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1 A Classical Dictionary 1034
2 The Wonder That Was India 1035
3 Cultural History of India 1036-1038
4 The Religions of India 1039-1040
5 Freethought in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth 1041
6 The Intellectual In India 1042-1043
7 Book of Indian Eras 1044-1046
8 Census of the Exact Sciences in Sanskrit 1047
9 Science Awakening 1048
10 The Exact Sciences in Antiquity 1049-1053
11 Translation of the Surya Siddhanta 1054-1062
12 Whitney on Language 1063
13 A Concise History of Science in India 1064
14 History of Science and Technology in Ancient India 1065-1066
15 The Atheism of Astronomy 1067-1068

Note: this Addition, is an appreciation of scientists, from the past, to the present.

Pervading perennial problems: the ages, and contributions, of Indian religions, sciences, etc.?

Some authors indicate India is overrated, others, underrated. Common problems: the ages, quality, and translations (if any), of written records.

This Addition, will also complement Addition 21--Alexander Del Mar.

PAGE 1033

from: Lempriere, J., A Classical Dictionary, the eighteenth edition, corrected, T. Cadell, Strand; and W. Blackwood and Sons, 1837.

"India, the most celebrated and opulent of all the countries of Asia, bounded on one side by the Indus, from which it derives its name. It is situate at the south of the kingdoms of Persia, Parthia, &c., along the maritime coasts. It has always been reckoned famous for the riches it contains; and so persuaded were the ancients of its wealth, that they supposed that its very sands were gold. It contained 9000 different nations, and 5000 remarkable cities, according to geographers. Bacchus [appears to be romance! see Encyclopaedia of India, V. 1, 220] was the first who conquered it. In more recent ages, part of it was tributary to the power of Persia. Alexander [King 336 - 323 B.C.E. (356 - 323)] invaded it; but his conquest was checked by the valour of Porus [Indian King d. between 321 and 315 B.C.E.], one of the kings of the country, and the Macedonian warrior was unwilling or afraid to engage another [?]. Semiramis [Sammuramat, Assyrian Queen, 9th century B.C.E.] also extended her empire far in India. The Romans knew little of the country, yet their power was so universally dreaded, that the Indians paid homage by their ambassadors to the emperors Antonius [Antonius Pius, Emperor 138 - 161 C.E. (86 - 161)], Trajan [Emperor 98 - 117 (53 - 117)], &c. India is divided into several provinces. There is an India extra Gangem, an India intra Gangem, and an India propria; but these divisions are not particularly noticed by the ancients, who, even in the age of Augustus [First Roman Emperor 27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E. (63 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.)], gave the name of Indians to the Ethiopian nations. Diod. I.--Strab. I, &c.--Mela, 3, c. 7.--Plin. 5, c. 28.--Curt. 8, c. 10.--Justin. I, c. 2. I. 12, c. 7." [365-366].

[Note: due to Internet complications, accent marks have been deleted].

[Note: due to Internet complications, m dashes, and n dashes, have been replaced with hyphens].

PAGE 1034

from: The Wonder That Was India, A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent Before the Coming of the Muslims [c. 1200 C.E.], by A.L. Basham, Reader in the History of India in the University of London, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1961 (1954). [a Classic!].

'"I shall not now speak of the knowledge of the Hindus,...of their subtle discoveries in the science of astronomy--discoveries even more ingenious than those of the Greeks and Babylonians--of their rational system of mathematics, or of their method of calculation which no words can praise strongly enough--I mean the system using nine symbols. If these things were known by the people who think they alone have mastered the sciences because they speak Greek they would perhaps be convinced, though a little late in the day, that other folk, not only Greeks, but men of a different tongue, know something as well as they."

The Syrian astronomer-monk

Severus Sebokht (writing A.D. 662).'

[opposite, "Preface"]. [See: 1048].

Note (update, 11/1/2001): I thank my friend Dr. Sripati Chandrasekhar [November 22, 1918 - June 14, 2001] ["Chandra" said his father was a very prominent Indian Rationalist], a prolific author, for this reference, and for the author, Nirad C. Chaudhuri (see 1042).

"Chandra" was a Cabinet Minister in the government of Jawaharlal Nehru [Prime Minister: 1947 - 1964] and India's Minister of Health in the government of Indira [Priyadarshini] Gandhi [daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru] [Prime Minister: 1966 - 1977, 1980 - 1984].

PAGE 1035

from: A Cultural History of India, Edited by A.L. Basham, Oxford, 1975. [a Classic!]. [Plates; Maps; Chronological Tables; Contributors; Books for Further Reading; etc.].

"Chapter I


by A.L. Basham

There are four main cradles of civilization, from which elements of culture have spread to other parts of the world. These are, moving from east to west, China, the Indian subcontinent, the 'Fertile Crescent', and the Mediterranean, especially Greece and Italy. Of these four areas India deserves a larger share of the credit than she is usually given, because, on a minimal assessment, she has deeply affected the religious life of most of Asia and has provided very important elements in the culture of the whole of South-East Asia, as well as extending her influence, directly and indirectly, to other parts of the world.

It has been commonly believed in the West that before the impact of European learning, science, and technology 'the East' changed little if at all over many centuries. The 'wisdom of the East', unchanging over the millennia, it was thought, preserved eternal verities which Western civilization had almost forgotten. On the other hand 'the East' was not ready to enter into the rough and tumble of the modern world without the guidance for an indefinite period of more developed Western countries.

These ideas were no doubt held in good faith by many well-informed people of earlier generations, and there may have been a grain of truth in them from the point of view of the nineteenth century. But there is no reason to believe that the rate of change in India in earlier times was any slower than that of other parts of the world. It was only from the sixteenth century onwards, when a combination of many factors led to increasingly rapid technological and scientific advances in Europe, that the myth of the changelessness of Asia began to appear.

In fact India has always been steadily changing. The civilization of the Guptas was different from that of the Mauryas, and that of medieval times was different again. The Muslims altered conditions considerably, and the high flowering of Indian Muslim civilization under the four great Mughals brought yet more changes. The religious life of India, for all her 'ancient wisdom', has changed greatly over the centuries. Between the time of the early Greek philosophers and that of St. Thomas Aquinas, Buddhism developed into a great religious movement in India, changed its outlook almost completely, declined, and finally sank back into the Hinduism from which it had emerged, but only after Buddhist missionaries had spread their message throughout half of Asia. The Athenian Acropolis was at least 500 years old before the first surviving stone Hindu temple was built. Some of the most popular gods of Hinduism, for instance, Ganesa and Hanuman, are not attested until well after the time of Christ. Certain other features of Hinduism also, for instance the cult of the divine Rama and the complex and difficult system of physical training known as hatha yoga, are centuries later than Christianity.

Yet the older strata of India's cultural life go back far beyond anything we have

PAGE 1036

in the West. The whole of the Rig Veda had been composed long before the Iliad, and there is hardly anything in the Old Testament in its present form which is as old even as the latest Rig Vedic hymns. Some practices and beliefs of popular Hinduism, for instance the cults of the sacred bull and the pipal tree, are as old as the prehistoric Harappa culture, and probably even older. In fact every generation in India, for over 4,000 years, has bequeathed something if only a very little, to posterity.

NO LAND ON EARTH HAS SUCH A LONG CULTURAL CONTINUITY AS INDIA, since, though there were more ancient civilizations, notably in Egypt and Iraq, these were virtually forgotten by the inhabitants of those lands, and were overlaid by new intrusive cultures, until nobody remembered the Book of the Dead or the Epic of Gilgamesh, and great kings such as Ramesses II or Hammurabi were not recorded in any living tradition. Only nineteenth-century scholarship resurrected them from oblivion, and if they are now national heroes, remembered by every school-child in their respective lands, this is not thanks either to the historical genius or to the retentive folk-memory of the countries concerned.

On the other hand in India the brahman still repeats in his daily worship Vedic hymns composed over 3,000 years ago, and tradition recalls heroic chieftains and the great battles fought by them at about the same time. In respect of the length of continuous tradition China comes second to India and Greece makes a poor third...." ["1"-2].

"Let it not be thought that the South Asian climate is one which encourages idleness or quietism. There are certainly periods in the agricultural year when little work can be done in the fields, but in a different way, in most parts of the subcontinent, the challenge of nature is just as serious as it is in northern Europe or America. The driest part of the year is also the hottest, in April and May, and it is perhaps just as difficult to sustain life in such conditions as it is in the cold northern winter. The rainy season brings problems of another kind--almost constant heavy rain, floods destroying thousands of lives, rivers changing their courses, epidemics, and stinging insects, some of which carry the germs of such diseases as malaria and elephantiasis. In the winter season, moreover, though the days are mild and sunny, the nights may be very cold, especially in Pakistan and the western part of the Gang_ basin. In such times, when the midnight temperature may be below freezing-point or only a little above it, deaths from exposure still occur. Only in the tropical coastal areas of the peninsula would climatic conditions permit the survival of a considerable population without much hard work and foresight, sustained by coconuts, bananas, and the abundant fish of the Indian Ocean; and in these favoured areas THE POPULATION PASSED THE LIMIT AT WHICH SUCH A WAY OF LIFE WAS POSSIBLE OVER 2,000 YEARS AGO." [5].

"The Portuguese" [J.B. Harrison]

'The churches, with their European architecture, music, sculpture, and painting, are the aspect of Portuguese India most plainly visible today. The most substantial Portuguese contribution to India, however, is the community of Indian Roman Catholics, most numerous where Portuguese rule was longest lasting, but found all over India. Vasco da Gama [1469 - 1524], asked what brought him to India, replied

PAGE 1037

'Christians and spices'. And though, to begin with, trade was the more important, the propagation of Christianity was always an enterprise to which, throughout Asia, the Portuguese Crown devoted much thought and a considerable part of its resources. English historians, Whiteway in particular, stressed the coercive element in Portuguese missionary effort [see 1040]: the destruction of Hindu temples and confiscation of their lands, the ban upon heathen festivals, songs, and ceremonies, the forcible handing over of Hindu and Muslim orphans to be brought up as Christians, and the work of the persecuting Inquisition....' [346].

