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ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY.
CEYLON
BRANCH.
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r*f'hir
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....
EINDU
A8 CO]IIPANED'WITE
ASTRONOMY:
TEE EUROPEAN SCTENCE.'
,*i
5ir.
1..,;
d:1
By S. Mnnvrv.
(Eeail
April
7th, l8Sl.)
Asrnoubwwas
discovered
and cultivated in the early periocl
of theworld.
It spreacl from one country to and.her, aod. ree-s
to have come from Chaldea to India and China.
The Rdv. B. Eoisington,
of the American Mission at Jaffna, in
his work entitlecl
Tlti Oricntal, Astrunom,er,
s&l.s :-(. Cn*ti.a
may be consitlered
as the cradle of astronoml. A series of
observations
was made
at Babylon during a period
of l,g03
years preceding
the capture of that city by
Ati"xander.
This
would carry back the origin of astionomy in Chaldea to at lee.st
2,234 years
before Christ.,'
.
{'The
Chinese possess
the oldest authentic records of astro-
nomical
observations,
They invented.
their cycle of 60 years
as-early
as 21900
years
8.C",
a.d they ,."u ublu to pruai"t
1o"
calculate)
the
eclipses
as e&r-- t Z,lZg
years
8.C."
_
('The
early pari
of Einilr u.t"ooo*y is involveC in great
obscurity.
The
lunar man'siong, or
-l[,
]cltattiramsrurJ
tlu
most
ancient
part
of Einclu astronomy fou,l.
on record. They
date
somewhere
between
the years
tsig
ar.'r ,j?l 8.C."
'
1P
rl:
'
tiq
I
I
t
1
I
1
'l
l
j."
Tu
Society
decline
to be responsible for the i:iatemi:nts of
lthe
author.
The Papeq is printed
(in
rCsum6) having
been read at a
Generj Meeting.
' ..
'il:
2 JouRNAr,, R. A. s. (cnvr,ou).
[VoI.
VII.,
Pt. I.
True Hindu astronomy is very different from Hindu mytho-
logy. Some Europe&ns seeru to think that the mythology and
the astronomy of the Hindus are identical'
.Hindu mythology is mingled with legends and exaggera-
tions of poetry, which are utterly fantastic and absurdly false.
But the true science of astronomy is found in other works whrch
are really scientific, such as:--
No. 23.-1881.1 EINDU ASTRONOMY'
3
and its ciraumference 25,298 miles. According to European
science the diameter is ?,91? miles, ald the circumference
24,856 miles, shewirg a very close proximity to the Hindu
cal.culation.
Again, the 52nd verse of the 3rd chapter of Siddhd'ntq'
Sir6mani reads thus :--
.,
The eircumference of the earth
has been. pronouuced to be
4,967 y6ianas, and the diameter of the same has heen declared
to be l58llyojanas."
According- io
'this,
the diameter is ?,905:4 miles, and
the circumference 24,835 miles, which figures are very much
ue&r€r to the European than those given in
grtriya
Siddltd.nta,
the difference being very insignificant.
Il-According .to Findu mythology, the earth is a cir-
cular, fat body, supported by the serpent
'(A'tielt'idan,"
&c.; but the 32nd verse of the l2th chapter of Srtriya Sicicihdn-
tam says that the earth is a globe and a self-supporting
body.
The same description is given in the 2ud verse of the 3rd
chapter of Siddht.nta Sirdmuni, :-'
{'This globe of the earth is perfectly round, and encom-
passed by the orbits of the Moon, Mercury, Yenus, the Sun,
Mars, Jupiter'and Saturn, and by the constellatious. It has no
(material) supporter, but stands firmly in the expause of
heaven by its own inherent force," &c.
'
The 4th verse dernonstrates the self-supporb of the earth:-
((
If the earth were supported by any material substance or
living creature, theu that would require a second supporter ;
and for that second, a third would be required. Here, we have
the absurd.ity of an interminable series. If the last of the
series be supposed to remain firm by its own inhelent powef,
then why may not thc same power be supposed to exisl in the
, first-that is, in the earfh ? "
"'al:4
Brahma Sidclltd.ntam,
Siriya Siddhdntarn.
86ma Siddled.ntam.
Vashda Siddhdntq,m.
Rdnwha Siddhdntam-
Virl'6sa Iiddltdntam.
P6sa Siddhdntam.
Vardha Siddh.dntam,
A'rrya Siddltdntqm
Siddhd,nta Sir1mani.
