Hindu astronomy, ages & precession
Feb 28, 2006 08:33 PM
I had tucked this article away until I could learn more about Hindu
astronomy. Blavatsky discusses the antiquity of the Vedas based on
astronomical observations, which are secret cycles. Factors of the
numbers John and I mentioned last week -- 108, 216, 324, and 432 --
are mentioned as proportions of the Maha-Yuga: "Thus the poles [of
the ecliptic relative to the pole of the earth] become inverted in
1,080,000 years, which is their Mahâ-Yuga, and which they had
divided into four unequal parts, in the proportions of l, 2, 3, 4,
for the reasons mentioned above; which are 108,000, 216,000,
324,000, and 432,000."
I would love to know if anyone on this list is sufficiently familiar
with Hindu astronomy to comment on this. I apologize for the length
of the excerpt, and I promise to do better most of the time.
EXCERPTED "SECRET CYCLES" FROM COLLECTED WRITING,VOLUME XIV
To become certain of the immense antiquity of the Âryan Asiatic
nations and of their astronomical records one has to study more than
the Vedas. The secret meaning of the latter will never be understood
by the present generation of Orientalists; and the astronomical
works which give openly the real dates and prove the antiquity of
both the nation and its science, elude the grasp of the collectors
of ollas and old manuscripts in India, the reason being too obvious
to need explanation. Yet there are Astronomers and Mathematicians to
this day in India, humble ®âstris and Pandits, unknown and lost in
the midst of that population of phenomenal memories and metaphysical
brains, who have undertaken the task and have proved to the
satisfaction of many that the Vedas are the oldest works in the
world. One of such is the ®âstri just quoted, who published in The
Theosophist an able treatise proving astronomically and
If . . . the Post-Vaidika works alone, the Upanishads, the
Brâhmaas, etc., etc., down to the Purâas, when examined critically
carry us back to 20,000 B.C., then the time of the composition of
the Vedas themselves cannot be less than 30,000 B. C. in round
numbers, a date which we may take at present as the age of that Book
* "Antiquity of the Vedas," The Theosophist, Vol. II, August, 1881,
Vol. II, August & September, 1881; Vol. III, October, November,
December, 1881; February, 1882.
The Theosophist, Vol. III, February, 1882, p. 127.
362 BLAVATSKY: COLLECTED WRITINGS
And what are his proofs?
Cycles and the evidence yielded by the asterisms. Here are a few
extracts from his rather lengthy treatise, selected to give an idea
of his demonstrations and bearing directly on the quinquennial cycle
spoken of just now. Those who feel interested in the demonstrations
and are advanced mathematicians can turn to the article
itself, "Antiquity of the Vedas," and judge for themselves.
10. Somâkara in his commentary on the esha Jyotisha quotes a
passage from the Úatapatha-Brâhmana which contains an observation on
the change of the tropics, and which is also found in the Sâkhâyana
Brâhmaa, as has been noticed by Prof. Max Müller in his preface to
igveda Samhitâ (p. xx, foot-note, Vol. IV). The passage is
this: . . . "The full-moon night in Phlgun
is the first night of
Samvatsara, the first year of the quinquennial age." This passage
clearly shows that the quinquennial age which, according to the
sixth verse of the Jyotisha, begins on the 1st of Mâgha (January-
February), once began on the 15th of Phâlgunî (February-March). Now
when the 15th of Phâlgunî of the first year called Samvatsara of the
quinquennial age begins, the moon, according to the Jyotisha, is in
the sun in or 3/4th of the Uttarâ Phâlgunî, andor 1/4th
of Pûrva Bhâdrapâdâ.Hence the
position of the four principal points on the ecliptic was then as
The winter solstice in 3o 22' of Pûrva Bhâdrapâdâ.
The vernal equinox in the beginning of Migaîrsha.
The summer solstice in 10o of Pûrva Phâlgunî.
The autumnal equinox in the middle of Jyeshha.
The vernal equinoctial point, we have seen, concided with the
beginning of Kittikâ in 1421 B.C.; and from the beginning of
Kittikâ to that of Migaîrsha, was, in consequence, 1421 + 26-2/3
x 72 = 1421 + 1920 = 3341 B.C., supposing the rate of precession to
SECRET CYCLES 363
be 50" a year. When we take the rate to be 3o 20' in 247 years, the
time comes up to 1516 + 1960.7 = 3476.7 B.C.
When the winter solstice by its retrograde motion coincided after
that with the beginning of Prva Bhâdrapâdâ, then the commencement of
the quinquennial age was changed from the 15th to the 1st of
Phâlgunî (February-March). This change took place 240 years after
the date of the above observation, that is, in 3101 B.C. This date
is most important, as from it an era was reckoned in after times.
The commencement of the Kali or Kali-Yuga (derived from Kal, to
reckon), though said by European scholars to be an imaginary date,
becomes thus an astronomical fact.
