On the Indian and Arabian Divisions of the ZODIACK


[Extracted from ARSB 9 (1807): 323-76.]

Table of Nacshatras or Asterisms marking the Moon's Path

THE researches, of which the result is here laid before the Asiatick Society, were undertaken for the purpose of ascertaining correctly the particular stars, which give names to the Indian divisions of the Zodiack. The inquiry has at intervals been relinquished and resumed: it was indeed attended with considerable difficulties. None of the native astronomers, whom I consulted were able to point out, in the heavens, all the asterisms for which they had names: it became, therefore, necessary to recur to their books, in which the positions of the principal stars are given. Here a fresh difficulty arose from the real or the seeming disagreement of the place of a star, with the division of the Zodiack, to which it was referred: and I was led from the consideration of this and of other apparent contradictions, to compare carefully the places assigned by the Hindus to their nacshatras, with the positions of the lunar mansions, as determined by the Arabian astronomers. After repeated examination of this subject, with the aid afforded by the labours of those, who have preceded me in the same inquiry, I now venture to offer to the perusal of the Asiatick Society the following remarks, with the hope, that they will be found to contain a correct ascertainment of the stars by which the Hindus have been long accustomed to trace the moon's path.

The question, which I proposed to myself for investigation, appeared to me important, and deserving of the labour bestowed upon it, as obviously essential towards a knowledge of Indian astronomy, and as tending to determine another question: namely, whether the Indian and Arabian divisions of the Zodiack had common origin. Sir William Jones thought, [p.324] that they had not: I incline to the contrary opinion. The co-incidence appears to me too exact, in most instances, to be the effect of chance; in others, the differences are only such, as to authorize the remark, that the nation, which borrowed from the other, has not copied with servility. I apprehend, that it must have been the Arabs who adopted (with slight variations) a division of the Zodiack familiar to the Hindus. This, at least, seems to be more probable than the supposition, that the Indians received their system from the Arabians: we know, that the Hindus have preserved the memory of a former situation of the Colures, compared to constellations, which mark divisions of the Zodiack in their astronomy; but no similar trace remains of the use of the lunar mansions, as divisions of the Zodiack, among the Arabs, in so very remote times.

It will be found, that I differ much from Sir William Jones in regard to the stars constituting the asterisms of Indian astronomy. On this, it may be sufficient to remind the reader, that Sir William Jones stated only a conjecture founded on a consideration of the figure of the nacshatra and the number of its stars, compared with those actually situated near the division of the ecliptick, to which the nacshatra gives name. He was not apprized, that the Hindus themselves place some of these constellations far out of the limits of the Zodiack.

I SHALL examine the several nacshatras and lunar mansions in their order; previously quoting from the Hindu astronomers, the positions assigned to the principal star, termed the yogatara. This, according to Brahmegupta, (as cited by Lacshmida'sa in his commentary on the Siromani,) or according to the Brahmesiddhanta (cited by Bhudhara), is the brightest star of each cluster. But the Surya siddhanta specifies the relative situation of the Yogatara in respect [p.325] of the other stars; and that does not always agree with the position of the most conspicuous star.

The number of stars in each asterism, and the figure under which the asterism is represented, are specified by Hindu astronomers: particularly by Sripati in the Rotnamala. These, with the positions of the stars relatively to the ecliptick, are exhibited in the annexed table. It contains the whole purport of many obscure and almost enigmatical verses, of which a verbal translation would be nearly as unintelligible to the English reader, as the original text.

The authorities, on which I have chiefly relied, because they are universally received by Indian astronomers, are the Surya siddhanta, Siromani, and Grahalaghava. They have been carefully examined, comparing at the same time several commentaries. The Rotnamala of S'ripati is cited for the figures of the asterisms; and the same passage had been noticed by Sir William Jones (As. Res. vol. 2, p. 294). It agrees nearly with the text of Vasishha cited by Muniswara, and is confirmed in most instances by the Muhurta Chintameni. The same authority, confirmed with rare exceptions by Vasish't'ha, Sa'calya, and the Abharana is quoted for the number of stars in each asterism. The works of Brahmegupta have not been accessible to me: but the Marichi, an excellent commentary on the Siddhanta Siromani, by Muniswara, adduces from that author a statement of the positions of the stars; and remarks, that it is founded on the Brahmesiddhanta, contained in the Vishnu'dhermattani1. Accordingly, I have found the same pas- [p.356] sage in the Brahmesiddhanta, and verified it by the gloss entitled Vasana; and I, therefore, use the quotation without distrust. Later authorities, whose statements coincide exactly with some of the preceding (as Camalacara in the Taiwaviveca) would be needlessly inserted: but one (Muniswara in the Siddhanta sarvabhauma), exhibiting the position of the stars differently, is quoted in the annexed table.

The manner of observing the places of the stars is not explained in the original works first cited. The Surya siddhanta only hints briefly, that they astronomer should frame a sphere, and examine the apparent longitude and latitude2. Commentators,3 remarking on this passage, describe the manner of the observation: and the same description occurs, with little variation, in commentaries on the Siromani.4 They direct a spherical instrument (Golayantra) to, be constructed, according to instructions contained in a subsequent part of the text. This, as will be hereafter shewn, is precisely an armillary sphere. An additional circle graduated for degrees and minutes, is directed to be suspended on the pins of the axis as pivots. It is named Vedhavalaya, or intersecting circle, and appears to be a circle of declination. After noticing this addition to the instrument, the instructions proceed to the rectifying of the Golayantra or armillary sphere, which is to be placed, so that the axis shall point to the pole, and the horizon be true by a water level.

The instrument being thus placed, the observer is instructed to look at the star Revati, through a sight fitted to an orifice at the centre of the sphere; and [p.327] having found the star, to adjust by it the end of the sign Pisces on the ecliptick. The observer is then to look, through the sight, at the yoga star of Aswini, or of some other proposed object; and to bring the moveable circle of declination over it. The distance in degrees, from the intersection of this circle and ecliptick, to the end of Mina or Pisces, is its longitude (Chruvaca) in degrees; and the number of degrees on the moveable circle of declination, from the same intersection to the place of the star, is its latitude (vicshepa) North or South5.

The commentators6 further remark, 'that the latitude, so found, is (sphuta) apparent, being the place intercepted between the star and the ecliptick, on a circle passing through the poles; but the true latitude (asphuta) is found on a circle hung upon the poles of the celestial sphere, as directed in another place.' The longitude, found as above directed, is, in like manner, the space intercepted between the origin of the ecliptick and a circle of declination passing through the star: differing, consequently, from the true longitude. The same commentators add; that the longitudes and latitudes, exhibited in the text, are of the description thus explained: and those, which are stated in the Surya siddhanta, are expressly affirmed to be adapted to the time when the equinox did not differ from the origin of the ecliptick in the beginning of Mesha.

It is obvious, that, if the commentators have rightly [p.328] understood the text of their authors, the latitudes and longitudes, there given, require correction. It will indeed appear, in the progress of this inquiry, that the positions of stars distant from the ecliptick, as there given, do not exactly correspond with the true latitudes and longitudes of the stars supposed to be intended, and the disagreement may be accounted for, by the circumstance of the observations having been made in the manner above described.

Another mode of observation is taught in the Siddhanta sundara cited and expounded by the author of the Siddhanta sarvahhaurua. 'A tube, adapted to the summit of a gnomon, is directed towards the star on the meridian: and the line of the tube, pointed to the star, is prolonged by a thread to the ground. The line from the summit of the gnomon to the base is the hypothenuse; the height of the gnomon is the perpendicular; and its distance from the extremity of the thread is the base of the triangle. Therefore, as the hypothenuse is to its base, so is the radius to a base, from which the line of the angle, and consequently the angle itself, are known. If it exceed the latitude, the declination is south; or, if the contrary, it is north. The right ascension of the star is ascertained by calculation from the hour of the night, and from the right ascension of the sun for that time. The declination of the corresponding point of the ecliptick being found, the sum or difference of the declinations, according as they are of the same or of different denominations, is the distance of the star from the ecliptick. The longitude of the same point is computed; and from these elements, with the actual precession of the equinox, may be calculated the true longitude of the star; as also its latitude on a circle passing through the poles of the ecliptick.

Such, if I have rightly comprehended the meaning in a single and not very accurate copy of the text, is the purport of the directions given in the Siddhanta [p.329] sarvabhauma: the only work, in which the true latitudes and longitudes of the stars are attempted to be given. All the rest exhibit the longitude of the star's circle of declination, and its distance from the Ecliptick measured on that circle.

I SUPPOSE the original observations, of which the result is copied from Brahmegupta and the Surya siddhanta, with little variation, by successive authors, to have been made about the time, when the vernal equinox was near the first degree of Mesha7. The pole then was nearly seventeen degrees and a quarter from its present position, and stood a little beyond the star near the ear of the Camelopard. On this supposition, it will be accordingly found, that the assigned places of the Nacshatras are easily reconcilable to the positions of stars likely to be meant.

I SHALL here remark, that the notion of a polar star, common to the Indian and Grecian celestial spheres, implies considerable antiquity. It cannot have been taken from our present pole-star (α Ursae minoris), which, as Mons. Bailly has observed (Astronomie Ancienne, p. 511), was remote from the pole, when Eudoxus described the sphere; at which time, according to the quotation of Hipparchus, there was a star situated at the pole of the world8. Bailly conjectures, as the intermediate stars of the sixth magnitude are too small to have designated the pole, that α Draconis was the star meant by Eudoxus, which had [p.330] been at its greatest approximation to the pole, little more than four degrees from it, about 1236 years before Christ. It must have been distant, between seven and eight degrees of a great circle, when Eudoxus wrote. Possibly the great star in the Dragon (Draconis), which is situated very near to the circle described by the north pole round the pole of the ecliptick, had been previously designated as the polar star. It was within one degree of the north pole about 2836 years before Christ. As we know, that the idea could not be taken, from the star in the tail of Ursa minor, we are forced to choose between Bailly's conjecture or the supposition of a still greater antiquity. I should, therefore, be inclined to extend to the Indian sphere, his conjecture respecting that of Eudoxus.

I SHALL now proceed to compare the Nacshatras with the Manzils of the moon, or lunar mansions.