"Early Contacts between India and Europe" [H.G. Rawlinson]

"Buddhism was well known to Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150--218). He repeatedly refers to the presence of Buddhists in Alexandria, and declares that 'the Greeks stole their philosophy from the barbarians'. He is the first Greek writer to mention Buddha by name. 'There are', he says, 'some Indians who follow the precepts of Boutta, whom by an excessive reverence they have exalted into a god [compare: Jesus].'25 [see footnote, below] He knows that Buddhists believe in transmigration (...[Greek word]) and 'worship a kind of pyramid (stupa) beneath which they think the bones of some divinity lie buried'. Perhaps these facts throw some light on the curious resemblances between the Gospel story and the life of Buddha as told in late Buddhist works like the Lalita Vistara ["A version of it appears to have been translated into Chinese in AD 308." (Encyc. Brit.); origins?]. Some of these are the Buddha's miraculous conception and birth; the star over his birthplace; the prophecy of the aged Asita, the Buddhist Simeon; the temptation by Mara; the twelve disciples with the 'beloved disciple', Ananda; and the miracles, coupled with the Buddha's disapproval of these as proofs of his Buddhahood.

More startling still are the points of similarity between the Buddhist and Christian parables and miracles. Thus in Jataka 190 we read of the pious disciple who walks on the water while he is full of faith in the Buddha, but begins to sink when his ecstasy subsides. On his arrival the Master inquires how he has fared. 'Oh, Sir,' he replies, 'I was so absorbed in thoughts of the Buddha, that I walked over the water of the river as though it had been dry ground!' As Max Muller remarks,26 mere walking upon the water is not an uncommon story; but walking by faith, and sinking for want of it, can only be accounted for by some historical contact and transference, and the Jatakas are centuries older than the Gospels. In Jataka 78 the Buddha feeds his 500 brethren with a single cake which has been put into his begging-bowl, and there is so much over [sic] that what is left has to be thrown away. In a late Buddhist work, the Saddharma Pundarika [(Lotus Sutra) "first translated into Chinese in the 3rd century AD" (Encyc. Brit.); origins?], there is a parable which bears a close resemblance to that of the Prodigal Son." [436].

[footnote] "25Stromata, i. 15. McCrindle quotes other passages from other Alexandrian divines referring to Buddha,, which show that Alexandrians must have been well acquainted with him and his teaching by the third century A.D. (Ancient India, pp. 184 ff.). They ["Alexandrians"] were greatly impressed with the story of the Immaculate Conception of Queen Maya." [436].

PAGE 1038

from: The Religions of India, Edward Washburn Hopkins, Ph.D. (Leipsic), Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology in Bryn Mawr College, Ginn & Company, c1895. [Extensive Bibliography].


on the

History of Religions

Edited by

Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D.

Professor of Semitic Languages in the University of Pennsylvania

Volume I

"To the Memory of William Dwight Whitney

this Volume is Affectionately Dedicated by the Author" [See: 1057, 1063].

'It is...interesting to note that, as the Hindus identify with the sun so many of their great gods, so the Iroquois "sacrifices to some superior spirit, or to the sun, with which the superior spirits were constantly confounded by the primitive Indian."2' [164]. [Compare the argument: did monotheism precede polytheism?].

"IT IS NOT SO EASY TO REFUTE AN IMPROBABLE HISTORICAL THEORY AS IT IS TO PROPOUND IT, but, on the other hand, THE ONUS PROBANDI RESTS UPON HIM THAT PROPOUNDS IT, and till now all arguments on this point have resulted only in increasing the number of unproved hypotheses, which the historian should mention and may then dismiss." [544]. [Compare: Christian apologists].

[See: #2, 19, 106.; Appendix VIII, 675].

'India's influence as an intellectual factor in modern European thought has thus far been of the slightest. Her modern deism is borrowed, and her pantheism is not scientific. Sanskrit scholars are rather fond of citing the pathetic words of Schopenhauer, who, speaking of the Upanishads, says that the study of these works "has been the solace of my life; it will be the solace of my death"; but Schopenhauer knew the Upanishads only in a very free form of translation, and it can scarcely have been the loose philosophy so much as the elevated spirit of these works that solaced the unphilosophical bitterness of his life. This general impression will doubtless continue to be felt by all that study the best works of Brahmanism. The sincerity, the fearless search of the Indic sages for truth, their loftiness of thinking, all these will affect the religious student of every clime and age, though the fancied result of their thinking may pass without effect over a modern mind. For A PHILOSOPHY THAT MUST BE ORTHODOX CAN NEVER BE DEFINITIVE.' [561-562]. [See: 1042].

"Ever since Cotton Mather [1663 - 1728] took up a collection to convert the Hindus,1 Americans have felt a great interest in missionary labor in India. Under the just and beneficent rule of the British the Hindus to-day are no longer plundered and murdered in the way they once were; nor is there now so striking a contrast between the invader's precept and example as obtained when India first made the acquaintance of CHRISTIANS MILITANT.

The slight progress of the missionaries, who for centuries have been working

PAGE 1039

among the Hindus, is, perhaps, justified in view of this painful contrast. In its earlier stages there can be no doubt that all such progress was thereby impeded. But it is cause for encouragement, rather than for dismay, that the slowness of Christian advance is in part historically explicable, sad as is the explanation. For against what odds had not the early missionaries to struggle! Not the heathen, but the Christian, barred the way against Christianity. Four hundred years ago the Portuguese descended upon the Hindus, cross and sword in hand. For a whole century these victorious immigrants, with unheard-of cruelty and tyranny, cheated, stripped, and slaughtered the natives [see 1038]. After them came the Dutch, but, Dutch or Portuguese, it was the same. For it was merely another century, during which A NEW BAND OF CHRISTIANS hesitated at no crime or outrage, at no meanness or barbarity, which should win them power in India. In 1758 the Dutch were conquered by the English, who, becoming now the chief standard-bearers of the Christian church, committed, under Vansittart, more offences against decency, honor, honesty, and humanity than is pleasant for believer or unbeliever to record; and, when their own theft had brought revolt, knew no better way to impress the Hindu with the power of Christianity than to revive the Mogul horror and slay (in their victims' fearful belief) both soul and body alike by shooting their captives from the cannon's mouth. SUCH WAS CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE. It is no wonder that the Christian precept ('thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself') was uttered in vain, or that the faith it epitomized was rejected. THE HAND STOLE AND KILLED; THE MOUTH SAID, 'I LOVE YOU [see 989].' The Hindu understood theft and murder, but it took him some time to learn English. One may hope that this is now forgotten, for the Hindu has not the historical mind. But all this must be remembered when the expenditures of Christianity are weighed with its receipts.1" [565-566].

[footnote] "1The Portuguese landed in Calcutta in 1498. They were driven out by the Dutch, to whom they ceded their mercantile monopoly, in 1640-1644. The Dutch had arrived in 1596, and held their ground till their supremacy was wrested from them by Clive [Robert Clive 1725 - 1774] in 1758. The British had followed the Dutch closely (arriving in 1600), and were themselves followed soon after by the Germans and Danes (whose activity soon subsided), and by the French. The German company, under whose protection stood Ziegenbalg [Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg 1683 - 1719 (German missionary)], was one of the last to enter India, and first to leave it (1717-1726). THE MOST GROTESQUELY HIDEOUS ERA IN INDIA'S HISTORY IS THAT WHICH WAS INAUGURATED BY THE SUPREMACY OF THE CHRISTIAN BRITISH...." [566].

PAGE 1040

from: Freethought in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, A Descriptive Bibliography, Gordon Stein, Greenwood, 1981.



Freethought in


FREETHOUGHT TRADITION IN INDIA EXTENDS FURTHER INTO THE PAST THAN ANYWHERE ELSE. There is a serious problem when it comes to discussing the earliest forms of materialistic and atheistic thought in India: ALMOST ALL OF THE WRITINGS OF THESE GROUPS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED. It is known that the major school of materialistic thought was a philosophical system known as Charvaka (Carvaka), popular about 600 B.C. The main book or text of Charvakan doctrine was called Brhaspati Sutra, and it has not survived. The Tattvopaplavasimha (from about 650 A.D.). is considered to be the only authentic Charvakan text to survive. It is by Jayarasi Bhatta.

The ideas of the Charvakan system can be partially reconstructed from the works critical of it which have survived. The major doctrine of Charvaka was called Lokayata [see 1065]. It holds that only this world exists, and that THERE IS NO SUPERNATURAL OR AFTERLIFE. Perception is held to be the only source of knowledge. The "soul" has no existence apart from the body. It is really only another name for "intelligence." Nature is indifferent to good and evil, and there are no absolutes, only agreed-upon values. Charvaka did not draw its doctrines from either the Veda or the Upanisads, as did all the other Indian native religions except Buddhism and Jainism....' ["143"].

PAGE 1041

from: The Intellectual In India, Nirad C. Chaudhuri [1897 - 1999], Vir Publishing House, New Delhi-5, 1967. [note: at 100 years of age, Nirad C. Chaudhuri, published: Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse, Oxford, 1997].

"By the same author

The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian

A Passage to England

The Continent of Circe" [opposite, title page].

'The Hindu Tradition

The great Arab scholar Abu Raihan Al-Biruni [973 - 1048], who had made a first-hand and deep study of Hindu religion and though nearly one thousand years ago, had already noted a tendency towards fossilization in these. He specially mentioned the narrowness and xenophobia of the Hindus of his times, and contrasted these characteristics with their one-time alertness and receptivity, which had made them learn from all nations, including the Greeks.

