Date of Jyotisa Vedanga (1)

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann reimann at UCLINK4.BERKELEY.EDU
Fri Mar 17 07:39:26 UTC 2000

This is a (very) late response to a question by V. Agarwal.  I have split
it in two.

Part 1:

With respect to Vishal Agarwal's earlier statement that:

> The introduction to a recent edition of the
>Vedanga Jyotisha (Yajurvediya) are written by a Vaidik proficient in
>Astronomy and he has demonstrated that the text belongs to the 14th Cent.

And in reply to his later posting:

>VA: Vedanga Jyotisa of Lagadha in its Rk and Yajus Recensions ( With the
>Translation and Notes of Prof. T. S. Kupanna Sastry); Ed. K. V. Sarma;
>Please see the 'Introduction' of the volume.  Yes, differences in the dates
>are discussed in brief and the reasons for the confusion is also stated.
>Will appreciate your own comments on this issue.

Here are my comments:

K. Sastry (p. 12) acknowledges that "the classical language employed in the
work as current now would indicate that the original must have been
redacted by a later person belonging to the last centuries B.C."  In other
words, he accepts that the JyotiSa VedAnga that we know is from the last
centuries B.C.E., based on the language of the text.  Pingree (p.3), on the
other hand, attributes the JV to about the same time on astronomical
grounds.  He thinks that "the astronomy of the Rk-recension [which is the
earliest] was formulated in the fifth or fourth century B.C. on the basis
of information about originally-Mesopotamian methods and parameters
transmitted to India during the Achaemenid occupation of the Indus Valley
between ca 513 and 326 B.C."  He then analyses such methods and parameters
and compares them to contemporary Babylonian texts. (David Pingree, The
Mesopotamian Origin of Early Indian Mathematical Astronomy, Journal for the
History of Astronomy 4(1973):1-12.)

The early dating comes in because K. Sastry considers the purported author,
Lagadha, to have been much earlier than our text, on the basis of the
mention of the winter solstice being in zraviSThA/dhaniSThA.  He calculates
(p.13) that this happened sometime between 1370 and 1150 BCE, while
Pingree's (p.10) estimate is around 1180 BCE, the difference apparently
having to to with the rate of precession (Sastry uses 72 years/degree).

continued in next message...

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