I. Aswini, now the first Nacshatra, but anciently the last but one, probably obtained its present situation at the head of the Indian asterisms, when the beginning of the Zodiack was referred to the first degree of Mesha, or the Ram, on the Hindu sphere. As measuring a portion of the Zodiack, it occupies the first 13° 20' of Mesha: and its beginning follows immediately after the principal star in the last Nacshatra (Revati), reckoned, by some exactly, by others nearly, opposite to the very conspicuous one, which forms the fourteenth asterism. Considered as a constellation, Aswini compresses three stars figured as a horse's head; and the principal, which is also the northern one, is stated by all ancient authorities, in 10° N. and 8° E. from the beginning of Mesha.

The first Manzil, or lunar mansion according to the Arabs, is entitled Sherat'an (by the Persians cor-[p.331] ruptly called, as in the oblique case, Sheratain) and comprises two stars of the third magnitude on the head of Aries, in lat. 6° 36', and 7° 51', N. and long. 26° 13', and 27° 7'. (Hyde's Ulugh Beg, p. 58). With the addition of a third, also in the head of the Ram, the asterism is denominated Ashat. The bright star of the 2d or 3d magnitude which is out of the figure of the Ram, according to Ulugh beg, but on the nose according to Hipparchus cited by this author from Ptolemy, is determined Natih: it is placed in Lat. 9° 30' N. and Long. 1s O° 43', and is apparently the same with the principal star in the Indian asterism; for MUHAMMED of Tizin, in his table of declination and right ascension, expressly terms it the first star of the Sherata'in, (Hyde's Comm. on Ulugh Beg's, tables, p. 97).

Many Pandits consulted by me, have concurred in pointing to the three bright stars in the head of Aries (α β and γ) for the Indian constellation Aswini. The first star of Aries (α) was also shewn to Dr. Hunter, at Ujjayini, for the principal one in this asterism; and Mr. Davis (As. Res. vol. 2. p. 226.) states the other two, as those which were pointed out to him by a skilful native astronomer, for the stars that distinguish Asvini. The same three stars, but with the addition of three others, were indicated to Le Gentil, for this constellation (Mem. Acad. Scien. 17 72. P. II. p. 209), I entertain therefore no doubt, that Sir W. Jones (As. Res. vol. 2. p. 298.) was right in placing the three stars of Aswini in, and near, the head of the Ram; and it is evident, that the first Nacshatra of the Hindus is here rightly determined, in exact conformity with the first Lunar mansion of the Arabs; although the longitude of α Arietis exceed, by half a degree, that which is deduced, for the end of Asvini, from the supposed situation of the Virgin's spike opposite to [p.332] the beginning of this Nacshatra and although its circle of declination be 13° instead of 8° from the principal star in Revati.

II. Bharani, the second Indian asterism, comprises three stars figured by the Yoni or pudendum muliebre; and all ancient authorities concur in placing the principal and southern star of this Nacshatra in 12° N. The second Manzil, entitled Butain, is placed by Ulugh Beg (Hyde, p. 61.) in Lat. 1° 12' and 5° 12'; and this cannot possibly be reconciled with the Hindu constellation. But Muhammed of Tizin (See Hyde's Commentary, p. 97), assigns to the bright star of Buta'in a declination of 23° N. exceeding by nearly 2° the declination allotted by him to Naith, or his first star in Sheratain. This agrees with the difference between the principal stars of Aswini and Bharani, and it may be inferred, that some among the Muhammedan astronomers have concurred with the Hindus, in referring the second constellation to stars that form Musca. There were no good grounds for supposing Bharani to correspond with three stars on the tail of the Ram (As. Res. vol. 2. p. 298); and I have no doubt, that the stars, which compose this Nacshatra, have been rightly indicated to me, as three in Musca, forming a triangle almost equilateral: their brightness, and their equal distance from the first and third asterisms, corroborate this opinion, which will be confirmed by shewing, as will be done in the progress of this comparison, that the Nacshatras are not restricted to the limits of the Zodiack.

III. Crittica, now the third, but formerly the first, Nacshatra, consists of six stars figured as a knife or razor, and the principal and southern star is placed in 4˝° or 5° N. and in 65 sixths of decrees (or 1° 50') [p.333] from its own commencement, according to the Surya siddhanta, or 37° 28' to 38° from the beginning of Mesha, according to the Siddhanta Siromani, and Crahaldghava, respectively. This longitude of the circle of declination corresponds nearly with that of the bright star in the Pleiades, which is 40° of longitude distant from the principal star of Revati.

The stars, indicated by Ulugh beg for Thurayya, also correspond exactly with the Pleiades; and these were pointed out to the Jesuit missionaries9, as they have since been to every other inquirer, for the third Nacshatra. If any doubt existed, Mythology might assist in determining the question; for the Critticas are six nymphs, who nursed Scanda, the God of war, named from these, his foster mothers, CARTICEYA or SHANMATURA.

IV. We retain on our celestial globes the Arabick name of the fourth lunar mansion Debaran (or with the article, Aldebaran): applied by us, however, exclusively to the bright star called the Bull's-eye; and which is unquestionably the same with the principal and eastern star of Rohini, placed in 4° or 5° S. and 49˝° E. by the Hindu writers on Astronomy. This Nacshatra, figured as a wheeled carriage, comprises five stars, out of the seven which the Greeks named the Hyades. The Arabs, however, like the Hindus, reckon five stars only in the asterism; and Sir W. Jones rightly supposed them to be in the head and neck, of the Bull: they probably are α ρ γ δ ε Tauri, agreeably to Mons. Bailly's, conjecture (Ast. Ind. p, 129).


Hindu astronomers define a point in this constellation, of some importance in their fanciful astrology. According to the Surya siddhanta, when a planet is in the 7th degree of Vr'isha (Taurus) and has more than two degrees of south latitude, or, as commentators expound the passage, 2° 40'; the planet is said to cut the cart of Rohini. This is denominated sacat'ahhcaa, or the section of the wain. Lalla and the Grahalaghava give nearly the same definition; and it is added in the work last mentioned, that, when Mars, Saturn and the Moon are in that position (which occurs, in regard to the moon, when the node is eight nacshatras distant from Piwarvasu, and might happen in regard to the rest during another Yuga), the world is involved in great calamity. Accordingly, the Puranas contain a legendary story of Dasarathas dissuading Saturn from so traversing the constellation Rohmi.

V. Mrigasiras the fifth Nacshatra, represented by an antelope's head, contains three stars ; the same which constitute the fifth lunar mansion Hakah; for the distance of 10° S. assigned to the northern star of this Nacshatra, will agree with no other but one of the three in the head of Orion. The difference of longitude (24° to 25˝°) from Crittica corresponds with sufficient exactness; and so does the longitude of its circle of declination (62° to 63°) from the end of Revati; since the true longitude of α Orionis, from the principal star in Revati (ζ Piscium), is 63°. It was it mistake to suppose this asterism to comprise stars in the feet of Gemini, or in the Galaxy (As. Res. vol. 2. p, 298).

VI. Ardra, the sixth Nacshatra, consists of a single bright star, described as a gem, and placed in 9° S. by one authority, but in 11° by others, and at the distance of 4˝° to 4° in longitude from the last asterism. This indicates the star in the shoulder of Orion (χ Orionis); [p.335] not, as was conjectured by Sir William Jones, the star in the knee of Pollux (As. Res. 2. p. 298).

The sixth lunar mansion is named by the Arabs, Hanah; and comprises two stars in the feet of the second twin, according to Ulugh beg, though others make it to be his shoulder (Hyde, Com. p. 7. and 44). MUHAMMED of Tizin allots five stars to this constellation; and the Kamus, among various meanings of Hanah, says, that it is a name for five stars in the left arm of Orion; remarking, also, that the lunar mansion is named Tahayi, comprising three stars called Tahyat. Either way however, the Indian and Arabian asterisms appear in this instance irreconcilable.

VII. The seventh Nacshatra, entitled Punarvasu, and represented by a house, or, according to a Sanscrit work cited by Sir William Jones (As. Res. v. 1. p. 295), a bow, is stated by astronomers as including four stars, among which the principal and eastern one is 30° or 32° from the fifth asterism; but placed by all authorities in 6° N. This agrees with (β Geminorum) one of the two stars in the heads of the twins, which together constitute the seventh lunar mansion Ziraa, according to Muhammed of Tusi and Muhammed of Tizin and other Arabian authorities (Hyde on Ulugh Beg, p. 43).

It appears from a rule of Sanscrit grammar10, that Punarvasu, as a name for a constellation, is properly dual, implying, as it may he supposed, two stars. On this ground, a conjecture may be raised, that Punarvasu originally comprised two stars, though four are now assigned to it. Accordingly, that number is retained in the Sacalya sanhita.


It may be further observed, that the seventh lunar mansion of the Arabs is named Ziraa ul ased according to Juhari and others cited by Hyde (Com. on Ulugh Beg, p. 44); and that the Kamus makes this term to be the name of eight stars in the form of a bow.

Upon the whole, the agreement of the Indian and Arabian constellations is here apparent, notwithstanding a variation in the number of the stars; and I conclude, that Punarvasu comprises, conformably with Sir William Jones's supposition (As. Res. vol. 2. p. 299), stars in the heads of the twins; viz., α, β, Geminorum; and which were indicated to Dr. Hunter by a Hindu astronomer at Ujjayin; to which, perhaps, θ and τ may be added to complete the number of four.

VIII. Pushya, the eighth asterism, is described as an arrow; and consists of three stars, the chief of which, being also the middlemost, has no latitude, and is 12° or 13° distant from the seventh asterism, being placed by Hindu astronomers in 106° of longitude. This is evidently Cancri; and does not differ widely from the eighth lunar mansion Net-hrah, which, according to Ulugh beg and others (Hyde's Com. p. 45), consists of two stars, including the nebula of Cancer. The Indian constellation comprises two other stars, besides δ Cancri, which are perhaps γ and β of the same constellation; and Sir William Jones's conjecture, that it consists of stars in the body and claws of Cancer, was not far from the truth.

