Kaliyuga: Suryasiddhanta Unveiled - Jeevan Rao
Wikipedia writes, “According to the Surya Siddhanta, Kali Yuga began at midnight (00:00) on 18 February 3102 BCE”
This article aims to bring out the Surya-siddhanta evidence, which according to many (including wiki), gives us information about the first day of Kaliyuga.
Suryasiddhanta is arguably the oldest extant Indian Astronomy treatise available for us today. The knowledge of Suryasiddhanta is said to have received by Mayasura from Sun god.
The Surya Siddhanta describes rules to calculate the motions of various planets and the moon relative to various constellations, and calculates the orbits of various astronomical bodies.
The general belief among common people is that the beginning of Kaliyuga is given by Suryasiddhanta. The same belief is also held by majority of the Indic researchers, who then attempts to date the Mahabharata War based on the Kaliyuga date given by Suryasiddhanta.
This is where the problem starts…
A common aspect amongst all this talk of Suryasiddhanta mentioning the beginning of Kaliyuga is, the claims are mostly done without ever quoting the specific Sanskrit references from the Suryasiddhanta!
Claims of Kaliyuga from Suryasiddhanta is done by not providing the original verses because…the word Kali is not used even once in Suryasiddhanta!!
As a matter of fact, Suryasiddhanta does not mention any Yuga except for the Krita Yuga.
In the very beginning, the introductory verse of the Suryasiddhanta says that the originator of it’s knowledge Mayasura, started his learning when the Krita Yuga was about to end.
Suryasiddhanta Chapter 1
अचिन्त्याव्यक्तरूपाय निर्गुणाय गुणात्मने ।
समस्तजगदाधारमूर्तये ब्रह्मणे नमः ।।१।।
अल्पावशिष्टे तु कृते मयो नाम महासुरः ।
रहस्यं परमं पुण्यं जिज्ञासुर्ज्ञानमुत्तमम् ।।२।।
(1) “To him whose shape is inconceivable and unmanifested, who is unaffected by the qualities, whose nature is quality, whose form is the support of the entire creation-to Brahma be homage”
(2) “When but little of the Krita Yuga was left, a great asura, named Maya, being desirous to know that mysterious, supreme, pure and exalted science(Jyotisa)”
(Similar statements of Krita Yuga prevailing or having just passed away is recorded in multiple other places in the same chapter of Suryasiddhanta)
Suryasiddhanta next mentions the bygone Yugas and Kalpas before putting forward it’s formula for calculation of Time reckoning.
कल्पादस्माच्च मनवः षड् व्यतीतावस्संसंघयः ।
वैवस्वतस्य च मनोः युगानां विघनो गतः ।।२२।।
अष्टाविशादयुगादस्माद्यातमेकं कृतं युगम् ।
अतः कालं प्रसंख्याय सङ्ख्यामेकत्र पिण्डयेत् ।।२३।।
(22) “And of this Aeon, six manu are past, with their respective twilights; and of the Manu son of Vivasvant, twenty-seven Ages are past”
(23) “Of the present the twenty-eighth Age, this Krita Yuga is past: from this point, reckoning up the time, one should compute together the whole number”
Comment: So, contrary to the mainstream belief, Suryasiddhanta is actually giving the reckoning of time from the end of Krita Yuga and NOT from the beginning of Kaliyuga!
We once again see the statement of the effect “Kritanta” being reiterated by Suryasiddhanta after putting forward it’s formula for calculating the number of revolutions of Celestial objects in a Yuga.
युगानां विघनं यातं तथा कृतयुगं त्विदम् ।
प्रोज्भ् य सृष्टेस्ततः कालं पूर्वोक्तं दिव्यसंख्यया ।।४६।।
सूर्याब्दसंख्यया ज्ञेयाः कृतस्याऽन्ते गता अमी ।
(46) “The twenty-seven Ages (yuga) that are past, and likewise the present Krita yuga; from their sum subtract the time of creation, already stated in terms of divine years”
(47) “In solar years: the result is the time elapsed at the end of the Krita Yuga; namely, one billion, nine hundred and fifty-three million, seven hundred and twenty thousand solar years”
By now, the recurring theme of “Krita” and “Kritanta” should have made it clear for the readers about the epoch/Yuga the Suryasiddhanta is talking about.
However, the popular reference from the Suryasiddhanta that some quote (obviously, only the English translation) talks of a major conjunction of Planets near the beginning of Aries at the start of Kaliyuga. And let me repeat, they use this reference to arrive at the Dating of the Mahabharata War.
Does Suryasiddhanta really say that?
Suryasiddhanta explicitly states that, the conjunction it is mentioning took place at the end of Krita Yuga and NOT at the beginning of Kaliyuga.
अस्मिन् कृतयुगस्यान्ते सर्वे मध्यगता ग्रहाः ।
विना तु पातमन्दोच्चान्मेषादौ तुल्यतामिताः ।।५७।।
मकरादौ शशाड्कोच्चं तत्पातस्तु तुलादिगः ।
निरंशत्वं यतारचान्येनोकतास्ते मन्द चारिणः ।।५८।।
(57) “Now, at the end of the Krita yuga, all the planets, by their mean motion-excepting, however, their nodes and apsides (mandocca)-are in conjunction in the first of Aries”
(58) “The moon’s apsis (ucca) is in the first of Capricorn, and its node is in the first of Libra; and the rest, which have been stated above to have a slow motion-their position cannot be expressed in whole signs”
Is it not a terrible manipulation of the ancient Scriptures on the part of the researchers to consider “कृतयुगस्यान्ते” which is “End of Krita Yuga” as “The beginning of Kaliyuga” and misguide or confuse the common uninformed folks?
1) The Suryasiddhanta does not offer any setting to determine the beginning of Kaliyuga.
2) The Suryasiddhanta predominantly deals with the epoch of Krita Yuga or Kritanta.
3) The inability of the researchers to differentiate between subjective conviction and objective evidence is contributing more for misguiding of the uninformed folks than helping them.
4) The next time anyone talks of Suryasiddhanta evidence for the beginning of Kaliyuga…ASK for the original Sanskrit Verse of the alleged reference.
Note: The manuscript used for the sanskrit references were not too legible. If the readers spot any typing error in the verses provided, please bring it to notice. TIA
Feature image: Google
Jeevan Rao has a degree in Electrical engineering, and
is currently working as an IT consultant. He is based in
Bangalore, Karnataka. He is passionate about the study
of Indian history, Epics and Puranas. He is actively
involved in the research of "The beginning of Kaliyuga "
"Dating of Adi Shankaracharya " and "The location of
Ravana’s Lanka ". He tweets at @jeevanraya98.