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The science of astronomy flourishes only amongst a civilized people. Hence, considerable advancement in it is itself proof of the high civilization of a nation. Hindu astronomy has received the homage of numerous European scholars.

Sir William Hunter (1840-1900) says "The Astronomy of the Hindus has formed the subject of excessive admiration."

"Proof of very extraordinary proficiency," says Lord Elphinstone, "in their astronomical writings are found."

(source: Hindu Superiority - By Har Bilas Sarda p. 332 - 348).

William Robertson wrote: "It is highly probable that the knowledge of the twelve signs of zodiacs was derived from India."

(source: An Historical Disquisition Concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India - By William Robertson p. 280).

India has left a universal legacy determining for instance the dates of solstices, as noted by 18th century French astronomer Jean-Claude Bailly (1736–93) 18th century French astronomer and politician. His works on astronomy and on the history of science (notably the Essai sur la théorie des satellites de Jupiter and History of Astronomy) were distinguished both for scientific interest and literary elegance and earned him membership in the French Academy, the Academy of Sciences, and the Academy of Inscriptions. Bailly, who was guillotined during the French Revolution, maintained that the Brahmins of India had been tutors of the Greeks and, through them, of Europe.

Jean-Claude Bailly said:

" The motion of the stars calculated by the Hindus before some 4500 years vary not even a single minute from the tables of Cassine and Meyer (used in the 19-th century). The Indian tables give the same annual variation of the moon as the discovered by Tycho Brahe - a variation unknown to the school of Alexandria and also to the Arabs who followed the calculations of the school... "The Hindu systems of astronomy are by far the oldest and that from which the Egyptians, Greek, Romans and - even the Jews derived from the Hindus their knowledge."

(source: The Politics of History - By N. S. Rajaram Voice of India ISBN 81-85990-28-X. 1995 p. 47).

The paper of John Playfair (1748-1819) (FRS and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh) is a detailed review (published in 1790) of the book 'Traite de ';astronomie Indienne et Orientale,' by J. S. Bailly (Paris 1787), the famous French historian of astronomy. Taken as if by surprise by Bailly's rather positive evaluation of the origin, antiquity and achievements of Indian astronomy, Playfair states that: "I entered on the study of that work, not without a portion of skepticism....The result was, an entire conviction of the accuracy of the one, and of the solidity of the other.' Both Bailly's book and Playfair's article examine in detail some of the astronomical tables (based on Indian astronomy) that the French had procured from Siam (Thailand), Playfair's main conclusions are the following:

1. The observations on which the astronomy of India is founded, were made more than three thousand years before the Christian era; and in particular, the places of the sun and the moon, at the beginning of the Kali-yoga/Calyougham (i.e., 17/18 February 3102 B.C.), were determined by actual observation.

2. Though the astronomy which is now in the hands of the Brahmins, is so ancient in its origin, yet it contains many rules and tables that are of later construction.

3. The basis of the four systems of astronomical tables which we have examined, is evidently the same.

4. The construction of these tables implies a great knowledge of geometry, arithmetic, and even of the theoretical part of astronomy.

Playfair argues that 'communication is more likely to have gone from India to Greece, than in the opposite direction."

(source: India Through The Ages: History, Art Culture and Religion - By G. Kuppuram p.671-672).

Hindu astronomy received considerable homage from European scholars. Sir William Hunter (1840-1900) says: "The astronomy of the Hindus has formed the subject of excessive admiration." "In some points the Brahmins made advances beyond Greek astronomy. Their fame spread throughout the West, and found entrance into the Chronicon Paschale (commenced about 330 A.D. and revised under Heraclius 610-641). "The Sanskrit term for the apex of a planet's orbit seems to have passed into the Latin translations of the Arabic astronomers. The Sanskrit uccha became the aux (genaugis) of the later translators." "The Arabs became their (Hindus) discipline in the 8th century, and translated Sanskrit treatises, Siddhanats, under the name Sindhends."