IX, The ninth asterism, A's'lesha, contains five stars figured as a potter's wheel, and of which the principal or eastern one is placed in 7° S. and, according to different tables, 107°, 108°, or 109°, E. This appears to be intended for the bright star in the southern claw of Cancer (α Cancri) and cannot be reconciled with the lunar mansion Tarf or Turfah, [p.337] which comprises two stars (Hyde's Com. p. 8.) near the lion's eye; the northernmost being placed by MUHAMMED of Tizin in 24° of N. declination (Hyde's Com. p. 101). The Jesuit missionaries, if rightly quoted by Costard (Hist. of Astr. p. 51) made As'lesha correspond with the bright stars in the heads of Castor and Pollux, together with Procyon." This is evidently erroneous. Sir William Jones's supposition, that Aslesha might answer to the face and name of Leo, nearly concurs with the Arabian determination of this lunar mansion, but disagrees with the place assigned to the stars by Hindu astronomers. Bailly committed the same mistake, when he affirmed, that Aslesha is the Lion's head. (Astr. Ind. p. 328).

X. The tenth asterism Magha contains, like the last, five stars; but which are figured as a house. The principal or southern one has no latitude, and, according to all authorities, has 129° longitude. This is evidently Regulus (α Leonis): which is exactly 129° distant from the last star in Revati.

According to the Jesuits cited by Costard, Magha answers to the lion's mane and heart; and the tenth lunar mansion of the Arabians, Jehhah, comprises three (some say four) stars, nearly in the longitude of the Lion's heart (Hyde's Ulugh Beg, p. 74. and Com. p. 46). In this instance, therefore, the Indian and Arabian divisions of the Zodiack coincide: and it is owing to an oversight, that Sir William Jones states the Nacshatra as composed of stars in the Lion's leg and haunch. It appears to consist of α γ ζ χ, and ν Leonis.

XI. Two stars, constituting the eleventh Nacshatra, or preceding Phalaguni, which is represented by a couch or bedstead, are determined by the place of the chief star (the northernmost according to the Surya sidd- [p.338] hanta) in 12° N. and 144° E. or, according to BRAHMEGUPTA, the Siromani and the Grahalaghava 147° or 148° E. They are probably δ and θ Leonis; the same which form the lunar mansion Zubrah or Kherlan (Hyde's Ulugh Beg, p. 76, and Com. p. 47).

It may be conjectured, that Brahmegupta and Bhascara selected the southern for the principal star; while the Surya siddhanta took the northern: hence the latitude, stated by those several Indian authorities, is the mean between both stars; and the difference of longitude, compared to the preceding and subsequent asterisms, may be exactly reconciled upon this supposition.

XII. Two other stars, constituting the twelfth Nacshatra, or following Phalguni, which is likewise figured as a bed, are ascertained by the place of one of them (the northernmost) in 13° N. and 155° E. This indicates β Leonis; the same which singly constitutes the Arabian lunar mansion S'erfah (Hyde's Ulugh Beg, p. 78. and Com. p. 47.), though Muhammed of Tizin seems to hint that it consists of more than one star (Hyde, p. 102). By an error regarding the origin of the ecliptick on the Indian sphere, Sir William Junes refers to the preceding Nacshatra, the principal star of this asterism.

XIII. Hasta, the thirteenth Nacshatra, has the name and figure of a hand; and is suitably made to contain five stars. The principal one, towards the west, next to the north-western star, is placed according to all authorities in 11° S. and 170° E. This can only belong to the constellation Corvus; and accordingly five stars in that constellation (α β γ δ ε Corvi), have been pointed out to me by Hindu astronomers for this Nacshatra.


Awwa, the thirteenth lunar mansion of the Arabs, is described as containing the same number of stars, situated under Virgo, and so disposed as to resemble the letter Alif. They are placed by Ulugh Beg in the wing (Hyde's Ulugh Beg, p. 80).

In this instance the Indian and Arabian divisions of the Zodiack have nothing in common but the number of stars and their agreement of longitude. It appears, however, from a passage cited from Sufi by Hyde (Com. p. 82), that the Arabs have also considered the constellation of Corvus as a mansion of the moon.

XIV. The fourteenth Nacshatra, figured as a pearl, is a single star named Ch'itra. It is placed by the Surya siddhanta in 2° S. and 150° E; and by Brahmegupta, the Siromani and Graha Laghuva) in 1 or 2° S. and 183° E. This agrees with the virgin's spike (a Virginis) and Hindu astronomers have always pointed out that star for Chitta. The same star constitutes the fourteenth lunar mansion of the Arabs, named from it Smac ul aazil. Le Gentil's conjecture11, that the fourteenth nacshatra comprises the two stars δ and ε Virginis was entirely erroneous. And Mons. Bailly was equally incorrect in placing θ Virginis in the middle of this asterism (Astr. Ind, p. 227).

XV. Another single star constitutes the fifteenth Nacshatra. Swati, represented by a coral bead. The Surya siddhanta, Brahmegupta, the Siromani and Grahalaghava, concur in placing it in 37° N. They differ one degree in the longitude of its circle of declination; three of these authorities making it 199°, and the other 198°.

The only conspicuous star, nearly in the situation thus assigned to Swati and the Indian astronomer [p.340] would hardly travel so far from the Zodiack to seek an obscure star; is Arcturus, 33° N. of the ecliptick in the circle of declination, and 198° E. from the principal star of Revati. I am therefore disposed to believe, that Sivati has been rightly indicated to me by a native astronomer who pointed out Arcturus for this Nacshatra. The longitude, stated by Muniswara (viz. 11° less than Chitra), indicates the same star: but, if greater reliance be placed on his latitudes, the star intended may be Boolis. At all events, Mons. Bailly mistook when he asserted, on the authority of Le Gentil, that the fifteenth Nacshatra is marked by a Virginis; and that this star is situated at the beginning of the Nacshatra (Ast. Ind. p. 139 and 227).

The Indian asterism totally disagrees with the lunar mansion Ghafr consisting of three stars in the Virgin's foot, according to Ulugh Beg (Hyde, p. 82. and Com. p. 50); but in, or near, the balance, according; to others (ibid.).

XVI. Visacha, the sixteenth Nacshatra consists of four stars described as a festoon. Authorities differ little as to the situation of the principal and northernmost star: placing it in 1°, 1° 20', or 1° 30' S. and in 212°, 212° or 213° E. The latitude seems to indicate the bright star in the southern scale (a Libra), though the longitude disagree; for this suggests a remote star (possibly γ Librae). I apprehend the first to be nearest the truth; and hence conclude the four stars to be α β Librae and y Scorpii.

The sixteenth lunar mansion named Zubanah or Zukanah, is according to Muhammed of Tizin (Hyde, Com. p. 64), the bright star in the northern scale (β Librae), which Sir William Jones supposed to be the fifteenth Nacshatra.

Father Souciet, by whom Corona Borealis is [p.341] stated for the asterism Visacha, is censured by Sir W. Jones, under an impression, that all the Nacshatras must be sought within the Zodiack. The information, received by Father Souciet, does appear to have been erroneous; but the same mistake was committed by a native astronomer, who showed to me the same constellation for Visacha; and the Nacshatras are certainly not restricted to the neighbourhood of the ecliptick.

XVII. Four stars, (or, according to a different reading, three,) described as a row of oblations, that is, in a right line, constitute the seventeenth Nacshatra named Anunurhu. Here also, authorities differ little as to the situation of the chief and middlemost stars; which is placed in 3°, or 2°, or 1° 45' S. and in 224° or 224° 5' E. This must intend the star near the head of the scorpion (Scorpionis); and the asterism probably comprises β δ π and ρ Scorpionis.

The seventeenth lunar mansion of the Arabs called Iclil or Icidujcbhah, contains four (some say three, and others six11,) stars lying in a straight line. Those, assigned by Ulugh Beg (Hyde, p. 87.) for this mansion, are β δ π Scorpionis.

Here the Indian and Arabian divisions appear to concur exactly; and Sir W. Jones (As. Res. 2. p. 200), as well as the Missionaries cited by Costard (Hist. Astr. p. 51), have apparently understood the same stars; though the latter extend the Nacshatra to the constellation Serpentarius.

XVI II. Jyeshtha, the eighteenth Nacshatra, comprises three stars figured as a ring. In regard to this, [p.342] also, authorities are nearly agreed in the position of the principal and middlemost star, placed in 4°, 3^°, or 3° S. and in 229°, 229° 5', or 230° E. This position clearly indicates Antares or the Scorpion's heart (a Scorpionis); which is also the eighteenth lunar mansion named Kalb or Kabulakrab. The three stars of the Indian asterism may be α σ & τ Scorpionis.

XIX. The nineteenth asterism, Mula, represented by a Lion's tail, contains eleven stars, of which the characteristick one, the easternmost, is placed in 9°, 8° or 8° S. and in 241° or 242° E. Although the latitude of α Scorpionis be five degrees too great, there seems little doubt, that either that, or the star east of it marked γ, must be intended; and this determination agrees with the 18th lunar mansion of the Arabs called Shaulah, consisting of two stars near the scorpion's sting. The Hindu asterism probably includes all the stars placed by us in the Scorpion's tail, viz. ε μ ζ η and ν Scorpionis.

XX. The twentieth Nacshatra, entitled preceding Ashadlia, figured as an elephant's tooth, or as a couch, consists of two stars, of which the most northern one is placed in 5˝° or 5° S. and 254° or 255° E. This suits with δ Sagittarii, which is also one of the stars of the twentieth lunar mansion called Naaim. It consists of four, or, according to some authorities, of eight, stars. The Indian asterism seemingly comprises δ & ε Sagittarii.

XXI. Two stars constitute the twenty-first asterisms named the subsequent Ashad'ha, which is represented by a couch or by an elephant's tooth. The principal star, which also is the most northerly one, is placed in 5° S. and 250°, or 96° E. This agrees with a star in the body of Sagittarius (τ Sagittarii), and the other star is perhaps the one marked ζ.


The twenty-first lunar mansion of the Arabians, named Baldah, comprises six stars, two of which are placed by MUHAMMED of Tizin in declination 21° & 22°. One of these must be a star in the head of Sagittarius. Some authors, on the contrary, describe the lunar mansion as destitute of stars (Hyde, Com. on Ulugh Beg, p. 9.) At all events, the Hindu and Arabian divisions appear, in this instance, to be but imperfectly reconcilable.