There are several other works among the Hindus on astro-
nomy, but these are the important ones.
I do not pretend to say that I have read all these books. I
have read only two of them, from which I will give quotations
and authorities, to prove that many of the doctrines of the
Hindu science do perfecbly correspond with those of the Euro-
pean science.
The 59th verse of the lst chapter of 9il,riya Siddhdutam
,
reads as follows :-
('Twice
800 ydjanas are the diameter of the earth
;
the
square root of ten times the square of that is the earth's
circumference."
Ilere it is plainly sairl that the earth's diameter is 1,600
yE"r"r,
-ht"h
"t
5
^
. 1 The measurement of the ydjana is not eractly settled. According to
lome authorities, it is equal to 16,000 yards; accordioq to:others, to
l0 yerds. The Chinese traveller'flieuen Thsang, who visited India in
middle of the 7th century, reports that in India, according to ancient
r ydjana equalled 40 li (a Ji being about ddO yarcls). According
use of the Indian kiugdoms, it is BO Ii. But the y6jana
sqcred books contains only l6 Ii; wbich smallest y6jrna
4 rouRNAL, R. A. s. (cnvloN).
[Yoi.
YII., Pt. I"
III.-Accoriling to llindu mythology, the earth is said tobe
motionless, and the day and night are caused by the sun moving
round the earth
;
but Al'riya Siddhdntam says that the earth
moyes round on its axis, and tbat thereby the day and night are
caused. This verse of A'riya SidrLhL'ntamis quoted by Professor
Colebrook in his Essays, Yol. II., page 392.
IV.-Themythologystates that the sun is nearer the earth
than the moon;but the 2nd verse of the3rd chapter of Siddltdnta
Sir6maq.i, read before, says that the earth is enoompassed by
the orbits of the Moon, Mercury, Yenus, the Sun, l\[ars, Jupiter
and Saturn. By the order ofthe planets, as given here, it will be
seen that the moon is nearer than the sun. The order is the
very sa,me as that given in the European science, except that
the sun and the earth have been transposed.
Besides, the 5th verse of the f0thchapterof the same work
says that the distance of the moon from the earth is 5I,566
y6jauaq and.that of the sun 689,3??, shewing that the moon
is much nearer to the earth than the sun.
V.-The d.iameter of the moon's disc is daid in the lst verse
of the 4lh chapter of Sririya Siddhdntam to be 480 y6janas or
21400 miles, whereas according to European science it is
2r162 miles, shewing only a slight differense.
Yl.-The corrmon idea of the people and the poetical ex-
pression in almost all the Tamil epic poems are that the clouds
go to the sea, drink its water, and then pour the rain on the
earth. But a verce in Rdhu Yamsam suys:
'(
The sun
evaporates the waters and moisture of tho earth, and then
gives it back"-i. e., it rains.
European science is the same.
Vll.-According to the European science, a year is caused
by the earth revolying once round the sun in 365 days, 5 hours,
48 rrrinutesr
and 48 seconds; and according to the Eindu science,
No.23.-188l.l HINDU ASTRONOMY.
itiscausedby the sungoingonce through the twelve (12) signs of
the zodiac in 365 days, 6 hours, 12 minutes, and 29 seconds.
Wtratever may be the difference in the theory, the resnlt is
almost alike in determining the length of a year, the difference
being only about 24 urinutes.
VIII.-The 2nd verse of the 4th chapter of Siddhdrtta
Sir1mq,ni says :
((
The atmosphere extends to the height of
12 y6janas from the earth; within tbis limit are the clouds,
lightning, &c." 'Iwelve y6janas are equal to 60 miles.
European science also says that the atmosphere surrounds
the earth to the height of 50 or 60 niiles.
IX.-The cause of the motion of the plpnets is explained in
the first five verses of the 2nd chapter of Silriya Sicldhdntam.
(Yerse 1.)
'(
Forms of time, of invisible shape, stationed in
the zodiac (bhagana),called the conjunction ( sighr6chcha-),apsis
(manddchclra),and.node (pdta), are causes of the motion of the
planets."
(2.)
"
The planets, attached to these beings bycords ofair,are
drawn away by them with the right and left hand, forward or
babkward according to nearness, toward their own place."
(3.)
t'
A wind, moreoyer, called prau6|ta impels tbem towards
their swn apices
luchch,a);
being drawn away forwaril and.
backward, they proceed by a varying motion."
(4.)
