Edwin F Bryant efb3 at
Tue Mar 18 22:43:26 UTC 1997

The least convincing part of Tilak's attempt (in addition to some of his
astronomical interpretations of comparative IE mythology) was his attempt
to correlate the ayanas with the equinoxes on the basis of a solitary
verse from the Satapatha connects the ayanas with the
deva/pit.ryaanas, and quotes the verse which states that vasanta, grishma
and varsha are seasons of the deva, and sharad, hemanta and shishira those
of the  This gave him reason to propose that the ayanas were
associated with the equinoxes in the .Rg period, but were transferred to
the solstices by the time of the vedaa.nga.  As you say, this is
not supported by later tradition, and is the least plausible part of his
speculations.  Some of his other interpretations, however, although
invoking a disdainful and disparaging retort from Whitney, and a much more
respectful but unconvinced response from Thibaut (and Oldenberg), are more 
interesting.    Edwin Bryant

On Tue, 18 Mar 1997, Luis Gonzalez-Reimann wrote:

> At 06:12 PM 3/18/97 Edwin Bryant wrote:
> >
> >Yes, the sun is the crucial issue.  I have just finished editing a
> >critique of various arguments using astronomy to date the Vedas.  One of
> >B.G. Tilak's more peripheral proposals was that the, which
> >occurs during the two weeks after the
> >full moon of Bhaadrapadaa,  would more logically take place at the
> >beginning of the (the beginning of the sun's course
> >southward in the sky)--that is, immediately after the summer solstice-- 
> >since this half of the year is sacred to the  The dark half of
> >Bhaadrapadaa would have coincided with the summer solstice in the 4th
> >millennium BCE (it no longer does due to precession).  Tilak argued that
> >there was no logical explanation for the currently being
> >observed in September sometime.  I don't think Whitney and Thibaut
> >(who opposed Tilak's and Jacobi's interpretations) responded to this
> >particular point.
> But wasn't it Tilak's opinion that the ayanas were defined by the equinoxes
> instead of the solstices?   I don't have Tilak's book with me, but,
> according to Macdonell $ Keith (Vedic Index 1:529-539; 2:467,n.21) that was
> his interpretation.
> This interpretation, by the way, has no support in Vedic literature.
> Nevertheless, there are translators who seem to have accepted it, such as
> Ganguly/Roy (Mbh. vol.9:167-168) and Pargiter (the Markandeya Purana, p. 226).
> Luis Gonzalez-Reimann
> UC Berkeley

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