But it would seem that all creative effort had not ceased, nor all independence of mind disappeared, for certain schools of philosophy, systems of law, and literary criticism were developed later, and even Vaishnavism of the school of Chaitanya, which was overwhelmingly emotional, felt the need for dialectics, and had one.

Nevertheless, by the eighteenth century Hindu thought and intellectual interests had definitely set in their traditional moulds, and became concerned only with the maintenance of Dharma, i.e., the general Hindu way of life with a religious sanction behind it. Thus it became completely static and authoritarian...." [1]. [See: 1039].

'All mental and moral energy is dependent on vitality, and vitality can neither be maintained nor increased without attending systematically to the physical foundations of life. It is here that the most serious neglect of the Indian intellectual is to be found. So he should, if he wants to sustain his effort, immediately take himself in hand and organize his daily life. The main necessities are simple, basic, and clear [see Appendix IV, 734]:

1. Food, sleep, solitude, and physical exercise. No intellectual effort can be sustained on the Indian diet. Its animal protein and vitamin content must be substantially increased [what was the "Indian diet" B.C.E.?].

2. Creative recreation of any kind; for instance, gardening, painting, or music.

3. Open air life and contact with nature.

4. Pleasant and artistic material surroundings at home.

5. Agreeable social life and some entertainment, other than gossiping and domiciliary visits to and from the Pitrikul, Matrikul, and Svasurkul. Conversation, as distinct from gossip, is a good trying-out ground for ideas.

PAGE 1042

All this, I am afraid, will evoke the Indian intellectual's already unhealthy awe of money. He has quite an exaggerated idea of the importance of that commodity, which I call economic superstition and financial cowardice. Some money is certainly needed, but I, having been a poor man all my life, will tell him that a little of it, combined with ideas, energy, and organization, can go an incredibly long way; and, besides, there is an immense range between adequacy and magnificence.

Altogether, the principle behind my prescription should be obvious. The intellectual's specific work neither can nor should be isolated from his general life, of which it should only be the spearhead. The two hang together like the head and the tail of a comet. In fact, the quality of his output will depend very much on the quality of life lived by him, in which there should be graciousness and a perpetual movement, a rippling of ideas and feelings, and above all, a deep undercurrent of love. No intellectual can afford to forget the profound saying of Vauvenargues [1715 - 1747 ("French soldier and moralist")]: "Great thoughts come from the heart".

This leads me to consider the person who, next to the intellectual himself, can be his best friend or worst enemy. Of course, it is the wife. Our society turns out in very large numbers two types of woman which will never suit an intellectual: the harpy who looks upon any activity in the husband other than earning money and ever more money as a sin against the marriage vow; and the empty-headed and, frivolous gad-about who regards quiet home-life and quiet work as the same sin. If an intellectual has been unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of either it is all up with him, unless he is a Prometheus....' [69-71].

PAGE 1043

from: Book of Indian Eras, with Tables for Calculating Dates, by [Sir] Alexander Cunningham [1814 - 1893], C.S.I., C.I.E., Major-General, Royal Engineers (Bengal), Oriental Publishers, Delhi-6, 1971 (1883).

"Every nation forms an ERA from some remarkable event, such as a change in religion, the accession of one family to the throne, upon the extinction or expulsion of another, a great earthquake or a flood.--Abul-Fazl [probably, Mirza-Abul-Fazl 1844 - "1914"]." [Title page].

"The most useful works on Indian Measures of Time that I am acquainted with, are the following:--
Warren's Kala Sankalita, 1825.

Jervis's Weights, Measures, and Coins of India.

Prinsep's Useful Tables, 1834.

Cowasjee Patell's Chronology, 1866." [vii].

"The oldest eras described by the astronomers are the Saptarshi-Kal, or cycle of the seven Rishis; the Barhaspatya-Manas, or sixty and twelve year cycles of Jupiter; and the Kali-Yuga, or beginning of the Kali-Age. Not one of these mounts up to the exaggerated periods of thousands of millions of years like the monstrous systems invented by the astronomers. The oldest of them, the Saptarshi-Kal, ascends only to B.C. 4077, or perhaps to 6777 B.C., while the Barhaspatya-Mana and the Kâli-Yuga reach only a little beyond 3000 B.C. In Alexander's [King 336 - 323 B.C.E. (356 - 323] time the Hindus did not claim a greater antiquity than B.C. 6777. I have therefore a very strong suspicion that the present extravagant system of Yugas and Mahayugas, Manwantaras, and Kalpas, was an invention of the astronomers, which they based on their newly-acquired knowledge of the precession. The problem was a simple one: Given the precession of 49.8 seconds, as determined by Hipparchus, the period of one revolution through the whole circle of 360º would be 26,024 16/166 years [see below]. To obtain a whole number of years the fraction was got rid of in the usual way by multiplying 26,024 by 166, and adding 16 to the product, a process which gives a period of exactly 4,320,000 years, or just one Yuga.

[Interesting manipulations of numbers (by who? when? where?)! The clearing of fractions is interesting. Reduce, or increase the size of the fractions, and, of course, results, when clearing, would tend to be extremely different].

[1,296,000.00 arc seconds/revolution (60" x 60' x 360º) ÷ 49.8 arc seconds/year = 26,024 16/166 years/revolution].

[Complications (see above): "49.8 seconds, as determined by Hipparchus", appears to be exaggeration.

The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1993, Vol. 5, 938, has [for Hipparchus]: "45" or 46" (seconds of arc)"; this, also, appears to be exaggeration.

PAGE 1044

The Norton History of Astronomy and Cosmology, 1994, 99, has: "This 'precession of the equinoxes' we know to be a little over 50" per year, or 1º in 72 years.

Hipparchus put the figure as at least one degree in a century [100 years] [which yields a minimum figure for Hipparchus of 36"]--a very remarkable discovery."

Ebenezer Burgess states [see 1056] [compare: 1044]: "Hipparchus is regarded as the first who discovered the precession of the equinoxes; their rate of motion, however, seems not to have been confidently determined by him, although he pronounces it to be at any rate not less than 36" yearly."].

End of Excursus

It may be objected that the Hindu astronomers did not adopt the precession of Hipparchus. But this will not alter the case, as their own determinations of the precession give precisely the same result. The precession fixed by Parasara is 46.5 seconds, and that of Aryabhata 46.2 seconds. Following the same process as before, we obtain for Parâsara 27,870 150/155 years as the period of one revolution, and 28,051 146/154 years for Aryabhata, both of which periods give the same whole number of 4,320,000 years. Exactly the same result is also obtainable from the European precession of 50.1 seconds, which gives a period of 25,868 44/167 years for one revolution, and a whole number of 4,320,000 years." [4].

[Note: I have not located, in this book, the author's sources for the above precession figures ("46.5"; "46.2"; "50.1"); nor, have I seen these figures elsewhere].


from: The Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Edward Balfour, Vol. III, Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1968.

"PARASARA or Parashara, the earliest Hindu writer on astronomy whose name has come down to us, and is supposed to have lived about the 14th century, B.C. 1391, but has been variously estimated down to B.C. 575...." [140].

from: The Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Edward Balfour, Vol. I, 1967.

"ARYA BHATA, a celebrated Hindu astronomer, who, according to Captain Warren, flourished in the 4423d year of the Cali yug, answering to A.D. 1322. He left several mathematical tracts, some particularly relating to the properties of the circle. Another account says he was born about A.D. 476, at Kusumapura, near the modern Patna. His chief work is the Arabhatiya Sutra, which includes two other works, the Dasagiti Sutra and the Aryashta Sutra. He

PAGE 1045

 is the earliest known writer on algebra, and if not the inventor, is the improver of that analysis. He composed his first astronomical work at the early age of twenty-three; his large work, the Arya Siddhanta, was written when older. It is a system of astronomy...." [174-175].

"ASTRONOMY, the Jyoti Sastra of the Hindus, and Naj'm of the Arabs, is supposed to have been first known to the Chaldaeans. It has, however, been attributed to the Egyptians, who probably derived their knowledge from a more ancient nation. The Chinese have no right; and when the claims are investigated of the Indians, Persians, and Babylonians, it is found that their systems of astronomy belong to a latitude considerably higher than Benares, Persepolis, or Babylon, but somewhere between 35º and 55º N. Brahmanical books teach that the longest day in summer is twice as long as the shortest day in winter, which is not the case in any part of India. Zoroaster taught the Persians similarly; and Ptolemy obtained ancient Babylonian records of star risings, belonging to latitudes not lower than the 40º parallel. Cassini, Bailly, and Playfair have stated that observations taken by Hindu astronomers, upwards of 3000 years before Christ, are still extant, and prove a considerable degree of progress already made at that period; but La Place and De Lambre deny the authenticity of the observations, and consequently the validity of the conclusion. Yet all astronomers admit the great antiquity of the Hindu observations. The astronomical rule relating to the calendar was drawn up in the 14th century before Christ; and Parasara, the first writer on astronomy of whose writings any portion remains, appears to have flourished about the same time. The astronomical symbols of the planets have been derived, in all probability, from Chaldaean and Assyrian sources...

The astronomical systems of the old Arabian authors are founded on those of Hipparchus and Ptolemy. The Arab prince Albategnius [al-Battani c. 858 - 929] stated the procession [precession] of the equinoxes to be 1º in 66 years [54.5 arc seconds/year]...." [194].

"Many of the festival days of nations relate to the sun, and those of the Hindus will be found under that heading. Suffice it here to mention Makar Sakranti, on the sun entering Makar or Capricorn; the Shoondooh tiny ship festival, on its turning back from Capricorn; the Basaunt Pachami, and Rath Saptami, and Holi, in honour of the spring and vernal equinox". [195].

