M.A.. Ph.D.REDDY,Prof. J. CHENNA
Research Insiitute.Director, Oriental
Parts 2- 1967 1 &DECEMBER,JANUARYVol. X1
1. The Astronomical Method and lûdian Chronology
D.G. Dhavale 1Dr.
in Kant's Pure2. Is the Transcendental Application of Catégories
Reason a case of Anupasamhïïri ?
7Dr, K,C, Varadachari
Ekasamjîiâdhikâra Astàdhyâyï3. in the
Sri M,S, Narayana Murti 1
the4. On Date of Helârâja
Sri V. Swaminathan 23
Prescribed Candesvara in5. The Sanitary Régulations by hi»
Dr. Bhabatosh Bhattacharya 37
Some Aspects Religion and Society in the Time of6. of
Dr. V.N. Hari Rao Al
7. Ràjâ Prthvîmiila
Dr. M. Rama Rao 59
An Unpublished Arthunâ Inscription of the Paramira KingÇ.
Càmundarâja of Sirohi (Samvat 1159)
Sri Sadhu Ram 65
9. Irony in the Mrcchakatikam
SriRam Prakash Poddar 71
10, Ancient Telugu Works Translated înto other Languagcs
Dr, T. Kodandaramaiah 81
Sri N.S, Ramanujacharyau
15. 1 îSàî?oïîSa - a^ï ^5îfcà&
kîJotmQfaKao 21D.G, DHAVALEDr.
THE ASTRONOMICAL METHOD
The accuracy with whichîs a very exact ïcicnce.Aitronomy
is rcmarkable. Thus,in astronomy can be madc mostmeasurements
precession of thtbeen able to measure exactiy theastronomers hâve
angle in a century.which is a few seconds ofpcriheliop of Mercury
about second»precession the equinoxcs which is 50Similarly, the of
astronomical data bc fonndknown. If, thercfore,per year îs accurately
capable of bcing uscd forliterature and if they ar«in ancient Indian
reliable indeed. This
• results must be veryIxact calculations, the
in dating event»,considered a powerful toolmethod could then be
last century lik«chronology. Workcrs of thethât it to say, in
many emincntvery effectively. And yet,Tilak and Dikshit used it
method.not attach mnch value to thisIndologists of later times do
into disfavour.It would appear to hâve fallen
iiessay to consider what the methodis the pîirpose of thisIt
be, and bas been misused.capable and also how it couldof
astronomical tool, for datinj,most commonly uscdPerhaps the
the «olstitîalthe equinoxes. The equinox orhas been the precession ofORIENTAL JOURNALUNIVERSITYS.V.2
given time. Becausc ofasterism at ain a certaincoloure is located
The exactthrough the asterisms. rate ofmoves backprecession it
is known. Whatprésent situation could beThe is known.
the situationdate if a référence to then iswork out acasier than to
suchBut inmaking calculationsinsorae ancientbook?discovered
pitfallsfrom them there are that hâve to beconclusionsand drawing
:-consider some of thestLet usguardcd against.
like Varihamihira gives some informationan authorI, Suppose,
solstitial coloure. One could calculatesituation of theabout the
occured. But the date arrived at beexcunt could notcxactly when this
Varàhamihira unless the informationthe date of is knownaccepted as
the author. Firstly, avalid at the time of différence ofto be strictly
coloure amountsthe situation of the to 72years intimeonedegree in
of an author is expressed correct to a multiple of 72and if the date
any value. Secondly, there is alwiys a possibility that theit hardiy has
given by the author may be traditional and not resuit ofinformation a
This point will be easily appreciated ifwe remember thatobservation.
use today for the situation of the cquinoxesthe data we in our Pcncnh^
about 1500 years old. Dates calculated on thegas, is basis of such data
Sir William Joncs was perhaps the first western scholar to use
this method to aisign a date to Varàhamihira. He uses Varâha's data
and arrives at a date which, it raust be admittcd, is not far wrong.
Colebrooke^ on the other hand, uses some other information frora
Varàhamihira's Brhatsamhim and gets two dates, differing by 224 years,
and then takes the mean as the real date. True, again, the date obtaincd
is eminently satisfactory, but the method ? What is more, Colebrooke^
has in another place using yet another pièce 6f information from thç
samc book attributed to the same Varàhamihira a date differing from thi
above by 120 years.
2. The rate of precession of the equînoxes is known accurateîy
at présent. The values given by ancient Indian astronoraers are not
vcry correct. If one wishes to work out a date, by this method, in
relation to the présent the correct rate must be uscd. If one uses the
value given by the Grahalaghava, for example, relinble results should
not be expected. The use of an inaccurate rate, given by some ancient
author would be justîficd only when one wishes to check conclusions of
that author based on his own rate of precession.
L Âkebra, Note K.
