So far I have read and summarised 2 chapters of the Surya Siddhantam Here. In many ways it has been an eye opener to me.
Right then in the Kruta Yugam, before the Ramayana War and before the Bharata War, Ancient Indian Astronomers-Engineers-Scientists like Maya Danava, knew that the earth was a sphere. They knew how to get the circumference of the earth from its diameter. They knew that pi was approximately the square root of 10. They were seriously good at trigonometry and algebra.
They knew that eclipses were caused by shadows and designed not just elaborate sun dials and water clocks but also hydraulic powered revolving models of the solar system (geo-centric), with which they accurately computed the time and duration of eclipses. Not just at the place where they were but at places of varying latitude and longitude. Maya knew and documented that eclipses were caused by shadows.
It took a genius like Aryabhatta to figure out that the earth was the one who was spinning, but everyone else before him did observe that every celestial body around us was taking the same one day to rise and set!
Brahma appears to be the father of astronomy in India (besides being our common ancestor) and his Pitamaha Siddhantam or Brahma Siddhantam appears to be the oldest text on Indian Astronomy. A Brahma Yuga took but 5 years and was only concerned with the alignment of the Sun and the Moon.
Daksha, the father in law of Siva, was possibly the first astronomer – rishi to name all the 27 stars and they were therefore called his daughters.
Vasishta, Parasara and Vyasa (Great-grand father, father and Veda Vyasa himself) all wrote Astronomical Siddhantas. Vyasa also knew well and quoted extensively the work of Markandeya. Parasara’s Brihat Hora Sastra is available to us even today. Both Parasara and Maya knew of and used Rasis (Zodiac Signs). Garga Samhita is also available to us.
It is also important to note that many of the Vedic Rishis were more or less contemporaries. Vasishta, Viswamitra, Gautama, Bharadwaja, Bhrgu….. (See generations previous to Sri Rama). The Vedas are full of Astronomical References and one of the Vedic mantras has been dated around 6500 BC. The Vedas were without doubt prior to Sri Rama.
Varahamihira was invited to Persia to translate Indian Work to Persian and Al-Beruni came to India fundamentally to learn astronomy. The greeks use the same meaning names for Rasis as we do. There is at least a fair case for thinking that some knowledge of astronomy travelled from Indians to the Greeks. This was unthinkable in colonial times, but perfectly thinkable in 21st century Free India. India was one of the higher centers of learning and people came to us not only for our spices or our philosophy but also for our science and for our mathematics.
Perhaps the single important reason, we lost our place is that after the Bharata War, we did not direct our intelligence towards weapons technology. At that time we thought that in a war there are ultimately no winners only losers. Today we have learned the hard way that if the country is not strong, it gets ruled and if it gets ruled, the country forgets its science and its history.
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