End of Excursuses

PAGE 1046

from: Census of the Exact Sciences In Sanskrit, Series A, Volume 1, David Pingree, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, American Philosophical Society, 1970.

"There have been two previous attempts to collect information regarding Indian astronomers and astrologers (S. Dvivedin [1892] and S.B. Dikshit [1896]), and one to gather the references to manuscripts (S.N. Sen [1966] [see 1064 (S.N. Sen)]. However, none of these approaches the coverage of the present work or, it is to be hoped, its accuracy and usefulness. That usefulness should lie in providing a preliminary exploration and organization of the vast mass of Sanskrit and Sanskrit-influenced literature devoted to the exact sciences (including astronomy, mathematics, astrology, and divination), and in detailing under each item not only what preceding work has been done, but what manuscript material is known to be available for future investigations." [1].

[Note: consider this work, a [the?] major Bibliography, for Indian Astronomy].

PAGE 1047

from: Science Awakening, I, English translation by Arnold Dresden, with additions by the author, Third edition, B.L. Van Der Waerden, Oxford, 1971.

'The Syrian bishop Severus Sebokht [662 C.E. (see 1035, 1053)], who lived in the first [same] century after the Hegira ["the flight of Muhammad from Mecca in A.D. 622"], speaks with deep admiration of the arithmetic of the Hindus and of the nine digits, by means of which they carried out all calculations. He judges Hindu astronomy to be "superior to that of the Greeks and the Babylonians", and he is scornful of conceited people "who think, because they speak Greek, that they have attained the extreme limits of science" and who ignore "that there are others who know something". An extreme example of overvaluation of Hindu astronomy, which was, after all, nothing but a distillation of Greek astronomy [? (Western bias?)]!' [58].


PAGE 1048


from: The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, O. Neugebauer, Second Edition, Dover, 1969 (1957).

"Bibliography to Chapter VI" [177]

'As a summary of Hindu science should be quoted the chapter on science by W.E. Clark in "The Legacy of India" (edited by G.T. Garratt, Oxford 1937). A detailed summary of the literature up to 1899 is given by G. Thibaut in his article "Astronomie, Astrologie und Mathematik" in vol. III, 9 of the "Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde". Very useful is James Burgess, Notes on Hindu Astronomy and the History of our Knowledge of It (J. of the Royal Asiatic Soc. of Great Britain and Ireland, 1893, p. 717-761) where one finds complete references to the early literature which contains much important information which is no longer available otherwise.

The translation by E. Burgess [Ebenezer Burgess 1805 - 1870] of the Surya Siddhanta, quoted below p. 186, contains extensive commentaries which must be read by any serious student of this subject. For the "linear methods" in Hindu astronomy cf. the references to Le Gentil and Warren on p. 186. For the form which the Greek theory of epicyclic motion of the planets took in India and then in al-Khwarizmi, see O. Neugebauer, The transmission of planetary theories in ancient and medieval astronomy, Scripta Mathematica, New York, 1956.

E.S. Kennedy, A survey of Islamic astronomical tables, Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc., N.S. 46 (1956) p. 123-177 is a publication which shows the great wealth of material still available but barely utilized for the investigation of medieval astronomy, its Greek, Islamic and Hindu sources and their interaction.' [178].

"Notes and References to Chapter VI" [178]

'....John Warren [Lieutenant Colonel], Kala Sankalita, a Collection of Memoirs on the Various Modes According to which the Nations of the Southern Parts of India Divide Time. Madras 1825.

Warren had a predecessor in the French astronomer LeGentil who was sent to India to observe the Venus transits of 1761 and 1769. He missed the first because of the French-English war, the second because of clouds. He learned, however, a great deal about Tamil astronomy and gave an excellent description of the methods for computing eclipses in the Mémoires of 1772, II of the French Academy. The French scholars of this period, Cassini, LeGentil, Bailly, Delambre, had reached a clear distinction between the linear methods of the Tamil astronomers and the trigonometric type of the Surya Siddhanta. This insight has been lost in the subsequent literature.

Translation of the Surya-Siddhanta by Ebenezer Burgess, reprinted 1935, University of Calcutta, from J. Am. Oriental Soc. 6 (1860) p. 141-498.

For a discussion of the Tamil methods for the computation of lunar eclipses cf. O. Neugebauer, Tamil Astronomy, a Study in the History of Astronomy in India, Osiris 10 (1952) p. 252-276 and B.L. van der Waerden, Die Bewegung der Sonne nach griechischen und indischen Tafeln, S.B. Bayer, Akad. d. Wiss., Math.-nat. Kl. 1952 p. 219-232 and by the same author Tamil Astronomy, Centaurus 4 (1956) p. 221-234.

There are many evident indications of a direct contact of Hindu astronomy with Hellenistic tradition, e.g., the use of epicycles or the use of tables of chords which

PAGE 1049

were transformed by the Hindus into tables of sines. The same mixture of ecliptic arcs and declination circles is found with Hipparchus (cf. p. 185) and in the early Siddhantas1) called "polar longitude" and "polar latitude" by Burgess). The extensive use of the sexagesimal [sexagenary: "consisting of sixty"] system is common to both Greek and Mesopotamian astronomy. The use of "tithis", which are so characteristic of Hindu astronomy, is not yet attested in Greek texts but we know so little about the linear methods in Hellenistic astronomy that we may assume that the use of "lunar days" penetrated into Hellenistic astrology from Babylonian texts exactly in the same fashion as the planetary periods and the lunar theory.2) The occurrence of the ratio 3:2 for the longest and shortest days might be taken as a sign of direct Mesopotamian influence though also this element is a part of the Hellenistic tradition of the "climates". Also the arrangement of the planets according to the "rulers" of the days of the week (cf. p. 169) indicates primarily Hellenistic influence.

For the Roman sea-routes and for Roman settlements in India, see R.E.M. Wheeler, Arikamedu: An Indo-Roman Trading Station on the East Coast of India [between Madras, North, and Sri Lanka, South], Ancient India, No. 2 (1946) p. 17-124. For a summary see Martin P. Charlesworth, Roman trade with India, Studies in Roman Economic and Social History in Honor of Allan Chester Johnson, Princeton 1951, p. 131-143. A translation, with extensive commentary, of the Periplus was published by W.H. Schoff, The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, New York-Philadelphia 1912.

A relatively early date for Greek-Persian-Hindu contacts seems to be obtainable from a passage in the Denkart, Book IV, according to which Hindu books on grammar and on astronomy and horoscopy as well as the Greek Almagest reached the court of Shapur I (about 250 A.D.); cf. Menasce, Journal Asiatique 237 (1949) p. 2f.' [186-187].

[an aside] "The earliest known horoscope is cast for the year 410 B.C. (A. Sachs, Babylonian horoscopes, J. of Cuneiform Studies 6 (1952) p. 49-75). The remaining cuneiform horoscopes belong to the Seleucid period. The earliest Greek horoscope is the horoscope of the coronation by Pompey of Antiochus I of Commagene in 62 B.C. on the Nimrud Dagh. Horoscopes on papyrus or in Greek literature start at the beginning of our era ["our era" = January 1, 1 A.D. (C.E.) [754 A.U.C. (ab urbe condita (from the foundation of the city [of Rome] (Encyc. Brit.)))] - present].

An early indication of knowledge of Babylonian astrology in Greece was pointed out to me by Professor H. Cherniss. Proclus (who died in A.D. 485) in his commentary to Plato's Timaeus (III, 151 Diehl) quotes Theophrastus [c. 372 - c. 287 B.C.E.], the successor of Aristotle (died 322 B.C.), as saying that the Chaldeans were able to predict, in his time, not only the weather from the heavens but also life and death of all persons.

Still one generation earlier [than Theophrastus] leads to an oft-quoted remark of Cicero (De divinatione II, 42, 87) that Eudoxus [408 - 353 B.C.E.] has written that one should not believe the Chaldean practice of predicting the fate of a person from the date of his birth." [187-188].

PAGE 1050


from: The Exact Sciences in Antiquity, O. Neugebauer, Second Edition, Brown University Press, 1957.

'I intended to investigate the transmission of Ptolemy's theory of precession to the Arabs, and it was only natural to include here the Hindu sources. This led me to the Panca Siddhantika of Varaha Mihira, written about 550 A.D. We shall come back to Hindu astronomy presently (p. 173); for the moment it suffices to say that the Panca Siddhantika contains certain rules for the computation of the lunar motion based on the processes now know [known] to us from Greek sources. Thibaut, who edited the Panca Siddhantika in 1889, found it very difficult to understand these passages. He eventually found the key to the problem in the book Kala Sankalita by J. Warren. The latter had traveled extensively in Southern India and had recorded the astronomical lore of the natives in the book mentioned, published in Madras in 1825. In this book, he describes a method followed by the Tamil inhabitants of the Coromandel coast for the computation of the lunar motion. His informants no longer had any idea about the reasons for the single steps which they performed according to their rules. The numbers themselves were not written down but were represented by groups of shells placed on the ground. Thus

means 7 zodiacal signs and 19;5,1º [apparently, the "shell" to the far left = 10]. Nevertheless they carried out long computations for the determination of the magnitude, duration, beginning and end of an eclipse with numbers which run into the billions in their integral part and with several sexagesimal ["...based upon the number 60"] places for their fractions. Simultaneously they used memorized tables for the daily motion of the sun and moon involving many thousands of numbers. Certain elements can be dated astronomically as referring to an epoch of 1200 A.D. But the Panca Siddhantika ["about 550 A.D."] already demonstrates the existence of these methods seven centuries earlier. And, finally, they go back to the Greek papyri, though the Indian sources go slightly beyond the steps known from the Hellenistic sources. One begins with the "Devaram" period D = 248 days. From this one forms the Calanilam period C = 11 D + = 3031 days. The next step is new; it consists of forming the Rasa Gherica period R = 4C + D = 12372 days. The value of R is almost identical with the Babylonian value for the anomalistic month; one finds 27; 33,16,26,11,....where only the last figure is different from the expected value (cf. p. 162) [explanation of preceding 4 sentences?].

