Saturday, May 25, 2013

Who were Yavanas? (from Raja Tarangini)

The identity of Yavanas is important in the debate on Greek vs Vedic astrology. Reproduced here is a version on Yavanas as found in Raja Tarangini.


Yavanas and Yavana Kingdoms referred in Rajatarangini

Reference to Yavana countries:

To the west of Kashmir there were five Yavana countries. Some of them are now part of Kashmir Empire. These Yavanas were not Greeks but they belonged to the Kshatriya race of India. As these disregarded and neglected the performance of vedic duties and rites they were called Mlechchas. In those Yavana regions lived four castes of people. As all these castes relinquished Vedic rites, their caste-names were merely nominal. Among the people of the Yona kingdoms Rajatarangini relates that there were castes called Yona Brahmins, Yona Kshatriyas, Yona Vaisyas and
Yona Sudras.

Yona or Yavana Kingdoms:

1. Abhisara, 2. Uraga (Urasa), 3. SimhaPura (Singapura)
4, Divya Kataka (Deva Kataka or Kataka ), 5, Uttara
(Vide the Map of western India in post 'The Empire of Kashmir').

"Abhisara" consisted of two regions namely "'Darva" and "Abhisara." The kings of these Yavana regions were Kshatriyas who became Mlechchas, were subordinate and paid tribute to Kashmir Kings. We find in Rajatarangini many instances, when these Yavana rulers revolted and became independent and the Kashmir monarchs subdued the rebels and brought them again under their sovereignty.

Some of these five regions are part of Kashmir and others are on the western border. In the list of the Kashmir Kings, during the reign of 130th ruler, Kalasa Maha Raja, there was the description of Yona Brahmin as follows,

"There was a Brahmin born in the Yona Village who begged alms of paddy. His name was "Loshtaka" and he was considered to be an Astrologer of that village." So says Rajatrangjni. From this, it is evident that the Kshatriyas residing in the Yona regions, on the borders of Kashmir, though they were firstly Kshatriyas, were treated as Mlechchas, on account of their disregarding their vedic duties; the other caste people also were called Mlechchas. Therefore, Rajatarangini relates that there were caste differences even among the Mlechchas. The yona Brahmins were experts in Astrology. The 'Yavana. Rishi', the author of "Yavana Siddhanta", was a 'Bharatiya Yavana Brahmin', but not a Greek. The territory "Ionia" which got that name, on account of its conquest by the Yavanas of india, was later called Greece from its contact with the savage Greek tribes. The Bharata Yavanas were of a very ancient origin. They took the sciences of Astrology and others, on their migration to 'Ionia'(modern Greece) from India, but India borrowed nothing from Greece. On the otherhand. the western writers turned matters topsy-turvy and proclaimed that all the arts and sciences flowed from Greece to India. The histories containing this inverted information were introduced as Text-Books and our children were taught these packs of lies in the schools and colleges. As the students were manufactured to be disciples of the Greeks, as a result, they cultivated a love for Greek lore and learning and developed a hate for Bharatiya knowledge and wisdom. Until and unless correct and true history of Bharat is written and these authentic books are prescribed as Texts for study in the schools and Colleges, these wrong and baneful notions cannot be torpedoed and the minds of future generations of young men cannot be diverted from the tinsel glamour of west to the true glory of the East, the hearth and home of culture and civilisation from time immemorial.


jayasree said...

For the sake of bringing to the notice of the reading public, the issues related to this debate, I am posting here some of the relevant discussions by others in the mail chaon.

Forwarded message ---

From: C. K. Raju
Date: Sat, May 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM
Subject: RE: Yavanas, Greeks and the history of the zodiac

I do not know why I am on this list. Anyway, feel free to forward my response to all interested.

