In the chapter “Direction, Place and Time” (Suryasiddhānta, Ch.iii), E Burgess writes:
“(bracketed words are mine) : The (Surya Siddhāntic) theory which the passage (verses 9-12), in its present form, is actually intended to put forth is as follows : the vernal equinox librates westward and eastward from the fixed point, war Piscium, assumed as the commencement of the sidereal sphere– the limits of the libratory movement being 27 degrees in either direction from that point, and the time of a complete revolution of libration being the six-hundredth part of the period called the Great Age (ie, Mahāyuga as defined by Burgess in chapter i,15-17, where he gave it a span of 4320000 years), or 7200 years; so that the annual rate of motion of the equinox is 54″.”
This is the interpretation of existing version of Surya Siddhānta ( त्रिंशत्कृत्यो युगे भानां चक्रे प्राक् परिलम्बते …, SS,iii.9) in own words of E. Burgess , “as it is actually intended to put forth” by all traditional commentators. This is exactly what I illustrated with example in the illustrated example of computation of ayanamsha.
The moot point is this : Burgess knew the traditional interpretation (भानां चक्रे.., ie pendulum like motion of nakshatra orbit itself) , but gave his own meaning based upon modern concept of precession of equinoxes , and tried to create doubts about the authenticity of these verses (iii, 9-12) by putting forth deliberately false arguments. Let us examine Burgess.
In verse-9 (Suryasiddhānta, Ch.iii), he translates “pari-lambate” as “falls back”, although he says lambate means “lag, hang back, fall behind” and ‘pari’ means “about, round about”. Therefore, pari-lambate should have been translated as “fall back roundabout” and not merely as “fall back” according to own logic of Burgess. If the circle of asterisms lags roundabout any fixed point (whether Revati or Chitrā), it is a to and fro motion as all traditional commentators accepted. Modern concept of precession is something different from the original concept of ayanāmsha. Theon in West had mentioned this oscillating motion, Arab astronomers also accepted it, and almost all Europeans accepted it upto Renaissance, after which Hipparchus was rediscovered and modern concept of precession became a well established fact in astronomy. But this concept of equinoctial precession (as well as anomalistic precession) was also known to ancient Indians and Greeks.
Burgess wrongly quotes Bhāskara-II, because he relied upon a wrong translation of Bhāskara by Colebrooke (As. Res., xii 209 ; Essays, ii,374, etc) and did not try to examine Siddhānta Shiromani which was wrongly translated by Lancelot Wilkinson due to Colebrooke’s influence. Bhāskara-II did not give his own opinion at all, and merely quoted Surya Siddhānta and Mujjāl (elsewhere Munjāla and Manjula), saying Suryasiddhānta gives -30000 revolutions of sampāt or equinoctial point per Kalpa while ayana has a motion of +199669 revolutions per Kalpa (of 4320 million years). Bhāskara’s own opinion was that these should be followed, which means both Surya Siddhānta and Mujjāla were correct in Bhāskara’s opinion. Colebrooke, Burgess, Wilkinson, etc have misquoted Siddhānta Shiromani and created an impression that ancient Indians were inept in astronomical observations, as Whitney shamelessly declared in his prologue to Burgess, but the Hindi translation by Satyadeva Sharmā is correct, although he could not get the real meaning.
The startling fact is that Siddhānta Shiromani clearly says that “the point of intersection of equatorial plane and ecliptic” (which is the very definition of equinox) has a negative motion of 30000 revolutions per Kalpa according to Suryasiddhānta, while Mujjala’s value of ayana’s motion is +199669, and both (Suryasiddhānta and Mujjala ) must be added to get the final motion (of the equinox ). Hence, we get +169669 revolutions per Kalpa, which gives (4320000000 / 169669 =) 25461 years per revolution or 50.9″ per year, which is very near to modern value of about 50.3″ per year for precession of equinoxes.
We must not forget that Hipparchus had given a period of 36000 years for precession, which was not corrected by Europeans till the onset of modern age. It is unfortunate that Siddhānta Shiromani is still being misinterpreted by foreigners, and if a true rendering is offered by Indian scholars, they are abused, esp by those who do not care to consult the originals and declare the forign missionaries to reliable. Bhāskara-II neither excluded Suryasiddhānta, nor Mujjāla, but mentioned the both must be used, which is clear from verse-19, where he clearly asks to add Mujjāla’s ayana-chalam to Suryasiddhāntic sampāt-chalanam (this sampāt-chalanam is anomalistic precession with a period of 144000 years per cycle, against modern value of 136000 years).