Albrecht Weber (1825-1901) says:

"The fame of Hindu astronomers spread to the West, and the Andubarius (or probably, Ardubarius), whom the Chronicon Paschale places in primeval times as the earliest Indian astronomer, is doubtless none other than Aryabhatta, the rival of Pulisa, and who is likewise extolled by the Arabs under the name of Arjabahar."

(source: Indian Literature - By Albrecht Weber ISBN: 1410203344 p. 255).

Research scholars like Sylvain Bailley (1736-1793) and Charles Francois Dupuis (1742-1809) aver that the Hindu Zodiac is the earliest known to man and that the first calendar was made in India in about B.C. 12,000.

(Refer to Bailley's Histoire de Astonomie Ancienne p. 483 as well as the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology - December 1901 part I).

The Hon. Emmeline M. Plunket (1835- ) in the great work Ancient Calendars and Constellations p. 192 - says that there were very advanced Hindu Astronomers in B.C. 6,000.

(source: Hinduism: That Is Sanatana Dharma - By R. S. Nathan p. 38 published by Central Chinmaya Mission Trust. Bombay).

Horace Hyman Wilson (1786-1860) wrote: "The science of astronomy at present exhibits many proofs of accurate observation and deduction, highly creditable to the science of the Hindu astronomers. The division of the ecleptic into lunar mansions, the solar zodiac, the mean motions of the planets, the procession of the equinox, the earth's self-support in space, the diurnal revolution of the earth on its axis, the revolution of the moon on her axis, her distance from the earth, the dimensions of the orbits of the planet, the calculations of eclipses are parts of a system which could not have been found amongst an unenlightened people."

But the originality of the Hindus is not less striking than their proficiency. Wilson says: "The originality of Hindu astronomy is at once established, but it is also proved by intrinsic evidence, and although there are some remarkable coincidences between the Hindu and other systems, their methods are their own."

(source: History of British India - by James Mill Volume II p, 106-107).

Mountstuart Elphinstone wrote: "Proofs of very extraordinary proficiency in their astronomical writings are found."

The Hindu astronomy not only establishes the high proficiency of our ancestors in this department of knowledge and exacts admiration and applause: it does something more. It proves the great antiquity of the Sanskrit literature and the high literary culture of the Hindus. "Monsieur Bailly, the celebrated author of the History of Astronomy, inferred from certain astronomical tables of the Hindus, not only advanced progress of the science, but a date so ancient as to be entirely inconsistent with the chronology of the Hebrew scriptures. His argument was labored with the utmost diligence and was received with unbounded applause. All concurred at the time with the wonderful learning, wonderful civilization and wonderful institutions of the Hindus!"

(source: History of British India - By James Mill Volume II. p. 97-98).

Albrecht Weber (1825-1901) says: "Astronomy was practiced in India as early as 2780 B.C." "The fame of Hindu astronomers spread to the West, and the Andubarius (or probably, Ardubarius), whom the Chronicon Paschale places in primeval times as the earliest Indian astronomer, is doubtless none other than Aryabhatta, the rival of Pulisa, and who is likewise extolled, by the Arabs under the name of Arjabahar."

(source: Indian Literature - By Albrecht Weber p. 30-255).

But some of the greatest modern astronomers have decided in favor of a much greater antiquity. Cassini, Bailly, Gentil and Playfair maintain "that there are Hindu observations extant which must have been made more than three thousand years before Christ, and which evince even then a very high degree of astronomical science."

Count Magnus Fredrik Ferdinand Bjornstjerna (1779-1847) proves conclusively that Hindu astronomy was very far advanced even at the beginning of the Kaliyug, or the iron age of the Hindus (about 5,000 years ago). He says: "According to the astronomical calculations of the Hindus, the present period of the world, Kaliyug, commenced 3,102 years before the birth of Christ, on the 20th of February, at 2 hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds, the time being thus calculated of the planets that took place, and their tables show this conjunction. Bailly states that Jupiter and Mercury were then in the same degree of the ecliptic, Mars at a distance of only eight, and Saturn of seven degrees; whence it follows, that at the point of time given by the Brahmins as the commencement of Kaliyug, the four planets above-mentioned must have been successively concealed by the rays of the sun (first Saturn, then Mars, afterwards Jupiter and lastly Mercury)....The calculation of the Brahmins is so exactly confirmed by or own astronomical tables, that nothing but an actual observation could have given so correspondent a result."

