Thu May 16 15:01:25 UTC 1996

Lance Cousins writes:

>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

So is "Samrata-Siddhanta", an 18th century translation of Ptolemy. Can one
conclude that no astronomy existed in India prior to the 18th century?

Astronomy (and of course astrology) has been a part of Indian society since the
vedic times. It has been a living tradition which has existed continuously all
through the ages. The concepts of Nakshtras, tithis, rasis, planets, precession
of the equinoxes,the days can all be found in the vedas and is certainly older
than the vedas. There has been a continuous stream of astronomers and their
works throught the ages,contributing to the pool of knowledge. VedAnga
jyotisha,sUrya prajnApti, AryabhatIya,Pancha siddhAntika,lIlAvati,have
incorporated the sidereal astronomy of the vedas. One can not simply discount
the earlier references quoted in the SiddhantAs, because they are not available
now and attribute every thing to the Greeks. 
>I wonder if the reason people sometimes find this offensive is the
>appropriation of the Greeks as somehow 'European'. 

and that every thing else is inferior.

In the end it does not really matter who discovered what, because those who
really discover truth are "rishis", even if they are "yavana". Time and space
are of not much consequence. But, modern scholarship is hung up on historic
dates, and if it can not find information regarding dates, it becomes very
jittery. All kinds of theories are spun, arguments in favor of one or the other
of these theories are hurled. All that effort can be spent more usefully in
understanding the ideas.- Narahari Achar

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