Surya Siddhanta, arguably the most ancient book on Indian astronomy, is a highly advanced and accurate treatise in Hindu astronomy that is widely respected all over the world for its highly developed scientific and astronomical concepts regarding the cosmos. As per Hindu tradition, the Sun God, Surya is said to have given this sophisticated and precise knowledge to Maya, the Asura.
Traditional Hindus believe Surya Siddhanta to be thousands of years old. However, when the West became aware of Surya Siddhanta around the 18th century CE, they set about translating the text hurriedly and arrived at a date for its origin around 500 CE. They positioned the Surya Siddhanta as a 1500-year-old text, basing their calculations on their own biased assumptions for the beginning of the Universe and their conception of the antiquity of Indian civilization.
In this Srijan Talk, acclaimed author and researcher Nilesh Nilkanth Oak points to the fradulent attempts, multiple of them, of the West in dating the Surya Siddhanta and presents his original research along with his teammate Rupa Bhaty, to arrive at a more authentic date for the ancient treatise. Inspired by the 600 astronomical references he found during his research on the dating of the Ramayana, Nilesh Oak undertook to delve deeper into the Surya Siddhanta. He and Rupa Bhaty embarked on the research and turned to the text of Surya Siddhanta itself for clues. They found astonishing references that led them to do the calculations and simulations with modern astronomical data and to then draw their inferences as to when a particular update might have happened in the Surya Siddhanta.
Employing tools of scientific precision, logic and a keen sense of intuitive observation, Nilesh Oak & Rupa Bhaty have carried out meticulous research into specific archaeo-astronomical data points found within the 12th chapter of Surya Siddhanta. And they have arrived at a date of considerable antiquity for the particular update of Surya Siddhanta that conforms to multiple indicators like the presence of two Pole stars, a 24-degree obliquity of the Earth and specific corresponding of the Earth’s apsidal positions with respect to Indian seasons of Grishma and Hemanta.
Do watch this fascinating Srijan Talk to be educated not only on the antiquity of the Surya Siddhanta, but also on the antiquity and continuity of the flourishing Indian civilization, bustling with creativity, scientific activity and innovation at its peak.