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Hindu astronomy, ages & precession

Feb 28, 2006 08:33 PM
by krsanna

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 Mah-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.  

Best regards,
Krsanna Duran


To become certain of the immense antiquity of the ryan 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 stris 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 stri just quoted, who published in The 
Theosophist an able treatise proving astronomically and 
mathematically that:

 If . . . the Post-Vaidika works alone, the Upanishads, the 
Brhmaas, etc., etc., down to the Puras, 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 
of Books.

* "Antiquity of the Vedas," The Theosophist, Vol. II, August, 1881, 
p. 239.
 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. Somkara in his commentary on the esha Jyotisha quotes a 
passage from the atapatha-Brhmana which contains an observation on 
the change of the tropics, and which is also found in the Skhyana 
Brhmaa, as has been noticed by Prof. Max Mller in his preface to 
igveda Samhit (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 Mgha (January-
February), once began on the 15th of Phlgun  (February-March). Now 
when the 15th of Phlgun 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 Uttar Phlgun, andor 1/4th 
of Prva Bhdrapd.Hence the

position of the four principal points on the ecliptic was then as 
The winter solstice in 3o 22' of Prva Bhdrapd.
The vernal equinox in the beginning of Migarsha.
The summer solstice in 10o of Prva Phlgun.
The autumnal equinox in the middle of Jyeshha.
The vernal equinoctial point, we have seen, concided with the 
beginning of Kittik in 1421 B.C.; and from the beginning of 
Kittik to that of Migarsha, 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 Bhdrapd, then the commencement of 
the quinquennial age was changed from the 15th to the 1st of 
Phlgun  (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.


 11. We thus see that the asterisms, twenty-seven in number, were 
counted from the Migarsha 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 Phlgun (February-March) to 
Mgha (January-February), one complete lunar month. And, in like 
manner, the place of Kittik was occupied by Avin, 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 Kittik to that Avin 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 ryans 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 Srya Siddhnta, Brahm Siddhnta, and 
other ancient treatises on Astronomy, the vernal equinoctial point 
had not actually reached the beginning of Avin, 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 ryas."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 Avin or with the end of Revat 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 Mla, 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 Mla, 
and Mla 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 Migarsha to that of Mla, 
and hence the date at which the vernal equinox coincided with the 
beginning of Mla was at least 3341 + 180 X 72 = 16,301 B.C. The 
position of the four principal points on the ecliptic was then as 
given below: 
The winter solstice in the beginning of Uttar-Phlgun in the month 
of ravaa. 
The vernal equinox in the beginning of Mla in Krttika. The summer 
solstice in the beginning of Prva-Bhdrapd in Mgha. The autumnal 
equinox in the beginning of Migarsha in Vaishkha.


 13. The Bhagavad-Gt, as well as the Bhgavata, 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 Mrgarsha [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 
Mrgarsha. 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 Mrgarsha 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, Osnabrck, 

SECRET CYCLES                                             365

spring, was Mrgarsha, 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 Mla 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 Bhdrapd 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 Mah-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 Vicramditya 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 Mah-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, 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.
>   Jacques
> DENNIS KIER <kier10@...> wrote:
>   Just wondering a bit about this. You mention that the sun is 
864,000 miles 
> in diameter, and that value was known to them in ancient times. 
But the 
> "mile" value has not been in existance for more than a couple 
hundred years, 
> has it? How could the ancients have measured in "miles" and held 
the value 
> of 864,000 "miles" in such high regard?
> Dennis
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: 
> To: 
> 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 
values 864, 
> > 432,
> > 216, 108 etc. are ubiquitous and are multiple use item. A sign 
of the 
> > Zodiac
> > is 2160 years long (216 or 6x6x6x10). The Kings chamber has a 
volume of 
> > 1296
> > cubic feet a multiple of 6 and 1296 is 1/20 of the solar year of 
> > years.

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