First, I don't see it as a big deal that Varahamihira got some astrology from Egyptians in Alexandria who spoke Greek. May well have. After all, the Egyptian civilization was thousands of years old, and there was a huge trade between India and Alexandria at that time, and the contacts (e.g. Ashokan edict) are far earlier than Varahamihira: Plato's notion of soul (like the notion of soul in early Christianity) is clearly similar to and very much post-dates the Hindu notion of atman by millennia.

My point is that the Greek names mentioned in the post, Eudoxus, Claudius Ptolemy etc. are entirely fictitious (like Euclid for evidence about whom I have offered a prize), see The fictitious nature of Claudius Ptolemy, as also the fictitious nature of the achievement attributed to Copernicus, is explained briefly in my booklet Is Science Western in Origin? ( Science-Western-in-Origin.html ), and at length in my book Cultural Foundations of Mathematics, and I am currently teaching it as part of a new course on the History and Philosophy of Science ( I am not aware that any Western scholar has refuted a single point that I have made.

When they are not busy plagiarising my work, all they can do is like Witzel (or Koenraad Elst) to make personal attacks, and raise the same old bogey that I am a Hindu chauvinist (without any evidence, of course, that I am even a Hindu), and then tell some further petty lies about what I have said in print, which lies can be trivially refuted (like Witzel's) by downloading my papers on the net. This shows the total bankruptcy of Western scholarship about history which is full of Christian chauvinism since Eusebius and Orosius, and the Crusades and Inquisition as I have explained at length in various writings including the one's cited above. Hence, the only way to defend the Western point of view is through personal attacks, petty lies and editorial exclusion, all of which are an admission of permanent defeat in debate (as I teach).


jayasree said...

(continued from above)

What I deny is that the Greeks had any astronomy of their own, ever. There is no evidence for it, and plenty of counter-evidence. First, the early Greeks were a superstitious lot who treated astronomy as a crime punishable with deat: Socrates was accused of impiety for doing astronomy, and during his trial he denied he was Anaxagoras. The relevant excerpts from Plato's Apology etc, are on my website. Then, with their crude (Attic) numerals the Greeks (and Romans) lacked the mathematical apparatus for astronomy, and the crudeness of their calculations is manifest in the hopelessly bad Greek and Roman calendars until 1582. The great book attributed to Claudius Ptolemy, which has a different length of the tropical year, was obviously not available to the Christian calendar reformers of the 5th c., although they controlled the state. The Almagest (first written in Persia) starts off by paraphrasing many debates in Indian astronomy. This must have happened through accretion, for a scientific text, to remain useful must be accretive, and Indian astronomy travelled to both Persia and Baghdad. The Almagest obviously is an accretive text for the current pole star is at the head of its star list which was, therefore, definitely made after the 9th c. Every single observation in it is a fake, and was obtained by back-calculation using a bad theory, so its date cannot be fixed through those "observations". And so on and so forth.

Therefore, let us set aside the far more dubious cases of Eudoxus etc. who are mere names, for there is no evidence for them or their work except from late Byzantine Greek texts which translated from Arabic (and even re-translated Arabic texts from Sanskrit, like the Pancatantra text in Greek in the 11th c.)

My point is that we can discuss about Varahamihira after we first set right the history of astronomy as told by the West.


C. K. Raju

Professor, AlBukhary International University, Malaysia


Euclid and Jesus:

How and why the church changed mathematics and Christianity across two religious wars

Draft webpage:

jayasree said...

Mr Dieter Koch replied:-

From: Dieter Koch
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 2013 01:24:08 -0700
Subject: Re: References to zodiac in Rigveda and in interacting ancient civilizations
To: C K Raju

Dear Mr. Raju,

your post was greatly welcomed by some people in this mailing list, because of statements like the following:

Your book "Cultural Foundations of Mathematics" is unfortunately not available in Swiss Libraries and also not at amazon. However, I bought your Kindle book "Is Science Western in Origin" at amazon and looked into what you have to say about Ptolemy. I am sorry to say that the quality of your argumentation is quite disappointing.

Unfortunately Kindle does not provide page numbers, so I cannot indicate the pages I am quoting from.

