession.

Apart from this figurative representation, there is also a numerical representation of astronomical data in ancient traditions. Thus the Bible, written by a satellite culture of the astronomically astute Babylonians, used the device of enciphering astronomical data in all kinds of contingent numerical aspects of the narrative, e.g. the ages of the antediluvian patriarchs in Genesis turn out to be equal to the sums of the planets’ synodic cycles (period from one conjunction with the sun till the next): Lamech dies at age 777 = 399 (number of days in Jupiter’s synodic cycle) + 378 (Saturn’s); Mahalalel at 895 = 116 + 779 (Mercury: Mars); Yared at 962 = 584 + 378 (Venus + Saturn). Similarly, the symbolism of 12 and 13, referring to the lunar months in a year, is omnipresent in the Bible: 12 sons of Jacob plus 1 daughter; 12 tribes of Israel with a territory plus the 1 priestly tribe of Levi; 12 regular apostles of Jesus plus the one substitute for the traitor Judas, Matthias; the “thirteen-petalled rose” as Talmudic symbol of the Torah.

In the past decades, scientists and orthodox religionists have often made fun of attempts to connect religion with science, as in Frithjof Capra’s Tao of Physics and numerous other books. Yet, in ancient religious texts we already see this attempt of religious thinkers to keep up with the latest in science, as outlined above for astronomy. In his Gospel, John takes the trouble of counting the fish caught by the apostle-fishermen in their nets: 153. Number theory was fairly advanced among the Pythagoreans, and some of its remarkable findings were well-known among the educated in the Hellenistic world. They were aware of the unique property of 153: it is equal to the sum of the third powers of its own constituent figures: 1 + 125 + 27. Somehow, John assumed that the religious depth of his text would gain from including some allusions to mathematics. In ancient Pagan civilizations, this fusion of religion and proto-science was the done thing; it was usually the priests who used their leisure to develop scientific knowledge, for they were not troubled by the conflict between faith and religion which would characterize the Christian and Islamic Middle Ages.

So in the Vedas as well, we find astronomical data enciphered in all kinds of ways. Thus, the Hindus’ most sacred number 108 is, with an inaccuracy of only 1%, the distance earth-sun expressed in solar diameters (i.e. the radius of the earth’s orbit divided by the sun’s diameter), as well as the distance earth-moon expressed in lunar diameters. Subhash Kak has checked if such numerical combinations as just cited from Genesis also appear in the Vedas. They do, though they are often quite complicated and only obvious to someone well-versed in the idiosyncrasies of the multiple Vedic calendar systems. An easy example is: the number of hymns in books 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Rg-Veda adds up to 354, the number of days in the Lunar year consisting of 12 moon cycles. Similarly, the total number of hymns in books 4, 5, 6 and 7 is 324, the number of days in the so-called Nakshatra year, being the duration of the sun’s stay in 24 of the 27 lunar mansions. Coincidence?

According to Kak: “By adding the hymn counts of the ten books of the Rig-Veda in different combinations, we obtain numbers that are factors of the sidereal periods and the five synodic periods (…) The probability of this happening is about one in a million. Hence whoever arranged the Rig-Veda encoded into it not only obvious numbers like the lunar year but also hidden numbers of great astronomical significance.”

This choice of numbers in a cosmically meaningful way is also present in the construction of the Vedic altar, such as the numbers of bricks in each layer being equal to the number of days in given planetary cycles. It involves fairly complicated arithmetic, and shows the kind of concern which the Vedic seers had for the harmony between their own religious practices and the astronomical cycles. That mentality led logically to painstakingly accurate observations and calculations, and thereby supports the suspicion of reliability of the internal Vedic astro-chronology.

