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Scientific Literature in Sanskrit

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Scientific Literature in Sanskrit
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Item Code: NAE877
Author: S.R Sarma and Gyula Wojtila
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788120835306
Pages: 256
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
weight of the book: 500 gms
About the book

David pingree and G.Jan Meulenbeld have made us aware of the enormous volume and the astonishing diversity of Sanskrit literature on Jyotihsastra and Ayurveda respectively through their monumental works. Census of the Exact Sciences and History of Indian medical Literature. Literature on other scientific subject though not so stupendous, is still very large. This rich diversity of Sanskrit scientific Literature is reflected in the paper presented in section 8 on scientific Literature of the 13th World Sanskrit conference, held at Edinburgh on 10-14 2006, which are collected in this volume. These ten paper cover a wide spectrum of areas like astronomy, mathematics, divination, alchemy, gemology, musicology and perfumery.


About the Authors

S.R. Sarma
S.R. Sarma was formerly Professor of Sanskrit at Aligarh Muslim University: after retirement he has been the editor of the Indian Journal of Science and visiting professor at Kyoto University, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Harvard University. The focus of his research is on the history of mathematic, astronomy and astronomical instruments in India. His recant publication include The Archaic and Exotic : Studies in the History of Indian Astronomical Instruments (2008), Sanskrit Astronomical Instruments in the maharaja Sayajirao of Baroda (2009) , and (Jointly with Takanori Kusuba , Takao Hayashi and Michio Yono) Ganitasara- kaumudi, the moonlight of the Essence of Mathematics by Thakkura Pheru(2009).

Gyula Wojtilla
Gyula Wojtilla is professor of Ancient History at the University of Szeged, Hungary, and a member of the consultative committee of the international Association of Sanskrit Studies,. He has written extensively on Sanskrit philology, Indian history and culture, and the History of agriculture in india. He has also translated into Hungarian Sanskrit texts like Kalyanamalla’s Anangaranga, Damodara Gupta’s Kuttanimata and Dandin’s Dasakumaracarita. His recent publication include History of Krsisastra (2006 and Kasyapiyakrsi Sukti; A sans - krit work on Agriculture (2010)



David Pingree and G.Jan Melulenbeld have made us aware of the enormous volume and the astonishing diversity of Sanskrit literature on Jyotihsastra and Ayurveda Respectively throught there monumental works. Census of the Exact Sciences and History of India Medical Literature. Literature on other Scientific subject, though not so stupendous is still very large. This rich diversity of Sanskrit scientific literature is reflected in the papers. Presented in Section 8 on scientific Literature of the 13th World Sanskrit conference, held at Edinburgh on 10-14 July 2006, and collected in this volume. These ten papers cover a wide spectrum of areas like astronomy, mathematics, divination, gemology, musicology and perfumer .

The proceedings open with K. Ramasubramanian’s paper on the ‘ Nature of proof in India science,’ where he seeks to correct the wide- spread misconceptions in Western historiography regarding Indian astronomy and mathematic: that they are bereft of proofs, that no distinction is made between the rational and Irrational quantities. And. So .no. He argues cogently that proof is not an alien concept to Indian trading as is evident from the diverse discussions concerning proof in Indian philosophical texts. In the case of astronomy and mathematic. Proof or rationale (upapatti. Vasana ) is provide in the commentaries and not in the primary texts. Citing copiously the commentaries by Nrsimha , and other, he elaborates their views on proof, on the incommensurability and diameter of a circle and similar matter. The major Part of the paper is devoted to examples of types proof given in the commentaries: upapatti in the from logical reasoning upapatii by geometrical definition, and apapatii by mathematic analysis. Here the relevant texts are cited in accurate translation, followed by a well- structured explanation using modern notation.

In the text paper. S Balachandra Rao though Nicolaus Copernicus ushered in the scientific revolution by his heliocentric, his method of computing the mean planetary positions is not as accurate as those of his Indian contemporaries Nilakantha Somyajin and Ganesa . Daivajna. This he demon strates by computing the planetary position on 19 march 1520, the epoch of Ganesa’s Grahalaghava according to the respective procedures adopted by the three astronomer: the planetary position obtained by the Methods of Ganesa and Nilakantha are appreciably closer to those derived by the modern procedures. Then the values obtained by the method of opernicus.

Kim Plofker, in her contribution ‘ Why did Sanskrit Mathematic ignore Asakrt Methods ? ,’ explore the boundaries between mathematic astronomy and mathematic proper to see how the mathematic techniques developed for astronomical computations were received in mathematic texts. The interactive Approximation, an algorithm performed repeatedly until its successive results converge as closely as desired to the exact. Solution , was widely used in solving many astronomical problems, but it was never mentioned in strictly mathematic treatises. The paper Discusses this discusses this striking omission and offer possible reasons for it .

Like scientific, instruments also constitute important document for reconstructing the scientific of an era. A Sanskrit astrolabe (yantraraja )of 1644, which is preserved fortuitously in Edinburgh, the venue of the 13th Would Sanskrit Conference , is the subject of the ‘yantraraja At Edinburgh ‘ by sreeramula Rajeswara Sarma After an Overview of the Sanskrit literature on the instrument, he given a detailed technical on this instrument, he given a detailed technical technical description of the Edinburgh astrolabe and discusses its important for the history of the history of the astrolabe in india .