Whatever remains to be clarified, it is evident that the methods found by

PAGE 1051

Warren still in existence in the 19th century are the last witness of procedures which go back through the medium of Hellenistic astronomy to Babylonian methods of the Seleucid period [Seleucid era: 312 B.C.E. - 64 C.E.]. I do not doubt that this specific case of the lunar theory is only one of many similar instances where very close contact between Hindu astronomy and originally Babylonian methods can be established. We shall return to this question at the end of this chapter.

When the question of contacts is raised, it might seem tempting to assume a direct relationship between India and Mesopotamia without the Hellenistic intermediary. At the present rudimentary stage of our knowledge of such questions, any definite answer is more a matter of guess and of taste than of real evidence. Nevertheless, it seems to me more plausible to assume the way through the Greek and Persian civilization of the Sasanian period ["last native dynasty" 224 - 651 C.E.] than through a direct contact.

For this I may give three major arguments. FIRST, the fact that the terminology as well as the methods of Hindu astrology are clearly of Greek origin; for example the names of the zodiacal signs are Greek loan-words. Similarly, the basic concepts of the planetary theory of the Surya Sidhanta are influenced by the Greek epicyclic models and not by the Babylonian linear methods. This argument no longer holds for the linear methods themselves.

But here--and this is my SECOND argument--may be mentioned that precisely the coastal region from which our information about Tamil astronomy comes was a center of Roman trade. We have ample evidence for this, e.g., the anonymous "Periplus of the Erythrean Sea", written in the first century A.D., which contains a detailed account of the commerce between Egypt and India, the harbors and the kind of goods that were traded, etc. This is fully corroborated by archaeological evidence, most drastically in 1946 by the discovery of a large Roman emporium in Arikamedu [see 1050] in the outskirts of Pondicherry, the very same place where LeGentil learned in 1769 for the first time about the linear methods from his Tamil informants. This contact with the West has its climax in the time of Augustus and in the first century A.D., but Roman coin hoards reach into the fourth century. All this is confirmed by repeated references to the "Yavanas" (i.e., "Ionians" for "Greeks"1) in Hindu astronomy and Tamil literature.

And finally, [THIRD] the chronology of Hindu astronomy: linear methods as well as trigonometric models point to the early centuries A.D., not B.C.

Whatever later discoveries might reveal, at present it seems reasonable to assume that Babylonian methods, parameters and concepts reached India in two ways, either via Persia or via the Roman sea routes, but only through the medium of Hellenistic astronomy and astrology.' [165-167].

"Chronological Table

Cf. also the Frontispiece.

Dates are only approximate.

PAGE 1052

- 1700 Old Babylonian 360 Theon Alex.
- 1300 Seti I 380 Paulus Alex
- 650 Ashurbanipal 450 Proclus
- 430 Meton 500 Aryabhata
- 375 Archytas 500 Rhetorios
- 370 Eudoxus 550 Varaha Mihira
- 350 Aristotle 650 Severus Sebokht
- 311 beg. of Seleucid Era 650 Brahmagupta
- 300 Euclid 825 al-Khwarizmi
- 275 Aristarch 850 Abu Ma'shar
- 275 Aratus 900 al-Battani
- 275 Berossos 1000 ibn-Yunus
- 250 Eratosthenes 1000 ibn al-Haitham
- 240 Archimedes 1000 al-Biruni
- 200 Apollonius 1000 Suidas
- 150 Hipparchus 1130 Adelard of Bath
- 100 Theodosius (?) 1150 Bhascara
- 100 Teukros (?) 1170 Maimonides
- 75 Geminus 1250 Alfonso X
+ 10 Manilius 1250 Bar Hebraeus
60 Pliny 1430 Ulugh Beg
75 Heron 1500 Copernicus
75 latest cuneif. text 1540 Rheticus
100 Menelaos 1575 Tycho Brahe
150 Ptolemy 1600 Kepler
160 Vettius Valens 1680 Halley
160 Galen 1686 Newton
340 Pappus 1700 Cassini
350 Diophantus (??) 1760 LeGentil"


PAGE 1053

from: Translation of the Surya-Siddhanta A Text-Book of Hindu Astronomy with Notes and an Appendix by Rev. Ebenezer Burgess [1805 - 1870], Formerly Missionary of the A.B.C.F.M. in India. Reprinted from the edition of 1860. Edited by Phanindralal Gangooly, M.A., B.L., Premchand Roychand Scholar, Lecturer, Calcutta University, With an Introduction by Prabodhchandra Sengupta, M.A., Sometime Lecturer in Indian Astronomy and Mathematics, Calcutta University, Published by the University of Calcutta, 1935 (1860). [San Diego State University, Zinner Collection].

" Note.

It was in 1860 A.D. that Reverend E. Burgess published his famous translation of the Surya Siddhanta, in the Journal of the American Oriental Society. Owing to the time, thought and patient diligence that he and his colleagues devoted to the task, this translation stands out as a model of research work in the field of Hindu astronomy. Now after a lapse of three quarters of a century it has become almost inaccessible to any Indian researcher of the present times. The Calcutta University is now publishing a reprint of this valuable work and this, it is hoped, will remove a long-felt want. The supervision of the work of reprinting was done by Mr. Phanindra Lal Ganguly, M.A., B.L., P.R.S., of the Department of Pure Mathematics, Calcutta University.

To the reprint is prefixed an introduction which attempts at tracing the growth and development of the Surya Siddhanta as to its date, authorship and methods according to the most recent researches of its writer; it also aims at showing the independence of the Hindu scientific astronomy of any foreign, more specially the Greek, source.

The cost of publishing this reprint is met out of the Research Fund in Indian Astronomy and Mathematics created by the late Maharaja Sir Manindrachandra Nandi, K.C.I.E., of Cossimbazar.


August, 1935."


"the Surya Siddhanta is the most important of this class of works and some attempt should yet be made to ascertain its true date. From internal evidence alone Burgess came to the conclusion that the superior limit to its date is 490 A.D. and that the lower limit is 1091 A.D. as ascertained by Bentley [John Bentley], and took the mean date to be 560 A.D. Our view as to the nature of the work is that it is a composite growth dating from about 400 A.D. to the middle of the eighth century or the lower limit may even be the end of the eleventh century as found by Bentley." [ix].

PAGE 1054

"The Originality of Hindu Astronomy.

The date of the scientific Hindu astronomy is indeed 421 years elapsed of the Saka era, or 499 A.D., the time of Aryabhata I, but we can show it is not a wholesale borrowing either from the Babylonian or the Greek science." [xliv].

"It will appear from the above presentation that the Hindu values of the astronomical constants are almost all different from their Greek values. Hence both the systems must be independent of each other....

It must be said to the credit of Hindu astronomers that they determined all the constants anew....

I have established that the Hindu astronomers were in no way indebted to the Greeks in this part of the subject; the methods of the former were indeed of the most elementary character, while that of Ptolemy [2nd century C.E.] was much advanced and more elegant; yet the Hindu astronomers could solve some problems where Ptolemy failed...." [I].

"We thus come to the conclusion that although the scientific Hindu astronomy is dated much later than the time of Ptolemy, barring the mere idea of an epicyclic theory from outside, its constants and methods are all original. Even as to the idea, the term Sighra (the apex of quick motion) which has been wrongly translated by the word 'conjunction,' shows that the Hindu angle of vision was quite different from the Greek, while the idea of the gods of 'Manda' and Sighra, presents a phase of growth of the science before the epicyclic theory came into being, be the idea Hindu or Babylonian.

In discussing the originality of Hindu astronomy we have purposely avoided the Surya Siddhanta, because no definite date can be assigned to the work, its latest development taking place about 1100 A.D. Yet the modern Surya Siddhanta is a complete book on Hindu astronomy and at the same time an attractive book too. No student of Hindu astronomy would be deemed well equipped for research without thoroughly studying it and Burgess's translation, indeed, gives a very clear and complete exposition and discussion of every rule that it contains together with illustrations also. Besides his [Ebenezer Burgess] views about the originality of Hindu astronomy are the sanest and still substantially correct.* ["* Pp. 387-92" [see 1057-1062]] This translation is indispensable to any researcher also for the wealth of references contained in it. It is indeed a real monument to his own memory left by the late Reverend E. Burgess himself.

Calcutta. P.C. Sengupta.

January 16, 1935."

[li] [End of Introduction].

PAGE 1055

"The Life of Rev. E. Burgess. [1805 - 1870]

Ebenezer Burgess was born at Grafton, Vermont, U.S.A., on June 25, in the year 1805. He graduated from Amherst College in 1831 and was a Tutor in the same College from 1833 to 1835. He then entered Andover Theological Seminary from which he graduated in 1837. After another year spent in advanced study at Andover, and after teaching Hebrew and Greek for sometime at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, he was ordained to the ministry.

In the year 1839 Burgess came to India as a Missionary to the Marathas. He lived in Bombay Presidency for fifteen years; first at Ahmednagar until 1851, and then at Satara. He returned to the United States in 1854. From 1857 to 1859 he acted as Pastor at Centerville, Mass., from 1861 to 1863 at Lanesville and from 1864 to 1867 at South Franklin. He was engaged in lecturing and literary work until his death. He died in Newton Centre, Mass., on January 1, 1870.

The Translation of Surya Siddhanta was a monumental work of Rev. E. Burgess. He had written an elaborate essay on the history of astronomy among the Hindus and had nearly completed a treatise on the antiquity of man, but both of the above works remained unpublished." [End of biography] [follows page li].

