Ancient Indians were good at many things but how were they as Astronomer let’s have a look. 

Sun as Center of Solar System:

·         In the Surya Siddhanta, the following description is given to the Sun

“He [The supreme source of light (Jyoti) upon the border of darkness he revolves, bringing into being, the creator of creatures] is denominated the golden wombed (Hiranyagarbha), the blessed; as being the generator.” 

  •  Aryabhata also suggested in his treatise ‘Aryabhatiya’ that center of Solar System is the Sun. (Heliocentric)
  •  Vedic Works of literature have also referred the Sun as ‘center of spheres’. Thus heliocentric idea could have existed in the days of the Rig Veda around 1000 B.C. and was refined further by astronomers like Aryabhata and Varahamihira. 

Spherical Shape of the Earth:

  •  In the Aitareya Brahmana (3.44) there is a verse describing the Spherical shape of Earth;

 “The Sun does never set nor rise. When people think the Sun is setting (it is not so). For after having arrived at the end of the day it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making night to what is below and day to what is on the other side…Having reached the end of the night, it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making day to what is below and night to what is on the other side. In fact, the Sun never sets….” (English translation)

Nature of Gravity:

  •   In the text Surya Sidhantha, Bhaskaracharya described that “objects fall on the earth due to one force. The Earth, planets, constellations, moon and sun are held in orbit because of that one force.”

The existence of Other Stars:

  • An ancient Sanskrit couplet also contemplates the idea of stars in the night sky being similar to Sun:

“Sarva Dishanaam, Suryaham Suryaha, Surya.

Which roughly translates to “there are suns in all directions, night sky being full of them.
It can possibly mean that they referred stars visible at night similar to the Sun.

How Earth look from Space:

World Map (Upside down)

Depiction on the base of description from Mahabharat

  • During the War of Mahabharata Sanjay was giving live telecast of scenes of battle as Dhritarashtra was not able to see anything. (I don’t know how he was able to do it, but definitely not by Videoconference)

Dhritarashtra asked him to describe how the world looks like from space.

This is how he described the face of the world:

यथा हि पुरुषः पश्येदादर्शे मुखमात्मनःएवं सुदर्शनद्वीपो दृश्यते चन्द्रमण्डले॥द्विरंश पिप्पलस्तत्र द्विरंशे शशो महान्।।(भी्म पर्व, महाभारत)

अर्थजैसे पुरुष दर्पण में अपना मुख देखता है, उसी प्रकार यह द्वीप (पृथ्वी) चन्द्रमण्ड में दिखाई देता है। इसके दो अंशों में पिप्पल (पीपल के पत्ते) और दो अंशों में महान शश (खरगोश) दिखाई देता है।
Just like a man sees his face in the mirror, so does the Earth appears in the Universe. In the first phase, you see Peepal leaves and the next phase you see a rabbit.
Based on this shloka, Saint Ramanujacharya sketched out the map, but the world laughed it off on seeing some leaves and a rabbit. Much later, when the picture was switched upside down, the reality struck in.
Don’t believe us, try turning the above picture upside down and you’ll know what I am talking about.

The speed of the light:

  • 4th verse of the hymn 1.50 of the Rig Veda on the sun, says

तरणिर्विश्वदर्शतो जयोतिष्क्र्दसि सूर्य |
विश्वमा भासिरोचनम |

taraNir vishvadarshato jyotishkrdasi surya |
vishvamaa bhaasirochanam ||

which means
“Swift and all beautiful art thou, O Surya (Surya=Sun), maker of the light,
Illuming all the radiant realm.”

  • Commenting on this verse in his Rigvedic commentary, Sayana who was a minister in the court of Bukka of the great Vijayanagar Empire of Karnataka in South India (in the early 14th century) says:

“tatha ca smaryate yojananam. sahasre dve dve sate dve ca yojaneekena nimishardhena kramaman.”

Which means “It is remembered here that Sun (light) traverses 2,202 yojanas in half a nimisha”.
According to Ancient texts 1 yojan = 9.09 miles
1 nimisha = 0.2112 second ½ nimisha = 0.1056 seconds
So we get (2202 x 9.09)/ 0.1056 miles per second = 189547 miles per second
1 mile = 1609.34 meters so Speed of light will be 303275454 meters per second i.e. 3×108mps while modern experimental value is 299792458mps.
This striking resemblance with theoretical value is amazing.
These were only a few Examples of Grand Scientific History of Ancient India.

Many great thinkers have also recognized the Advanced Ancient Indian Science;

Carl Sagan

  •      Carl Sagan, a famous astronomer, and a great thinker as well said in his book ‘Cosmos’;

The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths.It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang.”

  •          Marquis Pierre Simon de Laplace, French Mathematician wrote;

Nevertheless the ancient reputation of the Indians does not permit us to doubt that they have always cultivated astronomy, and the remarkable exactness of the mean motions which they assign to the Sun and the Moon necessarily required very ancient observation.

  •          Louis Jacolliot, (1837-1890) French Government official in French India, and one-time president of Court of Chandranagar said

“The Hindu revelation, which proclaims the slow and gradual formation of worlds, is of all revelations the only one whose ideas are in complete harmony with modern science.”

These Vedas were composed back in 1200 BCE well before the existence of Modern Science.
So what do you think about the validity of these claims? Mention in the comments below.
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