Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife (Part 6, page 1 of 5)


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Part 6

After their remarkable progress in spirituality and rationality, the Brahmans made an acknowledged advance in astronomy as well. The exposure to the mysteries of the universe that their astronomical pursuits afforded, insensibly led them to probe the vicissitudes of life and fathom the fate of man through the astrological vision. The fascination Brahmans felt for the charms of crystal gazing, in a way, put the wheel of the Brahmanic enlightenment in the reverse gear.

As the predictions about man’s future brought the predilections of his present to the fore, and as the acceptance of the former led to the remedial need for the latter, charlatanry became a corollary of the Hindu wisdom. Thus, the imperfect science of astrology and the perfect sense of exploitation together came to dictate the Brahman ethos, and in time, the Hindu social psyche, even to this day.

Besides, it was this Brahmanic propensity for things astrological that insensibly led to superstitious practices amongst the Hindus at large, giving a go by to the Upanishadic wisdom of yore and all that goes with that. It was thus, in an ironical twist of human destiny, the unmatched intellect of the Brahmans that contributed so much to the World Bank of Knowledge and Wisdom, at first deprived their fellowmen by denying them the scope to learn, and in the end, depraved themselves as well, caught as they were in the quagmire of prejudice and superstition.

But then, what were the Brahman intellectual achievements that became legends in the annals of human learning! To start with, we have the astronomical reach of the Brahmans, depicted in his ‘Indica’ by Alberuni, written around 1,030 A.D. It may be noted that for this exercise in dissection, the implements are drawn from Alberuni’s cabinet of Indica, presented in English by Dr. Edward C. Sachau, and published in India by Rupa &Co.

“The science of astronomy is the most famous among them, since the affairs of their religion are in various ways connected with it. If a man wants to gain the title of an astronomer, he must not only know scientific or mathematical astronomy, but also astrology. The book known among Muslims as Sindhind is called by them Siddhanta, i.e. straight, not crooked nor changing. By this name they call every standard book on astronomy, even such books as, according to our opinion, do not come up to the mark of our so-called Zij, i.e. handbooks of mathematical astronomy. They have five Siddhantas:-

1. Surya-siddhanta, i.e. the Siddhanta of the sun, composed by Lata.

2. Vasishtha-Siddhanta, so called from one of the stars of the Great Bear, composed by Vishnuchandra.

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