Spinning top or tumbler? The quest of the precession of the equinoxes.

Most of us are aware of the western concept of the precession of the equinoxes. At the same time, I do believe that the majority is unaware of the fact that Eastern astronomy has a very different concept of the precession. A video of Vedic astrologer Jayasree Saranathan has made this very clear to me.

Western astronomy  assumes that the vernal point moves every 72 years 1° backwards in the zodiac and that one entire revolution takes about  25,920 years .

Vedic astronomy also assumes that the vernal point moves backwards in the zodiac, but, according to this tradition, the vernal point  does not make full revolution.

According to the Indians, the vernal point only moves to a maximum “elongation” of 27° east of 0° Aries, in other words until 3° Pisces.

At that point the earth, which has a dense but semi liquid nucleus,  is pushed by its gravitational forces back in the opposite direction which is why the vernal point starts to return to 0° Aries, it’s point of equilibrium  before it bounces back into the opposite direction due to the earth’s gravitational forces, where it reaches its limits at  27° Aries before it starts bouncing  back again to 0°Aries.

This means that the vernal equinox, following the vedic point of view, has a max. extension of 27 ° to each side of 0° Aries, and a total range of 54°.

Following this logic, a full precession circle would start at 0° Aries, move up to 3° Pisces, bounce back to 0°Aries and then move to 27° Aries and finally bounce back to its point of equilibrium  at 0°Aries from where a new cycle starts.

The entire precession circle is thus divided into fourths of 27° each and 4x 27 gives 108° which is the entire span of one precession cycle.

The rate of precession is given in the Surya Siddhanta where it says: “The circle of the asterisms librates 600 times in one Great (Maha) Yuga”. The duration of one Great Yuga is given as 4,320 000 years, which, divided by 600 gives 7200 years.

This number covers the 4 phases of one yuga and hence each quarter is 1800 years long.

Since one yuga has a duration 7200 years and covers a total of  108°, we come up with  a precession rate of 1° each 66 years, which is what Indian texts say and what we can also read for example in  in Abu  Ma’shar (GI, p. 160)  or in al Biruni.

 This number is indeed very close to the Western value of 72 years for 1°, which is why many astrologers  never even considered  that al Biruni might not just have used an “unprecise “ number but that he might have been using a different reference system altogether.

Now, according to the Vedic  tradition, the vernal point is actually  at ca. 6° Pisces. So far, both systems agree on observing the vernal point moving backwards in the zodiac.

But once the vernal point reaches 3° Pisces, astronomers will find out which concept is correct and if the vernal point keeps moving backwards and hence announces the begin of “the Era of Aquarius” or if it suddenly moves forward, back to  0° Aries as the Eastern tradition expects.

While western tradition considers the motion of the precession of the equinoxes to be similar to a spinning top, the Indian concept of  precession  is that of a tumbler.

There is even an ancient Indian festivity in Tamil Nadu, Navarathri, which has very special protagonists : particular terracotta dolls, called Golu, basically tumblers, which can bounce back and forth but will never fall, always searching for their equilibrium, which reminds us of the scale, Libra, the opposition of 0°Aries.

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