[INDOLOGY] The Sun as the "21st" CORRECTION

Walter Slaje slaje at kabelmail.de
Mon Mar 21 15:25:02 UTC 2016

Dear Luis,

thank you very much for your clear presentation, skillfully synchronized
with this year’s spring equinox!

How could one disagree with it?

My point, however, was a modest knee-jerk reaction to the interpretation of
Haug’s usage of „equator“ in the brief one-sentence quote under discussion.
>From it, it could hardly have referred to the terrestrial equator in texts
as early as the Brāhmaṇas, given the conception of the earth prevailing at
their time. "Terrestrial" is how I had understood your citation of the word
​emphasized by quotation marks, but perhaps mistakenly as it appears now.

A comparison of the Sanskrit text:

*ekaviṃśam etad ahar upayanti viṣuvantam madhye saṃvatsarasyai*

to Haug’s translation of AB 4.18:

„They perform the ceremonies of the Ekaviṃśa day, which is the *equator*,
dividing the year (into two equal parts)“

shows that the term he had translated by „equator“ was *viṣuvant*, which
(apparently in post-Vedic literature only) can also mean „equinox“. What
Haug himself had actually had in mind by using „equator“ becomes however
clear from his introduction (on p. 46f), where he explains the calculation
of the annual Sattra calendar – incidentally in the context of „the sun’s
northern and southern progress“ (*ayana*s) – as follows: „They“ [the
Sattras, W.S.] „were divided into two distinct parts, each consisting of
six months each; in the midst of both was the *Vishuvan*, i.e. *equator *or*
central day*, *cutting the whole Sattra into two halves*.“

Keith, in contrast, translates: „They perform the Ekaviṅça day, the
Viṣuvant, in the middle of the year.“

So much for the background as it relates to Haug

Thanks again,

and kind regards,


 2016-03-21 1:06 GMT+01:00 Luis Gonzalez-Reimann <reimann at berkeley.edu>:

> I resend the post with a correction. In the fourth paragraph I had written
> "facing West," when it should read "facing East." It's corrected below, so
> please delete the previous message.
> _____
> Apologies for a longish post.
> Dear Walter,
> The celestial equator is simply the projection of the terrestrial equator
> onto the celestial sphere. Equator means equalizer of day and night (
> http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=equator), which is a reference
> to the two equinoxes. When the sun crosses the celestial equator, which
> happens twice a year, day and night are of equal length. When it crosses
> the equator from south to north, it is the spring equinox (March 21st), and
> when it crosses it again from north to south, it is the autumnal equinox
> (sept. 22nd).
> Now, if you want to divide the year in two on the basis of the celestial
> equator, each half of the year is the period between equinoxes, so one half
> includes spring and summer (Mar. 21 to Sept. 22), while the second half is
> made up of fall and winter (Sept. 22 to Mar. 21). But that doesn't
> correspond to the uttarāyaṇa and the dakṣiṇāyana. The uttarāyaṇā goes from
> the winter solstice to the summer solstices, and the dakṣiṇāyana from the
> summer solstice to the winter solstice. In other words, for the ayanas the
> division of the year in two is made along the line of the solstices, not
> along the line of the equinoxes.
> In any case, to say that the Ekaviṃśa day is the (celestial) equator makes
> no astronomical sense. The Ekaviṃśa is one day of the year, whereas the
> (celestial) equator is a great circle of 360 degrees. If you wanted to
> define the ekaviṃśa with reference to the celestial equator, you'd have to
> say it is the day on which the sun, in its apparent movement throughout the
> year, reaches its highest distance to the north of the celestial equator.
> In astronomical terms, that is the day when the sun reaches its maximum
> northern declination.
> But understanding the uttarāyaṇa and the dakṣināyana doesn't require all
> these complicated visualizations of celestial circles. Ancient observers of
> the sky didn't look at it in those terms. For them, it was an observable
> phenomenon that is easy to track. You watch the sunrise every day for a
> year facing East, and notice how the sunrise point moves along the horizon
> as days proceed. There are two maximum points, one when the sunrise point
> is farthest to the left (North) along the horizon, and the other when it is
> farthest to the right (South). Those two points are the solstices. That is
> where the terms uttarāyaṇa and dakṣināyaṇa come from. During the
> uttarāyaṇa, the sun rises more to the left/North (uttara) every day until
> the Summer solstice. Then it reverses its movement and starts rising every
> day further to the right/South (dakṣiṇa) until it reaches the Winter
> solstice.
> That is why the Ekaviṃśa is the day of the summer solstice.
> And when the AB says: "By means of the performance of this day, the gods
> had raised the Sun up to the heavens," that's probably a reference to the
> fact that at the summer solstice thew sun reaches its highest altitude
> above the horizon at midday. After that, the maximum altitude of the sun at
> noon gradually decreases.
> Cheers,
> Luis
> ___
> On 3/19/2016 12:20 AM, Walter Slaje wrote:
> Dear Luis,
> the translational usage of "equator" ("dividing the year (into two equal
> parts)") in contexts related to uttarāyaṇa and dakṣiṇāyana is generally
> short for "celestial equator".
> See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice.
> Regards,
> Walter
> -----------------------------
> Prof. Dr. Walter Slaje
> Hermann-Löns-Str. 1
> D-99425 Weimar
> Deutschland
> Ego ex animi mei sententia spondeo ac polliceor
> studia humanitatis impigro labore culturum et provecturum
> non sordidi lucri causa nec ad vanam captandam gloriam,
> sed quo magis veritas propagetur et lux eius, qua salus
> humani generis continetur, clarius effulgeat.
> Vindobonae, die XXI. mensis Novembris MCMLXXXIII.
> 2016-03-18 23:44 GMT+01:00 Luis Gonzalez-Reimann <reimann at berkeley.edu>:
>> Dear James,
>> Although this isn't the subject of your question, I think it is important
>> to consider that the Ekaviṃśa day in the AB is quite certainly the summer
>> solstice, and not the "equator."
>> Luis
>> _____
>> On 3/18/2016 2:28 AM, James Hartzell wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues
>> I’ve come across two references in the Brāhmaṇas to the Sun as ‘the
>> twenty-first’ –
>> ŚB …” It (the plate) is round, for he (the Sun) is round. It
>> has twenty-one knobs, for he is the twenty-first. He wears it with the
>> knobs outside, for the knobs are his (the Sun's) rays, and his rays are
>> outside." (Eggeling 1894:265),”
>> and
>> AB 4.18: "They perform the ceremonies of the Ekaviṃśa day, which is the
>> equator, dividing the year (into two equal parts). By means of the
>> performance of this day, the gods had raised the Sun up to the heavens.
>> This Ekaviṃśa day on which the Divākīrtya mantra (was produced) is preceded
>> by ten days, and followed by ten days, and is in the midst (of both
>> periods). On both sides it is thus put in a Virāṭ: (the number ten). Being
>> thus put in a Virāṭ (in the number ten) on both sides, this (Ekaviṃśa, i.e.
>> the Sun) becomes not disturbed in his course through these worlds." (Haug
>> 1977:288-289).
>> Does anyone have other references to the Sun as the 21st, and any other
>> explanations for this other than these two Brahmana explanations?
>> Cheers
>> James Hartzell, PhD(2x)
>> Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC)
>> The University of Trento, Italy
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