Another startling fact is that Bhāskara-ii differentiates sampāt-chalanam of Suryasiddhānta from ayana-chalanam of Mujjāla, and says both must be added before computing phenomena like declension, ascensional differences, etc. But modern commentators like Colebrooke misinterpret Bhāskara-II deliberately, and imply that sampāt-chalanam of Suryasiddhānta quoted by Bhāskara-ii was an erroneous thing which must be forgotten, while ayana-chalanam of Mujjāla was a crude approximation of modern precession. But this interpretation is falsified by Bhāskara’s original verses as shown above. The root of this problem lies in the fact that sampāt-chalanam of Suryasiddhānta is a distinct phenomenon from ayana-chalanam of Mujjāla according to Siddhānta Shiromani, but readers are not informed of the real meaning of Siddhānta Shiromani and false quotation from Siddhānta Shiromani was quoted by Colebrooke and Burgess (12th verse, chap.iii). This is a sign of intellectual incompetence and dishonesty of Western “experts” who are blindly followed by brown sāhibs of India. Those who do not consult the original texts cited above will not believe me.
Siddhānta-tattva-viveka by Kamlākara Bhatt is a medieval text, which clearly states that Saurpaksha is distinct from Drikpaksha. Saurpaksha (astronomy of bhuvaloka) is Suryasiddhānta as it exists. Drikpaksha (astronomy of Bhooloka or physical/material/sensory world) is that version of Suryasiddhānta which was not preserved because it was useless in astrology. Siddhānta Shiromani uses many concepts of Drikpakshiya astronomy, as the instance cited above proves. Saurpakshiya Suryasiddhānta does not contain any refence to 30000 cylces per Kalpa mentioned by Bhāskara-II. He was quoting from Drikpakshiya Suryasiddhānta which as a text had been lost ; Bhāskara-II said in his own Vāsanābhāshya commentary of Siddhānta-shiromani that Suryasiddhānta is not available (“anupalabdha”) and he was quoting it on the basis of “āgama”. Only its fragments are left, scattered here and there. Modern commentators confuse both variants of Suryasiddhānta. Siddhāntatattvaviveka is prescribed in post-graduate (Ganitāchārya) syllabus of Sanskrit universities, but no modern commentator has ever tried to translate it or comment on it.
According to Bhāskara-ii , negative sampāt-chalanam of Drikpakshiya Suryasiddhānta should be added to positive ayana-chalanam of Mujjāla to get final Drikpakshiya precession, which is very close to modern value. Ayana-chalanam of Mujjāla is also Drikpakshiya, because Saurpakshiya entities are not used in Drikpakshiya astronomy, and vice versa. I have put some of the most important extant theorems of Drikpakshiya Suryasiddhānta at a website. I had put parts of it at one of most popular websites, where a German “Indologist” deleted it and abused me profusely ; later I found those deleted materials at an Australian website, without any name of author!!. But I am here divulging one important secret of ancient science of India which has been neglected by wrongheaded commentators.
Mujjāla’s ayana-chalanam, as mentioned in Siddhānta Shiromani, gives a period of (4320 million / 199669 = ) 21636 years per cycle. Siddhānta Shiromani says that it is ayanachalanam and not precession, precession is obtained after substracting (Saurpakshiya) Suryasiddhāntic sampātchalanam. If this 21636 year cycle is not precession, what is it ??
Readers should read a Wikipedian article Milankovitch cycles ( http://en.wikipedia….lankovic_cycles ) which informs :”Earth’s axis completes one full cycle of precession approximately every 26,000 years (25771.5 precisely at present, 25789.5 years is long term mean). At the same time, the elliptical orbit rotates, more slowly, leading to a 21,000-year cycle between the seasons and the orbit… This orbital precession is in the opposite sense to the gyroscopic motion of the axis of rotation(cf. anomalistic precession as distinct from equinoctial precession), shortening the period of the precession of the equinoxes with respect to the perihelion from 26,000 to 21,000 years.” (at some sites of NOAA of USA, 22000 is mentioned instead of 21000)
Ayana-chalanam of Mujjāla is not orbital precession, it is the most important of all components of Milankovitch cycles as this Wikipedian definition shown. If we take cue from Siddhānta Shiromani, the aforementioned Wikipedian clause can be rewritten thus : This orbital precession of equinoxes is in the opposite sense to the gyroscopic motion of the axis of rotation, shortening the period of the precession of the equinoxes with respect to the perihelion from 25771 to 21,636 years.
