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Vatesvara Siddhanta – A Major Treatise On Indian Astronomy

Vatesvara Siddhanta of Vateshvara (b 880 CE) is a major, exhaustive work on Indian astronomy. Vateshvara, son of Mahadatta, hailed from Anandapura in northern Gujarat, which was a great center of Sanskrit learning during his time. Highly original in his presentation of the discipline, Vatesvara’s Siddhanta was considered at par with earlier authorities like Aryabhatta and has been cited as such by later astronomers like Sripati. This Siddhanta was well known also to Persian astronomers and historians like Al-Beruni and others.

Sculpture At Padmanabhapuram Palace

Vatesvara is the author of two more works: Gola and Karanasara. Gola is a text on spherical astronomy, of which only five chapters are available. The five chapters are:

  1. Golaprasamsa on spherics
  2. Cedyaka on graphical representations of planetary motion
  3. Golabanda on construction of the armillary sphere
  4. Golavasana on spherical rationale
  5. Bhuglos on terrestrial globe

Karnasara, an astronomical manual with tables, is useful for computation of the almanac.

Vatesvara Siddhanta takes its basic from the system of Aryabhatta and his followers, Bhaskara I and Lalla, but is highly original in formulating rules and setting out methods of computation. A number of astronomical problems are supplemented to each section of the work towards demonstrating the rules and setting out the rationale of the said rules.

Apart from treating different aspects of Indian astronomy systematically and exhaustively, Vatesvara Siddhanta is unique in that, when a rule is given, all possible alternatives are also set out, towards helping the reader to look at these matters from different points of view. The work has been presented in a simple and straightforward language.

Vatesvara Siddhanta deals with the discipline in eight chapters, each having several subsections.

Chapter I

The first chapter is on “mean motion of planets”, introduces the subject with the nature of revolutions of the planets, time measures, and ahargana or the number of days elapsed from the epoch, and on that background sets out the computation of the mean planets.

Chapter II

The second chapter deals with computation of “true motion of planets” and the various corrections involved therein.

Chapter III

The third chapter of Vatesvara Siddhanta sets out three problems involving mean and true motions of planets. Inter alia a number of related astronomical subjects come in for enunciation, like coordinal directions and the equinoctial shadow; sun’s declination, earthshine, ascension difference and attitude and graphical representation of shadow.

Chapter IV

The fourth chapter deals with lunar eclipse and its computation.

Chapter V

The fifth chapter is devoted to computation of solar eclipse, which is more complicated and involves lambana or parallax of longitude and vati or parallax of latitude. There is also a description of construction of diagram of solar eclipse, besides computation of the eclipse the astronomical instruments.

Chapter VI

The chapter six of Vatesvara Siddhanta is concerned with heliacal rising and setting of planets.

Chapter VII

This chapter deals with clevation of moon’s horns.

Chapter VIII

The last chapter of Vatesvara Siddhanta deals with conjunction of heavenly bodies, namely, conjunction of two planets and conjunction of a star and a planet.

Source – 

  • Vatesvara Siddhanta and Gola of Vatesvara – Two Parts (1985, 1988) K. S. Shukla – Indian National Science Academy – New Delhi.
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume XI page 233 – Rupa- IHRF (2011)