Astronomy & Mathematics In Kerala
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Astronomy & Mathematics In Kerala

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Item Code: NAH311
Author: K. Kunjunni Raja
Publisher: Theosophical Publishing House
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
ISBN: 8185141185
Pages: 58
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 80 gm



This monograph giving a brief account of the Sanskrit literature on astronomy and matematics in Kerala is a reprint of my paper published in the Adyar Library Bulletin, 1963. Works on astrology, horoscope, omens and Muhurta (auspicious time for rituals etc.) have been generally excluded, except in cases where their authors have also contributed to astronomy or mathematics. Works in Malayalam have also not been treated, except when they are commentaries on Sanskrit works or when their authors are important otherwise. Bibliographical references are complete only up to 1963. Much work has been done in the field by scholars after the publication of my paper. Details will be found in the Descriptive Catalogue of Jyotisa Manuscripts in the Adyar Library by Dr K. V. Sarma, which is in the press.


Enthusiastic scholars have claimed for Kerala the great Aryabhata who started the classical age of Indian astronomy and mathematics, and Bhaskara I, author of the Mahabhaskariya commentary, but the available evidence is against such claims. Kerala has been famous for astrology, hence names like Keralacarya, Keralanddi etc. need not be from Kerala. The legendary Vararuci has been popular in Kerala as well as in other parts of India; but the Candravakyas (also called as Vararucivakyas seem to be a Kerala work. The Katapayadi system of numerical notation popular in Kerala at least from the time of Haridatta in the seventh century A.D. is often considered as a contribution of Kerala. An inscription from Andhra * dated 684 (Saka or Samvat) shows its popularity in other parts of S. India as well.


The date of Aryabhatiya is definitely 1523 A.D., but the Sakabdasamskara correction (in vagbhavonad etc.) is from 1499, the date of birth of Aryabhata. It is not clear how this error crept into the tradition. My ascription of the Kriyakramakari commentary on Lilavati to Trkkutaveli Sankara Warrier was questioned by K. V. Sarma in his History of the Kerala School of Hindu Astronomy (pp. 58-59 Hoshiarpur, 1972), but while editing the commentary later, he found that I was right and had to correct his position. The problem about the date of Karanapaddhati of Putumana Somayaji can be solved, if the stray verse quoted by Vatakunkur (maya vyalekhi sudrg uttama karanapaddhatih samskrtti .. nama samvatsare is explained with the word samvatsare going with samskrta, and not with vyalekhi). The date of birth of Nilakantha Somayaji given by the Kali days elapsed tyajamyajnatam tarkaih works out to 14 June, 1444.


I hope that this short survey will be of some help to scholars and the general readers interested in Kerala astronomy and mathematics.

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