You write:

You are mistaken. It is not Cyrus (in Greek Kyros, written with kappa), but Syrus (with sigma). Kindly check the original. While Cyrus would indeed look like a Persian name, the name Syrus (= Syrian, inhabitant of Syria) rather looks like the name of a Roman liberated slave of oriental origin. Toomer says: "The name is very common in (but not confined to) Greco-Roman Egypt." (p. 35)

Unfortunately, I could not find any Arabic translation of the Almagest online. Did you check the Arabic text? However, it is unthinkable that the Arabic name of Cyrus, namely Kurush, could have been translated into Syros in Greek instead of Kyros. A translator would have known the difference between Arabic kuuruush and suurii or suuruus. Therefore, this name does not point to Persia but rather to some Roman province.

You write:

Either you do not know or you are suppressing the fact that the only Arabic part in the title "al-magisti" is the Arabic article "al". The part "magisti" is arabicised Greek, namely "megiste" (pronounced megisti medieval and modern Greek), which means "the greatest one". The common (although not original) Greek title of the work was "megiste syntaxis".

Why would a work, whose original was Persian or Arabic, have been given a Greek name even in its Arabic version? In reality, the name of the work indicates Greek-language origin.


jayasree said...

(continued from above)

You write:

A fallacy. The text does not say that alUMi is the pole star or is located at the celestial north pole. From the context it even becomes obvious that Ptolemy did not care at all which star exactly of Ursa Minor was closest to the pole. What he does: he lists the stars of the constellation beginning from its one end and moving from star to star in their natural order (as far as possible). Ptolemy calls alUMi "The star on the end of the tail (of Ursa Maior)". After it come "The star next to it on the tail" and "The one next to that, before the place where the tail joins [the body]", etc. (Toomer p.341) This is how it works. Hence, your argument is not valid.

You write:

Facts are a bit more complicated. Newton's analysis has been criticised and refuted by Gerd Grasshof in "The History of Ptolemy's Star Catalogue".

I do not see any other relevant arguments before you move on to Copernicus.

As to the date of Ptolemy, Toomer writes on p. 1:
"The Almagest is firmly dated to the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus (A. D. 138-161). The latest observation used in it is from 141 February 2 (IX 7 p. 450), and Ptolemy takes the beginning of the reign of Antoninus as the epoch of his star catalogue."

By the way, I never said that Greeks invented astronomy. You have not been on this mailing list since the beginning, so you may not be aware, but I several times stated that the Greeks learned astronomy from the Babylonians. I even believe that they must have taken over material from the Persians. But all this does not put into question what I said about Greek impact on ancient Indian astrology or Greek loanwords in Sanskrit texts about astrology and explicit reference to "Greek teachings" in the same texts.

Besides, many Western scholars in recent decades have become aware of the importance of oriental science (mostly Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian) as a catalysator of Greek science. Even in Greek philology. A good example is my teacher in Greek, the famous Prof. Walter Burkert, who was a passionate student of cuneiform literature, too. He attended the cuneiform reading circle at the university of Zurich (with Margaret Jaques) until last year, when he completely retired at the age of 81.

I respect the wish of Dr. Kalyanaraman and remove him from the cc. If anybody still wants to forward it to him, I do not mind.


Dieter Koch

jayasree said...

Reply from Mr C K Raju:-

--Forwarded message --

From: C. K. Raju
Date: Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM
Subject: No evidence for Greek astronomy

Mr Koch:

Your dishonest arguments about my book Is Science Western in Origin? are regrettable. I had already indicated the Indian rule of debate: never argue with a liar. There is a good reason for that rule: for no truth can emerge by arguing with a liar. You initially misrepresented the purva paksa (my statement that there is no evidence for Greek astronomy) by falsely extending my statement to include Mesopotamia (for which there is the evidence of clay tablets). I pointed it out. Had it been an involuntary mistake, and not a deliberate misrepresentation, you would have admitted it and apologised for it. You did not do that. Instead, your second response again misrepresents my arguments. Please desist from sending any further emails to me: from my side one misrepresentation closes the debate which is over no matter what you might have to say in future. You have lost permanently.

