mhcrxlc at mhcrxlc at
Wed May 15 06:41:50 UTC 1996

Narahari Achar writes:

>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.

Surely this is beyond serious doubt. We have a least one text still extant
which is essentially a translation from Greek and there is no evidence for
most later Indian astronomical ideas earlier than the period of major Greek

>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".

It is possible to argue this, but it does depend to a considerable extent
on a particular definition of what you mean by 'scientific' thought. I
wouldn't myself agree with this, in view of the more recent evidence from

I wonder if the reason people sometimes find this offensive is the
appropriation of the Greeks as somehow 'European'. In fact it is clear that
they are just as much ancestors of the thought of the Islamic world as of
Christian Europe. Similarly, they are simply one of the several ancestors
of Indian culture today.

Lance Cousins

Email: mhcrxlc at

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