The learned Count continues: "He (Bailly) further informs us that Laubere, who was sent by Louis XIV as ambassador to the King of Siam, brought home, in the year 1687, astronomical tables of solar eclipses and that other similar tables were sent to Euorpe by Patouillet (a missionary in the Carnatic - India), and by Gentil, which later were obtained from the Brahmins in Tirvalore, and that they all perfectly agree in their calcuations although received from different persons, at different times, and from places in India remote from each other. On these tables Bailly, makes the following observation. The motion calculated by the Brahmins during the long space of 4,385 years (the period eclipsed between these calculations and Bailly's), varies not a single minute from the tables of Cassini and Meyer; and as the tables brought to Europe by Laubere in 1687, under Louis XIV, are older than those of Cassini and Meyer, the accordance between them must be the result of mutual and exact astronomical observations." Then again, "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 to the Arabs, who followed the calculation of this school."

"These facts," says the erudite Count, "sufficiently show the great antiquity and distinguished station of astronomical science among the Hindus of past ages." The Count then asks "if it be true that the Hindus more than 3,000 BC., according to Bailly's calculation, had attained so high a degree of astronomical and geometrical learning, how many centuries earlier must the commencement of their culture have been, since the human mind advances only step by step on the path of science."

The length of the Hindu tropical year as deduced from the Hindu tables is 365 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes, 35 seconds, while La Callie's observation given 365-5-48-49. This makes the year at the time of the Hindu observation longer than at present by 1'46". It is however, an established fact that the year has been decreasing in duration from time immemorial and shall continue to decrease.

(source: The Theogony of the Hindoos with their systems of Philosophy and Cosmogony - By Count Bjornstjerna p. 32).

W Brennand had said in his book Hindu Astronomy:

"It is certain that the ancient Hindu astronomers, many centuries before the Christian Era, were in possession of knowledge, derived from observations made by them of the motions of the heavenly bodies, which they were able to use, and did actually use, in very accurate computations of time. "

"Upon the first point (the antiquity of that system), it may be remarked, that no one can carefully study the information collected by various investigators and translators of Hindu works relating to Astronomy, without coming to the conclusion that, long before the period when Grecian learning founded the basis of knowledge and civilization in the West, India had its own store of erudition. Master minds, in those primitive ages, thought out the problems presented by the ever recurring phenomena of the heavens, and gave birth to the ideas which were afterwards formed into a settled system for the use and benefit of succeeding. Astronomers, Mathematicians, and Scholiasts, as well as for the guidance of votaries of religion."

It is in the light of such consideration as these, that the investigator of the facts relating to Hindu Astronomy, is compelled to admit the extreme antiquity of the science. An impartial investigation of the circumstances relating to the question whether the Grecian Astronomy was original in its nature, and was copied by the Hindus, places it beyond doubt that the Hindu system was essentially different from and independent of the Greek.

“No nation in existence can afford to compare to latter [India] in many tenets of science, with its earliest theories and cosmography, without a smile at the expense of ancestors, but the Hindus, in this view, may, with not a little justifiable pride, point to their science of astronomy, arithmetic, algebra, geometry and even of trignometry, as containing within them evidence of a traditional civilisation compared formally with that of any other nation in the world.”

(source: Hindu Astronomy - By W Brennand p. 34 and 320 - 323).

Paul G Johnson has observed in his book, God and World Religions:

"In 600 B.C.E. the writer of Genesis perceived Earth to be the motionless centerpiece of creation, and above its flat surface were two great lights – the Sun and the Moon. Fourteen centuries before, the Hindu scripture – The Rig Veda – had a more accurate picture. Not only did the Sun, Moon, and Earth revolve in orbits, but “the Earth in its orbit revolves around the Sun.” (8:2).

