Astronomy in ViSNupurANa

Mon Mar 2 14:01:33 UTC 1998

>>>At 09:14 PM 2/26/98 +0500, sarma wrote:
>>>>parAzarA is supposed to be one of the famous ancient astronomers.
>>>>But in viSNupurANa he appears to believe that the Sun in addition to  going
>>>>round the zodaic once in an year, goes round the zodaic once
>>>>in a day also as can be seen from the following verses in viSNupurANa.
>>>>        ahOrAtrENa yO bhuKktE samastA rAzayO dvija  2.45.(2)
>>>>        SaDEva rAzIn yO bhuKktE rAtrAvanyAJsca SaDdivA 2.46(1)
>>>>But this could have been easily found to be incorrect by the observation
>>>>at the time of a total solar eclipse
>>>The sloka numbers are given wrongly. They should be
>>>         ahOrAtrENa yO bhuKktE samastA rAzayO dvija  2.8.45.(2)
>>>         SaDEva rAzIn yO bhuKktE rAtrAvanyAJsca SaDdivA 2.8.46(1)
>>>Observation of the stars just after sunset also should convince one
>>>that Sun does not go round the zodiac daily.
And in response to my reply:
>> There is a very simple explanation of this statement.
>>Please refer to VP (1. 3. 10):
>>         ayanam dakSiNam rAtrirdevAnAm uttaram dinam
>>The ahorAtra referred (2.8.45-6) is the ahoratra of the devAs, which
>>corresponds to one year of the mAnavAs. Hence the sun progresses through all
>>the rAzi s in one ahorAtra

>>Narahari Achar
he wrote:
>I do not think this explanation is valid. These slokas occur in the context
>of explaining the lengthening of the day in uttarAyana and the shortening
>in dakSiNAyana.
>   rAzipramAnAjanitA dIrghahrasvAtmatA dinE 2.8.46(2)
>   tathA nizAyAM rAzInAM pramANairlaghudIrghatA
>   dinAdErdIrghahrasvatvaM tadbhOgEnaiva jAyatE 2.8.47
>Obviously the context here is not the ahOrAtra of dEvAs but of
>earthly beings.
This concern of Dr. Sarma together with the earlier remark about ParAzara,
whether the famous astronomer understood the most elementary facts of astronomy
needs a lengthy and some what technical response. As my other duties demand my
immediate attention, I can not do justice to the posting right now. In any
case, the interest on net seems to be marginal (compare with tAraka and
tArAmaya) so I will persue this with Dr. Sarma by private e-mail, at my
earliest. However, I will outline my response:

(a) parAzara knows very well the difference between diurnal and annual motions.
see slokas 2. 8.29- 2. 8.12

(b) The lines quoted above 2.8.46(2) and 2.8. 47 refer to a novel model to
explain the variation of the length of day time in terms of rAzis of variable
extent. (never mind whether that model can explain it or not)

(c) The lines 2.8.45(2) and 2.8.46(1)appear to have been introduced (later
perhaps) to reconcile two models of the motion of the Sun along the ecliptic
one with equal divisions of rAzi and another with non-equal divisions.

(d) finally, it is not the affairs of devas are mixed with the affairs of
humans, it is just that an alternate name for a unit of time. Such uses are not
at all uncommon.
-Narahari Achar

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