Since, however, you have marked your reply to a number of others, including a person who translated the preface of that book to Hindi, and another person has requested a response, I will respond briefly once, and only once, for their sake.

First, this Indian rule of debate ("never argue with a liar") is particularly apt for matters concerning the church. This false history was started by the church during the Crusades, as stated on the backpage of my booklet above. ( The church mass translated books from an Arabic library, starting 1125 Christian Era, during its religious war against Muslims. Since the earlier policy of the church was to burn all non-Christian books as heretical, justification was required for this change of policy, and this justification was provided by concocting the false history of the Greek origins of that knowledge, and thus representing it as a Christian (later Western) inheritance. (False history was an old church tactic, since Orosius used it in the church's first religious war against "pagans" in the 5th c.) Since the church NEVER had any facts or evidence to go by (whether about its god or its notions of heaven, hell, or Jesus) it employs an army of priests who are trained to use psychological tricks to persuade people. (For all I know, you may be part of that army; Witzel's church links certainly are known.) These tricks include telling lies about church "opponents" (e.g. Origen, Gibbon, A. D. White), systematically distorting and misrepresenting their theses to spread confusion, striking a pose of superiority, and pouring invective and scorn on them, building up a huge secondary literature, censoring the opponents responses through editorial control, etc. Western universities were started for this very purpose during the Crusades.


jayasree said...

(continued from above)

For example, my simple point is that the Almagest is an accretive text (since any scientific text is bound to be continuously updated, if useful) so it is bad procedure to date it using four short passages in a late manuscript of it as Western scholars like Toomer do. You have no answer to that argument, and just pretend it does not exist, and say, "I do not see any other relevant arguments" "I do not see any other relevant arguments") Further, "EVERY observation in the Almagest is concocted, for all such "observations" show systematic errors which cannot possibly be errors of observation, but are errors arising from back-calculation using a defective astronomical theory": that was R. R. Newton's point to which Western scholars have no response. (Many others noticed it earlier.) Toomer uses a trick and cites an unpublished reference. This is the only justification he has for his "firm" dating. which uses the atrocious procedure of four "observations" from a late accretive text! ( I guess that is a lot of evidence by standards of church myths!)

You just imitate Toomer. That is the church way of arguing: send people chasing mounds of secondary and tertiary literature, and then argue about that secondary literature to distract from the main issue! The reference you cite does NOT refute Newton's charge of a systematic non-observational error in purported "observations" in the Almagest. Anyway, I thought it should be apparent even to the dim witted that when Western authorities are being challenged, that challenge cannot be answered just by citing them! But, after misrepresenting my thesis, that is all you do. Since you seem to have no knowledge of your own, and are simply parroting Toomer and others, why not ask them to respond to me in print? (Or is Toomer afraid that I will demolish him as easily as I demolished his colleague Witzel, his senior Owen Gingerich, or his counterpart Whiteside?)

Now I have emphasized the importance of non-textual evidence: since the church heavily manipulated Western texts, including the Bible (gospel truth! ), so that Western manuscript sources are not trustworthy. The non-textual evidence shows that Greeks and Romans could not and did not do astronomy. The could not because the Greek (Attic) numerals and Roman numerals show the complete inability of Greeks and Romans to do the arithmetic needed for astronomy. (There is an example in the booklet, which you are the first person to have "missed".) This Western ignorance of elementary arithmetic persisted until the 10th c. in Europe when Indian arithmetic was finally imported from Cordoba by Gerbert-Pope Sylvester. Even then this kindergarten arithmetic proved too difficult for Europeans. (To better understand Gerbert's blunder see the picture of his abacus for the first "Arabic numerals" in Christian Europe in my book Euclid and Jesus.) The Greeks and Romans had no social need for astronomy, as there was in India (for navigation and agriculture) and, of course, they were very superstitious, blindly copied Egyptian gods, and killed Socrates on the very charge of doing astronomy which they regarded as impious and deserving a death penalty). The tale of a Claudius Ptolemy who miraculously appeared and disappeared in-between is characteristic of myth, not history.


jayasree said...