INTERCHANGE OF KRITTIKAND A®VIN*
11. We thus see that the asterisms, twenty-seven in number, were
counted from the Miga
rsha when the vernal equinox was in its
beginning, and that the practice of thus counting was adhered to
till the vernal equinox retrograded to the beginning of Kittik,
when it became the first of the asterisms. For then the winter
solstice had changed, receding from Phâlgunî (February-March) to
Mâgha (January-February), one complete lunar month. And, in like
manner, the place of Kittikâ was occupied by Aúvinî, that is, the
latter became the first of the asterisms, heading all others, when
its beginning coincided with the vernal equinoctial point, or, in
other words, when the winter solstice was in Pansha (December-
January). Now from the beginning of Kittikâ to that Avinî there
are two asterisms, or 26 2/3o, and the time the equinox takes to
retrograde this distance at the rate of 1o in 72 years is 1920 years;
* The impartial study of Vaidic and Post-Vaidic works shows that the
ancient Âryans knew well the precession of the equinoxes, and "that
they changed their position from a certain asterism to two
(occasionally three) asterisms back, whenever the precession
amounted to two, properly speaking, to 2 11/61 asterisms or about
29o, being the motion of the sun in a lunar month, and so caused the
seasons to fall back a complete lunar month. . . . It appears
certain that at the date of Sûrya Siddhânta, Brahmâ Siddhânta, and
other ancient treatises on Astronomy, the vernal equinoctial point
had not actually reached the beginning of Aúvinî, but was a few
degrees east of it. . . . The astronomers of Europe change westward
the beginning of Aries and of all other signs of the Zodiac every
year by about 50.25", and thus make the names of the signs
meaningless. But these signs are as much fixed as the asterisms
themselves, and hence the Western astronomers of the present day
appear to us in this respect less wary and scientific in their
observations than their very ancient brethrenthe Âryas."The
Theosophist, Vol. III, Oct. 1881, p. 23.
364 BLAVATSKY: COLLECTED WRITINGS
and hence the date at which vernal equinox coincided with the
commencement of Aúvinî or with the end of Revatî is 19201421 = 499
12. The next and equally important observation we have to record
here, is one discussed by Mr. John Bentley in his researches into
the Indian antiquities. "The first lunar asterism," he says, "in the
division of twenty-eight was called Mûla, that is to say, the root
or origin. In the division of twenty-seven the first lunar asterism
was called Jyeshtha, that is to say, the eldest or first, and
consequently of the same import as the former" (vide his Historical
View of the Hindu Astronomy . . . p. 5).* From this it becomes
manifest that the vernal equinox was once in the beginning of Mûla,
and Mûla was reckoned the first of the asterisms when they were
twenty-eight in number, including Abhijit. Now there are fourteen
asterisms or 180o from the beginning of Migaúîrsha to that of Mûla,
and hence the date at which the vernal equinox coincided with the
beginning of Mûla was at least 3341 + 180 X 72 = 16,301 B.C. The
position of the four principal points on the ecliptic was then as
The winter solstice in the beginning of Uttarâ-Phâlgunî in the month
The vernal equinox in the beginning of Mûla in Kârttika. The summer
solstice in the beginning of Pûrva-Bhâdrapâdâ in Mâgha. The autumnal
equinox in the beginning of Migaúîrsha in Vaishâkha.
A PROOF FROM THE BHAGAVAD-GÎTÂ
13. The Bhagavad-Gîtâ, as well as the Bhâgavata, makes mention of
an observation which points to a still more remote antiquity than
the one discovered by Mr. Bentley. The passages are given in order
"I am the Mârgaúîrsha [viz. the first] among the months and the
spring [viz. the first] among the seasons."
This shows that at one time the first month of spring was
Mârgaîrsha. A season includes two months, and the mention of a
month suggests the season. "I am the Samvatsara among the years
[which are five in number], and the spring among the seasons, and
the Mârgaúîrsha among the months, and the Abhijit among the
asterisms [which are twenty-eight in number]." This clearly points
out that at one time in the first year called Samvatsara, of the
quinquennial age, the Madhu, that is, the first month of
* [In current reprint of the 1825 ed. by Biblio-Verlag, Osnabrück,
SECRET CYCLES 365
spring, was Mârgaúîrsha, and Abhijit was the first of the asterisms.
It then coincided with the vernal equinoctial point, and hence from
it the asterisms were counted. To find the date of this observation:
There are three asterisms from the beginning of Mûla to the
beginning of Abhijit, and hence the date in question is at least
16,301 + 3/7 X 90 X 72 = 19,078 or about 20,000 B.C. The Samvatsara
at this time began in Bhâdrapâdâ the winter solstitial month.*
So far then 20,000 years are mathematically proven for the
antiquity of the Vedas. And this is simply exoteric. Any
mathematician, provided he be not blinded by preconception and
prejudice, can see this, and an unknown but very clever amateur
Astronomer, S. A. Mackey, has proved it some sixty years back.
His theory about the Hindu Yugas and their length is curiousas
being so very near the correct doctrine.
