Keralan Cosmology/Maths Cont.

Richard Marsden rmm16 at UK.AC.CAMBRIDGE.PHOENIX
Sat Apr 25 17:36:03 UTC 1992

This morning, I received a reply from Ramachandran R. Pappadi (who my original
query was for). I quote the relevant part of the letter:
"It was nice of you to have posted my query in the bulletin board. Pingree's
book referred to by Mr. K.G.Zysk is not available here but maybe I can get it
through a book seller.
The long message of Dr. Dominik Wujastyk is interesting. Dr. K.V. Sarma is
known to me personally and infact it was with him I had first discussed my
project two years ago. We have in Thiruvananthapuram a manuscripts library
(University of Kerala) where the MSS referred to by Dr. Sarma in his book of
1972 are available.. Some other old texts are available with the Theosophical
Society's library at Adayar, Madras (probably you have heard of Mme. Blavatsky
and her 'The Secret Doctrine'.) A hunt to get more MSS is already on. But the
works of Hayashi, T et al and Gold & Pingree are not available to me. Do you
think I can write to Dr. Dominik Wujastyk for copies? Or is there any other
source from where I can obtain copies on payment? Or can I write to Mr. Michio
What Dr. Wujastyk says about the reaction to C.M.Whish's 1832 paper before the
Royal Asiatic Society is true. But his contention that what survived is meagre
is, I am afraid, not reasonable. Numerically it may be so, but by content it is
sufficient to demonstrate their significance. It is probably wrong to search
for any cosmology in their works in the way we understand the term now. Their
idea of cosmos or the model they used to explain the difference between the
predicted and observed planetary & stellar positions cannot be drawn without
relating it to the then prevailing knowledge and the way of interpreting such
knowledge. Hence any attempt to look for a cosmology per se in any Indian work
is fatuitous if it is done without defining the Indian paradigms.
Mr. Michio Yano's observation about a passage in 'Kalakriya' is thankfully
taken note of. I have often found it difficult to visualise the full meaning of
the verses. Their metaphors and euphemisms yield different meanings now.
Without the knowledge of a proper history of knowledge in India and without
relating it to the texts under study an approach to understand the latter, I am
afraid, will continue to yield nebulous results.
I am grateful to them all for the valuable information.
But please remember that my interest is ... in demonstrating that knowledge of
the cosmos grew in India as everywhere else in the world it did and Keralite
astronomers had made significant contributions to widen the horizon. I would
also like to show that the methods adopted by them are indicative or a novel
way of approaching truth. The burden of my proposed book is to be that. "
Dr. Dominik Wujastyk, and Mr. Michio Yano, is it okay for Ramachandran to write
to you?
If anyone else has any information,sources,etc. which may be of use to
Ramachandran, please send details. If necessary, I could pass his address on.
Richard Marsden.
(rmm16 at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list