" the text itself of Manu (i. 68-71) the duration of the Great Age, called by him Divine Age, is given as twelve thousand years simply, and that it is his commentator who, by asserting these to be divine years, brings Manu's cosmogony to an agreement with that of the Puranas [.] This is a strong indication that the divine year is an afterthought, and that the period of 4,320,000 years is an expansion of an earlier one of 12,000. Vast as this period is, however, it is far from SATISFYING THE HINDU CRAVING AFTER INFINITY. We are next called upon to construct a new period by multiplying it by a thousand...." [11].

'The term manvantara, "patriarchate," means literally "another Manu," or, "the interval of a Manu." Manu, a word identical in origin and meaning with our "man," became to the Hindus the name of a being personified as SON OF THE SUN (Vivasvant) and progenitor of the human race ["mythical first Man"].' [11].

Among the Greek astronomers, Hipparchus [fl. 146 - 127 B.C.E.] is regarded as the first who discovered the precession of the equinoxes; their rate of motion, however, seems not to have been confidently determined by him, although he pronounces it to be at any rate not less than 36" yearly. For a thorough discussion of the subject of the precession in Greek astronomy see Delambre's [Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre 1749 -1822] History of Ancient Astronomy, ii. 247, etc. From the observations reported as the data whence Hipparchus made his discovery, Delambre deduces very nearly the true rate of the precession. Ptolemy [2nd century C.E.], however, was so unfortunate as to adopt for the true Hipparchus's minimum, of 36" a year: the subject is treated of by him in the seventh book of the Syntaxis. The actual motion of the equinox at the present time is 50".25; its rate is slowly on the increase, having been, at the epoch of the Greek astronomy, somewhat less than 50". How the Hindus succeeded [dates? figures? see 1045] in arriving at a determination of it so much more accurate than was made by the great Greek astronomer [Ptolemy? Hipparchus?], or whether it was anything more than a lucky hit on their part, we will

PAGE 1056

not attempt here to discuss." [120].

["Prof. Whitney" [William Dwight Whitney 1827 - 1894] [see, 1039, 1063]] "....In the history of the science [astronomy] among the Greeks, everything is clear and open; they tell us what they owed to the Egyptians, what to the Chaldeans: we trace the conceptions which were the germs of their scheme of epicycles, the observations on which it was based, the inductive and deductive methods by which it was worked out and established. In the Hindu astronomy, on the other hand, all is groundless assumption and absurd pretense: we find, as basis for the system, neither the conceptions--for these are directly or impliedly denied or ignored--nor the observations

--for not a mention of an actual observation is anywhere to be discovered--nor the methods: the whole is gravely put forth as a complete and perfect fabric, of divine origin and immemorial antiquity. On the agreement of the two sciences in point of numerical data we will not lay any stress, since it might well enough be supposed that two nations, if once set upon the same track toward the discovery of truth, would arrive independently at so near an accordance with nature and with one another. We will look for other evidences, of a less ambiguous character, to sustain our main argument. The division of the circle, into signs, degrees, minutes, and seconds, is the same in both systems, and being the foundation on which all numerical measurements and calculations are made, is an essential and integral part of both...." [384].

["Prof. Whitney"] 'Rev. Mr. Burgess, having placed his translation and notes in the hands of the Committee of Publication for farther elaboration, has very liberally allowed them entire freedom in their work, even where their deductions, and the views they expressed, did not accord with his own opinions. The most important point at issue between us is that discussed in the next preceding pages, or the originality of the Hindu astronomy; upon this, then, he is desirous of expressing independently his dissenting views, as in the following note.

Concluding Note by the Translator. [Ebenezer Burgess]

It may not be improper for me to state, in a closing note, that I had prepared a somewhat extended and elaborate essay on the history of astronomy among the Hindus, to be published in connection with the preceding translation. But the length of this essay is such--the subject matter of it not being material to the illustration of the Siddhanta, and the translation and notes having already occupied so much space--that it was not thought advisable to insert it here.

Yet as my investigations have led me to adopt opinions on some points differing from those advanced by Prof. Whitney in his very valuable additions to the notes upon the translation, truth and consistency seem to require me to present at least a brief summary of the results at which I arrived in that essay in reference to the points in question. By so doing, I free myself from any embarrassment under which I should labor, if hereafter--as I now intend--I shall wish to express the grounds for my opinions on these points, in this Journal or elsewhere.

The points to which I allude bear upon the claims of the Hindus to the honor of

PAGE 1057

original invention and discovery in astronomical science--especially, their claims to such an honor in comparison with the Greeks.

Prof. Whitney seems to hold the opinion, that the Hindus derived their astronomy and astrology almost bodily from the Greeks--and that what they did not borrow from the Greeks, they derived from other people, as the Arabians, Chaldeans and Chinese (see pp. 38, 235, 238, et al.). I think he does not give the Hindus the credit due to them, and awards to the Greeks more credit than they are justly entitled to. In advancing this opinion, however, I admit that the Greeks, at a later period, were the more successful cultivators of astronomical science. There is nothing among the Hindu treatises that can compare with the great Syntaxis [Almagest] of Ptolemy [2nd century C.E.]. And yet, from the light I now have, I must think the Hindus original in regard to most of the elementary facts and principles of astronomy as found in their systems, and for the most part also in their cultivation of the science; and that the Greeks borrowed from them, or from an intermediate secondary source, to which these facts and principles had come from India. I might perhaps so far modify this statement as to admit the supposition that neither Greeks nor Hindus borrowed the one from the other, but both from a common source. But with my present knowledge, I cannot concur in the opinion that the Hindus are, to any great extent, indebted to the Greeks for their astronomy, or that the latter have any well grounded claims to the honor or originality in regard to those elementary facts and principles of astronomical science which are common to their own and other ancient systems, and which are of such a nature as indicates for them a single origin, and a transmission from one system to another. For the sake of clearness, it is well that I should state more specifically a few of the more important facts and principles that come under the class above referred to. They are as follows:

1. The lunar division of the zodiac into twenty-seven or twenty-eight asterisms [asterism: "constellation"; "small group of stars"] (see transl., ch. viii). This division is common, with slight modifications, to the Hindu, Arabian, and Chinese systems.

2. The solar division of the zodiac into twelve signs, with the names of the latter. These names are, in their import, precisely the same in the Hindu and Greek systems. The coincidence is such that the theory of the division and the names of the parts having proceeded from one original source is unquestionably the correct one.

3. The theory of epicycles in accounting for the motions of the planets, and in calculating their true places. This is common to the Hindu and Greek astronomies. At least, there is such a coincidence in the two systems in reference to the epicycles as almost to preclude the idea of independent origin or invention.

4. Coincidences, and even a sameness in some parts, between the systems of astrology received among the Hindus, Greeks, and Arabians, strongly indicate for those systems, in their primitive and essential elements, a common origin.

5. The names of the five planets known to the ancients, and the application of these names to the days of the week (see notes, i. 52).

In regard to these specifications I remark in general:

First, in reference to no one of them do the claims of any people to the honor, of having been the original inventors or discoverers appear to be better founded than those of the Hindus.

PAGE 1058

Secondly, in reference to most of them, the evidence of originality I regard as clearly in favour of the Hindus; and in regard to some, and those the more important, this evidence appears to me nearly or quite conclusive.

I have not space for detail, nor is it the design of this note to enter into the details of argument or any point whatever. A brief remark, however, for the sake of clearness, seems called for in reference to each of the above five specifications of facts and principles common to some or all of the ancient systems of astronomy and astrology.

1. As to the lunar division of the zodiac into twenty-seven or twenty-eight asterisms. The undoubted antiquity of this division, even in its elaborated form, among the Hindus, in connection with the absence or paucity of such evidence among any other people, incline me decidedly to the opinion that the division is of a purely Hindu origin. This is still my opinion, notwithstanding the views advanced by M. Biot and others in favor of another origin.

2. As to the solar division of the zodiac into twelve parts, and the names of those parts. the use of this division, and the present names of the signs, can be proved to have existed in India at as early a period as in any other country; and there is evidence less clear and satisfactory, it is true, yet of such a character as to create a high degree of probability, that this division was known to the Hindus centuries before any traces can be found in existence among any other people.

As corroborative of this position in part, or at least as strongly favoring the idea of an eastern origin of the division of the ecliptic in question, I may be allowed to adduce the opinions of Ideler and Lepsius, as quoted by Humboldt (Cosmos, Harper's ed., iii 120, note): "Ideler [probably, Ludwig Ideler 1766 - 1846] is inclined to believe that the Orientals had names, but not constellations, for the Dodecatomeria [dodecatemorion: twelfth part: applied to division of Zodiac], and Lepsius regards it as a natural assumption 'that the Greeks, at the period when their sphere was for the most part unfilled, should have added to their own the Chaldean constellations from which the twelve divisions were named.'" Whether Ideler meant by "Orientals" the Chaldeans, or some other eastern people, the application of the term in this connection to the Hindus exactly suits the supposition of the Indian origin of the division in question, since in Indian astronomy the names of the signs are merely names of the twelfth parts of the ecliptic, and are never applied to constellations. Humboldt's opinion is, that the solar divisions of the ecliptic, with the names of the signs, came to the Greeks from Chaldea. I [Ebenezer Burgess] think the evidence preponderates in favour of a more eastern, if not a Hindu, origin.

3. The theory of epicycles. The difference in the development of this theory in the Greek and Hindu systems of astronomy precludes the idea that one of these people derived more than a hint respecting it from the other. And so far as this point alone is concerned, we have as much reason to suppose the Greeks to have been the borrowers as the contrary; but other considerations seem to favor the supposition that the Hindus were the original inventors of this theory.

