Science in Hinduism 4: Solar System proposed in Hinduism well before Copernicus
Recently, one of my acquaintances, an atheist or a pro-leftist, told me in a gathering, Hindu scriptures are so illogical that it says earth is the center and sun is revolving around it.
‘Can you give any reference in support of your statement?’ I retaliated.
‘Everywhere we heard and read that ancient mythology believed so.’ He replied.
‘Have you checked it by your own?’ I inquired further.
‘No!’ He answered.
This is the answer of almost all atheist (a fashionable choice of modern person) and of a confused Hindu. But someone should be agnostic rather than atheist. After that conversation, again I explored the Hindu scriptures to find if it is true or not; with an agnostic approach. And, what I found is amazing, an eye-opener for me. Here are those astonishing astrological facts, already written in Vishnu Purana and Matsyamahapurana:
Vishnu Purana, Section 2, Chapter 8, Shloka 12 (further coded as 2:8:12 and so on) –
Divasasya ravirmadhye sarvakaalam tu vyavasthitah
Sarvadvipeshu maittreya nishaardhasya cha sammukhe. (2:8:12)
O Maitreya! In every season the arrangement is such as, the sun is situated exactly opposite at the mid of the night for every land area (dvip) where it is situated at the mid of the day. (2:8:12)
Udayaastmane chaiva sarvakaale tu sammukhe
Vidishashu tvasheshasu tathaa brahmaan dishasu cha. (2:8:13)
Similarly; O Brahma! In every season; the sunrise occurs at a place exactly opposite to where it sets off. And, similar for every directions and sub-directions too. (2:8:13)
A Little consideration will show, the conditions of above two shlokas could not be fulfilled until and unless the earth is like a ball. For instance; we consider the shape of the earth is of any other than spherical, cylindrical or conical; the sunset could not possible at a place exactly opposite to sunrise. But even for cylindrical and conical too, only shloka 2:8:12 holds good, as shloka 2:8:13 says for any direction or sub-direction, a condition which could not be possible for shapes other than spherical. So, easily could be iterated from these shlokas that the earth is round or spherical and the writer sage of these holy book was already aware of it. Furthermore, Vishnu Purana added –
Yairyatra drishyate bhaasvaansa teshaamudayah smritah.
Tirobhaavam cha yatraiti tatraivaastamanam raveh. (2:8:14)
The sunrise takes place at the same location always and similarly the sunset also takes place at only one location invariably as it does daily.
Naivaastamanamarkasya nodayah sarvadaa satah
Udayaastamanaakhyam hi darshanaadarshanam raveh. (2:8:15)
Actually neither the sun rises nor sets off; it always stays same at its position. Its appearance and disappearance in front of us is considered as sunrise or sunset respectively.
From above two shlokas it is evident that the sunrise and sunset is a virtual phenomenon and the sun never rises nor sets off actually. But its appearance and disappearance is considered as sunrise or sunset. Now, when we consider all four shlokas from 2:8:12 to 2:8:15, easily could be concluded that the earth is rotating about its own axis, as 2:8:15 says the sun remains at same position always and at the same time 2:8:13 says the sun is situated exactly opposite at the mid of night to where it is at the mid of the day. It simply means that the two points interchange its position daily, else the condition could not be fulfilled. So now it is clear that the writer of this book was aware of the fact that earth is spherical and rotating about its own axis.
Furthermore, Vishnupurana delineate the planetary motion in its next shlokas from 26 to 43, where it is minutely described the time, motion of planets and motion of North Star (Dhruva Tara). That I will discuss in my next article. Now we will see what is written in Matsyamahapurana in this regards. In Chapter 124, from shloka 27 to 38 it says:
Jyotishaam chakramaadaay satatam parigachhati.
Madhyagashchaamraavatyam yadaa bhavati bhaskarah. (124:27)
Sun moves always being with jyotish chakra during its rotation. During the travelling, when sun reaches to Amaravati Puri, it is the middle of the space. Hence, it is afternoon time there.
Vaivasvate sanyamane udyan suryah pradrishyate.
Sukhaayaamardharaatrastu vibhaavaryaastameti cha. (124:28)
At the same time, the sun seems to be risen at Sanyamani Puri of Vaivaswat, seems to be sunset off at Vibhaavari Puri; and then at the very same moment, it is being midnight at Sukhaa Puri.
Vaivasvate sanyamane madhyaanne tu raviryadaa.
Sukhaayaamath vaarunyaamuttishthan sa tu drishyate. (124:29)
When it is afternoon at Sanyamani Puri of Vaivasvat, then the sun seems to be risen at Sukhaa Puri of Varun.
Vibhaavaryaamardharaatram maahendryaamastamev cha.
Sukhaayaamath vaarunyaam madhyaanne tu raviryadaa. (124:30)
When it seems the sunsets off at Vasvauksaaraa of Mahendra, it is being midnight at Vibhaavari Puri.
The conditions of above four shlokas could be fulfilled only, if the four places, Amaravati Puri (or Vasvaaksaaraa) of Mahendra, Vibhaavari Puri of Chandradeo, Sukhaa Puri of Varun and Sanyamani Puri of Yamaraj; set at 90 degree respectively as shown below in diagram.
Furthermore, see the beauty of explanation in following shloka from 20 to 23. These shlokas explains the positions of all these places and exactly similar to the diagram as shown above. Which clearly shows, the writer sage was already aware of earth’s rotation about its own axis from west to east apart from the spherical shape of it.
Jyotirganaprachaarasya pramaanam parivakshyate.
Meroh praachyaam dishaayaam tu maanasottarmurdhani. (124:20)
Vasvauksaaraa maahendri punyaa hemaparishkritaa.
Dakshyinena punarmerormaanasasya tu prishthatah. (124:21)
Vaivasvato nivasati yamah sanyamane pure.
Pratichyaam tu punarmerormaanasasya tu murdhani. (124:22)
Sukhaa naam puri ramyaa varunasyaapi dhimatah.
Dishyuttarasyaam merostu maanasasyaiva murdhani. (124:23)
Let’s see the position of Jyotirgana. Vasvauksaaraa, the holy place of Mahendra, is situated at the Manasottar Mountain in the east of Meru, an imaginary mountain always termed as the axis of rotation in Hindu Mythology. Sanyamani Puri is situated in the south of Meru besides Manasottar Mountain which belongs to Yamaraj. Sukhaa Puri is situated in west of Meru which belongs to wise Varuna. Vibhaavari, which belongs to Chandradeo, is at north of the Meru.
What is explained in Vishnupuran in a form of formula is elaborated minutely and precisely in Matsyamahapuran. The second surprising fact is the word ‘Drishyate’. Drishyate has been used for sunrise and sunset always, which clearly depicts that only the appearance and disappearance of the Sun is considered as sunrise and sunset. Now after a minute analysis I found; it is baseless to criticize Hinduism and Hindu Scriptures. Purana never told that earth is the center and sun revolves around it.
But the fact is these holy books precisely delineate the details of solar system. Although many times it is written that the sun is moving, but this is for the sake of simplicity to understand and according to the relative motion. As we are the observer and are stationary relative to the earth, so wherever the movement of sun is said, it is relative to us as an observer, and furthermore, to avoid any misconception it is already explained in scriptures that the sun never moves. So, comprehensive study is necessary to avoid misinterpretation rather than to bind with a particular shloka where sun’s movement is mentioned.