(source: God and World Religions - By Paul G Johnson p. 3).

"In India, we see the beginning of theoretical speculation of the size and nature of the earth. Some one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth was round and circled the sun. A translation of the Rig Veda goes: " In the prescribed daily prayers to the Sun we find..the Sun is at the center of the solar system. ..The student ask, "What is the nature of the entity that holds the Earth? The teacher answers, "Rishi Vatsa holds the view that the Earth is held in space by the Sun."

"Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center." "Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together. The Sanskrit speaking Aryans subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one. The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years."

(source: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science - By Dick Teresi p. 1 - 8 and 159 and 174 -239). For more on Dick Teresi refer to chapters Quotes301_320, GlimpsesVI and GlimpsesVII ).

Historian A. L. (Arthur Llewellyn) Basham wrote:

"The procession of the equinoxes was known, and calculated with some accuracy by medieval astronomers, as were the lengths of the year, the lunar month, and other astronomical constants. These calculations were reliable for most practical purposes, and in many cases more accurate than those of the Greco-Roman world. Eclipses were forecast with accuracy and their true cause understood."

These were achieved without the help of a telescope. Accurate measurement was made possible by the decimal system of numerals, invented by the Indians.

It is certain that the Vedic Indians knew something of astronomy and that it had a high utilitarian value for them as it did for all peoples of antiquity. The Vedic priests had to make careful calculations of times for their rituals and sacrifices, and also had to determine the time of sowing and harvest. Moreover, astronomical periods played an important role in Vedic thought for they were considered to be successive parts of the ever returning cosmic cycle.

The Rig Veda lists a number of stars and mentions twelve divisions of the sun's yearly path (rashis) and also 360 divisions of the circle. Thus, the year of 360 days is divided into twelve months. The sun's annual course was described as a wheel with twelve spokes, which correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac.

The theory of the great cycles of the universe and the ages of the world is of older origin than either Greek or Babylonian speculations about the "great year," the period within which all the stars make a round number of complete revolutions. But there is remarkably close numerical concordance in these theories. The Indian concept of the great year (mahayuga) developed from the idea of a lunisolar period of five years, combined with the four ages of the world (yugas) which were thought to be of unequal perfection and duration, succeeding one another and lasting in the ration of 4:3:2:1.

The last, the Kaliyuga, was one-tenth of the mahayga or 432,000 years. This figure was calculated not only from rough estimates of planetary and stellar cycles, but also from the 10,800 stanzas of the Rig Veda, consisting of 432,000 syllables. The classical astronomers calculated the great period as one of 4,320,000 years, the basic element of which was a number of sidereal solar years, 1,080,000 a multiple of 10,800. According to Berossus, the Babylonian great year was a period of 432,000 years, comprising 120 "saroi" of 3,600 years apiece.

The Rig Veda talks about the annual motion of the earth. The diurnal motion is described in the Yajur Veda. The Aiteriya Brahmana explains that "the sun neither sets nor rises, that when the earth, owing to the rotation on its axis is lighted up, it is called day" and so on.

(source: Haug's Aitreya Brahmana Volume II. p. 242).

The Indian astronomer, Aryabhata lived in during the period in which the Surya Siddhanta was composed. He was born in 476 and reputedly completed his famous work, Aryabhatiya, at the age of twenty-three. A concise and brilliant work of astronomy and mathematics.

The Aryabhatiya introduced certain new concepts, like Aryabhata's new epicyclic theory, the sphericity of the earth, its rotation on its axis and revolution around the sun, the true explanation of eclipses and methods of forecasting them with accuracy, and the correct length of the year were his outstanding contributions. The Arabs preserved the theory of sphericity of earth, and Pierre d'Ailly employed it in 1410 in his map, which was used by Columbus.

