Immortal Sanskrit Literature & Scriptures

A Journey into the Mysteries of Surya Siddhanta: Unraveling the Startling Accuracy in Ancient Indian Astronomy

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ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमःॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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Ancient Hindus worshipped Sun as God. There are many Stotraas & Stutis (Hymns & Chants ) on Sun God in sacred Hindu Scriptures & India’s spiritual literature.

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Many people know the deeds of Ravana, the demon who kidnapped Sita in the great Indian Epic Ramayana; however, less well known are the incredible accomplishments of his father-in-law, King Maya

According to legend, the Hindu Sun God, Surya, revealed to Maya highly specific knowledge of the Cosmos, presumably to allow the people of Earth to better worship him.

This series of treatises is known as the Surya Siddhanta (Theories of Sun), and it is the oldest book of astronomy known to exist on the planet. It is startlingly accurate. 

Click on the image right below to buy the book on Amazon India

Here is a soul-elevating video of a Hymn ( Stotraa) on ‘Hindu Sun God’ from YouTube : Surya Mandala Ashtakam

The Surya Siddhanta is an incredible testament to the advanced thinking of ancient Indians. In this text, one can find the roots of trigonometry as well as the essential mathematical inventions such as standard notation and the decimal system.

In addition, the text describes ‘Gravitation’ over a millennium before Sir Isaac Newton developed his theory in 1687. It explains sidereal revolutions and how planets move eastward.

It accurately calculates the size and position of distant planets, the length of a tropical year, and the amount of time that has passed since creation.

Finally, in its discussion of how time passes at different rates under different circumstances, it contains the seeds for ‘Relativity’.

Hindi Wikipedia Page of ‘Surya Siddhanta‘ :सूर्य सिद्धान्त

The ‘Surya Siddhanta’ is the name of a Sanskrit treatise in ancient  Indian Astronomy. Down the ages, the text has survived in several versions.

It was cited and extensively quoted in a 6th-century CE text by the legendary Indian astronomer & mathematician  Varahamihira, & was perhaps revised for several centuries under the same title.

The treatise has fourteen chapters. A 12th-century manuscript of the text was translated into English by Burgess in 1860.

The ‘Surya Siddhanta‘ describes rules to calculate the motions of various planets and the moon, relative to various constellations. It shows how to calculate the diameters of various planets, and also the orbits of various astronomical bodies. 

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The text asserts, that the earth is spherical in shape. It treats earth as a stationary globe around which Sun orbits.

It calculates the earth’s diameter to be 8,000 miles (modern: 7,928 miles), diameter of moon as 2,400 miles (actual ~2,160) and the distance between moon and earth to be 258,000 miles (actual ~238,000). 

Earth is a sphere. Thus everywhere on [the surface of] the terrestrial globe, people suppose their own place higher [than that of others], yet this globe is in space where there is no above nor below“.  —Surya Siddhanta, XII.53

The text is known for some of earliest known discussions on ‘Sexagesimal Fractions’ and ‘Trigonometric Functions’.

(The Surya Siddhanta is a text on time keeping as well. Time keeping is an idea that appears much earlier as well in the field of Jyotisha (Vedanga) of the Vedic period.

The field of Jyotisha deals with ascertaining time, particularly forecasting auspicious day and time for Vedic rituals).

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The contents of the ‘Surya Siddhanta’ is written in classical Indian poetry tradition in Sanskrit language, where complex ideas are expressed lyrically with a rhyming meter in the form of a terse Shloka.

This method of expressing and sharing knowledge made it easier to remember, recall, transmit and preserve knowledge

Surya Siddhanta provides mathematical formulae to calculate the orbits & diameters of planets, predicts their future locations, and cautions the world that minor corrections in formulae are necessary over time for the various astronomical bodies.

However, unlike modern heliocentric model for the solar system, the Surya Siddhanta relies on a geocentric point of view.

The Astronomy of India : Click here to read the Kindle Book on Amazon

The text describes some of its formulae with the use of very large numbers for Divya Yuga, stating that at the end of this Yuga earth and all astronomical bodies return to the same starting point and the cycle of existence repeats again. 

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Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

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