"
The so-called apex (uclrcha), when inthe half orbit in
front ofthe planeb, draws the planet forward; in like nJanner,
when in the half orbit behind the planet, it draws it backward."
(5.)
('When
theplanets drawn away by their apices (ucltclra)
move forwa,rd in their orbits, the amount of the motion so
caused is called their excess (dltana)i when they move back-
ward, it is called their deficien cy (72rya.)"
there is some sort of agreement between European and
Hindu sciences in this intricate and abstruse part of astronomy.
European science says that the plauets take their circular
6
.'' lodnNer',
B' A' s' (cnvroN)' [Vol'YII''
Pt' I"
orbits from the combined
effect of their
cenlrifugal
and centri-
petal forces
-- -^r^-red to
just now the following
des'ip-
In the verses
reterreo
:: i:;"^";-** *huo io tt.e t''atr
tioo l* given:-((
The so-called
"p*l'
orbit in front of.the n;t;;d'uw'
the
Tli:tt
forward ;
in like'
manner,
when iu tttt ttutf'o'tit
behind the planet it draws
it
backward.
Being
a"*o
away' forward antl backward'
they
proceed
bY a varYing
motiou'"
The accelerut"a
*otioo
and retarded
motion are conveyed
bv the tetrus '(
,ighii'h'l'o*"
arl!
K
-manddclteham"''which
;";;";"tive'ly
;'
swiftness"
ancl
((
slowness']'
-ilt.#;iti
be seen that the Europeau
and Hindu sciences'
although
the expressions
are-diffprent'
agree as to the causes
"i*.--",t"n
of planets
in circular
or oval orbits'
X.--Though
tlrc motions
of planets
antl the figure
of
their orbits
hud ntuo
aet'ermined
by Copernicus
aud other
astronorners,
y"t ttt" tuott'
o' powert which
carries them in
their orbits, *u, ooiJJ*o
ut tttut ti-t' The discovery
of this
ca.use was made by Sir Isaac Newtou'
The principlu
oo *hi"h
the planetary
revolutiou
is founded is
glavitation'
The laws of gtuoilutioo
were
known to the Ilindus
long before Si' t'uu"
Nt#too'*
ti-t'
.Thus'
the 6th' ?th' and'
gtlr
verses of tire 3rJ chapter
of Sr'dcLltd'.nta
Sirdmani
state :-
(6itr')
((
Th" p-;;;;'of
attraction
is inherent
in the earth'
By this property
ttte
"a*}t
attracts
any uusupported
heavy
thing towards
ii' fht tfti"g
"pp?lt
falling' but it is' in tu'
state of being a'ut"o io tl'e ea"rth'
The ethereal
exparise being
eciually outspread
Jl utoood'
where
c1u the earth fail?'"
(?th.)
"
ot s"'oiog irte revolulio,n
oj the constellations'
the
Burldhas
thought
th"at the earth
had no support; anil as no
' heavy body is *t"o u'u'iooary
in the air' they asserted that the
eartU
goes eternally
downwarcls
in space' "
I
I
t
.l
I
ii
t'
.l
I
li
:t
,t
,i
I
.l
'{
''.(9;)
('Observing'
as you clo, 0 Bucldha' that sl'sry
heavf
No. 23.-1881.1
EINDU ASTNONOMY.
body projected into the air comes back again to, anil overtakes'
the earth, how can you idly maintain that the eattL is falling
tlown in space? if true., the earth being the heavier body,
would perpetually gain on the higher projectile, and never
be overtaken."
Bdshara-dsdriydr, the author of this wotk, was born in the
year 1036 of Sdtiad'hanq, era' and composecl ii in the year 1072,
corresponding with the year 1150 of the Christian era, or about
500 years before Sir Isaac Newton made the discovery of
gravitation.
XI.-Now, lastly, about the Solar and Lunar Eclipses' The
doctrine is the same in the European and llindu sciences, though
in Hindtr mythology it ie said that two serpents, calleil R6lru and.
Kttu,archiding
the sun andmoon, aud are causing the eclipses'
of all the phenomena of ihe heavens, it is the eclipses of the
sun and moon that attract the attention of man more than any
other. In early ages of antiquity eclipses were regarded as
alarming
prognostications of public calamities and tokens
of divine disPleasure.
Iu Mexico, during the times of eclipses, the natives fast and
affiict themselves, thinking' that the great spirit is in deep
sufferance.
Some of the Inclian tribes of North America imagine that
the moon has been wouuded in a wilr.
