Sunday, October 18, 2015

Is Meat Eating Sanctioned by Divine Authority.
And God sais Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree in the which is a fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
            To thou who are seriously desirous of solving the “Food” question, these words will appeal with singular force. There is nothing ambiguous about them; nor are we left in any doubt. We are distinctly told in this chapter of our sacred Scriptures that although we are to have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth, the fruits of the earth only are given to us for meat.
            This is the plain command of the creator. We are to eat of every herb and of the fruits of the trees, but we are not commanded to eat herb and of the fruits of the trees, but we are not commanded to eat of the flesh of animals or of fish; the vegetable kingdom is expressly reserved and set apart for man’s food; and this is a fact that cannot be set aside or controverted.
            The eating of flesh by man, however may be traced back to the remotest periods of history. In the eighth chapter of Genesis we hear of Noah offering burnt offering to the Lord “of every clean beast and of every fowl,” and it may be inferred from this that the practice of taking the lives of certain beasts and certain fowls had existed some time previous to his period. It may also be presumed that since man had resorted to the practice of taking the lives of animals, it was with the object of providing himself with food.
            But it is by no means certain that, because man ate of the flesh of animals, and offered it as burnt offering to the Lord, the creator necessarily approved of the practice.
            Noah was one of the few survivors of a race that had been destroyed because of its sins, and it is conceivable that to take the lives of God’s creatures and eat their flesh as meat was among the sins which were an abomination to the Lord, and which caused Him to destroy the human race.
            We need hardly go back to Noah’s days to realize that many false sacrifices, dedications and offerings are made to the Lord, which must be an abomination to Him; many an act and deed done in the name of Religion which is an outrage to His Holiness; much shedding of human blood and offering up even of human lives in the cruelest manner in the name of Christ.
            For nigh two thousand years’ frightful tortures have been inflicted by man on his fellows; poor humanity has been persecuted, hunted, imprisoned and slain with relentless cruelty and cold-blooded ferocity; and since the Redeemer walked the earth, man has succeeded in deluging the centuries with oceans of innocent blood poured out in His Holy Name. In comparatively modern times the terrible Inquisition swallowed up its countless thousands, and even in our own country, the prison, the faggot and the block have claimed their unoffending and helpless victims.
            Noah, then, being human, was liable to human weakness, to th evil influence of inherited sin; to wrong conceptions of what was due to the Lord; to perverted ideas of the nature of true service, or of sacrifices that would be acceptable to Him. 
            Noah in common with his race, had been in the habit, probably, of killing certain “clean” animals for food, and as this form of food seemed good in his sight, he considered it his duty to make sacrificial offerings of it to the Lord. It does not, however, follow that Noah was right in his logic! It was contrary to the Creator’s command to use the flesh of animals for food, and it is presumed that Noah must have been aware of this; yet, because it had been his custom to do so, he saw no harm in offering it sacrificially to the very Being who had expressly set apart the fruits of the earth for man’s meat.
            To satisfy the lusts of the flesh and pander to that sensual egoism which was as common in Noah’s time as it is today, the express commands of God were set aside and considered of no particular moment in the economy of life.
            It seems clear then that Noah sinned the sins of his forefathers, in this respect at least. And it appears equally clear that subsequent generations right through Biblical history simply followed Noah’s example.
            Many of the religious teachers mentioned in the Bible who “stood up for the Lord” were essentially human, and endowed with human tastes and weaknesses. They found the practice of eating animal flesh common among all peoples when they were born into the world, and they simply accepted it just as it stood. They were but men, and were liable to finite man’s errors when he comes to interpret God’s laws and commands.
            They had forgotten that God cannot cry, is not liable to mistakes; does not constantly change His mind as man does!
            They had forgotten that, when God created this world in which we live, He made no mistakes and left nothing forgotten. And that among other things He made man and appointed certain of His creations for man’s food.
            God placed the entire vegetable kingdom at man’s disposal, so that he might eat and be satisfied. But this did not satisfy him; he lusted after other meats, and in obtaining them he disobeyed one of the Creator’s commands, and all the sophistry that man can bring in support of other interpretations of this plain command cannot alter the facts.
            IT would, however, certainly appear that in many of the books of the Bible there are passages that might lead one to suppose God approved of the practice. But if we continue to look into the Scriptures for further evidence on the subject, we shall soon find references of a totally different character, and a little study of the question will make it clearly manifest that there is a steady of progressive development of thought in this respect running through the Old Testament.
            In endeavoring to arrive at the truth behind seeming inconsistency, we must remember that the variableness lies not in the Will of God in the matter, but in man’s interpretation of it. It is impossible that God’s law of right and wrong in this respect, as in any other, could have ever changed.
            Believing then as we do in the immutability of God’s word, is it not incredible to suppose that this Omniscient Being, when planning out His marvelous scheme of creation, should have created man a frugivorous creature and have commanded him accordingly to eat of the fruits of the earth, and a few years later have changed His mind?
            Surely this is not the plan upon which God works surely He knows what He is about; and His word is more firmly established than the stars. To admit that the Supreme Being changed His mind is to invest Him with the attributes of man; erring, weak, changeable man; and as we naturally shrink from such a position we must seek for another solution of the difficulty.