As regards the stars being stationary, Aryabhatta says:

"The starry vault is fixed. It is the earth which, moving round its axis, again and again causes the rising and setting of planets and stars." He starts the question: "Why do the stars seem to move? and himself replies: "As a person in a vessel, while moving forwards sses an immovable object moving backwards, in the same manner do the stars, however immovable, seem to move daily."

The Polar days and nights of six months are also described by him. T. E. Colebrooke says: "Aryabhatta affirmed the diurnal revolutions of the earth on its axis. He possessed the true theory of the causes of solar and lunar eclipses and disregarded the imaginary dark planets of mythologists, affirming the moon and primary planets to be essentially dark and only illuminated by the sun."

(source: T. E. Colebrooke's Essays, Appendix G. p. 467). For more refer to Surya Siddhanta.

Centuries ago Aryabhatta told Pluto is not a planet

"Indian astrology did not include Pluto as a planet and the latest announcement by leading global astronomers after a marathon week-long meeting at Prague on Thursday only endorsed the Indian mathematical astrology of Aryabhatta and Varahamihira in the sixth century," eminent mathematical astrologer Mangal Prasad told PTI. "Western astrology uses Pluto as a planet while Pluto was always out of Indian astrology and we do not use it in our calculations. This is the practice from the days of Aryabhatta and Varahamihira," Prasad said.

"Indian astrology is mathematically concerned with the nine planets, two of which are Rahu and Ketu that are nothing but derivatives from the diameter of the Earth, which is a circle having a value Pi (22/7) imbedded in the equator of earth," he said.

"This was discovered and mathematically shown by Aryabhatta and Varahamihira in the sixth century during the golden period of the Guptas," said Prasad, the author of books based on the work of the two great sixth century scientists.Indian astrology is concerned more with astronomy and the derivations are from the equator of the Earth, diameter of the moon, the solar year and how the planets are viewed in the northern lattitudinal region during January and February, soon after the sun has crossed the Tropic of Capricon and moved towards the northern part of the hemisphere.

(source: Pluto demotion vindicates Aryabhatta -

As regards to the size of the earth, it is said: "The circumference of the earth is 4,967 yojanas and its diameter is 1,581 1/24 yojanas. A yojanas is equal to five English miles, the circumference of the earth would therefore be 24, 835 miles, and its diameter 7, 905 5/24 miles.

The Yajur Veda says that the earth is kept in space owing to the superior attraction of the sun. The theory of gravity is thus described in the Siddhanta Shiromani centuries before Newton was born:

"The earth, owing to its force of gravity, draws all things towards itself, and so they seem to fall towards the earth." etc..

As regards to the solar and lunar eclipses it is said: "When the earth in its rotation come between the sun and the moon, and the shadow of the earth falls on the moon, the phenomenon is called lunar eclipse, and when the moon comes between the sun and earth the sun seems as if it was being cut off - this is solar eclipse.

The following is taken from Varahamihira's observations on the moon:

"One half of the moon, whose orbit lies between the sun and the earth, is always bright by the sun's rays; the other half is dark by its own shadows, like the two sides of a pot standing in the sunshine."

About the eclipses, he says: "The true explanation of the phenomenon is this: in an eclipse of the moon, he enters into the earth's shadow; in a solar eclipse the same thing happens to the sun. Hence the commencement of a lunar eclipse does not take place from the west side, nor that of the solar eclipse from the east."

(source: Brihat Samhita Chapter V v. 8).

Brahmagupta who was born in 598 and worked in Ujjain, foreshadowed Newton by declaring that " all things fall to the earth by a law of nature, for it is the nature of the earth to attract and keep things". But the law of gravitational itself was not anticipated.

Recognition of the superiority of the Vedic mathematics was also recorded as long as 662 A.D. by Severus Sebokht, the Bishop of Qinnesrin in North Syria. As reported in Indian Studies in Honor of Charles Rockwell (Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. Edited by W. E. Clark, 1929), Sebokht wrote that the Indian discoveries in astronomy were more ingenious than those of the Greeks or Babylonians, and their numerical (decimal) system surpasses description.