4. As regards astrology, there is not much honor, in any estimation, connected with its invention and culture. The coincidences that exist between the Hindu and Greek systems are too remarkable to admit of the supposition of an independent origin for them. But the honor of original invention, such as it is, lies, I think, between the Hindus and the Chaldeans. The evidence of priority of invention and culture seems,

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on the whole, to be in favor of the former; the existence of three or four Arabic and Greek terms in the Hindu system being accounted for on the supposition that they were introduced at a comparatively recent period. In reference, however, to the word hora, Greek...[Greek word] (see notes to i. 52; xii. 78-79), it may not be inappropriate to introduce the testimony of Herodotus (B. II, ch. 109): "The sun-dial and the gnomon, with the division of the day into twelve parts, were received by the Greeks from the Babylonians." There is abundant testimony to the fact that the division of the day into twenty-four hours existed in the East, if not actually in India, before it did in Greece. In reference, farther, to the so-called Greek words found in Hindu astronomical treatises, I would remark that we may with entire propriety refer them to that numerous class of words common to the Greek and Sanskrit languages, which either came to both from a common source, or passed from the Sanskrit to the Greek at a period of high antiquity; for no one maintains, so far as I am aware, that the Greek is the parent of the Sanskrit, to the extent indicated by this numerous class of words, and by the similarity of grammatical inflections in the two languages.

5. As to the names of the [five] planets, I remark that the identity of all of them in the Hindu and Greek systems is not to my mind clearly made out. However this may be, I think the present names of the planets in Greek astronomy originated at least as far east as Chaldea. Herodotus says (B. II, ch. 52)........." the names of the gods came into Greece from Egypt." The names of the planets are names of gods. Herodotus's opinion indicates the belief of the Greeks in reference to the origin of these names. Other considerations show for them, almost beyond a question, an origin as far east, to say the least, as Chaldea.

As to the application of the names of the planets to the days of the week, it is impossible to determine definitely where it originated. Respecting this matter, Prof. H.H. Wilson expresses his opinion--in which I concur--in the following language: "The origin of this arrangement is not very precisely ascertained, as it was unknown to the Greeks, and not adopted by the Romans until a late period. It is commonly ascribed to the Egyptians and Babylonians, but upon no very sufficient authority, and the Hindus appear to have at least as good a title to the invention as any other people" (Jour. Roy. As. Soc., ix 84).

One word on the claims of the Arabians to the honor of original invention in astronomical science. And first, they themselves claim no such honor. They confess to having received their astronomy from India and Greece. They had at an early period some two or three of the first Hindu treatises of astronomy. "In the reign of the second Abbasside Khalif Almansur......(A.D. 773), as is related in the preface to the astronomical tables of Ben-Al-Adami, published......A.D. 920, an Indian astronomer, well versed in the science which he professed, visited the court of the Khalif, bringing with him tables of the equations of planets according to the mean motions, with observations relative to both solar and lunar eclipses, and the ascension of the signs; taken, as he affirmed, from tables computed by an Indian prince, whose name, as the Arabian author writes it, was PHIGHAR" (Celebrooke's [Colebrooke's] Hindu Algebra, p. lxiv). That the Arabians were thoroughly imbued with a knowledge of the Hindu astronomy before they became acquainted with that of the Greeks, is evident from their translation of Ptolemy's Syntaxis [Almagest]. It is known that this great work of the Greek astronomer first became known in Europe through the Arabic version. In the Latin translation of this version, the ascending node (Greek...[Greek

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words]) is called nodus capitis, "node of the head," and the descending node (Greek...[Greek words]), nodus caudae, "node of the tail"--which are pure Hindu appellations (see Latin translation of Almagest [Syntaxis], B. iv., ch. 4; B. vi, ch. 7, et al.). This fact, with other evidence, clearly shows the influence of Hindu astronomy on that of the Arabians. In fact, this latter people [Arabians] seem to have done little more in this science than work over the materials derived from their eastern [India] and western [Greece] neighbors.

Another fact showing the belief of the Arabians themselves respecting their indebtedness, in matters of science, to the Hindus, should be mentioned here. They ascribe the invention of the numerals, the nine digits (the credit of whose invention is quite generally awarded to the Arabians), to the Hindus. "All the Arabic and Persian books of arithmetic ascribe the invention to the Indians" (Strachey, on the Early History of Algebra, As. Res. xii 184; see likewise Colebrooke's Hindu Algebra, pp. lii-liii, where the same is shown from a different authority. Strachey's article was published subsequently to the work of Colebrooke).

The above facts and considerations, showing the indebtedness of the Arabians to the Hindus in regard to mathematical and astronomical science, clearly have an important bearing on the question of priority of invention in regard to the lunar division of the zodiac into twenty-eight asterisms, at least so far as the Arabians are concerned. Taking all the facts into account, the supposition that this people were the inventors is altogether untenable.

I close this note--already longer than I intended--with a quotation from that distinguished orientalist, H.T. Colebrooke. In a very valuable essay entitled "On the Notions of the Hindu Astronomers concerning the Precession of the Equinoxes and Motions of the Planets," having stated with some detail some of the more striking peculiarities of the Hindu systems, and likewise coincidences existing between them and that of the Greeks, with the evidence of communication from one people to the other, he says: "If these circumstances, joined to a resemblance hardly to be supposed casual, which the Hindu astronomy, with its apparatus of eccentrics and epicycles, bears in many respects to that of the Greeks, be thought to authorize a belief, that the Hindus received from the Greeks that knowledge which enabled them to correct and improve their own imperfect astronomy, I shall not be inclined to dissent from the opinions" (As. Res. xii. 245-6; Essays, ii. 411).

This is all that so learned and cautious a writer could say in favor of the opinion that the Hindus derived astronomical knowledge from the Greeks. More than this I certainly could not say. After the solar division of the zodiac, with the names of its parts, it is evident, I think, that only hints could have passed from one people to the other, and that at an early period; for on the supposition that the Hindus borrowed from the Greeks at a later period, we find it difficult to see precisely what it was that they borrowed; since in no case do numerical data and results in the systems of the two peoples exactly correspond. And in regard to the more important of such data and results--as for instance, the amount of the annual precession of the equinoxes, the relative size of the sun and moon as compared with the earth, the greatest equation of the centre for the sun--the Hindus are more nearly correct than the Greeks, and in regard to the times of the revolutions of the planets they are very nearly as correct: it appearing from a comparative view of the sidereal revolutions of the planets (p. 27), that the Hindus are most nearly correct in four items, and Ptolemy in six. THERE HAS EVIDENTLY BEEN VERY LITTLE ASTRONOMICAL BORROWING

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BETWEEN THE HINDUS AND THE GREEKS. And in relation to points that prove a communication from one people to the other, with my present knowledge on the subject, I am inclined to think that the course of derivation was the opposite to that supposed by Colebrooke--from east to west rather than from west to east; and I would express my opinion in relation to astronomy, in the language which this eminent scholar uses in relation to some coincidences in speculative philosophy and religious dogmas, especially the doctrine of metempsychosis, found in the Greek and Hindu systems, which indicate a communication from one people to the other: "I SHOULD BE DISPOSED TO CONCLUDE THAT THE INDIANS WERE IN THIS INSTANCE TEACHERS RATHER THAN LEARNERS" (Transactions of the Roy. As. Soc., i. 579). This opinion is expressed in the last essay on oriental philosophy that came from the pen of Colebrooke.

Boston, May, 1860 E. B' [Ebenezer Burgess].

[386-392] [End of Appendix].

PAGE 1062

from: Whitney on Language, Selected Writings of William Dwight Whitney [1827 - 1894], Edited by Michael Silverstein, Introductory Essay By Roman Jakobson, The MIT Press, 1972. [See: 1039, 1057].

[Michael Silverstein] "For his last twenty-five years he [William Dwight Whitney] combated the doctrines of Max Muller [1823 - 1900] of Oxford, which he found illogical and without empirical foundation. And he found Muller's textual scholarship in Sanskrit equally bad. This feud became one of the most celebrated in the cultural world." [xxi].

"V.--A Botanico-Philological Problem.

By W.D. Whitney,

Professor in Yale College." ["336"].

'....that Muller's personality is an element of high importance in the prevailing currents of thought and opinion on a host of subjects, is what gives the subject a wider and impersonal bearing. He has a real genius for exposition and illustration; this very note, "On words for fir, oak, and beech," is full of interesting facts, interestingly grouped, and may be read with lively pleasure by any one who can leave out of sight for what they are marshalled and to what end directed. What its author lacks is inductive logic, the power of combining his facts aright and seeing what result they yield; his collected material dominates and confuses him; often he hits the truth, with a kind of power of genial insight; often he hits wrong, sometime perversely and absurdly wrong. No man needs to be studied with a more constant and skeptical criticism; no man is less worthy of the blind admiration and confidence, resembling that of a sect in its prophet, with which he has now long been regarded by an immense public [including "immense" popularity in India], and even by scholars of a certain grade. While he [Max Muller] maintains this false position, his influence is harmful, obstructive to the cause of truth; to do anything toward reducing his authority to its true value is a service to truth and to sound science....'

[347]. [continues to page 349 (end of text)].

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from: A Concise History of Science in India, D.M. Bose, Chief Editor, S.N. Sen, Editor, B.V. Subbarayappa, Editor, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, 1971. [See: "Astronomy": "58"-135 (S.N. Sen)].

"Interrelationship between Indian, Greek,

Chinese and Arabic Astronomy"

"Against the above historical background it is futile to hold extreme views such as that Indian astronomy was wholly of indigenous development or that it was derived wholly from a foreign source. This is true not only of India but of all cultures to a greater or less degree, for, in the development of knowledge, each culture, marked as it was by its own genius and individuality, depended heavily on the efforts of others." [131].

