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Pṛthvi, or Earth, is the center of the solar system in Vedic astronomy.

The astronomer [[Template:Ref-VM]] describes his view of the Earth in his [[Template:Ref-PS]], as an 'iron ball held in position in a cage of magnets.' [1] Lalla gave a similar description in Template:Ref-SiDhVr. [2]

Kadamba flower, an analogy of the Earth

Template:Ref-VM also discusses how residents of the North Pole (Devas, gods) would view the residents of the South Pole (asuras, demons) as 'upside down', and vice versa. [1] Āryabhaṭa said that the Earth was like the flower of the kadamba tree, covered by creatures as the flower is with by blossoms.[3] Lalla uses the same analogy, saying the Earth is covered over it's surface by "trees, mountains, cities, gods, demons, and human beings", just as the kadamba flower is covered with "anthers and bees".[2]

The prime meridian (longitude 0) went through the real city of Ujjain (Avantī[4]), and the mythical city of Laṅkā. [5][6]It also went through Vātsyapura, Sthāneśvara, [7] Kharanagara, Sitorugeha, Pānāta, Misitapurī, Taparnī, Sitavara mountain, Vātsyagulma, Vananagari, Sthāneśa. [8], Kumārī, Kāñeī Mānāṭa, Aśvetapuri, Sveta mountain, Gargarāṭa, Āśramapattana, Mālavanagara, Paṭṭaśiva, Rohitaka, Sthānvīśvara, Himalaya mountain, and Meru. [9]

Many astronmers also discussed the atmosphere of the Earth. Parameśvara said the terrestrial wind went up to 12 yojana, and after that was the Pravaha celestial wind that moved the celestial sphere. [10]

Size estimates

Size estimates of the Earth (units in yojana)
Source Diameter Circumference reference
[[Template:Ref-VM]] - 3200 [11]
Sūrya Siddhānta 1600 10*(Diameter^2))^0.5 [12]
Brahmagupta - 5000 * jyā(colatitude) / trijyā [13]
Deva - 3299 [14]
Bhāskara II 1581 1/24 4967 [15]
Nīlakaṇṭha 1050 - [16]
Bhāskara I - 3299 [17]
Āryabhaṭa I 1050 - [18]

Meru mountain

The basic arrangement of the Earth

Meru mountain was a mythical mountain said to be at the North Pole, the abode of the gods. Bhāskara says that 'happy people' live there.[8] It was opposite the 'hell' at the south pole, Baḍavāmukha, where dwelt the demons. Āryabhaṭa describes the two groups as 'considering themselves ... permanently below each other'. [19]

Lalla also wrote of four islands which were believed to be evenly spaced around the equator. Laṅkā was at the prime meridian, a quarter way round the Earth West was Romaka, East was Yamakoṭi, and on the other side of the Earth was Siddhapura. [2]

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Refia4.1.1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Template:Refia4.1.2
  3. Template:Refia4.8.1
  4. Template:Refia4.5.4
  5. Template:Ref-indian-astronomy, APPENDIX IV
  6. Template:Refia4.3.2
  7. Template:Refia4.5.2
  8. 8.0 8.1 Template:Refia4.5.5
  9. Template:Refia4.5.6
  10. Template:Refia4.17.3
  11. Template:Refia4.10.2
  12. Template:Refia4.10.3
  13. Template:Refia4.10.4
  14. Template:Refia4.10.5
  15. Template:Refia4.10.6
  16. Template:Refia4.10.8
  17. Template:Refia4.10.10
  18. Template:Refia4.20.2
  19. Template:Refia4.4.1