Compiled by London swaminathan
Article No.1839 Date:30 April 2015
Uploaded at London time: 21-36
If you go to any encyclopaedia they will mislead you by saying ‘this person discovered the earth was spherical’, ‘that person discovered earth is revolving sun’ etc. Those “frogs in the well” don’t know that all these are in the Vedas at least by 1700 BCE or even before that according to Hindu tradition.
There are lots of books about Vedic astronomy. German scholar Jacobi and Freedom Fighter Bala Ganagadara Tilak worked out the date of Rig Veda and arrived at the date 4500 BCE or before. They did this research independently without knowing each other. Until this day nobody disputed them on the basis of astronomy.
1.Astronomy was recognised as separate science in Vedic Age and it was called ‘Nakshatra Vidya’ (the science of stars). It is very interesting to note that Vedic Hindus were more interested in stars rather than planets. An astronomer was called ‘Nakshatra – Darsa (star observer) or ganaka (calculator). Tamils also used the Vedic word Gani(ka).
2.According to the Rig Veda (1 -115-1, 2-40-4 etc. the universe comprises ‘prithivi’/earth, ‘antariksa’/sky, literally meaning the region below the stars and div or ‘dyaus’/heaven.
3.Vedic Hindus knew very well that the earth was spherical RV 1-33-8 and was suspended in the mid air (4-55-3). The Satapatha Brahmana describes it ‘parimandala’ – globe or sphere.
4.There is evidence in the Rig Veda of the knowledge of rotation and annual revolution of the earth. It was known that these motions are caused by the sun. According to RV 6-58-1, the sun alone is the maker of the day and night, twilight, month, and year, and also the cause of the seasons (1-95-3).
The Aitareya Brahmana states that the sun never sets or rises , the setting or the rising of the sun are but changes of its course.
Mac donell and Keith refer to the view of Ludwig that the RV mentions the inclinations of the ecliptic with the equator ( 1-10-2) and the axis of the earth (10-86-4).
5.The course of the sun is divided into two halves, ‘uttarayana’ when the sun apparently goes northwards and the ‘dakshinaya’ when it goes southwards.
B G Tilak says that according to the Satapatha Brahmana (SB 2-1-3-1) the uttarayana begins from the vernal equinox. But it is clear from (KB 19-3) that those periods used to begin respectively from the winter and summer solstices.
The ecliptic is divided into twelve parts- the signs of the Zodiac which corresponds to the twelve months of the year.
6.The RV says that the moon shines by the borrowed light of the sun (9-71-9). The phases of the moon and their relation to the sun were fully understood.
The Rig Veda mentions 34 ribs of the horse (RV 1-161-18) and 34 lights. Ludwig and Zimmer think that these refer to the sun , the moon ,five planets and 27 Nakshatras. But Macdonell and Keith don’t support this view.
((Vedic horse has 34 ribs and European horses have 36 ribs is another interesting fact. This shows that the Vedic Hindus and their horses were of Indian origin; not imported from outside))
7.Taittiriyasamhita (TS 2-3-5-1) and Kathaka Samhita (KS 9-3) state that the moon is wedded to the nakshatras. Later when ‘Star Abhijit’ became the pole star it was counted as the 28th star. In the course of time ‘abhijit’ ceased to the polestar and the number again came to 27.
This fact throws another bomb shell on the Aryan Dravidian racist theory. In European cultures moon is a woman and they do not know about 27 stars. In Vedic culture moon is a male and 27 stars are his wives from Vedic days and Sangam Tamil literature also follows it. This is also another proof that there has been only one culture in India from time immemorial throughout the land which was the world’s largest country 2000 years ago.
8.Observations of several solar eclipses are mentioned in both the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda (RV 5-40-9, aAV 13-2-4, 13-12-36;SB 4-4-21
In the AV (19-9-10) the eclipse of the sun is stated to be caused by ‘rahu’, the demon. At the time of the RV the cause of the solar eclipse was understood as the occultation of the sun by the moon. Lunar eclipses are also mentioned.
9.In the Vedic Samhitas the seasons in a year are generally stated to be five- Vasanta (spring), Grisma (summer), Varsa (rains)Sarat (autumn) and Hemanta-Sisira (Winter). Then it was counted as six seasons. Tamils also followed the same six seasons. I have elsewhere written that threw a big bombshell on the Aryan Dravidian Racist theory. In western countries the seasons are four, but Tamils and their counterparts in the north followed a Six Season Climatic System from the Vedic days. This exploded the theory that Tamils/Dravidians had a different culture.
Vasanta (March- April) was the first of the seasons as well as the beginning of the year (TB 1-1-2-6; 3-10-4-1). In the Gita Lord Krishna says that among the months he was Margasirsa. Scholars think that at one time Margasirsa was the beginning of the year. This shws the antiquity of Indian Civilization. Since it spanned several thousands of years the system changed according to the star position. We see even the change of polestar.
10.The Taiitiriya Samhita (TS 6-1-5-1) and Aitareya Brahana (AB 1-7) speak of Aditi as the presidin deity of the Punarvasu star receiving the boon that all sacrifices begin with her and end with her. This clearly refers to the position of the vernal eqinox in the asterism Punarvasu. There is also evidence to show that the vernal equinox was once in the asterism Mrgasirsa from whence in course of time, it receded to Krittika (Pleiades). Thus knowledge of the precession of equinox existed in the Samhitas and Brahmanas.
11.Some scholars maintain that the Vedic seers also knew of the equation of time.
12.The sun’s annual and daily motions are described in Vedic hymns (RV 1-35-2). The RV (1-22-16) states: “Gods be gracious to us even from the place whence Vishnu strode through the seven regions of the earth.
Though the word ‘saptadhama’ often indicated the seven prosodies, it also means the seven regions representing the sky. It also denotes the seven places or paths of the sun in the course of its annual motion.
13.In the Rig Veda (RV 1-22-17), reference is made of Vishnu’s traversing the whole world in three strides. These strides are interpreted as the uttarayana and dakshinayana (two strides) and the daily motions (third stride). The expression encompasses the orbital as well as diurnal course of the sun.
(Personally I support the Vamana Avatara story said in this hymn. The other explanation is not convincing)
About the stars (nakshatras) there are more than 25 ages in the Vedic Index and the Atharva Veda. I will give the gist of those pages in a separate article.
- As I have been mentioning in my previous articles on the Vedas, all these details, put together, show that the Vedic civilization is unique, well advanced and progressive in thinking. Who else would have prayed for the welfare of the human beings, peace and unity in the last hymn of the Rig Veda?
Lokas Samasto Sukino Bhavantu!