2.4.4. The Zodiac

To conclude this brief acquaintance with Vedic astronomy, we want to draw attention to the possible presence in the Rg-Veda of a momentous cultural artifact, the origin of which is usually situated in Babylonia in about 600 BC: the twelve-sign Zodiac. In RV 1:164:11, the sun wheel in heaven is said to have 12 spokes, and to be subdivided into 360 pairs of “sons”: the days (consisting of day and night), rounded off to an arithmetically manageable number, also the basis of the “Babylonian” division of the circle in 3600. The division in 12 already suggests the Zodiac, and we also find, in the footsteps of N.R. Waradpande, that a number of the Zodiacal constellations/rAshis (classically conceived as combinations of 2 or 3 successive Lunar mansions or nakshatras of 13°20’ each) are mentioned: SiMha/Leo (5:83:3 and 9:89:3), KanyA/Virgo (6:49:7), Mithunal/Gemini (3:39.3), and VRshabha/Taurus (6:47:5 and 8:93:1).

Here again, the precession has located them where we would expect them in about 4000 BC. The VRshabha rAshi is said to have stabilised the heavens with a mighty prop, apparently a reference to the Taurus equinox in the 4th millennium BC; the same verse links the Taurus month with its opposite, Shukra/JyeshTha (coinciding with Scorpio, which contained the autumnal equinox), confirming it least that VRshabha, “bull”, is used here in an astronomical-calendrical sense. That the seasons are linked with the constellation which is “heliacally rising” (i.e. rising just before dawn) is perhaps indicated by RV 8:93:1: “Surya, thou mountest up to meet the vRshabha”, the sun rises as if to meet the constellation which is just above the horizon.

We are aware that, like the Chinese, the Hindus link the season to the lunar constellation/nakshatra in opposition, i.e. the one which rises at sunset and may contain the full moon. This approach, if applied to modem astrology, would mean that those who think they are Taurus (sun in Taurus) would become its opposite, Scorpio (sun opposite Scorpio, full moon in Scorpio). By contrast, the Babylonians linked the seasons to the solar constellation/rAshi in heliacal rising. If that method were used in modem astrology, those who consider themselves Taurus (sun in Taurus) would find themselves to be Aries (last constellation to rise before the sun-in-Taurus rises).32 However, Waradpande’s discovery seems to imply that the Hindus too used the constellation (at least the rAshi, not the nakshatra) in heliacal rising, like the Babylonians did.

If in Rg-Vedic astronomy the twelve constellations are not linked to the time of the year when they are heliacally rising, but to the time when they are “inhabited” by the sun (as is the practice in modem Hindu astrology), then the whole story would move up at least a thousand and possibly two thousand years, putting the Rg-Veda in about 2000 BC. This is because the sun is in mid-Taurus a month before Taurus’s heliacal rising, or about 30 of the cycle, a distance covered by the precession of the equinox in about two thousand years. But it is unlikely that they considered the constellation containing the sun rather than the constellation heliacally rising, as astronomy was based on actual observation more than on calculation, and consequently required that the constellation be visible. The constellation temporarily inhabited by the sun is invisible, and that is why the ancients made do with the constellation rising before the one in which the sun is located (heliacal rising), or the one rising when the sun sets, in practice the one inhabited by the full moon (opposition).

The difference between the sun, which obscures the constellation it inhabits, and the moon, which is seen against the background of the constellation it inhabits, explains why a moon-based system uses moon-in-constellation or, via full-moon-in-constellation, sun-in-opposition (the full moon being by definition opposite to the sun); while a sun-based system had to make do with a derivative relation between sun and constellation, typically the constellation’s heliacal rising. The implication is that India originally had both systems: a Lunar 27-part Zodiac (nakshatras) using the opposition, exactly like in China (and its derived system of 12 months, based on combinations of 2 or 3 nakshatras and still in use); and a Solar 12-part Zodiac (rAshis) using the heliacal rising, exactly like in Babylonia.

