Old Thoughts

Connecting Science and Scriptures : Satya Sarada Kandula : All Rights Reserved

Astronomical Dating of the Vedas as per Tilak.

In 1893, Lokamanya Balagangadhar Tilak wrote a book called: The Orion: the antiquity of the Vedas.


In this book he establishes that the Vedas are earlier than 4000 BC. (Don’t worry about the use of the word Aryan in those days people believed in the AIT. When you see the word Aryan just think Indian or person of the Vedic period and civilization. )

Max Muller believed that Buddhism was 400 BC. He thought that Vedic literature was of 4 periods each 200 years long, the last ending with Buddhism. He thought that these 4 periods were.. Chandas, Mantra, Brahmana and Sutra. Therefore he thought that Vedas were earlier to 1200 BC. Dr. Haug, thought that each period was 500 years long and therefore thought that the Vedic period started in 2400 BC. Their reasoning was clearly arbitrary.

Whenever verses related to astronomy were found in the Vedas, there was a tendency of colonial historians to label them as interpolations, added later. The Vedas are considered apaurusheyas (not by created by men) and no Hindu would care/dare to tamper them. Even today, I observe that in the Veda Pathasalas, the Vedas are taught as they are first for many years and only many years later will a few students become eligible to learn the meaning. (Can you think of an American historian deliberately editing their Declaration of Independence?)

The Vedic Indians were well versed in astronomy and the early yagnyas, customs prayers were tied to seasons and astronomical events.

Tilak presents an argument that the new Year began in those days with the spring equinox and that the devayanam or uttarayanam also began with the spring equinox. (Even today, among the Telugu and Kannada people, the new year ((Y)Ugadi) begins in Spring). Tilak tells us that the shift of the new year from the spring equinox to the winter solstice, occured later. He tells us that the word Uttarayanam is not found in the Rg Veda.

Tilak tells us that the period called Devayana originally consisting of the period from the spring equinox to autumn equinox, over time, came to be identified with Uttarayana which is from winter solstice to summer solstice.

In Varahamihira’s time, the spring equinox coincided with the end of Revati and the summer solstice was in Punarvasu. In the Pancha Siddhanthika, Varahamihira says “in earlier times, the summer solstice was in the middle of Aslesha, but now it is in Punarvasu”. Tilak also tells us that when Bhishma waited for the beginning of Uttarayanam (the winter solstice) it took place in the first fortnight of the Magha Masa.

Nowadays the Uttarayanam takes place in Dhanur Masam. As per Tilak, our present calendars begin with the supposition that the spring equinox takes place at the end of Revathi Nakshatram. As per Prof. Whitney, this event happened in 490 AD. (This matches my rough calculations).

Tilak says that there is plenty of evidence to show that before the ancient indians started with the calendar mentioned above (Spring Equinox – Revati), they used to use a calendar in which the winter solstice was in Magha masa and the spring equinox was in the Kritikas). He says that this is corroborated by the Vedanga Jyotisha and other works. There are some Hindu astronomers who date the Mahabharata to this period, when the spring equinox was in the Krittikas.

As per Prof. Whitney’s calculations, using the krittika vernal (spring) equinox, the date of the Taittireya Samhita would be 2350 BC. Between the Taittireya Samhita and Vedanga Jyotisha, there was a precession of 13 deg 20 min or roughly 14 degrees. The Vedanga Jyotisha gives the spring equinox at 10 deg of Bharani and this matches. (10 deg + 3 deg 20 min).

To be continued…

Written by Satya Sarada Kandula

February 12, 2009 at 10:22 am


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