"Influence of Babylonian and Greek Astronomy

The position is different when we come to Indian astronomy of the Siddhantic period [apparently, from c. 400 A.D. (this book, 82) to c. 1100 A.D. (see 1054, 1055)]. Although records bearing on this transitional phase of Indian astronomy are very scanty, what we know clearly seems to indicate unmistakable foreign influence. Such a conclusion of foreign, e.g. Greek and Babylonian, influence is based on eulogistic references to Greek astronomy and astronomers, transliteration into Sanskrit of Greek technical terms and principles and methods typical of Greek astronomy, the historical development of which is untraceable in earlier Sanskrit literature...." [131].


PAGE 1064


from: History of Science and Technology in Ancient India, The Beginnings, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, with a foreword by Joseph Needham, Firma KLM Pvt. Ltd. Calcutta 1986.

'Foreword for Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya's

"History of Science and Technology in Ancient India"

Joseph Needham [1900 - ; Cambridge scholar; prolific!

works include: Science and Civilization in China]

It is almost too much of an honour for me to be asked to contribute a foreword to this new book of Chattopadhyaya and the team of excellent scholars which he has gathered together to help him in the enterprise. When I was younger I thought I knew something about the history and the philosophies of India, but now I realise how little it ever was. Yet it is quite clear that the history of science and technology in India will bear comparison with that of all the other ancient civilisations, and I would like to congratulate the main author and all his colleagues warmly on this endeavour, which they have brought to such a successful fruition.

Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya made his name in the world of learning some thirty years ago, with his book "Lokayata" [see 1041] in which he showed how much theoretical materialism there had been in ancient India, and how it had been systematically obscured and vilified by the theologians of all the Indian religions. He has never ceased to uphold the banner of the naturalists of India, and some twenty years later, in his book on "Science and Society...." he showed in detail how the medical men had to struggle against the religious theorists. The former were searching for the naturalistic causes of disease--a point of view entirely justified by modern medical science--but the theologians always wanted to attribute diseases to the bad karma incurred in previous existences. All this could be demonstrated particularly by the nature and fate of the ancient medical book Caraka-samhita....' ["v"].

'24. 'Arrogant Ignorance'

"Arrogant ignorance" is an exasperated expression indeed. But it is hitting the nail on the head and hitting it hard. The old prejudice that science cannot but be an essentially European phenomenon sometimes goes to the extent of flouting obvious facts....' [44].

'this tendency to flout or ignore facts in defence of the idea of science being a monopoly of the Europeans cannot but lead to the suspicion of racialism, however disguised and even unconscious it may be. In recent years it is passionately argued by some Asian scholars that the whole concept is used for inducing submissiveness among the Asians to the scientifically and technologically superior Western races, i.e. for colonial domination and colonial exploitation. "The political purpose behind this was to create a sense of inferiority amongst Asians and use science and technology as an instrument both of intellectual domination as well as exploitation."73 Significantly, before Europe entered the career of colonial expansion, there was no

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such zeal to deny or undermine Indian contribution to the mainstream of science. Here is what a Spanish Muslim scholar wrote in A.D. 1068:

"Among the nations, during the course of centuries and throughout the passage of time, India was known as the mine of wisdom and the fountainhead of justice and good government and the Indians were credited with excellent intellects, exalted ideas, universal maxims, rare inventions and wonderful talents. They have studied arithmetic and geometry. They have also acquired copious and abundant knowledge of the movements of the stars, the secrets of the celestial sphere and all other kinds of mathematical sciences. Moreover, of all the peoples they are the most learned in the science of medicine and thoroughly informed about the properties of drugs, the nature of composite elements and peculiarities of the existing things."74 [see footnote, below]

If, in view of the complexities of Indian history we are being increasingly aware of, such an observation of about a thousand years back appears today to be rather naive, it is also refreshing if for no other reason than the complete absence of racialism--conscious or unconscious.' [45-46].

[footnote] '74. Abu'l-Qasim Sa'id bin 'Abdur-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Sa'id al-Andalusi's comments on India in Tabaqat al-Uman (Categories of Nations), A.D. 1068/460 A.H. Quoted by M. Saber Khan, "India in Hispano-Arabic Literature: An Eleventh Century Hispano-Arabic Source for Ancient Indian Sciences and Culture", in Studies in the Foreign Relations of India (Professor H.K. Sherwani Felicitation Volume), Hyderabad 1975, p. 359.' [46].

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from: The Atheism of Astronomy, A Refutation of the Theory That the Universe is Governed Intelligence, Woolsey Teller [1890 - 1954 (associate editor of The Truth Seeker 1936 - 1954 (Freethought in the United States))],

Globed from the atoms falling slow or swift

I see the suns, I see the systems lift

Their forms; and even the systems and the suns

Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.

--Lucretius [c. 100 to 90 - c. 55 to 53 B.C.E.]

["Globed": "having the form of a globe"],

Arno Press & The New York Times, 1972 (c1938).

"And that inverted Bowl we call the Sky,

Where under crawling coop'd we live and die,

Lift not your hands to It for help--for It

As impotently moves as you or I. [1879 (Edward FitzGerald, C. Decker)]

--Omar [Omar Khayyam c. 1048 - c. 1131]"

[prologue]. [See: Appendix VII, 788-789]. [See: Translation or Travesty?, 1973, 17 ("during the 129 years following his death in A.D. 113115 only three Persian quatrains [total of 12 lines] are recorded as having been composed by him [Omar].")].

"There is no God, it is clear as the sun and as evident as the day that there is no God, and still more that there can be none.

--Ludwig Feuerbach [1804 - 1872]5"

['5. Article "Atheism," Ency. Brit.'] [7]. [See: 906, 910-913, 1005].

'....The movement of celestial bodies was not unknown to the ancient Greeks. Centuries before the so-called "Savior ["Jesus"]" of man came to earth to teach his doctrines of DEMONOLOGY and the immediate destruction of the world, the celestial bodies had been studied by the Greeks, and a fair approximation had been reached as to the motions of the earth. Pythagoras (600 B.C.) and Philolaus (480 B.C.) taught the rotation of the earth on its axis once in every twenty-four hours. Aristarchus, a famous Greek astronomer (250 B.C.) was the first to maintain that the earth moves around the sun. "Leukippos [Leucippus 5th century B.C.E.] and Demokritos [Democritus c. 460 - c. 370 B.C.E.]," writes Sir Edward Thorpe [1845 - 1925], in his 'History of Chemistry,' "explained the creation of the world as due solely to physical agencies without the intervention of a creative intelligence." These teachings, the result of pagan culture, were later OBLITERATED BY THE CORRODING INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIAN AUTHORITY, and by the sacred writings of Hebrew tradition in which the Christians believed. "From the fourth to the thirteenth century," writes Joseph McCabe [1867 - 1955],6 "Christendom had completely forgotten all that the race had already learned about the stars."

The Church put every obstacle in the path of those opposed to its teachings. Roger Bacon [c. 1220 - 1292] was imprisoned. Copernicus [Mikolaj Kopernik (Polish)

PAGE 1067

1473 - 1543], in fear of persecution, withheld, for twelve years, the publication of his manuscript "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs." Bruno [Giordano Bruno 1548 - 1600] was burned at the stake by the Catholic Inquisition, and the aged Galileo [Vincenzo Galilei c. 1520 - 1591] was dragged before the Holy Tribunal to abjure, under threat of torture, the propagation of a doctrine which the Christian Church pronounced false and inimical to the faith. The Aristotelian philosophy, which taught that the earth is the fixed center of the universe, bore the sanction of the Church. To question it was to go counter to papal decree and the God-inspired wisdom of popes. Besides, had not Jehovah, the God of the Bible, "made the stars also" as mere afterthoughts at the time of creation? And were there not holy texts to show that the earth existed before the sun?

UNDER PRIESTLY DOMINATION, IGNORANCE ABOUNDED THROUGHOUT CHRISTENDOM.7 Man's "immortal soul" was everything, his body nothing. Material things were of trifling significance. Stars, sun, and earth would soon be blotted out by an infuriated God, who had once drowned the world and who was now intent on judging man and bringing everlasting punishment to those who had offended him. Personal salvation alone mattered at the end of the world, when vast hordes of human beings were to be cast into lakes of eternal hell-fire and suffer with "gnashing of teeth." HERE WERE THE TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY BROUGHT BY THE LOWLY NAZARENE [JESUS]. It was the age of faith, when thousands of angels danced on the point of a pin and the heavens proclaimed the glory of God. IT WAS THE GOLDEN AGE OF PRIESTS.

It was not until 1608--a little over three centuries ago and a mere yesterday in the life of our world--that the first telescope was constructed (the name of its maker--Lippershey [Hans Lippershey, also, Hans or Jan Lippersheim c. 1570 - c. 1619. "Dutch spectacle maker."]--ought to be blazoned in the memory of every man). It was destined to turn the world of traditional nonsense rightside up, and establish man's true place in the universe of stars....' [33-34].

[footnote] '7. The ignorance of the saints was appalling. The Catholic Encyclopaedia (Article "Antipodes") quotes St. Augustine [354 - 430], a distinguished ambassador of God, as stating: "As to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men on the opposite side of the who walk with their feet opposite ours, there is no reason for believing it." "CHRISTIANITY," remarks Draper [John William Draper 1811 - 1882], "HAD BEEN IN EXISTENCE FIFTEEN HUNDRED YEARS, AND HAD NOT PRODUCED A SINGLE ASTRONOMER." (Conflict Between Religion and Science, p. 157).' [34].

[footnote] '36. When Halley's comet appeared in 1456, "it struck terror into all people," wrote John W. Draper. "From his seat, invisible to it, in Italy, the sovereign pontiff, Calixtus III [Pope 1455 - 1458 (1378 - 1458)], issued his ecclesiastical fulminations; vain were all the bells in Europe ordered to be rung to scare it away; in vain was it anathematized; in vain were prayers put up in all directions to stop it." (History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, vol. II, pp. 253-254.)' [97].

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