I'm a grade teacher, who is going to introduce astronomy to 12 year olds. I want them to have a phenomenalogical understanding of the subject. From there I want to present the models in existence. In my quest to understand the subject better, I have been ridden by questions as to why text books today do not talk about our scriptures and Vedic literature that have references to the various phenomenon that we observe in the sky. I am sure that with such a deep spiritual background our Vedic texts must have had references to Heliocentric models or gravity much earlier than the western world.

I want to introduce them to the Indian mantras that indicate to these phenomena as well as tell them stories from the myths that refer to these as a part of my lesson while teaching about the understanding of the universe from a the Western discoveries. But I do not know where to begin.

Hence this question here.

Kindly provide me with references to resources that talk about History of astronomy in Hinduism e.g.,( books that talk about various myths in Hinduism with respect to the constellations, or on astronomical calculations and theories)

  • The answer would be too broad! Kindly narrow it down! Questions - which already exist in site, off topic - personal advice, scientific speculations, opinion based answers and broad answer type questions are closed here! Feb 18 '19 at 16:06
  • "If you can help with verses that talk about the sun, the distance between the sun and earth, the gravity, the Heliocentric theory, the position of the zodiac and stars.. I would be very thankful for the same." - this is too broad and the question will likely be closed due to that. The paper Astronomical Myths in India might be of some help. Also check A Concise History Of Science In India and ... Feb 18 '19 at 16:17
  • .. Igor Taganov's Ancient Riddles Of Solar Eclipses Feb 18 '19 at 16:17
  • Thank you very much. I will look up these resources. Feb 18 '19 at 16:19

As some of the commentors on your question rightfully said, the answer you seek is too broad and encompassing to be contained in a simple response. You need to read the following texts to obtain material you need to teach your students. Please note, some verses from sources I state below are only a SAMPLE or a sprinkling from the comprehensive material that exists in these texts:

I. Rig Veda

Rig Veda - Verse I.XXXV.IX

"The sun moves in its own orbit but holding earth and heavens [other heavenly bodies] in a manner that they do not collide with each other through the force of attraction."

Rig Veda - Verse X.XXII.XIV

"This Earth is devoid of hands and legs, yet it moves ahead. All the objects over the earth also moves it. It moves around the sun."

Rig Veda - Verse V.XL.V

"O Sun! When you are blocked by the one whom you gifted your own light [i.e. the moon], then earth will be surprised by the sudden darkness."

II. Aryabhattiyam

Approx. 13 years ago I visited the Museum of Natural History in New York City, USA. In this museum, there was a section/floor dedicated to Asian History and in that section they had a 12" X 12" plate on the wall of the South Asian section, and that wall plate had embossed on it the discovery of Aryabhatta of India circa 470 A.D. that earth was a globe and not a flat land and that he was the first to calculate the circumference of earth (which is spot on per modern calculations) and that he was the inventor of Trignometry (he created the sine function). I took a photo of that wall plate at that time but I do not know where it is stored in my computer/online drives now. However, here is a reference he gave in his work from that era, called Aryabhattiyam:

He gave the circumference of the earth as 4,967 yojanas and its diameter as 1 581 1/24 yojanas. Since 1 yojana = 5 miles this gives the circumference as 24 835 miles, which is an excellent approximation to the currently accepted value of 24 902 miles.

III. PanchaSiddhAntika

Around 570 A.D., Varaha Mihira in city of Ujjain in India wrote his treatise on Astronomy and astrology called the PanchasiddhAnta, which had 5 texts in it, namely the Surya siddhAnta [Doctrine of Solar System & Motions], Vasishtha siddhAnta [Doctrine of the Major/Minor Bear constellation], Pulasa siddhAnta [Doctrine of the Greek city of SaIntra], rOmaka siddhAnta [Doctrine of the Romans] and paItAmaha siddhAnta.

Surya SiddhAnta which had calculations on planet diameters and examples which proved that earth had multiple time zones, states that: “Objects fall on earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. therefore, the earth, the planets, constellations, the moon and the sun are held in orbit due to this attraction” See this source.

It also notably took trigonomety to the next level on sine (jya) and cosine (kojya). It states that in Chapter 3 verse 21 & 22 in this text that:

Of [the sun’s meridian zenith distance] find the jya [sine] and kojya [cosine]. If then the jya and radius be multiplied respectively by the measure of the gnomon [sundial] in digits, and divided by the kojya, the results are the shadow and hypotenuse at mid-day.

He also calculated several astronomical values which are spot on today, please google Surya Siddhanta to read the text.

IV. Vedanga Jyothisha

Of the texts that accompany the Vedas, there is one called the Jyothisha. Unfortunately, it has NOTHING TO DO WITH determining one's future! It is only a system of calendrics, and is a pure astronomy text which attempts to calculate and determine the movements of planets and celestial bodies with the goal of calculating the proper time to conduct vedic rituals. i.e. it is NOT a tool of divination. This work is said to contain approximately 36 verses from the Rig Veda and 43 verses from the Yajur Veda. This is the source of this work if you wish to read it further.

IV. Parashara Hora Shastra

This is the scripture on Vedic Jyothisha or Vedic Astrology used by most Vedic astrologers today. Please read it to get the material you need.

  • Thank you very much. Yes I do understand my question is vast but I needed references to books and material that I can read to begin with. Appreciate all your help. Feb 19 '19 at 5:37
  • "The sun moves in its own orbit but holding earth and other heavenly bodies in a manner that they do not collide with each other through the force of attraction" - whose translation are you quoting? Feb 19 '19 at 19:48
  • It was from a book obtained at Benarus Hindu Univ. The sacred texts version uses the word 'approach' instead of 'attract', so it is a matter of interpretation. Feb 19 '19 at 19:54
  • This is how R L Kashyap translates it: "1.35.9: He Dispels Distress {Golden-handed, all-beholding, God Savitr (1), moves between the Earth and Heaven (2), He dispels distress and attains the supreme Sun (3), From the dark lower worlds, he attains the supreme station (4).} Details: {The God Savitr comes to the lower triple worlds covered with darkness and inconscience, dispels the inertia by his Light and returns to his native supreme station in the higher triple world. Hence he is said to travel between the Earth and Heaven.}" – no mention of 'heavenly bodies'. Feb 19 '19 at 20:40
  • The verse contains ".. dyāvāpṛthivī antar īyate ....", and I believe the 'dyAvA-prvithvI' is where the translation is based on interpretation. It could mean heavens & earth, or heavenly regions & earthly region, and I believe my source interpreted it to mean heavenly bodies & earth instead. Even if we just say heavens & earth, it still implies that objects in heavens are encompassed by such usage. Feb 19 '19 at 23:29

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