Posted by: digirak | June 9, 2008

When the Greeks invented Avial

Carl Sagan is quite a genius, it quite intrigued me as i read the Cosmos on the way to office, it seemed to me that Carl knew a lot more of human history than God himself. To start with he believes that the world does not exist beyond Greece, oh for the uninitiated Carl Sagan is an astronomer with a magnum opus of Cosmos to his credit and the book has the first few chapters where he rambles on about history of astronomy. I cant claim i have too much of knowledge of the Greeks or their culture, however what Carl taught me in cosmos is almost unforgettable.

Revelation 1: Greeks discovered astronomy, strange when there is a document called the Surya Siddanta which talks about the motions of planets around the Sun, it obviously talks about the zodiac. Simple logic follows up that astronomy moved to greece from India

Revelation 2: Sweet Beet was invented in Greece in the 17th Century, South India had the sweet beet dish right from the Cholas, which is way before the 17th Century.

Revelation 3: All cultures braced the geocentric cult, To my knowledge the jyotisha vedanga talks about the sun being the center of the attraction and all planets are given secondary position, besides even everyday shlokas emphasise the central identity of the Sun God

I am amazed that a world renowned astronomer like Sagan could make glaring errors such as these, pretty obviously like most of the west he chooses to ignore many of the excellent works of astronomy in the far East. As if to redeem himself, he does include a line or two about the superstitious Chinese astrologers who sold astronomy to the kings, well he must quite have forgotten that the first  documented supernova setting up the crab nebula was discovered by a chinese astronomer !!

From what I see I cannot fathom how Sagan could have been so myopic and miss out pretty clear evidences, worse still the series is also an hit and the book is claimed to be one of the masterpieces is astronomy.



  1. Hi,
    What you have written is very true, but you should understand in the first place that the book is written by a westerner. Most of their writing is limited to European and American history, everything else is Oriental to them. Well this is across all the disciplines and not only astronomy. Ancient India had a vast treasure trove of knowledge but the problem is we haven’t got a proper platform to present it. Well the trend is changing now, Yoga and Ayurveda are accepted as scientific disciplines.
    What I would suggest is people like you who are knowledgeable can write books about ancient Indian science, astronomy etc. If you feel, what I suggest is ridiculous then stop writing such posts and stop cribbing about things.

    Be the change you want to see in the world.
    – Gandhi


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