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Scientific Literature in Sanskrit

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 Kalyanamallas
Anangaranga, Damodara Guptas Kuttanimata and Dandins 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. Ramasubramanians 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 Ganesas
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 .

Kautilyas 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 41
Why did Sanskrit Mathematic ignor asakrt Methods 61
Yantraraja at Edinburg: on a Sanskrit Astrolabe made for Manirama in
AD 1644
The Muhurtalaksana: A Brief Text on Time of day, Gnomonic Shadow
and the Divination from jaya, Compared to the Inscriptions and the 111
sanskrit Atmajyotisa
Nadi Divination and Indian astrology 147
Beliafs, Aspirations and Accomplishments of the Madieval Indian
Alchemist as depicted in the Rasopanisad
Ratnasastra in Kautilyo's Arthasastra 179
The body of the Musician: Embryology and Anatomy in the Indian
Musicological Literature
The art and Science of Perfumery in the Nagarasarvasva 207
The Contributors 229