The Muhurta laksana an astrological text from java is brought to light by Amrit Gomperts in his paper. This Slander text , com sifting of twenty slokas in Javano – Sanskrit and there paraphrase in old Javanese , fills an important gap in our understanding of Jyotisa in java , because the calendar makes made use of this text for determining the muhurta hours mentioned in the inscriptions of the period ad 1000-1500. This text prescribes that the times of the muhurta hours be determined with a solar gnomon, which is possible only during the sunlight hours Gompers is of the view that the Muhurta-s were actually computed. Both in the day time and at night, in combination with the cycle in the day-time and at night , in combination with the cycle of lagna of the horoscope ‘. An analysis of twenty one inscriptions also show lagna is a better estimator of diurnal time than muhurta. An edition of the text of the Muhurtalaksana together with an English translation of the old Javanese paraphrase , is provided, in an Appendix.

Martin Gansten , in his contributing Nadi Divination and Indian Astrology.’ Introduces an interesting branch of astrology which is practiced in Tamilnadu. After a cogent elucidation of the fundamental principles of astrology. Which are rarely stated but generally implied , gangster explains the nature of the nadi divination and how it differs from classical astrology in its assumptions and practice the Sanskrit texts related to the nadi divination, Such as the Gurunadi and Dhruvandi contain individual horoscopes, organized to the nadi (1/ 150th part of a zodiac sing ) in which a person is born. Since the number of the nadi-s are finite, so are the number of possible patterns of human life. Here the nadi divination makes a departure from the mainstream Hindu orthodoxy in as much as it Views human life as not as an ‘ infinitely variable flux but, rather in the nature of a flow a chart in which movement though voluntary . takes place from one pre-defined to the next ,.

The alchemist believed that all base metal could could be transmuted to the pure state of gold and that likewise the perish able human body could be transmuted to an imperishable state. In the attempt to find the proper means for this transmutation, the alchemist acquired through the centuries great skills in handling a variety of chemical substances, In Beliefs, aspiration and Accomplishments of the Medieval Indian Alchemist as depicted in the Rosopanisad,. Vijaya Deshpande show how a vast database of substances and their interaction come into existence in the text on Rasasastra. In particular the voluminous eleventh century text Rasopanisad , and explain some of the valuable chemical- metallurgical insights recorded in this text .

Kautilya’s Arthasatra (Book contains the earliest discussion of gems, their properties and the places of occurrence. Text on Therefore, this portion is rightly considered to be the earliest text on gemology .However the text is problematic at places and the contents intermingle scientific theory with commercial matters, leading to terminological inconsistencies. In his paper ‘Ratnasastra in Kautilya;s Arthasastra,’ Gyula Wojtilla attemptsto restore the text with the help of commentaries and to reinterpret it in the light of philology .

In this contribution ‘ The Body of the Musician Embryology and Anatomy in the Indian Musicological Literature Makoto kitada touches upon several disciplines like musicology embryology anatomy and Hathayoga. The musicological text composed by Sarngadhara in the thirteenth century deals Ayurvedic topic like embryology and anatomy , and Hathayogic matters like cakra-s and nadi-s Kitada seeks to answer the question as to why topic are dealt with in a musicological text and what is he source of the Ayurvedic theory of embryology and anatomy presented in this text .

The last paper of these proceedings is ; the Art and Sciences of perfumery in the Nagarasarvasva by James Mchugh. The chapter on perfumery in the erotic manual Nagarasarvasva is unique in the sense that is Places perfumery in the clear context of accessories to erotic pleasure. After an overview of aromatic preparations the paper focuses on a type of incense named evocatively ‘Ratinathakanta and discusses some of the ingredients used for this incense, their original cultural and economic economic significance and olfactory properties. McHugh did not just study the sastra of perfumery. He also tried his hand at prayoga and prepared the incense according to specification .After presenting the paper he made the audience small the Ratinathakanta incense, by burning it outside the venue of the conference, thus bringing the proceedings of the section on scientific Literature to a fragrant conclusion

It remain for us now to thanks all those who have contributed to the success of the Section of the section and to the production of this volume: first and foremost, the presented these highly interesting papers deserve our appreciation. Our sincere thanks to the organizing committee of the 13th worlds Sanskrit conference for entrusting us with the responsibility of conducting the section on Literature. It is pleasure to record the help and advice extended by the secretary General of the conference Professor John brockington ,in organizing the section. We Should like to thanks Dr Paul Dundas and Dr Peter Bisschop. The General Editors of the Proceeding, for their support and advice in the preparation of the volume.

We Grateful to Professor Vempaty Kutumba Sastry , the then Vice- Chancellor of the Rashtriya Ssamskrit Samsthan , New Delhi ,(and now President of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies for readily acceding to our request and providing financial assistance to same of the participants so that they could attend the conference . The major burden of preparing the volume lay on the shoulders of professor K Ramasubramanian who prepared on the press copy in LaTeX .We are greatly indebted to him

In this decade the historiography of Indian Science suffered the loss of four eminent scholars. We recall here the memory of Professors K.V Sarma, David Pingree, Kripa Shanker Shukla and Priya Vrat Sharma for their rich and abiding contributions to the study of Jyotihsastra and Ayurveda.




Preface IX
The Notion of Proof in Indian Science 1
A comparative study of the Procedures of three Astronomers of the Early Sixteenth Century: Copernicus, Nilakantha somayaji and Ganasa Daivajna 41
Why did Sanskrit Mathematic ignor asakrt Methods 61
Yantraraja at Edinburg: on a Sanskrit Astrolabe made for Manirama in AD 1644 77
The Muhurtalaksana: A Brief Text on Time of day, Gnomonic Shadow and the Divination from jaya, Compared to the Inscriptions and the sanskrit Atmajyotisa 111
Nadi Divination and Indian astrology 147
Beliafs, Aspirations and Accomplishments of the Madieval Indian Alchemist as depicted in the Rasopanisad 161
Ratnasastra in Kautilyo's Arthasastra 179
The body of the Musician: Embryology and Anatomy in the Indian Musicological Literature 195
The art and Science of Perfumery in the Nagarasarvasva 207
The Contributors 229
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