(continued from above)

The other piece of non-textual evidence which shows that Greeks and Romans did not, in fact, do astronomy, relates to the first. Because of their arithmetical incompetence, the Greek calendar was so awful that when Julius Caesar reformed it, he needed a year of 445 days! () Romans were not particularly better at arithmetic and lacked a systematic notation for fractions, and knew only a few simple fractions like 1/4. HENCE, they gave a wrong length of the (tropical) year at 365 1/4 days. That is, Greek and Roman numerals were so primitive they could not even articulate the right length of the year. () This primitive calendar was adopted as the Christian calendar in the 4th c., and the error led to a noticeable slip in the date of Easter (then the main Christian festival) by the 5th c., and the resulting Hilarius reforms of the calendar. () If the Almagestwas written in the 2nd c. CE, where was it hiding at this time? Just mysteriously disappeared, eh? As mysteriously as it appeared? The Almagest has a wrong but better length of the tropical year, which was never used in the Roman calendar at any point of time. This argument from non-textual evidence is an important argument in my booklet, and was asked in the question paper of my new undergraduate course on history and philosophy of science. If you missed it even in this short booklet, you just flunked the test.

Another key point about philosophy of science mentioned in the booklet and which I teach in my course is that any story or theory (howsoever rotten) can be "saved" for any length of time, from any and all evidence, simply by piling on the hypotheses. Therefore, piling on the hypotheses is a sure sign of a weak theory, which should be rejected. That is exactly what you do, about "Cyrus" etc. These issues involving Farsi and Arabic (like the name "Euclid" from "Uclides" or "key to geometry") are discussed in more detail in the editorial notes in the Farsi translation of my booklet. The natural flow of knowledge and customs was from Persia to Arabs, from Jundishapur to the Bayt al Hikma as described for the layperson in my book Euclid and Jesus.


jayasree said...

(continued from above)

Indo-Arabic celestial navigation used the pole star (see my article on "Kamal" or the corresponding chapter in Cultural Foundations of Mathematics). Naturally, it headed the star lists in Arabic astronomy texts, which were intended to support that activity. Of course, apart from arithmetic, Europeans didn't understand celestial navigation either, and Vasco da Gama foolishly wrote in his journal that the Indian navigator who brought him from Melinde "told the distance by his teeth" (since the Arabic-Malayalam word for pole star, "kau", also means teeth, and the instrument, kamal, is held between the teeth). Your claim that the current pole star at the head of the list is "just a coincidence" is not worth considering further. That point about the pole star is used to establish the accretive nature of the Almagest, already clear from common sense: only some racists and other Christians want to save the Crusading story that Arabs merely copied everything verbatim from the Greeks, for which foolish thesis there never was any evidence (either of the earlier Greek manuscripts, or of the copying). Another argument for accretion which I have given is that some parameters in the Almagest are given to 13 decimal place accuracy, while a simple thing like the length of the tropical year is wrong in the 2nd decimal place! Another explanation? Another hypothesis? Pile it on.

I can go on in this manner, but these examples are an adequate sample, and those interested in pursuing matters further are welcome to read my writings.

To reiterate, it is pointless to argue with the dishonest, and those with vested interests who misrepresent the purva paksa. My advice to you is to argue with people at your own level or with those like Toomer whom you blindly trust. If you feel very strongly about something, ask them to write against me, in print. But leave me out of your email discussions; I have other important and urgent things to do.

So, to repeat, Mr Koch, desist from sending me any further emails. I am not interested in discussing anything further with you, not now not ever. Any future mail from you will go directly to junk.