1 Essays, vol. III.THE ASTRONOMICAL METHOD 3
The subject of prccession is closely linkcd to the commence-3.
of the asterisms. A particuîar astcrism is designated as the first.ment
times thèse asterisms were the actual star groups in the heavens.Jn aucient
researchthey are the 27 divisions of the ccliptic. A worker mus«iToday
star groups divi-precisely whcthcr hc is dealing with the or theknow
ideas samtHe is not allowed to mix up the two in one and thesions.
(i.c.,Further, when one is dealing with, say, the ^f/r/to-pcriod
he cannot arrive at ajthe period when Krttikà was the first asterism)
the first astcrism, as it isvalid conclusion if he assumes Asvîni to be
in his ofindiantoday. This crror was committed by Cunningham, Book
be naksatra at the begin-Eras, where hc assumed Magha to the tenth
assumed Aivîni to be the firstning of Kalî-yuga. This means he
of the SaptarsMîa whichnaksatra in the year 3102 b.c. The antiquity
hardly be ealled reliable.he derived from thèse conbideratlons could
precession is the change in the pôle of4, Another conséquence of
magnitude star, -Ursae Minoris,th« celestial equator. The second
pôle today and L callcd the polc starwhich is very near to the north
b.c. Any conclusion bascd oncould not hâve beea so in, say, 3000
wrong. (Jocobi has pointcdtlie assumption that it was is sure to be
-- be enough - that Draconis musteut look at a star map would alsoa
àave been the pôle star about this time).
place hère to indicate how otherwould not be altogcther eut of
raay be unsatisfactory in theiror mathematical raethodsastronoinical
particular period, if astrono-When dealing with literature of a1.
is nccessary to see that th«références in it are to be used, ittnit^al
on part of the author thannot assume more knowledge thesbhôlar does
example, mentionshis time. l^t Rpeda'Samhim, foxwa^ possible at
évidence that ail the 27 (orby name There is no 28)very few naksatras
time. It would be wrong,devised and designated at thatnaksatras were
the assumption that ailany chronological conclusion onthen, to dérive
were known to then as they are today.tb^ naksatras
• ^ - difïîcult to detect - is
^ oommon pitfall in chronology2. A very
above really falls in thisprocédure quoted in 1).anachronism. The
been, committed, forglaring errars can be, and hâvecïassi But more
chronology. Thus,literature is used for Vedicinstance, when Puranic4 S.V, UNIVERSÏTY ORIENTAL JOURNAL
Daftari^ makes use of certain statements in the Vïïyu-purBna to deter-
'mine the period of composition of the Rgveda, With this and other
considérations comes the very boldhe to conclusion that Rgveda wai
bcing composed reguiariy every fourth year» most proba,bly, betwecn
3102 and 1300 b.c. with breaks.
B.R. very ofKulkarni^ is a sound scholar who is kecnly conscious
the error ofanachronism. AU the samc celcstiaihis identijâcation of
naksatras from the naksatra^devat^s in Rigvedic hymns doet not appear
permissible to me. A fuU list of naksatras and the corrcspoading dcitic»
appears first in the TahtiriyasamhitU and then in the Vedahga-Jyautîsa.
As I hâve remarked above few are in Rgveda;naksatras mentioned the
what is more, namcs of the Devatâs, which later came to be associated
with the naksatras, are met with frequently in Rgveda as deities un-
connected with astronomy.
3. The rising and setting of certain prominent relation tostars in
the Sun is some tiraes connected with the seasons in ancient Literaturc.
This évidence ii used by some scholars for the purpose ofchronoîogy.
Thèse scholars speak of the heiiacal rising of the star. Now, can any-
one observe a star on the eastorn horizon at Sunrise? This is possi-not
ble. It has, therefore, been suggcsted that we should consider thi» as a
case of rising before Sun whenthe the light is such as to makc the itar
just visible. The judgement of thii situation will dépend not only on
the brightness of the star but aiso on the indîvidual worker. ît has even
been suggejtcd that one should understand the référence as being to
acronychal rising, that is, the star should be taken to hâve riscn at
sunset (and not at sunrise). One can well imagine how widcly tho
dates arrived at will vary , according to the position adopted 1>y th«
is only when the4. It astronomîcalinformation is available, from a
text, to a scholar leaves no room for thescholar's personal interprétation
that reliable results may be expccted. In every other caïc it is
highly désirable that the results obtained mathematically be comparcd
with those available from other -sources historical, philologicaî, etc.
Bentley, anOrientalist theof early years of the Jast century, came
to the conclusion that Varâhamihira lived in the sixteenth century a.d.-
ignoring the fact that Alberunî, who yisitcà India in the eleventh
3. Âstronomîcal Method and Us Applicatiou to the Chronoîogy Ancitntof
Astr^nomicaî4. dues for Chronoîogy în Rgvêda (1952).