The Mithuna rAshi/Gemini is said to destroy darkness and to be basis (budhna) of heat (tapes) (RV 3:39:3). During Gemini’s heliacal rising in 4000 BC, the sun was in Cancer, then coinciding with our month of May, in northern India the first month of summer (May-June), a season of drought and extreme heat. During Leo’s heliacal rising, around summer solstice in 4000 BC, the rainy season began. Therefore, verse 5:83:3 says: “Like the charioteer driving the horse by the whip, he releases the messengers of shower. From afar the roars of the siMha declare that the rain-god is making the sky showering.” It could not be clearer.

Leo is followed by Virgo, indicating the second half of the rainy season, when the water level in the rivers rises dramatically: in verse 6:49:7, she is called “the purifier KanyA with ChitrA as her life”, and equated with the river Saraswati, the “waterstream-full”. At this point I must disagree with Waradpande, who takes Saraswati, “waterstream-full,” in its literal meaning, when obviously it is used as the name of the Vedic river. But at least the reference - the reference to ChitrA, the asterism Spica, the most conspicuous part of the constellation Virgo, dispels any lingering doubt that in this context, KanyA/Virgo does indeed mean the sixth constellation of the Zodiac.

If this is correct, it means that the Zodiac is as old as the oldest Veda, and that the Zodiac itself helps to date the Vedas to the age when Leo and Virgo were connected with the rainy season. Even if we consider sun-in-Virgo rather than Virgo’s heliacal rising, this would still indicate the centuries around 2000 BC, well before the 1500 BC taught in our universities as the earliest possible date of the Rg-Veda. Either way, it also upsets the current assumption that the Zodiac was invented in Babylon in the last millennium BC.

2.4.5. India as the metropolis

Off-hand, while trying to give a solid astronomical basis to Vedic chronology, we discover a case of cultural transmission in which India is no longer a rather late receiver but, on the contrary, the extremely ancient source. Indeed, both the solar and the lunar Zodiac may well originate in India. If the Rg-Veda does refer to a 12-part Zodiac, it precedes the Babylonian Zodiac by centuries even in the lowest AIT-based chronology for the Vedas. As for China: in his famous Science and Civilization in China, Joseph Needham notes, again by using the precession as a time marker, that the Chinese 27-part Zodiac dates back to the 24th century BC.34 He recognizes a common origin with the Hindu nakshatra Zodiac, and then surmises that the Hindus had it from China, on the assumption that the Vedic references to the nakshatras are from 1500 BC at the earliest. But that assumption, a by-product of the AIT, is seriously undermined by all the data we have been considering here.

Another indication for Indian influence on Chinese astronomy is the 60-year century, known in Vedic literature (the Brhaspati cycle) and still commonly used in the Chinese calendar. The 6th-century astronomer Aryabhatta reports that he was 23 when the 60th cycle ended, implying that the system was set rolling in 3102 BC. In China, the system was adopted a few centuries later: according to Chinese tradition, it started with the enthronement of the legendary Yellow Emperor in 2697 BC.

A stellar myth which was apparently transmitted from India to China is the notion that after death, the souls go to the Scorpio-Sagittarius region of the sky (specifically Phi Sagitarii), where the autumnal equinox was located in the 4th millennium BC. There, they were to be judged by Yama or a similar god of the dead.

The influence of Indian astronomy on both China and Babylonia confirms the Vedic-Harappan civilization’s status as the world metropolis in the 4th-3rd millennium BC. In the official cults in imperial China and in Babylon, stellar science, stellar symbolism and stellar worship were central. But the same central place had already been accorded to astronomy in the Vedas, as we have seen here (if only fragmentarily, for numerous Vedic motifs not discussed here are also related to astronomy, e.g. the twelve Adityas or divine children of the sun, Prajapati as personification of the year cycle, etc.); and also in the culture and religion of the Indus-Saraswati civilization, as Asko Parpola and others have shown.

