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Birth and Early Development of Indian Astronomy

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Astronomy Across Cultures

Part of the book series: Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science ((SACH,volume 1))

Abstract

In the last decade or so our understanding of the origin and development of Indian astronomy and its relevance for Indian religion and culture have undergone a major shift. This shift has been caused by two factors. The first is archaeological discoveries that reveal to us that the Sarasvati river, the great river of the Rgvedic times, dried up before 1900 BCE, suggesting that this ancient text must be at least as old as that epoch; the second is the discovery of an astronomy in the Vedic texts. The assignment of a date to the drying up of the Sarasvati river has been a great aid in sorting out the confusion regarding the chronology of the Indian texts, but it could not have come before an analysis of the excavations of the Harappan towns and settlements of the 3rd millennium BCE. On the other hand, the neglect of the astronomy of the Vedic texts was caused by the inability of the philologists and Sanskritists who studied these texts during the last two centuries to appreciate their scientific references.

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Kak, S. (2000). Birth and Early Development of Indian Astronomy. In: Selin, H., Xiaochun, S. (eds) Astronomy Across Cultures. Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science, vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-4179-6_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-4179-6_10

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht

  • Print ISBN: 978-94-010-5820-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-011-4179-6

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