XXII. Three stars, figured as a triangle, or as the nut of the floating Trapa, form the twenty-second asterism, named Abh'it; which, in the modern Indian astronomy, does not occupy an equal portion of the ecliptick with the other Nacshatras, but is carved out of the contiguous divisions. Its place (meaning that of its brightest star) is very remote from the Zodiack; being in 60° or 62° N. The longitude of its circle of declination, according to different authorities, is 260°, 203° 40', or 268°. Probably the bright star in the Lyre is meant. It was shown to Dr. Hunter, at Ujjaymi for the chief star in Ahhijii; and the same was pointed out to me, for the asterism, by a Hindu astronomer at this place.

The Arabian lunar mansion Zahih, consists of two stars (some reckon four12) in the horns of Capricorn, totally disagreeing with the Indian Nacshatra.

XXIII. S'ravana, the twenty-third Nacshatra, represented by three footsteps, contains three stars, of which one, the middlemost, is by all authorities placed in 30° N. but they differ as to its longitude; the Surya siddhanta placing it in 280°; Brahmegupta and the Siromani in 278°; and the Grahalaghava in 275°. [p.344] The assigned latitude indicates the bright star in the eagle, whence the three may be inferred to be α β and γ Aquilae.

The twenty-third mansion of the moon, called by the Arabs Bala consists of two stars in the left hand of Aquarius. Consequently the Arabian and Hindu divisions are here at variance.

XXIV. Dhanislishu, the twenty-fourth asterism, is represented by a drum or tabor. It comprises four stars, one of which (the westernmost) is placed in 36° N. and, according to the Surya siddhanta, Brahmegupta and the Siromani, in 290° E. though the Grahalaghava state 286° only. This longitude of the circle of declination, and the distance of the star on it from the ecliptick, indicate the Dolphin; and the four stars probably are α β γ and δ Delphini. The same constellation is mentioned by the Jesuit missionaries as corresponding to Uhanish't'ha (Costard, p. 51): and there can be little doubt, that the ascertainment is correct. The longitude, stated by Muniswara, (viz., 294° 12') supports the conclusion, though his latitude (26° 25); be too small. To determine accurately the position of this Jsacshaira is important, as the solstitial colure, according to the ancient astronomers, passed through the extremity of it, and through the middle of Aslesha.

The twenty-fourth mansion, called by the Arabs Saud, comprises two stars in Aquarius (β and ζ Aquarii) totally disagreeing with the Hindu division.

XXV. Satabhishta, the twenty-fifth Nacshatra, is a cluster of a hundred stars figured by a circle. The principal one, or brightest, has no latitude; or only a third, or at the utmost half, a degree of south latitude; and all the tables concur in placing it in long. 320°. [p.345] This will suit best with λ Aquarii. These hundred stars may be sought in the stream from the Jar, where Sir William Jones places the Nacshatra; and in the right leg of Aquarius.

Akhbiyah, the twenty-fifth lunar mansion, is stated to consist of three stars only, which seem to be the three in the wrist of the right hand of Aquarius (Hyde's Com. p. 55). However, it appears from Ulugh Beg's tables, as well as from Muhammed of Tizin, that four stars are assigned to this mansion (Hyde, p. 99. and Com. p. 95.)

The Hindu and Arabian asterisms differ, here less widely, than in the instances lately noticed: and a passage, cited by Hyde from Firozabadi, even intimates the circular figure of the constellation (Com. p. 10).

XXVI. The twenty-sixth of the Indian asterisms called the preceding Bhadrapida, consists of two stars represented by a couch or bed, or else by a double headed figure; one of which is placed by Hindu astronomers in 240° N. and 325° or 326° E. The only conspicuous star, nearly in that situation, is the bright star in Pegasus (α Pegasi); and the other may be the nearest consideration (ζ Pegasi). I should have considered β Pegasi to be the second star of this Nacshatra, were not its yoga or chief star expressly said to be the most northerly. Mukaddim, the 26th lunar mansion, consists of the two brightest stars in Pegasus (α and β13); and thus the two divisions of the Zodiack nearly concur.

XXVII. Two other stars constitute the 27th lunar mansion named the subsequent Bhadrafada. They are figured as a twin, or person with a dou- [p.346] ble face, or else as a couch. The position of one of them (the most northerly) is stated in 26° or 27° N. and 337° E. I suppose the bright star in the head of Andromeda to be meant; and the other star to be the one in the extremity of the wing of Pegasus (γ Pegasi). This agrees exactly with the 27th lunar mansion of the Arabians, called Muakkher. For Ulugh Beg assigns those stars to it (Hyde, p. 53. Com. p. 34. and 35.)

XXVIII. The last of the twenty-eight asterisms is named Revati, and comprises thirty-two stars figured as a tabor. All authorities agree, that the principal star, which should be the southernmost, has no latitude, and two of them assert no longitude; but some make it ten minutes short of the origin of the ecliptick, viz. 359° 50'. This clearly marks the star on the ecliptick in the string of the fishes (ζ Piscium); and the ascertainment of it is important in regard to the adjustment of the Hindu sphere.

The Arabick name of the 28th mansion, Risha, signifying a cord, seems to indicate a star nearly in the same position. But the constellation, as described by JUHARI cited by Golius, consists of a multitude of stars in the shape of a fish, and termed Belnulhut; in the navel of which is the lunar mansion: and Muhammed of Tizin, with some others, also makes this lunar mansion to be the same with Belnulhiit, which appears, however, to be the bright star in the girdle of Andromeda (β Andromedao); though others describe it as the northern fish, extending, however, to the horns of the ram (Hyde's Com. p. 10. 35, and p. 96). The lunar mansion and Indian asterism are, therefore, not reconcilable in this last instance.

The result of the comparison shows, I hope satisfactorily, that the Liclian asterisms, which mark the divisions of the ecliptick, generally consist of nearly the same stars, which constitute the lunar mansions of [p.347] the Arabians: but, in a few instances, they essentially differ. The Hindus have likewise adopted the division of the Ecliptick and Zodiack into twelve signs or constellations, agreeing in figure and designation with, those of the Greeks; and differing merely in the place of the constellations, which are carried on the Indian sphere a few degrees further west than on the Grecian. That the Hindus took the hint of this mode of dividing the ecliptick from the Greeks, is not perhaps altogether improbable: but, if such be the origin of it, they have not implicitly received the arrangement suggested to them, but have reconciled and adapted it to their own ancient distribution of the ecliptick into twenty-seven parts14.

In like manner, they may have either received or given the hint of an armillary sphere as an instrument for astronomical observation: but certainly they have not copied the instrument which was described by Ptolemy; for the construction differs considerably.

In the Arabick Epitome of the Almagest entitled Tahrirulmejesti15, the armillary sphere (Zat ul halk) is thus described. "Two equal circles are placed at fight angles; the one representing the ecliptick, the other the solstitial colure. Two pins pass through the poles of the ecliptick; and two other pins are placed on the poles of the equator. On the two first pins, are suspended a couple of circles, moving the one within, [p.348] the other without, the first mentioned circles, and representing two secondaries of the ecliptick. On the two other pins a circle is placed, which encompasses the whole instrument, and within which the different circles turn: it represents the meridian. Within the inner secondary of the ecliptick a circle is fitted to it, in the same plane, and turning in it. This is adapted to measure latitudes. To this internal circle, two apertures, or sights, opposite to each other, and without its plane, are adapted, like the sights of an instrument for altitudes. The armillary sphere is complete when consisting of these six circles. The ecliptick and secondaries are to be graduated as minutely as maybe practicable. It is best to place both secondaries, as by some directed, within the ecliptick, (instead of placing one of them without it,) that the complete revolution of the outer secondary may not be obstructed by the pins at the poles of the equator. The Meridian, likewise, should be doubled, or made to consist of two circles, the external one graduated, and the internal one moving within it. Thus the pole may be adjusted at its proper elevation above the horizon of any place. The instrument so constructed consists of seven circles.

"It is remarked, that when the circle, representing the meridian, is placed in the plane of the true meridian, so that it cuts the plane of the horizon at right angles, and one of the poles of the equator is elevated above the horizon conformably with the latitude of the place; then the motions of all the circles round the poles represent the motions of the universe.

"After rectifying the meridian, if it be wished to observe the sun and moon together, the outer secondary of the ecliptick must be made to intersect the ecliptick at the sun's place for that time; and the solstitial colure must be moved until the place of intersection be opposite to the sun. Both circles are thus adjusted to their true places; or if any other object, but the [p.349] sun, be observed, the colure is turned, until the object be seen in its proper place, on that secondary referred to the ecliptick; the circle representing the ecliptick, being at the same time in the plane of the true ecliptick and in its proper situation. Afterwards, the inner secondary is turned towards the moon (or to any star intended to be observed), and the smaller circle within it, bearing the two sights, is turned, until the moon {or to any star intended to be observed), and the smaller circle within it, bearing the two sights, is turned, until the moon be seen in the line of the apertures. The intersection of the secondary circle and ecliptick is the place of the moon in longitude; and the arc of the secondary, between the aperture and the ecliptick, is the latitude of the moon on either side (North or South)."

The same instrument, as described by Montucla from the text of Ptolemy (1. 3. c. 2.16, consists of six circles: first, a large circle representing the meridian; next, four circles united together, representing the equator, ecliptick and two colures, and turning within the first circle on the poles of the equator; lastly, a circle turning on the poles of the ecliptick, furnished with sights and nearly touching, on its concave side, the circumference of the ecliptick.

The armillary sphere, described by the Arabian epitomiser, differs, therefore, from PTOLEMY's, in omitting the equator and equinoctial colure, and adding an inner secondary of the ecliptick, which, as well as the meridian, is doubled.

According to Lalande, the astrolabe of PTOLEMY, from which Tycho Brahe derived his equatorial armillary, consisted only of four circles: two placed at right angles to represent the ecliptick and [p.350] solstitial colure; a third turning on the poles of the ecliptick and serving to mark longitudes; and a fourth, within the other three, furnished with sights to observe celestial objects and measure their latitudes and longitudes17.

Whether the ancient Greeks had any more complicated instrument formed on similar principles, and applicable to astronomical observations, is perhaps uncertain. We have no detailed description of the instrument, which Archimedes is said to have devised to represent the phenomena and motions of the heavenly bodies; nor any sufficient hint of its construction18; nor does Cicero's account of the sphere exhibited by Posidonius19 suggest a distinct notion of its structure.

