Date of Jyotisa Vedanga

Koenraad Elst koenraad.elst at PANDORA.BE
Wed Mar 22 19:57:26 UTC 2000

Paul Kekai Manansala <kekai at JPS.NET>

> The Chinese calendar can be dated back to 2679 BCE based on its 3600
> year cycle.

Rather, to 2697 BC, if you permit this little pedantry, and the calendar
intended is not based on lunar mansions but on artificial cycles of 60 years
(also known in India as Brhaspati era).  Legend has it that 2697 was the
year of the enthronement of the Yellow Emperor.  Legends about him have been
interpreted by Chang Tsung-tung (Taiwan/Frankfurt) as describing the
Indo-European conquest of China, no less.  Chang identifies no less than
1500 IE words in the basic vocabulary of Chinese, and concurs with Edwin
Pulleyblank's thesis that the standard shape of PIE words is identical with
that of ancient Chinese words.  The Yellow Emperor was credited with
bringing, among other things, the script,-- and it has long been
acknowledged that the early Chinese script owes a lot to more westerly
sources of inspiration, including the early IVC.

That the system of lunar mansions was started in 2400 BC is merely a
back-calculation of modern scholars, based precisely on the assumption that
Krttika as the first mansion was on the equinox.  This may be a case of a
visual inaccuracy of a few degrees of night sky translating into an
inaccuracy of centuries in the precession-based chronology: it may have been
adopted in 2697 BC when Krttika served as marker of the equinox-holding
section of the ecliptic because it was the conspicuous star pattern closest
to the equinox though not yet exactly on it.

Likewise in Indian dates based on precession, an inaccuracy of several
degrees is generally possible, and this means so many times 71 years earlier
or later.  But this can hardly account for shifts of 1200 years or more, as
some philologists postulate in the case of Vedanga Jyotisha.

K Elst

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