The prevailing notion among the H.indus, which they derived
fiom the mythological legends of poetry, is that certain serpents
swallow the sun and moon, sometimes partially, and sometimes
entirely. But the true Hindu science accounts for the eclipses
just in the same way as .Ouropean science does.
Silriya Sildltdnta;n 4th chapter, 9th verse :-('The moon is
the eclipser of the sun, coming to stand underneath it like a
cloud; the moon moving eastward enters the earth's shadow,
and tle latter (i. e., tlte shadow) becomes its eclipser."
JoURNAL, R. A. s.
(cnvlow).
IVol.
VII., Pt. 1.
This doctrine is in perfect accordance
with the European.
ft has been shewn that in many respects
there is a perfect
accordance beLween the Hindu and Huropean
astronomy.
There are discrepancies in the theory and principles
as regards
some points, as inculcated
in the Hindu
science,
but in
almost all cases the result of the calculations
as regards
the
several phenomena is the same as that of European
astronomy,
such as the lunar a,nd solar eclipses, the position
of planets,
the retrogradation in planetary
motions,
&c.
It is not.known
what instrumentg
were used by the ancient
Ilindus, but it is an undoubted
fact that they naa tne use of
some sort of instruments,
without
which it would not be
possible
to make the several
calculations.
The l lth chapter of Siddltdnta
sirrimani
speaks of the use of
certain instruments;
such as armillary.
sphere, nod,i
aalaya,
yashti, chaphp, ghati, circle,semi-circle,
quadrantr
r*oyo'iil*
yantra,
syphon,
&c.
To once more quote
Mr. Iloisington
:
"
The Egyptians,
Chaideans,
Inclians,
and
Chinese
early
possessed
many astronomical facts,,
many
observations
of im-
portant
phenomena,
and many rules
and methods
of astrono-
mical
calculations;
and it has been supposed
that they
had
the
ruins
of a great
system of astronomical
science,
which
in the
earliest
ages
of the woild had been carried
to a
.great
degree
of perfection,
and that while the principles
and explanatlons
of the phenomena
were lost, and isolated,
,ro.ooouited
facts.
rules of salculation,
and phenomena
themselves
remained.,,
No
23.-lBBl.]
scur,pruRns
ar EonANA.
SCUTPTURES
AT
EORANA.
By
Jeuns
G. Strrrrunn,
F..R.I.B.A.,
( Read April
7th,l88 t./
rlefivo
reeenry
u"a o."".i-oi
vibit rrorana,
a prace
distant
about
twelve
r'.r
ior*oa;;;#".n,
i ,o"0
the opporruniry
of
impecting
some.
sculptured
stoo.s,
which,
with
a few
nouMinga
and
some
other fragmen
t, of uo un.i. o t ltriia,
"*,-
ii"
half,
concealed
by higr graeJand
weeds
behind
the
G.rvern_
ment
.rest-house.
There
is nothing
remarkable
about
the
mouldiqgs,
Uut the
sculptures
aru, I iliok,.of
rrm.i.";;;#;
!o
rarraot
my frrwarding
to the
Societv
the following
short
descriptiou
of them,
The
sculptured
stones
form
the vertical
face
of the stylobate
or raieed
platform,
on
which,
doubtless,
formerly
,t""a
_
structurg
of wbich
all vestiges
have
entirely
ai*uppuur.a.
*
-
Tfu.
n-t"tt"rm
(only
Bb feet
square)
was
originally
about
three
feet
high
above
the paved
opei
*""
*r"a-;;r;;fi;,
approrehed
by a sirgle
fight
of
steps
at the end
towards
the
east.
The
court
or enclosure
_.*ro.uu
gg
feef
f;om
;;;;;;;
southr,aad
b6 feet fiom
east
to
west.
ft was
.o..oonafi
Uy o
stone.wall,
now
brokeu
down,
and,*"u-aotu.ua
at the east
end
oppo-site
the
above
mentioned
flight
of
steps
leading
up to the
platfo.rm.
The
wall
of
the
Bt),ibba;;
*oJrrr.u
of a moutded
base,
a sculptured
die
14
in:h.e;
d;;
llT
a moulded
cornice,
the'latt'er
nowhere
n'w
in position.'
?ri"r
the stones forming
the die
have
been
,..oo.d
qoitu
u*uyi"*
,n" spot,
but the
sculptures
upon
the
few
which
,.ruio
aifl,
.otir.ly
from
any
in
the same
position
which
have
hithert;;;;.
under
my notice,
and
are particularly
interesting.