Remark that Parpola often tries to make sense of Harappan data by referring to Vedic data, on the AIT-based assumption that the Aryan invaders integrated Harappan astronomy and religion. This is again a case of multiplying entities without necessity: instead of saying that there are two cultures which happen to share some astro-religious lore, we might assume that these two cultures are one, until proof of the contrary. Parpola’s arguments for a Harappan origin of Vedic and Hindu cultural items, e.g. of astronomy-based nomenclature (names like KRttikA, “of the Pleiades”), are just as much arguments for an identity of Vedic and Harappan. The point to remember is that even Parpola, often cited as an argument of authority by Indian defenders of the AIT, fully acknowledges the continuity between Vedic and Harappan culture. The common emphasis on astronomy in both Vedic and Harappan sources is certainly an indication of their close kinship if not their identity.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 17:03 
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Online Books

Koenraad Elst mentions a few astronomers and writers who could clearly see the antiquity of the Indian and Indian astronomy.

Image

Publication 1790 (Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. II)
Author: John Playfair
Astronomy of the Brahmins
from Page 91 onwards


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 17:37 
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We Indians would sooner or later have to make a big effort in order to correct false information about Indian antiquity as displayed on Wikipedia - the defacto source of knowledge for many in the world.

Four projects are of high significance and priority:

a) Sanskrit having its roots solely in India (Comparative and Historical Linguistics)
b) Indian contributions to World Maths (Ancient Mathematics)
c) Antiquity of Indian Astronomy (Ancient Astronomy)
d) Indian indigenous roots of Rigvedic Gods - Indra, Varuna, Mithra, Ashwins, Surya, Dyaus Pitr, Agni, etc. (Comparative Religions)


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 18:22 
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From Rajiv Malhotra's article posted by Arun ji, I see a greater need now than before to have a dedicated Sanskrit/Sanskriti thread in GDF to discuss and highlight Sanskrit related issues, right from novice level learning Sanskrit, resources to learn, schools teaching Sanskrit, organizations helping Sanskrit development in India etc. We have threads there to discuss Cricket and nukkad, can't we atleast have one thread for this please?
I know many of you are well versed with Sanskrit, and I think those gurus should encourage Sanskrit learning or atleast show way to others.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 18:28 
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venug wrote:
From Rajiv Malhotra's article posted by Arun ji, I see a greater need now than before to have a dedicated Sanskrit/Sanskritists thread in GDF to discuss and highlight Sanskrit related issues, right from novice level learning Sanskrit, resources to learn, schools teaching Sanskrit, organizations helping Sanskrit development in India etc. We have threads there to discuss Cricket and nukkad, can't we atleast have one thread for this please?
I know many of you are well versed with Sanskrit, and I think those gurus should encourage Sanskrit learning or atleast show way to others.

There is already one - Sanskrit Subhashitani, Sanskrit Nukkad.

Political and Ideological issues around Sanskrit were also being discussed in the Link Language for India.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 18:31 
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Thanks Rajesh garu.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 18:44 
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venug ji,

don't waste "garu" on me. There are others on the forum more worthy of that epithet. :)


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 19:07 
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Rajesh garu :), I think you along others are worthies teaching me in one way or another, I am in debt to you all.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 19:44 
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RajeshA wrote:
venug ji,

don't waste "garu" on me. There are others on the forum more worthy of that epithet. :)


You definitely deserve the title IMVHO, along with other garus :)


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 19:51 
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This is all off-topic!

:evil: :)


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 21:01 
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I have downloaded several historic books by authors acknowledged to be the fathers of philology and linguistics. The treatment of Sanskrit today is a result of work by these people. Each of these people has written a 400 odd page book (I have downloaded several) considered as a bible and their ideas have been more or less blindly propagated like the Aryan Invasion Theory.

I think we will make little headway unless some of us go back to those old books, read them and tear down the silly assumptions that seem to have been made straight away at first glance.

To me, at first glance it appears that Sanskrit was "discovered" and immediately considered as the mother of Indo-European languages. But its use by black people was a problem and that was explained away by the racist Aryan invasion theory.

