Vatesvara, an ancient Kashmiri Astronomer, his Karanasara and Siddhanta : R.N. Rai, INSA

Reference :  karaNasAra of vaTes’vara, by R.N. Rai, INSA.

Work and References :

  1. Al Biruni wrote a book on India, in which he referred to the works of many ancient Indian mathematicians and astronomers.
  2. karaNasAra of vaTes’vara is one of those books, which was not available in India to the knowledge of this author in 1970.
  3. A book by Vatesvara called Vatesvara Siddhanta has been partially recovered and published in India.
  4. He was a follower of Aryabhata. His astronomical constants mostly agree with Aryabhata and he refutes Brahmagupta the way Brahmagupta criticised Aryabhata.

Time and Place :

  1. He says that he was born in Saka Era 802 and that he was 24 years old (Saka Era 826) when he wrote the Vatesvara Siddhanta. (See : How many kinds of Sakas (Eras) are there?)
  2. He belonged to a city called Anandapura. (Wrongly identified as mAkhOvAl, in Punjab, which got the name Anandapura only in 1664 AD). Based on the 34 deg 9 min latitude he gives, which is close to latitude of Srinagar and based on the fact that nAgarapathari (lat 33 deg 55 min), might be nAgarapura, the place of Vatesvara’s birth, Rai concludes that Vatesvara must be a Kashmiri, named after Vatesvara (Siva), worshipped by Kashmir’s Ravana. (I agree)
  3. Year of the Karanagrantha referred to by Vatesvara is 821 Saka Era. (See : Varahamihira – Really 427 of Saka Era? : Pancha Siddhantika – Varahamihira referred to a Karana Grantha Year of 427 Saka Era). In this case also, Al Biruni Assumed that the year of the Karanagrantha referred to was the year of composition of the Karanasara and this was incorrect as per Sri Rai. (I agree.)

Vatesvara and the SaptaRishis :

Early translators did not understand the significance of any references to the Saptarishi Calendar and were very dismissive of it. This reflects their ignorance of a valid calendar of those times, and we can’t waste much time here about it.

Just as the sun, moon and other grahas point or indicate different Nakshatras with some periodicity, so do the munis or saptarishis. (Sapta Rshi – Sapta Rsha – Ursa  Major- Great Bear).

  • A ‘revolution’ of the sun means the time it takes for the sun to point to each of the fixed stars and come back and point to the first one again, say Revathi Nakshatram. The sun takes 1 sidereal year and the moon takes 1 sidereal month to do this.
  • A ‘revolution’ of the Saptarishis means the time it takes for the Saptarshis to indicate each of the fixed stars in turn and come back to the first one.
  • Varahamihira tells us that the Saptarishis indicate one nakshatram every one hundred years.
  • Vatesvara gives us a corrected figure for this… read on…

Here Brahma refers to The Brahma. (See Brahma Siddhanta.)

Al Biruni, who had the help of the Karanasara which we do not have, explained this in his book and Rai explains this to us.

1692 revolutions of the Saptarishis take place in 4320000 years. (A MahaYuga.) as per Vatesvara.

  • Varahamihira gave the number 1600 and Aryabhata (2?) gave the number 1599.998.
  • Therefore, for one rasi, the time period is 212 years, 9 months and 6 days.
  • For one degree, the period is 7 years, 1 month and 3days.
  • And through one Nakshatram it is 94 years, 6 months and 20 days.

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

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