Among the Arabs, no addition is at present known to have been made to the Armillary sphere, between the period when the Almagest was translated20, and the time of ALHAZEN, who wrote a treatise of optics, in [p.351] which a more complicated instrument, than that of Ptolemy's is described. Alhazen's armillary sphere is stated to have been the prototype of Tycho Brahe's21; but neither the original treatise, nor the Latin translation of it, are here procurable; and I am therefore unable to ascertain whether the sphere, mentioned by the Arabian author, resembled that described by Indian astronomers. At all events, he is more modern22, than the oldest of the Hindu writers whom I shall proceed to quote23.

The construction of the Armillary sphere is briefly and rather obscurely taught in the Surya siddhanta. The following is a literal translation.

"Let the astronomer frame the surprising structure of the terrestrial and celestial spheres.

"Having caused a wooden globe to be made, [of such size] as he pleases to represent the earth; with a staff for the axis, passing through the centre, and [p.352] exceeding the globe at both ends; let him place the supporting hoops24, as also the equinoctial circle.

"Three circles must be prepared, (divided for signs and degrees,) the radius of which must agree with the respective diurnal circles, in proportion to the equinoctial: the three circles should be placed for the Ram and following signs, respectively, at the proper declination in degrees, N. or S.; the same answer contrariwise for the Crab and other signs. In like manner, three circles are placed in the southern hemisphere, for the Balance and the rest, and contrariwise for Capricorn and the remaining signs. Circles are similarly placed on both hoops for the asterisms in both hemispheres, as also for Abh'ijit; and for the seven Rishis, Agastya, Brahme and other stars.

"In the middle of all these circles is placed the equinoctial. At the intersection of that and the supporting hoops, and distant from each other half the signs, the two equinoxes should be determined; and the two solstices, at the degrees of obliquity from the equinoctial; and the places of the Ram and the rest, in the order of the signs, should be adjusted by the strings of the curve. Another circle, thus passing from equinox to equinox, is named the ecliptick; and by this path, the sun, illuminating worlds, for ever travels. The moon and the other planets are seen deviating from their nodes in the ecliptick, to the extent of their respective greatest latitudes [within the Zodiack]."

The author proceeds to notice the relation of the great circles before mentioned to the horizon; and observes, that, whatever place be assumed for the apex of the sphere, the middle of the heavens for that [p.353] place is its horizon. He concludes by showing, that the instrument maybe made to revolve with regularity, by means of a current water; and hints, that the appearance of spontaneous motion may be given, by a concealed mechanism, for which quicksilver is to be employed. The manner of using this instrument for astronomical observations has been already explained (p. 326).

More ample instructions for framing an armillary sphere are delivered in the Siddhanta siromani. The passage is too long for insertion in this place; and I reserve it for a separate article, on account of the explanations which it requires, and because it leads to the considerations of other topicks25, which cannot be sufficiently discussed in the present essay. A brief abstract of Bhascara's description may here suffice. In the centre he places a small globe to represent the earth encompassed with circles for the orbits of the planets arranged like the curved lines in a spider's web. On an axis passing through the poles of the. earth, and prolonged on both sides, a sphere, or assemblage of circles, is suspended, by means of rings or tubes adapted to the axis, so that the sphere may move freely on it. This assemblage of circles comprises a horizon and equator adjusted for the place, with a prime vertical meridian, and two intermediate verticals (intersecting the horizon at the N. E. and S. W. and N. W. and S. E points); as also the equinoctial colure. [p.354] Another circle is suspended within this sphere on the poles of the horizon, apparently intended to measure the altitude and amplitude of an object.

Another sphere or assemblage of circles is in like manner suspended on the pole of the equator. It consists of both colures and the equinoctial, with the ecliptick adjusted to it; and six circles for the planetary orbits adjusted to the ecliptick; as also six diurnal circles parallel to the equinoctial, and passing through the extremities of the several signs.

This, though not a complete description of Bhascara's armillary sphere, will convey a sufficient notion of the instrument for the purpose of the present comparison; and will justify the remark, that its construction differs greatly from that of the instrument specified by Ptolemy.

In the description of the armillary sphere cited from the Surya siddhanta, mention is made of several stars not included in the asterisms which mark the divisions of the ecliptick. The following table exhibits the positions of those, and of the few other stars which have been particularly noticed by Hindu astronomers.


The seven Rishis   According to the Sacalya Sanhita


CRATU   55° N.
PULAHA   50° N.
ATRI   56° N.
ANGIRAS   57° N.
MARICHI   60° N.

Here Agastya is evidently Canopus; as Lubdhaca is Sirius. Brahmeridaya seems to be Capella, which was shown, under that Indian name, to Dr. Hunter at Ujjayim. Agni may be the bright star in the northern horn of the bull (β Tauri): Prajapati is perhaps the star on the head of the waggoner (δ Aurigae). The distances of the three last mentioned stars from the ecliptick do not exactly agree with the places stated; but no conspicuous stars are found nearer to the assigned positions: and it may be remarked, that they are all nearly in the longitude of the Nacshatra Mrigasiras corresponding to the head of Orion; and that the latitude, assigned to them by Hindu astronomers, is as much too small, as that of Mrigas'iras is too great.

The star, mentioned in the Surya siddhanta under the name of Apas or water, is doubtless δ Virginis; and japamvatsa comprises the nebulous stars in the same constellation, marked b 1. 2. 3.

Astronomers gives rules for computing the heliacal rising and setting of the star Agastya, on account of certain religious ceremonies to be performed when that star appears. Varaha Mihira says, ''Agastya is [p.356] visible at Vjjaymi, when the sun is 7° short of the sign Virgo." But he afterwards adds, that the star becomes visible, when the sun reaches Hasta, and disappears when the sun arrives at Rohini, His commentator remarks, that the author has here followed earlier writers; and quotes Para'sara saying, "When the sun is in Hasta, the star rises; and it sets when the sun is in Rohini, Bhattotpala cites from the five Siddhantas a rule of computation, analogous to that, which will be forthwith quoted from the Bhaswatt; and remarks, that three periods of Agastya's heliacal rising are observed, viz. 8th and 15th of Aswina and 8th of Cartua.

The Bhaswatt directs the day of Agastyas rising for any particular latitude to be found by the following rule. The length of the shadow of a gnomon, at a particular latitude, on the day of the equinox, is multiplied by 25; and to the product 000 are added; the sum, divided by 225, gives in signs and degrees the place of the sun, on the day, when Agastya rises or appears in the south, at the close of night. The commentator adds, that the day of the star's setting may be computed by deducting the sum found as above, from 1350; the difference reduced to signs and degrees, is the place of the sun, on the day, when Agastya sets in the southwest.26 According to these rules, Agastya in latitude 26° 34', rises when the sun is in 4s 20° and sets when the sun is in 1s 10°.

The Grahalaghava teaches another method of calculation. The length of the shadow of the gnomon is multiplied by 8, and the product is [p.357] added to 98 for the sun's place in degrees, on the day when Agastya rises, or is deducted from 78, to find the sun's place when that star sets. By this rule, the star should rise, in latitude 26° 34', when the sun is at the 26th degree of the lion, and should set when the sun quits the ram. Accordingly, the Bhavishya and the Brahmevaivaria Puranas ordain oblations for Agastya three days before the sun reaches the Zodiacal sign Virgo; though the inhabitants of the province of Ganra, as observed in the last mentioned Furdrui, perform this ceremony three days earlier.

In regard to the passages above quoted, it may be remarked, that the rule, stated in the Bhasvsati, implies the distance of three signs, from the beginning of Aries, to Agastya, and supposes the star to become visible when distant one sign from the sun. But the rule, delivered in the Grahalaghava, places the star at the distance of 88° from the beginning of Mesha, and supposes it visible in the right sphere, when 10° distant from the sun. According to the quotation from Paka'sara, the right ascension of the star must have been, in his time, not less than 100° reckoned from the beginning of Mesha; and the star, rising cosmically, became visible in the oblique sphere, at the distance of 600 from the sun; and disappeared, setting achronically, when within that distance. Making allowance therefore for the star's proper motion, and change of declination and right ascension, it remains probable, that Para'saka's rule was framed for the north of India, at a period when the solstitial points were, as stated by that author, in the middle of Aslesha and beginning of Dhannlifha27.

I have purposely reserved for separate consideration the seven Rishis, who give name to seven stars in Ursa [p.358] major; not only because their positions are not stated by Brahmegupta, Bhascara, and the Surya siddhanta, but also because the authors, who give their positions, ascribe to them a particular motion, or variation of longitude, different from other stars, and apparently unconnected with the precession of the equinoxes.

Vara'ha Mihira has a chapter in Varasihanhita expressly on the subject of this supposed motion of the Rishis. He begins by announcing the intention of stating their revolution conformably with the doctrine of Vridd'ha Garga, and proceeds as follows: "When king Yud'hist'hira ruled the earth, the Munis were in Magha, and the period of the era of that king is 1526 years. They remain for a hundred years in each asterism, being connected with that particular Nacshatra, to which, when it rises m the east, the line of their rising is directed28."

The commentator, Bhattotpala, supports the text of his author by quotations from Vridd'ha Garga and Casyapa. "At the junction of the Cali and Dwapar ages," says Garga, "the virtuous sages, who delight in protecting the people, stood at the asterism, over which the Pitris preside." That is at Magha. "The mighty sages," says Casyapa, "abide during [p.359] a hundred years in each asterism, attended by the virtuous Arund'hati."

The author next states the relative situation of the seven Rishis, with Arund'hati near her husband Vasisht'ha: and the remainder of the Chapter is devoted to astrology.

The revolution of the seven Rishis, and its periods, are noticed in Puranas. The following passage is from the Sri Bhagavata29.

"From your birth (Paricshit is addressed by Suca) to the inauguration of Nanda, 1115 years will elapse.

"Of the seven Rishis, two are first perceived, rising in the sky; and the asterism, which is observed to be at night even with the middle of those stars, is that with which the Rishis are united, and they remain so during a hundred years of men. In your time, and at this moment, they are situated in Magha.

