At present I am reading and making explanatory notes on the Surya Siddhantam.
My 21st century thinking is as follows:
- If Maya got the knowledge from the divine Sun himself., then why did he assume a geo-centric orbit and why did he not know about Uranus and Neptune? (This is why I also reject the “extra-terrestrial ” theory.)
- Why is it that all the knowledge that he did get, was knowledge that could have been got by keen observation, amazing insight, decent trigonometry and algebra, clear logic and brilliant modelling? (Remember this is a Kruta Yuga document that predates not only the Bharata War but also the Ramayana War.)
- All of which there is evidence of in the Surya Siddhantam.
My mind tells me that Maya Danava was just like us modern Indians, who believe that our efforts bear results only due to God’s grace and ourinsights are due to divine inspiration. We are terrified that the ahamkaram (doership) resulting from taking credit will be the cause of our spiritual downfall. So it is our culture that we recognise the Nirguna Brahma acting through us and anything we learn even from a text book, is ‘by God’s grace’.
Surya Siddhantam mentions that eclipses are caused by shadows and gives a method for calculating them. And yet Rahu the Asura who “swallows” Surya the sun, is said to be a brother of Maya Danava, both sons of Vipracitti and Simhika. (By the way, Simhika is the rakshasi who wanted to swallow Hanuman!)
Astronomically Rahu is considered the North Node of the Moon, the point where the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic. Did Maya name this point after his brother?
I am increasingly prone to thinking that our rshis and munis were the scientists (astronomers, mathematicans, agriculturists.. of that time), who wished to avoid the spiritual pitfalls associated with doership.
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