Mon May 13 14:59:54 UTC 1996

Girish Beehaary wrote:

>I have always wondered how people date the various texts, sites etc in
>Indology. Last Friday, 10th of May, I went to a very interesting meeting
>of the Royal Astronomical Society on 'Astroarcheology'. 
>One very curious thing about the whole meeting was that no mention was
>made at all of Indological sources. Everything else has been used,
>Babylonians, Greeks, Mayas, Aztecs etc. I wonder why. Are there no
>documents at all on all this (ecplipses etc)? If there are, how far back
>in time do any data exist? 

Part of the reason, in my opinion, is that there are many people who believe
(like David Pingree) that many fundamental ideas of astronomy in India were
borrowed from out side. Neugebauer in his monumental work on the history of
ancient astronomy devotes all of 1 and 1/4 pages (in 1300 hundred pages) to
Indian Astronomy, and proclaims, "it is fair to say....... none of the other
civilizations of antiquity (other than the Greek!)  ..have ever reached an
independent level of scientific thought". There are some people who believe
that observations were not part of Aryabhata's astronomy, inspite of the
evidence otherwise. The same attitude of neglecting the contributions of
ancient Indian astronomy persists even in elementary text books on
astronomy, where ususally some history of astronomy is given. The accounts
given in elementary text books usually do not say anything about Indian
astronomy. If any thing is said it is generally incomplete, or even totally
wrong. Some of the blame can be traced to the early Indologists such as
Bentley, who could not distinguish between Budha (Mercury) and Buddha
(Saakyamuni). While many records have been lost, many of those available may
have been misinterpreted. However, some work on the astronomical significance
of Indian temples have been done by Malville and others in recent
years._Narahari Achar

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