Reference : (Page 294 in the Reference : The Text and Translation of The PanchaSiddhantha Chapter 13 by Mahamohopadhyaya Sudhakara Dwivedi and G. Thibaut, 1889. available at the Digital Library of India)
Varahamihira said that the earth was a ball suspended in space like a “piece of iron suspended between two magnets”. He said that the earth was covered on all sides by forests, oceans, mountains, towns etc. He said that Meru was in the middle. (Many Ancient Indian astronomers treated Meru as the axis of the earth).
He said that Asuras stood with their feet on the ball shaped earth and their heads pointed towards the sky, even though they were on the other side of the earth. He said that as a man thinks his reflection is upside down, so also to the reflection the man is upside down. So as the Devas think that the Asuras are upside down, so also do the Asuras consider the Devas to be upside down. And just as flame rises up in the northern hemisphere and a ball falls down, so also it is in the southern hemisphere.
- From this we can see that he considered the Asuras as inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere and that the Devas lived in the Northern Hemisphere. See Devas: Human or Divine?
Upto here, Varahamihira agrees with Aryabhatta.
He said that Meru extended to the North and South led to the poles which were attached to the sphere of stars. He said that a “Pravaha” (flow) kept the sphere of stars turning.
- This is like the hydraulic powered model of the solar system that Maya used and described in the Surya Siddhantam.
He reasoned that if the earth was fast enough to spin on its axis then all the things on the earth’s surface not firmly attached to it would fly back and be left behind.
- Like your hair would fly back when you were racing forward on a horse.
- So he dismissed Aryabhatta’s idea of a spinning earth as incorrect. Aryabhatta said that as a a person going on a boat sees the trees etc on the shore go backward, so also the earth spinning would see all the luminary bodies moving west at the same rate. Today we know that Aryabhatta is right.
Varahamihira disagreed with the Jains who believed in 2 sets of suns and moons, because that did not explain the rising and setting of the constellations in the milky way.
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