"When the splendour of Vishnu, named Crishna, departed for heaven, then did the Cali age, during which men delight in sin, invade the world. So long as he continued to touch the earth with his holy feet; so long the Cali age was unable to subdue the world.

"When the seven Rishis were in Magha, the Cali age comprising 1200 [divine] years30 began; and when, from Magha, they shall reach Furvdshdd'ha, then will this Cali age attain its growth under Nanda and his successors."


The commentator Sri'd'hara Swami remarks, that the constellation, consisting of seven stars, is in the form of a wheeled carriage. Marichi, he observes, is at the extremity; and next to him, Vasht'ha in the arched part of the yoke; and beyond him Angiras: next to whom are four stars in a quadrangle: Atki at the northeast corner; south of him Pulastya; next to whom is Pulaha; and Cratu is north of the last. Such being their relative position, the two stars, which rise first, are Pulana and Cratu; and whichever asterism, is in a line south from the middle of those stars, is that with which the seven Rishis are united; and they so remain for 100 years.

A similar passage is found in the Vishnu Purana31, and a similar exposition of it is given by the commentator Ratnagarbha: but the period, there stated to elapse between the birth of Paricshit and the inauguration of Nanda, is 1015 years only.

The Matsya Furana contains a passage to the like effect; but allows 1050 years from the birth of Pamcshit to the inauguration of Maha'padma: and the seven Rishis are stated as being in a line with the constellation sacred to fire (that is Crittica), 836 years later, in the time of the Andhra kings.

In the Brahme siddhanta of Sacalya, denominated from its reputed author Sacalya sanhita, the supposed motion of the seven Rishis is thus noticed32: "'At the commencement of the yuga, Cratu was near the star sacred to Vishnu (Sravand), at the beginning of the asterism. Three degrees east of him, was Pulaha; and Pulastya, at ten degrees [p.361] from this; Atri followed at three degrees from the last; and Angiras, at eight degrees from him; next came Vas'isht'ha, at the distance of seven degrees; and lastly Marichi at ten. Their motion is eight liptas (minutes) in a year. Their distances from the ecliptick, north, were respectively 55°, 50°, 50°, 56°, 57°, 60°, and 60°. For, moving in the north into different positions, the sages employ 2700 years in revolving through the assemblage of asterisms: and hence their positions may be easily known at any particular time."

Lalla, cited by Muniswara in his gloss on the Siromani, says "If the number of years of the Cali age, less fourteen, be divided by 100, the quotient, as the wise declare, shows the asterisms traversed by Marachi and other celestial sages, beginning from the asterism of Viranchi (Brahma)."

Here Lalla is generally understood to mean Rohini, which is sacred to Frajdpaii or Brahma. But Muniswara has remarked, in another place, that Lalla may intend Abhijit which is sacred to Vidhi or Brahma; and consequently may mean Sravana, of which Abhijit forms a part: and thus Lalla and Sacalya may be reconciled.

Most of the commentators on the Surya siddhanta and Siromani are silent on the subject of the seven Rishis. But Nrisinha, in his Vart'ica to the Vasanci Bhashya or gloss on the Siromani, quotes and expounds the Sacalya Sanhita, and rejects Vara'ha's rule of computation, as disagreeing with Puranas. Muniswara, in his commentary on the Siromani, cites some of the passages above noticed, and remarks, that Bhascara has omitted this topick on account of contradictory opinions concerning it, and because it is of no great use.


The same author, in his own compilation entitled Siddhanta Sarvabhauma, has entered more fully into this subject. He observes, that the seven Rishis are not, like other stars, attached by spikes to the solid ring of the ecliptick, but revolve in small circles round the northern pole of the ecliptick, moving by their own power in the etherial sphere above Saturn, but below the sphere of the stars. He places the Rishis in the same relative positions, which Sacalya had assigned to them; states in other terms the same distances from the ecliptick, and the same annual motion; and directs their place to be computed by deducting 600 from the years of the Cali age, doubling the remainder and dividing by fifteen, the quotient, in degrees, is divided by 30, to reduce it into signs. Muniswara supports this mode of calculation on the authority of Sacalya, against Varaha Mihira and Lalla; and affirms, that it agrees with the phenomena, as observable at the period of his compilation. It appears, however, to be a correction of Sacalya's rule.

Camalacara, in the Tatwaviveca, notices the opinion delivered in the Siddhanta Sarvahhaimta; but observes, that no such motion of the stars is perceptible. Remarking, however, that the authority of the Puranas and Sanhitas, which affirm their revolution, is incontrovertible, he reconciles faith and experience by saying, that the stars themselves are fixed; but the seven Rishis are invisible deities, who perform the stated revolution in the period specified.

If Camalacara's notion be adopted, no difficulty remains: yet it can hardly be supposed, that Vara'ha Mihira and Lalla intended to describe revolutions of invisible beings. If then it be allowed, that they have attributed to the stars themselves an imaginary revolution grounded on an erroneous theory, a probable inference may be thence drawn as to the period when these authors lived, provided one position be con- [p.363] ceded: namely, that the rules, stated by them, gave a result not grossly wrong at the respective periods when they wrote. Indeed it can scarcely be supposed, that authors, who, like the celebrated astronomers in question, were not mere compilers and transcribers, should have exhibited rules of computation, which did not approach to the truth, at the very period when they were proposed.

If this reasoning be admitted, it would follow, that Varaha Mihira composed the Varahi sanhita about 2800 years after the period assigned by him to the commencement of the reign of Yudhisht'hira, or near the close of the third century after the expiration of Yudhisht'hira's era as defined by him. For the circle of declination passing between Cratu and Pulaha (the two first of the seven Rishis), and cutting the ecliptick only 2° short of the beginning of Magha, was the solstitial colure, when the equinox was near the beginning of Crittica; and such probably was the reason of that line being noticed by ancient Hindu astronomers. It agrees with the solstitial colure on the sphere of Eudoxus, as described by Hipparchus33. A similar circle of declination, passing between the same stars, intersected the ecliptick at the beginning of [p.364] Magha when the solstitial colure was at the middle of Aslesha; and a like circle passed through the next asterism, when the equinox corresponded with the first point of Misha. An astronomer of that period, if he were apprized of the position assigned to the same stars by Garga reputed to have been the priest of Crishna and the Primus, might conclude with Vara'ha Mihira, that one revolution had been completed, and that the stars had passed through one Nacshatra of the second revolution. In corroboration of this inference respecting the age of Vara'ha Mihira's astrological treatise, it may be added, that he is cited by name in the Vayiuha tantra, the original of the fables of Pilpay, which were translated for Nushirva more than 1200 years ago34.

The theory being wholly unfounded, Varaha Mihira's rule of computation soon ceased to agree with the phenomena, and other rules have been successively introduced by different authors, as Lalla, Sacalya and lastly Muniswara; whose rule, devised less than two hundred years ago, does not yet grossly betray its insufficiency.

This pretended revolution of the stars of Ursa Major is connected with two remarkable epochs in Indian chronology; the commencement of the Caliyuga. or sinful age, in the reign of Yudhishthira; and its prevalence, on the failure of the succession of Cshatriya princes, and establishment of a different dynasty, 1015 years after the birth of Paricshit, according to the Vishnu Purana; or 1115 years, according to the Bhagavata, but 1498 years, if a correction, which has been proposed by Skid'hara Swami and some other commentators, be admitted. This subject has [p.365] been already noticed by Capt. Wilford in his essay on Vicravia'ditya; and it is, therefore, unnecessary to enlarge upon it in this place.

It has been noticed, towards the beginning of the present essay, that the principal star of each Nacshatra, is denominated Yogatara. Perhaps it may not be superfluous to caution the reader against confounding this yoga stars with the yogas, of which a list is inserted in Sir W. Jones's Treatise on the Indian Zodiack35. They are mentioned by him as divisions of the ecliptick: but it will presently appear, that they cannot in strictness be so denominated. Their principal purpose regards astrology; but they are also employed in regulating certain moveable feasts; and they are of such frequent use, that every Indian Almanack contains a column specifying the yoga for each day, with the hour of its termination.

The yoga is nothing else than a mode of indicating the sum of the longitudes of the sun and moon. The rule for its computation, as given in the Surya Siddhanta, Bhagavati and Grahalaghava, directs, that the longitude of the sun be added to the longitude of the moon; and the sum, reduced to minutes, is to be divided by 800 (the number of minutes in 13° 20'): the quotient exhibits the elapsed yogas, counted from Vishcumbha36. It is obvious therefore, that the yogas are twenty-seven divisions of 360° of a great circle, mea- [p.366] sured upon the ecliptick. But, if they be represented on a circle, it must be a moveable one in the plane of the ecliptick.

Astrologers also reckon twenty-eight years, which correspond to the twenty-eight Nacshatras or divisions of the moon's path; varying, however, according to the day of the week. As the Indian Almanacks sometimes appropriate a column to the moon's yoga for each day, I shall insert in a note a list of these yogas with the rule by which they are determined37.


Another topick, relative to the Zodiack, and connected with astrology, remains to be noticed. I allude to the Dreshcanas answering to the Decani of European Astrologers. The Hindus, like the Egyptians and Babylonians, from whom that vain science passed to the Greeks and Romans, divide each sign into three parts, and allot to every such part a regent exercising planetary influence under the particular planet whom he there represents.

The description of the 36 Dreshcanas is given towards the close of Vara'hamihira's treatise on the casting of nativities, entitled Vrihat Jataca. It is here translated conformably with the gloss of Bhattotpala: omitting, however, some variations in the reading of the text, which are noticed by him; but which can be of no use, unless occasion should arise for reference to them in comparing the description of the Dreshcanas with some amulet or ancient monument in which the Decani may be supposed to be figured. Even for that purpose, the following description will probably suffice.

1. [Mars] A man with red eyes, girt round the waist, with a white cloth, of a black complexion, as formidable as able to protect, holds a raised battle-axe.
1. [The Sun] A female clad in red apparel, with her mind fixed on wearing ornaments, having a mare's head, and a belly like a jar, thirsty and [p.368] resting on one foot, is exhibited by Yavana as the figure of the Drishcdna in the middle of Mesha38.

3. [Jupiter] a fierce and wrathful man, conversant with arts, of a tawny complexion, solicitous of action, but unsteady in his resolves, holds in his hands a raised stick, and wears red clothes. He is the third in the tripatite division of Mesha.

