About the Book :
The volumes of the Project of History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization aim to discover the central aspects of India's heritage and present them in an interrelated manner. In spite of their unitary look, these volumes recognize the difference between the areas of material civilization and those of ideational culture. The Project is not being executed by a single group of thinkers, methodologically uniform or ideologically identical in their commitments. Rather, contributions are made by different scholars of diverse ideological persuasions and methodological approaches. The Project is marked by what may be called 'methodological pluralism'. In spite of its primarily historical character, this project, both in its conceptualization and execution, has been shaped by scholars drawn from different disciplines. It is the first time that an endeavour of such unique and comprehensive character has been undertaken to study critically a major world civilization. This Volume endeavours to present the perceptible facets of the tradition of astronomy in India : - the torch-bearers of this tradition and their texts; main characteristics of Indian astronomy; scientific approach to the phenomenon of eclipse; pancanga and its social dimensions including the vrata-s, festivals and other observances; origin of astrological ideas, their seeming links with astronomy and certain contradictions; extensive computations concerning planetary revolutions in a huge cyclic period, mean as well as true positions of planets and associated mathematical aspects. In order to have the narrative undisturbed, the related mathematical astronomy has been given in the Appendices. Computations apart, Indian astronomers were keen observers of the motions of celestial bodies and used several instruments, and this aspect has been dealt with appropriately. The question of transmissions in the early centuries before and after the Christian Era vis-a-vis the originality and endogenous developments of Indian astronomy, has been addressed in an objective manner. Since Islamic astronomy has also fostered its tradition in India for over 500 years, three articles on this have been reproduced in the Appendices. Indian astronomical texts are noted for their mathematical-astronomical scientific terminology which was so standardized that it enabled astronomers (who were separated both in time and space), to articulate and promote this tradition over the centuries, as evidenced by the extensive glossary of technical terms given at the end. It is hoped that this Volume, probably the first of its kind inasmuch as it sheds light on both the scientific and the long tradition of Indian astronomy, will be found useful by scholars and general readers alike.