            It seems that an explanation of the seeming inconsistency is offered in the fact that Jewish historians have always regarded their Jehovah as a Personal God; and once we clothe the Creator with personal attributes, we make Him subject to human weaknesses. Such a conception of God may well lead the mind into all sorts of errors, and it certainly appears that, as the whole of the old Jewish writers regarded Jehovah as a Personal and attributes as man, they found it easy enough to believe that, as He was given to anger, jealousy, repentance and such like weaknesses, He might conceivably change His mind occasionally.
            In other words, God was measured by human standards, and man utterly failed to appreciate Him; failed to arrive at a just estimate of His immeasurable greatness, of the awful magnitude of His might, majesty, and power; and of the profundity of His unchangeableness.
            At the very earliest period of Israelites History we find the people following the instincts of all semi-savage races by shedding the blood of animals and offering their bodies as sacrifices to appease the Being they worshipped, and it is conceivable that the rulers of Israel, in codifying the customs into some intelligible shape to meet the requirements of the times, only followed these instincts in giving to the people that wonderful code of laws which is to be found in the books of Numbers and Leviticus; instincts, however, which completely harmonized with their own tastes and inclinations in the matter.
            Further on, as the people became more enlightened, we find less attention paid to the rigid ordinances laid down by ancient law givers. In Psalm II, 17-19, written by David about 1034 B. C., we find the following passage: -
            “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise.”
            Still later, about 760 B. C., we find the following reference to the subject in Isaiah, I, 11-14: -
            “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto M? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats.”
            “When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?”
            Such scriptures clearly show that, not only had the people no divine authority to offer these burnt offerings and sacrifices, but they were actually an abomination to the Lord. The Lord God of Israel is here asking by what authority these abominations were offered to Him; and it is clear that this must have had a potent effect on the Israelitish priesthood in checking these bloody sacrifices, as it will be seen from this time onwards that the cruel practice gradually recedes into the background, and finally disappears with the advent of the Redeemer. So much at least, may be said as to the practice of using animal flesh by way of sacrifice.
            The first chapter of Genesis perhaps stands alone among the many beautiful chapters of the Bible. It is not a biography of man, as is practically the rest of the Old Testament. It is an unknown record of God’s creation, accepted as true by the Jewish peoples and by the Christian nations.
            The remainder of the Old Testaments stands out in sharp contrast to this. It is a strange blending of God and man; on the one hand we have God as Personal Being striving, struggling for the mastery of man a soul; pleading, beseeching man to be true to Him and not to depart from one who had been so good and merciful to him; and then threatening, cursing and punishing him; and on the other, a record of man’s base ingratitude to his Creator, and of his vices, iniquities and crimes, and, alas! There is but little said of hi virtues.
            Bearing in mind the character of the race depicted in the historical books of the Old Testament, we may well be pardoned if we accept with many doubts the views held in those times in regard to the killing of God’s creatures and using their flesh as human food; and it is perfectly clear that no justification whatever can be found in these books for the practice of meat-eating, but that the evidence is rather the other way, tending to show, on the whole, divine disapprobation of the habit.
            But in turning to the Gospels of the New Testament, we have a new set of conditions to deal with, inasmuch as the interest at once centres round the acts and teachings of the supremely inspired Son of God, and pretexts in favor of the consumption of animal food are at once sought for and found in the examples supposed to be set by Christ Himself. The marriage feast in Cana of Galilee; feeding the multitude with leaves and fishes; and the partaking of the broiled fish and the honeycomb after His Resurrection, are all quoted as divine examples in favor of meat-eating; but let us examine the matter somewhat closely before we make up our minds one way or the other.
            When the Savior came among us, He came with no earthly pomp and circumstance. He took upon Himself man’s estate, man’s methods, habits and customs, including his ways of eating and drinking. It does not, however, follow that, because the Lord became man for our sake, He necessarily approved of all man’s habits and modes of life. As a matter of fact, in the four books of the New Testament that record the life and works of the Savior, and lay bare to some extent the simplicity and frugality of His domestic life, there is really no direct evidence in proof of His ever having partaken of animal food; no evidence of a nature, let us say, that would be accepted as conclusive in any human court of justice of today.
            The most that can be required of us is to admit, for the sake of argument, that there is evidence, by implication only, that Christ may possibly have sometimes partaken of animal food. But as evidence of this nature is of a negative rather than a positive character, nothing can be proved by it.
            We find in St. Matthew xi, 19, that His enemies accused Him of being “a man gluttonous and a winebibber.” In St. Mark ii, 15, that He “sat at meat with publicans and sinners” (the word here translated “meat” in the original refers to food, not flesh; the ‘meat’ offering of the Hebrews was one of the corn and oil); while all the books of the Gospel refer to His feeling the multitude with leaves and fishes.
            But the most that this discloses is the fact that He, to whom all things were possible, did not despise human habits, or human means of relieving hunger; nor did He hold aloof from them.