4. [Venus] A woman with hair clipped and curled, a body shaped like a jar, her clothes burnt, herself thirsty, disposed to eat, and fond of ornaments: such is the figure of the first in Plishabha.

5. [Mercury] A man with the head of a goat, and a shoulder like a bull, clothed in dirty apparel, skilful in regard to the plough and the cart, acquainted with field, grain, house, and kine, conversant with arts; and, in disposition, voracious.

6. [Saturn] A man with a body vast as an elephants, and feet great as a Sarabhas39 with white teeth and a tawny body, his mind busied upon the wool of wild sheep, occupies the extremity of the sign Taurus.

7. [Mercury] Such as are conversant with the subject, declare the first in the tripartite partition of the third sign, to be a woman fond of working with the needle, beautiful, delighting in ornaments, childless, amorous, and with her arms elevated.

8. [Venus] In the middle of the sign Gemini is a man, with the face [p.369] of a Garuda40, standing in a grove: he is an archer clad in armour, and holds a bow, he meditates on sport, his children, ornaments, and wealth.

9. [Saturn] At the end of the sign Gemini is a man decorated with ornaments, having as many gems as the ocean contains; clad in armour and furnished with bow and quiver; skilled in dance, musick, and song, and practising poetry.

10. [The Moon] The wise declare the first in Cancer to be an animal with the body of an elephant, the feet of a Sarabha, a boar's head and horse's neck, standing in a grove under a Sandal-wood tree42, and upholding leaves, root, and fruit.

11. [Mars] In the middle of the sign Cancer, a woman, in prime of youth, with blossoms of lotos on her head, attended by a serpent, cries, while standing in a forest, resting against the branch of a Palasa41 tree.

12. [Jupiter] Last in Cancer is a man with his head inclined; he is decorated with golden ornaments, and, embarking on a vessel and encompassed by serpents [twined round him,] he traverses the ocean to seek ornaments for his wife.

13. [The Sun] A vulture and shakal stand on a cotton tree43: a dog is near: and a man, in a squalid dress, laments for his father and mother: this representation is pronounced to be the first of the Lion.

14. [Jupiter] A man formed like a horse, bearing on his head a garland of yellowish white flowers, wears a leather dress: unconquered like a Lion; armed with [p.370] a bow; and distinguished by a hooked nose, he is placed in the middle of Leo.

15. [Mars] The third in the tripartite division of Leo, is a man having the head of a bear, with a long beard and curled hair; in disposition similar to an ape; and holding a staff, fruits, and flesh.

16. [Mercury] A damsel, bearing a jar filled with blossoms, (her person clothed in apparel soiled with dirt,) solicitous for the union of dress with opulence, is going towards the family of her spiritual parent: such is the first of Virgo.

17. [Saturn] A man of a dark complexion, with a cloth on his head, holds a pen, and is casting up accounts of receipts and disbursements: he bears a large bow, and his body is covered with hair: he is placed in the middle of the sign.

18. [Venus] A woman of a fair complexion, dressed in bleached silk, tall, holding in her hand a jar and ladle; is devoutly going towards a temple of the gods: the wise pronounce this to be the last of Virgo.

19. [Venus] A man is proceeding along the middle of a highway; holding a balance, and having weights in his hand; he is skilled in measuring and meting, and meditates on commodities and their prices. The Yavanas declare this form to be first of Libra44.

20. [Saturn] A man with the head of a vulture, carrying a water pot, is anxious to proceed, being hungry and thirsty; in thought, he visits his wife and son. He is middlemost of the balance-bearer (Libra).


21. [Mercury] A man, in figure like an ape, adorned with gems, bearing a golden quiver and armour, and carrying fruits and flesh, is scaring deer, in a forest: such is the figure exhibited by the Yavanas45.

11, [Mars] A woman, without clothes or ornaments, comes from the great ocean, to the shore; she has fallen from her place; round her feet are serpents entwined; but she is pleasing. Such is the first of the sign Scorpio.

23. [Jupiter] a woman, with a body like a tortoise and a jar, and with serpents entwined round her person, is solicitous to prepare local comforts for her husband. This figure the wise pronounce to be the middle one of Scorpio.

24. [The Moon] The last of the Scorpion is a lion with a large and stooping head resembling that of a tortoise; he guards the place where Sandal-wood grows, terrifying dogs, deer, boars, and shakals.

25. [Jupiter] An animal with the body of a horse and head of a man, holding a large bow, stands near a hermitage and devoutly guards the implements of sacrifice: such is the first of the three divisions of the bow (Sagittarius.)

26. [Mars] A pleasing female, of golden complexion like the Champaca46, moderately handsome, sits on a throne, distributing marine gems. This is described as the middle division of the bow.

27. [The Sun] A man with a long beard, of a com- [p.372] plexion yellow like the Champaca, is sitting on a throne with a staff in his hand: he wears silk raiment and a deer's skin. Such is the third figure of the ninth sign.

28. [Saturn] A man, of a terrible aspect, with the body of a hog, hairy, having tusks like a Macara47, holds a yoke, a net, and fetters. He is first of Capricorn..

29. [Venus] In the middle of Macara is a woman, skilled in musick, with eyes large like the petals of the lotos, and with a dark complexion. She seeks various things: she is decorated with jewels; and wears metallick ornaments in her ears.

30. [Mercury] a man, shaped like a Cinnara48 clothed in a woolen cloth, and furnished with quiver, bow, and armour, bears on his shoulder a jar adorned with gems: he is last of the sign Macara,

31. [The Sun] The first of the jar (Aquarius) is a man with the head of a vulture, clothed in silk and wearing an antolope's hide with a woolen cloth: his mind is busied in obtaining oil, ardent spirits, water, and food.

32. [Mercury] In a burnt carriage, a woman clad .in soiled apparel, bearing vessels on her head, is collecting metals in a forest containing cotton trees.

33. [Venus] A man of a dark complexion, with hairy ears, adorned with a diadem, carries and transports vases with articles of metal, and with bark, leaves, gum, and fruit. He is last of Cumhha.


34. [Jupiter] The first of the fish [Pisces] navigates the sea in search of ornaments for his wife: he has jewels, and his hands are full of vessels used in sacrifice, together with pearls, gems, and shells.

35. [The Moon] A woman, surpassing in complexion the blossom of the Chamsaca, ascends a ship with lofty masts and flags; and approaches the shore of the sea, accompanied by her retinue. This is declared by sages to be the second in the tripartite division of Mina.

36. [Mars] Near a cavern, in a forest, a naked man, with serpents entwined round his body, and tormented by robbers and fire, laments. He is the last of the fish.

Arabian astronomers in like manner divide each sign of the Zodiack into three parts, denominated Wajeh or in the plural Wujuh, which severally belong to the different planets49 thence called Rab ul wajeh. The proper import of the term is face or countenance; agreeing with the Greek [Greek], which is similarly employed in this acceptation50.

The near correspondence of the Dareshciaias with the Decani of Roman authors and [Greek] of Grecian writers will be evident from the following passage of Manilius, supported by quotations from ether authors, which I shall insert on the faith of Saumaise51 the original works, from which they are taken, not being here procurable.


Manilius says52

Quam partem decimam dixere Decania gentesj
A numero nomen positum est, quod partibus astra
Condita tricenis propria sub sorte feruntur,
Et tribuunt denas in se coeuntibus astiis,
Inque vicem teiris habitantur sidera Signis.

Hephestion expressly declares, that "each sign of the Zodiack is divided into three Decans comprising ten degrees each: the first division of Aries is named Chontare; the second Chontachre, and the third Sicet."

Firmicus differs in the names, and does not allow ten complete degrees to each Decanus. Thus, in the sign Aries, the three first degrees are, according to him, unappropriated; the five next belong to the first Decanus Asitan, the next nine are vacant; and the four following appertain to the second Decanus Senacher: five degrees are again unoccupied; and the four last belong to the third Decanus Sentacher.

We learn from Psellus that the several Decani were figured with different attributes and dresses; and, from Demophilus and Firmicus53 that they represented the planets. The first appertained to Mars; [p.375] the second to the Sun; and the third to Venus (the Hindu author says Jupiter).

This astrological notion was confessedly received from foreign nations. The doctrine seems to be ascribed by Firmicus to Nekepso king of Egypt54; and Psellus cites a Babylonian author, whom he calls Teucer; and who is also noticed by Porphyrius: besides, the names of the Decani, stated by Hephystion and Firmicus, are decidedly barbarous. It was not, therefore, without reason, that Saumaise and Kircher sought a derivation of the word Decanus itself from a foreign language. It cannot be deduced, as Scaliger proposes, from the similar term for an inferior officer commanding ten men55; since this office and its designation were first introduced later than the time of Manilius, by whom the astrological term is employed; and Porphyrius expressly affirms that the word was used by those whom he denominates "ancients56." Huet, not concurring in either of the opinions abovementioned, supposes the term to have been corruptly formed by the astrologers of Alexandria from the Greek numeral with a Latin termination§. If this be admitted, it still remains not improbable that some affinity of sound, in the Egyptian or in the Chaldaick name, may have suggested the formation of this corrupt word.

The Sanscrit name apparently comes from the same source. I do not suppose it to be originally Sanscrit; since, in that language, it bears no etymological signification. For the same reason, it is likely, that the astrological doctrine itself may be exotick in India.


One branch of astrology, entitled Tajaca, has been confessedly borrowed from the Arabians: and the technical terms used in it, are, as I am informed by Hindu astrologers, Arabick. The casting of nativities, though its practice is of more ancient date in India, may also have been received from Western astrologers; Egyptians, Chaldeans, or even Greeks. If so, it is likely, that the Hindus may have received astronomical hints at the same time.

By their own acknowledgment57, they have cultivated astronomy for the sake of astrology; and they may have done so, with the aid of hints received from the same quarter, from which their astrology is derived. In the present instance Varaha Mihira himself, as interpreted by his commentator, quotes the Yavanas (meaning perhaps Grecian authors), in a manner which indicates, that the description of the Dreshcanas is borrowed from them.