Once it was "clear' that Sanskrit was an "Aryan" language of white people, some people, called as "sanskritists" as early as the 1880s (I have a cite from a downloaded book) considered Sanskrit to be a mother language. But there were others who felt that this honor could not be bestowed upon Sanskrit. Sanskrit did not "deserve" it. In other words many Europeans did not like the idea.

In the meantime a fellow called Grimm studies European languages old and new and created rules of sound change in languages. This Grimm dude did his work in the early to mid 1800s and did his work in European languages. his work was later applied to Sanskrit by others. But Sanskrit could not be allowed to be a proto language. So even by 1888 (in a book I downloaded) they were already talking about an earlier language and using Grimms "law" to cook up a proto-language. What we saw in the first 10-15 pages of this thread was already in progress by 1888. But because the Rig Veda has no dates every man and his uncle saw fit to give it any damn date that was convenient to his theory.

But let me cut a long story short. ..

The way to kill two birds with one stone, that is, the way to kill the Aryan Invasion theory AND restore Sanskrit to its rightful position is to get the correct date for the Rig Veda. That has already been done by many.
I think we need to stop wasting time posting every moron's biased work and summarize the facts that easily kill the horse bones and graves bullshit and post links to the dating of the Rig Veda from Astronomical data and Harrapan archaeological data.

The data is all there. the work has all been done. It is "suppressed" just as Paki terrorism was suppressed as news as long as it was against India. I believe we need to bring order and purpose to this thread. In fact much of the stuff has alreeady been posted by the hard work done by RajeshA mainly, and a few others. We need to summarize it in usable fashion so that any visitor to this thread does not get confused by 50 rambling pages but can take away the essence of the dating of the Rig Veda in a few paragraphs or points. I for one will see what I can do in this regard. I would appreciate some help.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 21:07 
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Thank you shiv ji for the excellent summary.

Regarding the dating of the vedas, we must acknowledge our rishis and munis that the vedas predate man. I know that this will sound absurd to many but the fact remains that we have never followed the western/christian belief that man is the epitome of development. it is upto us to believe the proof that man can receive knowledge from the divine by doing tapasya. the inability of the western world to understand the power of tap has kept them in darkness.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 21:27 
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nakul wrote:
it is upto us to believe the proof that man can receive knowledge from the divine by doing tapasya. the inability of the western world to understand the power of tap has kept them in darkness.


nakul there are two ways to teach the ignorant.

One is to call him an idiot and tell him to take it or stuff it. That will make him angry.

The other way is to explain to him in a language that he can understand, in a way that his pea brain can understand, with sympathy and kindness. It is up to us to do it that way. Our failure is in taking the above route and not putting in enough effort to make the small minded see light. Even dogs can be trained you know.


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 21:31 
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Shiv garu, may be a summary of findings so far would be good from you, Rajesh ji, B ji and others who can contribute? too bad Manish ji is not participating. So that all one has to do is read this article to get a good picture of what is discussed?


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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2012 21:49 
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shiv wrote:
nakul wrote:
it is upto us to believe the proof that man can receive knowledge from the divine by doing tapasya. the inability of the western world to understand the power of tap has kept them in darkness.


nakul there are two ways to teach the ignorant.

One is to call him an idiot and tell him to take it or stuff it. That will make him angry.

The other way is to explain to him in a language that he can understand, in a way that his pea brain can understand, with sympathy and kindness. It is up to us to do it that way. Our failure is in taking the above route and not putting in enough effort to make the small minded see light. Even dogs can be trained you know.


shiv ji, there are two ways to do what i proposed:

One is to convince ourselves that the vedas and purana are not myths and depict truth which may not fit our current worldview.

The other gungadin way of doing it is to convince the others so that they accept it.

I dont see why we have to focus on the second way. The first one is the one that everyone self respecting civilization has adopted. The second one is akin to convincing the neighbor that one knows his real father. Nobody will believe us unless we do it ourselves.


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