"I will omit all discussion of the science of the Hindus [Indians], a people not the same as Syrians, their subtle discoveries in the science of astronomy, discoveries more ingenious than those of the Greeks and the Babylonians; their valuable method of calculation [the decimal system]; their computing that surpasses description. I wish only to say that this computation is done by means of nine signs. If those who believe because they speak Greek, that they have reached the limits of science should know these things, they would be convinced that there are also others who know something."

(source: Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence - By Stephen Knapp. World Relief Network ISBN: 0961741066 p 22)

The celebrated European astronomer, John Playfair (1748-1819) says: "The Brahmin obtains his result with wonderful certainty and expedition in astronomy."

(source: Playfair on the astronomy of the Hindus. Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume II. p. 138-139).

Professor Sir M. Williams wrote: "It is their science of astronomy by which the (Hindus) heap billions upon millions, trillions upon billions of years, and reckoning up ages upon ages, eons upon eons, with even more audacity than modern geologists and astronomers. In short, an astronomical Hindu ventures on arithmetical conceptions quite beyond the mental dimensions of anyone who feels himself incompetent to attempt a task of measuring infinity."

Mrs. Charlotte Manning exclaimed: "The Hindus had the widest range of mind of which man is capable."


Bramin's Observatory At Benares - By Sir Robert Barker

Benares in the East Indies, one of the principal seminiaries of the Bramins or priests of the original Gentoos of Hindostan, continues still to be the place of resort of that sect of people; and there are many publick charities, hospitals, and pagodas, where some thousands of them now reside. Having frequently heard that the ancient Brahmins had a knowledge of astronomy, and being confirmed in this by their information of an approaching eclipse both of the Sun and Moon, I made inquiry, when at that place in the year 1772, among the principal Bramins, to endeavor to get some information relative to the manner in which they were acquainted of an approaching eclipse.

(source: Indian Science and Technology in the 18th Century - By Dharampal).


Sun the center of the Solar System

Dick Teresi has observed that:

"The Vedas recognized the sun as the source of light and warmth, the source of life, and center of creation, and the center of the spheres. This perception may have planted a seed, leading Indian thinkers to entertain the idea of heliocentricity long before some Greeks thought of it. An ancient Sanskrit couplet also contemplates the idea of multiple suns:

"Sarva Dishanaam, Suryaham Suryaha, Surya."

Roughly translated this means, "There are suns in all directions, the night sky being full of them," suggesting that early sky watchers may have realized that the visible stars are similar in kind to the sun. A hymn of the Rig Veda, the Taittriya Brahmana, extols, nakshatravidya (nakshatra means stars; vidya, knowledge)."

"Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center. "

(source: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science - By Dick Teresi p. 1 and 130). For more refer to Surya Siddhanta.

Ancient Indians knew Atlantic Ocean

Buddhist Jataka stories wrote about large Indian ships carrying seven hundred people. In the Artha Sastra, Kautilya wrote about the Board of Shipping and the Commissioner of Port who supervised sea traffic. The Harivamsa informs that the first geographical survey of the world was performed during the period of Vaivasvata. The towns, villages and demarcation of agricultural land of that time were charted on maps. Brahmanda Purana provides the best and most detailed description of world map drawn on a flat surface using an accurate scale. Padma Purana says that world maps were prepared and maintained in book form and kept with care and safety in chests.

Surya Siddhanta speaks about construction of wooden globe of earth and marking of horizontal circles, equatorial circles and further divisions. Some Puranas say that the map making had great practical value for the administrative, navigational and military purposes. Hence the method of making them would not be explained in general texts accessible to the public and were ever kept secret. Surya Siddhanta says that the art of cartography is the secret of gods. This being the general thinking at those times, yet, there was one group of people who realized that the maps or the secret texts that contained the geographical surveys will not last a very long time. Only cryptology using words and names would last longer than any.

(source: Ancient Indians knew Atlantic Ocean - By Dr. V.Siva Prasad Retired Professor of Engineering. Andhra University, India).












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