Indian Astronomical Tables of the Saura Paddhati – In Historical Perspective
The period including the latter half of the fifteenth century and the earlier half of the sixteenth century witnessed a big resurgence in the development of astronomy, not only in Europe but also in India. In Europe we had great pioneers like Galileo, Copernicus and Tycho Brahe, the illustrious galaxy being crowned by Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) a little later.
On the Indian scene, during that period we had two remarkable stalwarts, Parameśvara Nīlakaņţha and Gaņeśa Daivajña. In the tradition of computation of planetary positions, astronomical phenomena and calendrical data, the role of astronomical tables for Indian calendrical purposes (pañcāṅga) cannot be exaggerated. We have different genres of such tables known differently as sāriṇīs, padakas, koṣṭakas and vākyas.
In this paper we present some salient features of a few prominent handbooks (karaṇas) and tables belonging to the Saurapakṣa School of Astronomy, based on a popular Indian astronomical treatise, the Sūryasiddhānta (SS).
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