It is said in volume ii. p. 103, of Asiatic Researches that: "The
great ancestor of Yudhishthira reigned 27,000 years . . . at the
close of the brazen age." In volume ix. p. 364, [and 86] we read:
"[In] the commencement of the Kali Yuga, in the reign of
Yudhishthira." And Yudhishthira . . . "began his reign immediately
after the flood called Pralaya."
Here we find three different statements concerning
Yudhishthira . . . to explain these seeming differences we must have
recourse to their books of science, where we find the heavens and
the earth divided into five parts of unequal dimensions, by circles
parallel to the equator. Attention to these divisions will be found
to be of the utmost importance . . . as it will be found that from
them arose the division of their Mahâ-Yuga into its four component
parts. Every astronomer knows that there is a point in the heavens
called the pole, round which the whole seems to turn in twenty-four
hours; and that at ninety degrees from it they imagine a circle
called the equator, which divides the heavens and the earth into two
equal parts, the north and the south. Between this circle and the
pole there is another imaginary circle called the circle of
perpetual apparition: between which and the equator there is a point
in the heavens called the zenith, through which let another
imaginary circle pass, parallel to the other two; and then there
wants but the circle of perpetual occultation to complete the
round. . . . No astronomer of Europe besides myself has ever applied
them to the development of the Hindu mysterious numbers. We are told
in the Asiatic Researches that Yudhishthira brought Vicramâditya to
reign in Cassimer, which is in the latitude of 36 degrees.
* The Theosophist, Vol. III, October, 1881, pp. 22-23.
[Originally published 1788-1839, the entire series has been
reprinted by Cosmo Pubs., New Delhi, 1979.]
366 BLAVATSKY: COLLECTED WRITINGS
And in that latitude the circle of perpetual apparition would extend
up to 72 degrees altitude, and from that to the zenith there are but
18 degrees, but from the zenith to the equator in that latitude
there are 36 degrees, and from the equator to the circle of
perpetual occultation there are 54 degrees. Here we find the semi-
circle of 180 degrees divided into four parts, in the proportion of
l, 2, 3, 4, i.e., 18, 36, 54, 72. Whether the Hindu astronomers were
acquainted with the motion of the earth or not is of no consequence,
since the appearances are the same; and if it will give those
gentlemen of tender consciences any pleasure I am willing to admit
that they imagined the heavens rolled round the earth, but they had
observed the stars in the path of the sun to move forward through
the equinoctial points, at the rate of fifty-four seconds of a
degree in a year, which carried the whole zodiac round in 24,000
years; in which time they also observed that the angle of obliquity
varied, so as to extend or contract the width of the tropics 4
degrees on each side, which rate of motion would carry the tropics
from the equator to the poles in 540,000 years; in which time the
Zodiac would have made twenty-two and a half revolutions, which are
expressed by the parallel circles from the equator to the poles . .
or what amounts to the same thing, the north pole of the ecliptic
would have moved from the north pole of the earth to the
equator. . . . Thus the poles become inverted in 1,080,000 years,
which is their Mahâ-Yuga, and which they had divided into four
unequal parts, in the proportions of l, 2, 3, 4, for the reasons
mentioned above; which are 108,000, 216,000, 324,000, and 432,000.
Here we have the most positive proofs that the above numbers
originated in ancient astronomical observations and consequently are
not deserving of those epithets which have been bestowed upon them
by the Essayist, echoing the voice of Bentley, Wilford, Dupuis, etc.
--- In email@example.com, Jacques Mahnich <jacmahnich@...>
> Considered as a sphere, the sun has an apparent diameter of 32'.
Due to Earth movement around sun's elliptic orbit, this value is
varying from 31' 31" on July 1st up to 32' 35" on January 1st. The
average radius recognized by international committees is 695 500 km
which give an average diameter of 1 391 000 km (869 375 miles).
> Distance from the Earth is 149 598 845 km (93 499 208 miles).
> From the Siva Purana, one can read (UMASAMHITA - Chapter 19, 2-
3) that "The sun's sphere is situated a hundred thousand Yojanas
from the earth. One Yojana being equal to 7.56 km (4.95 miles), it
makes 756 000 km (495 000 miles)
> ...again missing some clues to read properly the old texts.
> DENNIS KIER <kier10@...> wrote:
> Just wondering a bit about this. You mention that the sun is
> in diameter, and that value was known to them in ancient times.
> "mile" value has not been in existance for more than a couple
> has it? How could the ancients have measured in "miles" and held
> of 864,000 "miles" in such high regard?
> ----- Original Message -----
> Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2006 5:58 PM
> Subject: Re: Theos-World Who & what TimeStar is
> > Krsanna,
> > Thanks for your reply and comments. The Sun is 864,000 miles in
> > this value was known to the ancient astronomers of India. the
> > 432,
> > 216, 108 etc. are ubiquitous and are multiple use item. A sign
> > Zodiac
> > is 2160 years long (216 or 6x6x6x10). The Kings chamber has a
> > 1296
> > cubic feet a multiple of 6 and 1296 is 1/20 of the solar year of
> > years.
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- From: Jacques Mahnich <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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