||A Classical Dictionary
||The Wonder That Was
||Cultural History of
||The Religions of
||Freethought in the
United Kingdom and the Commonwealth
||The Intellectual In
||Book of Indian
||Census of the Exact
Sciences in Sanskrit
||The Exact Sciences in
||Translation of the Surya
||A Concise History of
Science in India
||History of Science and
Technology in Ancient India
||The Atheism of
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.
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].
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
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].
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.].
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
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." .
"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
'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....' .
"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
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." .
[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." .
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
History of Religions
Morris Jastrow, Jr., Ph.D.
Professor of Semitic Languages in the University of Pennsylvania
"To the Memory of William Dwight Whitney
this Volume is Affectionately Dedicated by the Author" [See: 1057,
'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' . [Compare the argument: did monotheism
"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."
. [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
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"
[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...." .
from: Freethought in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, A Descriptive Bibliography,
Gordon Stein, Greenwood, 1981.
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"].
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,
"By the same author
The Autobiography of an Unknown
A Passage to England
The Continent of Circe" [opposite,
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.
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...." . [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
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
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].
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
Mirza-Abul-Fazl 1844 - "1914"]." [Title page].
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.
Patell's Chronology, 1866." [vii].
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
[1,296,000.00 arc seconds/revolution
(60" x 60' x 360º) ÷ 49.8 arc seconds/year = 26,024 16/166
[Complications (see above):
"49.8 seconds, as
determined by Hipparchus", appears to be
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1993, Vol. 5, 938, has
"45" or 46" (seconds of arc)";
this, also, appears to be
|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
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"
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."
[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
Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia,
Edward Balfour, Vol. III, Akademische Druck- u.
"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...."
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
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
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...
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
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". .
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
 and S.B. Dikshit
), and one to gather the references to manuscripts
(S.N. Sen  [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." .
[Note: consider this work, a [the?]
major Bibliography, for Indian Astronomy].
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?)]!' .
from: The Exact Sciences in
Antiquity, O. Neugebauer, Second Edition, Dover,
"Bibliography to Chapter VI"
'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.
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.
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.' .
"Notes and References to Chapter
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
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.
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
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].
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
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
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.'
Cf. also the
Dates are only
||Severus Sebokht |
||beg. of Seleucid Era
||Adelard of Bath|
||latest cuneif. text
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
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
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.
"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].
"The Originality of Hindu
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."
"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.
[li] [End of Introduction].
Life of Rev. E. Burgess. [1805 - 1870]
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
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.
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.
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...." .
'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"].' .
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
not attempt here to discuss." .
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
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...." .
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
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
The points to which I allude bear upon
the claims of the Hindus to the honor of
original invention and discovery in
astronomical science--especially, their claims to such an
honor in comparison with the Greeks.
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
[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
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).
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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].
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].
Professor in Yale
'....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
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....'
. [continues to page 349 (end of
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.
"Interrelationship between Indian,
Chinese and Arabic
"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." .
"Influence of Babylonian and Greek
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...." .
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
"History of Science and Technology in
Joseph Needham [1900 - ;
Cambridge scholar; prolific!
works include: Science and Civilization in
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
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"].
"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....' .
'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
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
[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.' .
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
Globed from the atoms falling slow or
I see the suns, I see the systems lift
Their forms; and even the systems and
Shall go back slowly to the eternal
--Lucretius [c. 100 to 90 - c. 55
to 53 B.C.E.]
["Globed": "having the form of a
Arno Press & The New York Times,
"And that inverted Bowl we call the
Where under crawling coop'd we live
Lift not your hands to It for
As impotently moves as you or I. [1879
(Edward FitzGerald, C. Decker)]
--Omar [Omar Khayyam c. 1048 - c.
[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
"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.
Feuerbach [1804 - 1872]5"
['5. Article "Atheism," Ency. Brit.'] . [See: 906, 910-913,
'....The movement of celestial bodies
was not unknown to the ancient Greeks. Centuries before the so-called
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
[Mikolaj Kopernik (Polish)
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?
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
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 earth...men 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
Between Religion and Science, p. 157).' .
[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;...in 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.)' .