Siddhānta Shiromani also says that Mujjāla’s ayana-chalanam (21,636 years per cycle) is opposite to sampāta-chalanam. Bhāskara-ii clearly defines sampāta-chalanam as “the point of intersection of equatorial plane and ecliptic” (which is the very definition of equinox). Hence, what Siddhānta Shiromani says is exactly what Wikipedia informs us, the only difference is that Siddhānta Shiromani is misinterpreted and declared to be obscurantist, and the great cycles mentioned in Siddhānta Shiromani is “discovered” by 20th century scientists. But we must remember Bhāskara-ii did not discover these things, he acknowledged Suryasiddhānta and Munjāla.
Bhāskara-ii knew Drikpakshiya Suryasiddhānta, which has not survived because it was not useful in astrology. In his formula of precession, Bhāskara-II used a figure 30000 cycles per Kalpa. Bhaskara-II got an approximate value of 50.9″ per year, which was the most precise value before modern astronomy developed in the West. Here I quote a Puranic verse which proves knowledge of equinoctial precession in Puranic times :
उत्तानपादपुत्रोऽसौ मेढीभूतो ध्रुवो दिवि ।
स हि भ्रमन् भ्रामयते नित्यं चन्द्रादित्यौ ग्रहैः सह ।।
It means : “Uttanpāda’s son Dhruva is the fixed point in the Heavens , round which all planets including Sun and Moon, but Dhruva himself also moves round” . Round what ? Mt Meru, which is the only fixed point in Cosmos according to Purānic-epic stories. Hence, the bhachakra also librates with respect to this fixed point Meru.
According to Bhāskara-II, orbital precession is derived by substracting anomalistic precession (sampāt-chalanam) from the first component of Milankovitch cycles (Munjāla’s ayana-chalanam). Bhāskara-II acknowledged earlier authors. Hence, we must conclude that modern values and concepts of orbital precession, anomalistic precession, Milankovitch cycles, etc were known to ancient Indians well before Bhāskara-ii.
But two things about confusing terminology must be borne in mind : this sampāt-chalanam he finally gets by combining the two quantities mentioned above. According to Bhāskara-II, Suryasiddhāntic sampāt-chalanam is 30000 per Kalpa. He does not give a name for the term which is finally obtained by combining this sampāt-chalanam with Munjāla’s ayana-chalanam, but the definition he provides for Suryasiddhāntic sampāt-chalanam is exactly the definition of the final quantity whose name he does not provide. Hence, there were many types of sampāt-chalanams !! This is not a case of confusion of terms. It is a result of Saurpakshiya term with Drikpakshiya terms bearing same names but having different magnitudes and sometimes even having difference in basic properties !
Second confusion is due to use of the term ayana-chalanam for Munjāla’s precession. It is quite distinct from Saurpakshiya Suryasiddhāntic ayana-chalanam (trepidation) as mentioned in existing text. Burgess could not digest this theory of libration (oscillation or trepidation, ie, ayanāamsha – motion) and tried to distort the meaning of terms to fit modern view of orbital precession with this Saurpakshiya precession. Bhāskara-ii knew and respected Suryasiddhānta which he cited and used in his computations as shown above, and gave exact value of Drikpakshiya precession. Therefore, it is foolish to impose Drikpakshiya precession (50.9″ per year according to Bhāskara-II, 50.3″ really) upon Saurpakshiya ayanamsha (54″ per year, oscillating within a range of ± 27 degrees). (There are further corrections on Drikpakshiya precession which give a final value of one revolution in 25771.4 years, exactly equal to the value deduced by NASA – JPL , but these corrections requires some long theorems to prove).
I do not want to say that all ancient texts are true and should be blindly followed. But it is equally wrong to deride them as outdated and obscurantist just because they could not be understood by moderns.We have yet to discover the real Wonder that Is India. Unless and until ancient texts are proven false, it is suicidal to reject them.