# [INDOLOGY] Revolving wheel in ancient Indian literature

Artur Karp karp at uw.edu.pl
Wed Mar 30 05:14:05 UTC 2016

Dear Colleagues

I appreciate - very much - the pointers to the text of the RV and the BhP.

*re: 360*

It seems that in the later texts (already in the Mbh.) the number does not
necessarily relate to the concept of the "ideal" solar year, numbering 360
civil days. Wouldn't it better fit the concept of the lunar year consisting
of 12 synodic months, 30 tithis each?

If one tithi is equal to 63/64 of one civil day (that is 0.984375d), then
360 tithis constitute  the lunar year (360x0.984375 d), that is 354.375d
and twelve synodic months, 29.53125d each.

And, let me repeat the question: could the two serpents guarding the Wheel
of the Year (Mbh. I, 29.5-7) symbolize the two equinoctial points?

Regards,

Artur

2016-03-19 2:56 GMT+01:00 Luis Gonzalez-Reimann <reimann at berkeley.edu>:

> Thanks, Mak.
>
> The ideal year of 360 days was carried over into the Puranic system of
> kalpas, also known as days of Brahmā. A year of Brahmā lasts for 360 of his
> days (along with their 360 nights). The duration of a kalpa in human years
> is based on this year of 360 days. So is the 100-years duration of Brahmā's
> life, which, in turn, continues with the Vedic (already present in the
> R̥gveda) notion of 100 years as the ideal human lifetime.
>
> Luis
> _____
>
>
> On 3/18/2016 5:48 PM, Bill Mak wrote:
>
> As far as the number 360 and the months are concerned, it should be noted
> that there is the idea of sāvanamāsa or "civil month", which is an ideal
> month consisted of exactly 30 days. Hence, 12 civil months would make up an
> ideal year of 360 days. This notion is suggested in most older jyotiṣa
> texts, from Vedaṅgajyotiṣa to Yavanajātaka though not necessarily spelt out
> explicitly and is not known to be applied in any known calendar in India.
> Hence, among the uniquely Indian four types of months, one finds beside
> saura (solar, c. 30.5 days), cāndra (synodic, c. 29.5 days), nākṣatra
> (sidereal, c. 27.3 days), but also sāvana (30 days). Kumārajīva (4th
> century) in his description of the Indian (Vedic) months gave the values of
> these four months which are identical to VJ. YJ 79.11 gives definition of
> sāvanamāsa (triṃśaddināḥ sāvanamāsa) and the lord of the year system in YJ
> 79.54 suggests also a year consisted of 360 days.
>
> Bill Mak
>
> --
> Bill M. Mak, PhD
> Associate Professor
>
> Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University
> Yoshidahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 606-8501
> 〒606-8501 京都市左京区吉田本町
> 京都大学人文科学研究所
>
> email: mak at zinbun.kyoto-u.ac.jp
> Tel:+81-75-753-6961 <+81-75-753-6961>
> Fax:+81-75-753-6903
>
> copies of my publications may be found at:
> http://www.billmak.com
>
> On 2016/03/19, at 6:54, Jean-Michel Delire wrote:
>
> I agree about the very common division of the year into 360 days (and
> nights), plus 5 additive days (sometimes called epagomenoi). It also
> existed in Ancient Egypt. On the other hand, the 12 months are not the 28
> days months, which are sideral months (the moon passes through all the
> constellations/naksatras in about 27,5 days), but the synodic months during
> which the moon goes from one relative position to the sun - by instance a
> full moon - to the next similar position, through last quarter, new moon
> and first quarter. The synodic duration, of 29,5 days approximately, is
> much closer to 30 days. This was already known by the Vedanga Jyotisa,
> although the duration of the year is 366 days in that case.
>
> Jean Michel Delire, University of Brussels
>
>
> That's true Dominik, but we must consider that any tradition that counts
>
> the days in a year ends up with 360 days, a good divisible number, plus
>
> 5. It happens in Mesoamerican calendars, where those "extra" days are
>
> considered negative or empty. They are called /nemontemi/ in Nahuatl.
>
>
> So a symbolical year of 360 plus days doesn't automatically mean that
>
> its origin is Mesopotamian. 360 can easily be divided by 12 to give 12
>
> months, and this can be correlated with the 27/28 days in a lunar
>
> cycle/month. It is not a perfect fit, which is why most calendars end up
>
> being soli-lunar, with either extra months or days. But 360 is a good
>
> symbolical number in a decimal system in addition to its importance as a
>
> sexagesimal one.
>
>
> Luis
>
> _____
>
>
> On 3/18/2016 12:17 PM, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
>
> The reference to 360 spokes is a sexagesimal number expressed in
>
> decimal.  This certainly points to the mathematical traditions of
>
> Mesopotamia.
>
>
> --
>
> Professor Dominik Wujastyk* <http://ualberta.Academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>
>
> Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity
>
> Department of History and Classics
>
> <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
>
> University of Alberta, Canada
>
>
> On 18 March 2016 at 08:52, George Thompson <gthomgt at gmail.com
>
> <mailto:gthomgt at gmail.com <gthomgt at gmail.com>>> wrote:
>
>
>    Hello all,
>
>
>    Madhav's passage is RV 1.164.11.  By chance, I've been looking at
>
>    this hymn today.
>
>
>    George Thompson
>
>
>    On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 9:04 AM, Madhav Deshpande
>
>    < <mmdesh at umich.edu>mmdesh at umich.edu <mailto:mmdesh at umich.edu
> <mmdesh at umich.edu>>> wrote:
>
>
>        The idea of a rotating wheel of time goes all the way back to
>
>        the Rigveda: dv?da??ra? na hi taj jar?ya vavarti cakram pari
>
>        dy?m ?tasya (don't have the textual ref at hand).  The idea of
>
>        the spokes of the wheel going up and down is referred to in
>
>        Sanskrit lit in many places with expressions like
>
>        cakra-nemi-krama and cakr?rapa?kti.
>
>
>
>
>        On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 8:42 AM, Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl
>
>        < <karp at uw.edu.pl>mailto:karp at uw.edu.pl <karp at uw.edu.pl>>> wrote:
>
>
>            Dear List,
>
>
>            Mahabharata I, 29. 2-5 and Sumangalavilasini
>
>            (Buddhaghosa's commentary to Mahaparinibbana-sutta)  VI,
>
>            26  contain images of a revolving wheel (with 360?
>
>            spokes), guarded by figures with swords in hands, and by
>
>            two serpents. Vi?vakarma/Vissakamma is mentioned as the
>
>            wheel's constructor.
>
>
>            Is that - or similar - image present somewhere else in the
>
>            ancient Indian literature?
>
>
>
>
>            Artur Karp
>
>
>            South Asian Studies Deptt (emeritus), University of
>
>            Warsaw, Poland
>
>
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>
>        Madhav M. Deshpande
>
>        Professor of Sanskrit and Linguistics
>
>        Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
>
>        202 South Thayer Street, Suite 6111
>
>        The University of Michigan
>
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