[INDOLOGY] Revolving wheel in ancient Indian literature

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann reimann at berkeley.edu
Fri Mar 18 18:37:19 EDT 2016


That's true Dominik, but we must consider that any tradition that counts 
the days in a year ends up with 360 days, a good divisible number, plus 
5. It happens in Mesoamerican calendars, where those "extra" days are 
considered negative or empty. They are called /nemontemi/ in Nahuatl.

So a symbolical year of 360 plus days doesn't automatically mean that 
its origin is Mesopotamian. 360 can easily be divided by 12 to give 12 
months, and this can be correlated with the 27/28 days in a lunar 
cycle/month. It is not a perfect fit, which is why most calendars end up 
being soli-lunar, with either extra months or days. But 360 is a good 
symbolical number in a decimal system in addition to its importance as a 
sexagesimal one.

Luis
_____

On 3/18/2016 12:17 PM, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
> The reference to 360 spokes is a sexagesimal number expressed in 
> decimal.  This certainly points to the mathematical traditions of 
> Mesopotamia.
>
> --
> Professor Dominik Wujastyk* <http://ualberta.Academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>
> Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity
> Department of History and Classics 
> <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
> University of Alberta, Canada
>
> On 18 March 2016 at 08:52, George Thompson <gthomgt at gmail.com 
> <mailto:gthomgt at gmail.com>> wrote:
>
>     Hello all,
>
>     Madhav's passage is RV 1.164.11.  By chance, I've been looking at
>     this hymn today.
>
>     George Thompson
>
>     On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 9:04 AM, Madhav Deshpande
>     <mmdesh at umich.edu <mailto:mmdesh at umich.edu>> wrote:
>
>         The idea of a rotating wheel of time goes all the way back to
>         the Rigveda: dvādaśāraṃ na hi taj jarāya vavarti cakram pari
>         dyām ṛtasya (don't have the textual ref at hand).  The idea of
>         the spokes of the wheel going up and down is referred to in
>         Sanskrit lit in many places with expressions like
>         cakra-nemi-krama and cakrārapaṅkti.
>
>         Madhav Deshpande
>
>         On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 8:42 AM, Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl
>         <mailto:karp at uw.edu.pl>> wrote:
>
>             Dear List,
>
>             Mahabharata I, 29. 2-5 and Sumangalavilasini
>             (Buddhaghosa's commentary to Mahaparinibbana-sutta)  VI,
>             26  contain images of a revolving wheel (with 360?
>             spokes), guarded by figures with swords in hands, and by
>             two serpents. Viśvakarma/Vissakamma is mentioned as the
>             wheel's constructor.
>
>             Is that - or similar - image present somewhere else in the
>             ancient Indian literature?
>
>             Thanks in advance for your comments -
>
>             Artur Karp
>
>             South Asian Studies Deptt (emeritus), University of
>             Warsaw, Poland
>
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>         -- 
>         Madhav M. Deshpande
>         Professor of Sanskrit and Linguistics
>         Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
>         202 South Thayer Street, Suite 6111
>         The University of Michigan
>         Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1608, USA
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