Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Idea of Planetary Mass in India

Many ancient cultures have contributed to the development of Astro Physics.

Some examples are

The Saros cycles of eclipses discovered by Egyptians
The classification of stars by the Greeks
Sunspot observations of the Chinese
The phenomenon of Retrogression discovered by Babylonians

In this context the Indian contribution to Astro Physics ( which includes Astronomy, Maths and Astrology ) is the the development of the ideas of planetary forces and differential equations to calculate the geocentric planetary longitudes, several centuries before the European Renaissance.

Natural Strength is one of the Sixfold Strengths, Shad Balas and goes by the name Naisargika Bala. It is directly proportional to the size of the celestial bodies and inversely proportional to the geocentric distance. ( Horasara ).

Naisargika Bala or Natural Strength is used to compare planetary physical forces. When two planets occupy the same, identical position in the Zodiac at a given instant of time, such a phenomenon goes by the name of planetary war or Graha Yuddha,happening when two planets are in close conjunction. The Karanaratna written by Devacharya explains that the planet with the larger diameter is the victor in this planetary war. This implies Naisargika Bala.

The Surya Siddhanta says " The dynamics or quantity of motion produced by the action of a fixed force to different planetary objects is inversely related to the quantity of matter in these objects"

This definition more or less equals the statement of Newton’s second law of motion

M = Fa
a = F/M

So it strongly suggests that the idea of planetary mass was known to the ancient Indian astronomers and mathematicians.

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