The name of Yavanacha'rya, who is cited by Bhattotpala, would not be alone decisive. He is frequently quoted by Hindu astronomers: and it is possible, though by no means certain, that, under this name, a Grecian or an Arabian author may be intended. To determine that point, it will be requisite (unless the work attributed to him be recovered) to collect all the passages, in which Yavanacharya is cited by Sanscrit authors; and to compare the doctrines ascribed to him with those of the Grecian and Arabian writers on Astronomy. Not being prepared for such a disquisition, I shall dismiss this subject, for the present, without offering any positive opinion on the question, which has been here proposed.


1 Another Brahmesiddhanta is entitled the Sacalyasanhita. The author of the Marichi, therefore, distinguishes the one to which he refers.

2 Sphutavishefa and Shuidciruvaca; which will be explained further on.

3 Rangaka'ha and Phuphara.

4 In the Vasanabhaishya and in the Marichi.

5 Father Petau, and, after him, Bailly, for reasons stated by them (Uranol. Dissert. 2. 2. Ast. Anc. p. 421.), are of opinion, that the ancient astronomers referred stars to the Equator; and that Eudoxus and Hipparchus must be so understood, when speaking of the longitudes of stars. Perhaps the Greek astronomers, like the Hindus, reckoned longitudes upon the ecliptick intersected by circles of declination, in the manner, which has been explained.

6 Bhudhara is the most explicit on this point.

7  Brahmegupta wrote soon after that period; and the Surya Siddhanta is probably a work of nearly the same age. Mr. Bentley considers it as more modern (As. Res. vol. 6): it certainly cannot be more ancient; for the equinox must have must the beginning of Mesha, or have been near it, when that work was composed.

8 Hipparchus, Comment. on Aratus. Vol. 1. p. 179.

9 Costard's Hist. of Ast. p. 51. Bailly, Ast. Ind. p. 134.

10 Panini ii. 63.

11 Hyde's Com. p. 51.

12 Ulugh Beg, p. 61. and Hyde's Com. 54.

13 Hyde's Ulugh Beg, p. 53, and Com. p. 34.

14 According to the longitude of the three brightest stars of Aries, as stated by Ptolemy, viz. 10° 40', 7° 40' and 6o 40', (I quote from an Arabick epitome of the Almagest); the origin of the ecliptick, in the Greek book which is most likely to have become known in India, is 6° 20' from the star which the Hindus have selected to mark the commencement of the ecliptick.

15 By the celebrated Nasikuddin Tusi; from the Arabick version of Ishak Bin Hunen, which was revised by Thabit.

16 Hist. des Mathem. i. p. 301.

17 Lalande Astron. I, 13. {§ 2270).

18 If Claudian's epigram on the subject of it was founded upon any authority, the instrument must have beep a sort of orrery, enclosed in glass. Vide Claud, epig. Cicero. Tusc. Quaes. I. 1 Nat. Deo. 2. 35.

19 Cic. Nat. Deo. 2. 34.

20 In the Heira year 212, or A. D. 82, by Alhazen ben Yusef with the aid of Sergius (Montucla, 2. p. 304); or rather by Ishak ben Honen, whose death is placed about the Heira year 260 (Herbelot, p. 455). According to the Cashulmun, Ishak's version was epitomised by Hajai ben Yusef, by Thabit ben Harrah, and by Nasruddin Tusi. Other versions, however, are mentioned: particularly, one by Hajab, said to have been corrected first by Hunen ben Ishak, and afterwards by Thabit; another by Thabit himself and a third by Muhj ben Vaihyah. A different account is likewise given of the earliest translation of the Almagest, which is ascribed to Abu Hisan and Salmaw, who are said to have completed it, after the failure of other learned men, who had previously attempted the translation. Mention is also made of a version by Ibrahim ben Salat, revised by Huben, but none of these translations are anterior to the 9th century of the Christian era.

21 Adhibuit (Tycho) Armiliare quaddam instrumentum, quod tamen compri ego posicum, et adhibicum olini fuisse ante Tychonein ab Alhazeao, lib, 7. opt. C 1. prop, 15 et a Vitt.11. lib. 10. propos. 49. cujus instruinenii astronomice collocati ope, atqne nsu, (vidj insnuniinium niultiplKX armiliare apud Tycho, in Mechanicis Astronomiae) eandem eli-vatioium falsam 9 scrupul rum invtnit, quam per alia, duo diveria instrumenta, compercrat. Bestini Apiaria.

22  He wrote his treatise on opticks and other works about the year 1190. Biog. Dict.

23 Bhascara flourished in the middle of the twelfth century, being born, as he himself informs us, in the Saca year 1063, answering to A.D. 1114. But the Surya Siddhanta is more ancient.

24 They are the Colures.

25 Among others, that of the precession of the equinoxes; respecting which different opinions are stated by Bhascara. It appears from what is said by him, that the notion of a libration of the equinoxes has not universally prevailed among Hindu astronomers. The correcter opinion of a revolution of the equinoctial points was advanced by some authors, but has not obtained the general suffrage of Hindu writers on astronomy.

26 In duodecimal parts.

27 As. Res. vol. 2. p. 393.

28 According to a different reading noticed by the commentator, the concluding hemistich signifies "they constantly rise in the north-east; together with Arund'hati."

29  Book 12. C. 2.

30 432000 common years.

31 Part 4. Ch. 23. v. 32. c.

32 Prasna 2. ch. 2,

33 Hipparchus tells us, that Eudoxus drew the colure of the solstices, through the middle of the Great Bear, and the middle of Cancer; and the neck of Hydrus; and the star between the poop and mast of Argo; and the tail of the South Fish; and through the middle of Capricorn, and of Sagitta; and through the neck and right-wing of the Swan; and the left-hand of Cepheus: and that he drew the equinoctial colure through the left-hand of Arctophylax; and along the middle of his body, and cross the middle of Chelae; and through the right-hand and fore-knee of the Centaur; and through the flexure of Eridamis and head of Cetus; and the back of Aries across, and through the head and right-hand of Perseus." Sir I. Newton's Chronology, §. 29. Hipparch. ad Phaenom. in Petavii Uranologia, p. 207, 208. Bailly, Ast. Anc, p. 500. Costard, p. 130.

34 Preface to the Sanscrit edition of the Hitopadesha, p. xi.

35  As. Res. vol. 2, p. 302.

36 1 Vishcumbha. 2 Priti. 3 Ayushmat. 4 Saubhagya. 5 Sobhana. 6 Atiganda. 7 Sucarman. 8 Dhriti. 9 Siila. 10 Ganda. Midd'hi. 12 Dhruva. 13 Vyaghata. 14 Hershann. 15 Vajra. 16 Sidd'hi. 17 Vyatipita. 18 Variyas. 19 Parigha, 20 Siva. 21 Sidd'ha. 22 Sadhya. 23 Subha. 24 Sucla. 25 Brahman. 26 Ajndra. 27 Vaidhriti.

37 1 Ananda. 2 Caladanda. 3 Dhumra. 4 Prajapati. 5 Saumya. 6 Dhwancsha. 7 Dhwaja. 8 Suvatsa. 9 Vajra, 10 Mudgara. 11 Ch'liatra. 12 Manra. 13 Manasa. 14 Padma. 15 Lambuca. l6 Utpiita. 17 Mrityu. 18 Cana. 19 Sidd'hi. 20 Subha. 21 Amrita, 22 Musula, 23 Gada. 24 Matanga. 25 Racshasa. 26 Chara. 27 St'hira. 28 Pnivard'ha.

The foregoing list is extracted from the Ratnamda of Sripata. He adds the rule by which the yogas are regulated. On a Sunday, the Nacshatras answer to the yogas, in their natural order; viz. As'dcini to Ananda, Bharani to Culandanda, etc. But, on a Monday, the first yoga (Arianda) corresponds to Mrigasiras, the second to Ardra, and so forth. On a Tuesday, the Nucshatra, which answers to the first yoga to Aslesha, on Wednesday, Hasta; on Thursday, Anuradha, on Friday, Uttarshdd'da; and on Saturday, Satabhisha.

Almanacks usually contain another set of astrological divisions of the lunar month, which it may be proper to explain. They are denominated Carana; and consist of seven variable and four invariable, as in the subjoined list.

Variable Caranas. Invariable Caranas.
1 Bava. 1 Sacuni.
2 Balava. 2 Chatushpad.
3 Caulava. 3 Naga.
4 Taitila. 4 Cintughna.
5 Gara.  
6 Vanij.  
7 Vishti.  

They answer successively to half a Tithi or lunar day; Cintughna being always assigned to the first half of the first Tithi; and the variable Carani afterwards succeeding each other regularly, through eight repetitions: they are followed by the three remaining invariable Caranas, which conclude the month; Chatithpad and Naga appertaining to Amivaiyh or the new moon, and Sacuniheiu, appropriated to the latter half of the preceding Tithi.

38 Bhattala expounds this "declared by Yavakcharya."

39 A monster with eight legs, who destroys elephants.

40 An eagle: or else a gigantick crane. Perhaps a vulture.

41 Santalum Album sive Sirium myrtitahura.

42 Butea frondosa.

43 Bombax heptaphyllum.

44 This might signify "Yavana declares;" for the plural is used in Sanscrit respectfully: and Bhattapala has before expounded [Sanskrit] intending Yayanachakya: but a different explanation occurs a little lower.

45 Which Bhattapala expounds "declared by the ancient Yavanas."

46 Michella Champaca.

47 A sea monster. Perhaps the Narwhal may be intended.

48 A human figure with the head of a horse.

49 In the following order, beginning from Aries: viz. Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Mo-n, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun. Ikhalanu Safa.

50 Firmici Mathesis seu Astron. vide infra.

51 Saumasii Plinianae Exercitationes, p. 652.

52 Lib. 4. 298-302.

53 Salmasii Plin. Exerc. p, 653.

54 Sic et Nekepso Egypti justissimus Imperator, et Astrologus valde bonus, peripsos Decanos omnia vitia valetudinesque collect it, ostendens quam valetudinem quis Decanus efficeret, &c.

55 Erant Decani den s militibus propositi. Veget. 2. 8.

56 Ructii animadveisiones ad Maniliuin. Lib. iv. v. 198.

57 Bhascara expressly says, "By ancient astronomers, the purpose of the science is declared to be judicial astrology; and that, indeed depends on the influence of configurations; and these, or the apparent places of the planets." Golad'hyaya, 1. v. 6.