            We must also remember that fish was probably an absolute necessity for the crowded population of Palestine at that time. And the taking of net-caught fish does not involve bloodshed and cruelty that is needless; therefore, the consumption of this type of food is a very different act to the eating of the flesh of warm-blooded animals, whether considered from the ethical or the hygienic standpoint.
            It is indeed conceivable that, conscious as we know He was of His divine origin, He must have experience many things in His brief human existence that were repugnant to Him; suffered many a thing caused Him bitter pain and deep humiliation, yet he gave no sign.
            Not the least among those afflictions were those which the God Man found in the daily routine of human life.
            It is distinctly recorded by the early Fathers of the Church that several of the Apostles were total abstainers from flesh food, and it is more than probable that they were following the exalted example of their Master.
            Looking at the subject from this standpoint, it would seem that the argument in favor of flesh eating has little to gain by any reference to the records of the life of Christ, and His attitude in the matter.
            Two of the commonest reasons given in favor of meat-eating are”
            1.         That if God did not intend man to eat of the flesh of animals, He would not have given them to us.
            2.         That man’s teeth are evidently intended for the eating of animal food; and if they were not given to us for that purpose, why are we provided with them?
            In regard to the first point, there is, no doubt, widespread misconception on the question. It is believed by most people, who will not think for themselves, that all animals whose flesh is considered what is popularly termed “good to eat” were really given to us by God for food. If for human considerations, it be suggested by someone that they should abstain from the use of animal food, the answer comes promptly, “Why should I? It was given to us for food, and why shouldn’t I eat beef or mutton, or anything else I like?”
            Then we frequently hear it contended that what we call the domestic animals “belong to man;” they are his property; he breeds, rears, feeds them; and if he kills such of them as are “good for human food,” he has a perfect right to do so; they belong to him as rightfully as do his lands and house, and other goods and chattels, and he can therefore do what he likes with them.
            Let us take the first of these reasons, viz., that certain animals were given to us for food. Now if there is a gift there must be a giver. The gift is the effect, the giver the cause. Who was the giver; and when, how and where, and upon whom was the gift bestowed?
            We have seen that there is nothing in the Old Testament to prove that the Almighty God created any of the animals for man’s food, but that on the contrary he was expressly enjoined to eat of the fruits of the earth; and to have, at the same time, dominion over the rest of the animal creation. Let us, however, pause a moment and consider what was meant by dominion. Did the Creator mean that dominion over “every living thing that moveth upon the earth” gave man the right to slaughter His creatures for food? Hardly that, or reference would have been made to it in the next verse: -
            “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
            After so plain a command, the only interpretation that dominion might bear is its literal meaning – lordship, power!
            God created other beings besides man, and as many of them were physically stronger than man himself, it was necessary that he should be protected against them, and have dominion over them; but it was evidently not the dominion of brute strength that was planned by the Creator, but the superior power of moral and spiritual force.
            God put into man’s hands no puny human weapons of offence and defence, but armed him with that mighty controlling force which is not well-known among us today, alas! We have lost the power, but in those far away days when “man walked with God” it was different.
            Perfect man and perfect woman were God’s first human creations; living souls endowed with perhaps divine attributes, and invested with such spiritual power as would ensure to them complete dominion over “every living thing that moveth upon the earth;” and it was in this sense that man was given dominion over God’s creatures.
            Briefly, there is absolutely no evidence to show that the practice of killing certain animals for food purposes is anything more than a man-made practice that was born of human cravings and fed by man’s insatiable appetite.
            In the old, old days, when the fathers of the human race, walked the earth as primitive men, they found that the flesh of some of the animals was good, and they slew them as we do today without let or hindrance. They were not troubled in those days by such questions as “Meum and Tuum,” ethics and religion, right and wrong; nor were they swayed by such sentimental reasons as humane considerations, mercy, compassion, and the rest of it.
            The nomadic life of the Israelites under Moses rendered the cultivation of vegetables, as we know it today, an impossibility. Sheep, goats, and oxen were plentiful; they carried their flocks and herds with them; here was convenient form of food; and as there was no other available, these animals necessarily formed the staple food of the people. The only thing Moses and the rulers of Israel could do was to curb, as far as it was wise and politic to do so, the lusts and appetites of the people; and their efforts in this direction found expression in the elaborate system of laws and regulations found in the Pentateuch.
            But the domestic animals were no more given to these ancient peoples in those far away times than they are given to us in these days. The practice of eating animal food was initiated by man probably at a time when the economic conditions under which he lived were excessively hard. Food was scarce and the grossest ignorance prevailed as to the highly nutritive value of many vegetable products which no doubt existed then as now. If man under such conditions, therefore, took such means of subsistence as were ready to hand, there are certainly many excuses for him; indeed, he had no choice in the matter; it was animal food or starvation; and the common law of self-preservation dictated which alternative to take.
            In considering the contention that “domestic animals being the property of the owner’s man has a perfect right to kill them and use their flesh as food, we should bear in mind one or two points. When we speak of rights, we should not forget that there are rights of many kinds. There are legal and moral rights, rights in equity and in law, just rights and unjust rights, the right of might, right of dominion and power, and so on ad infinitum. By which of these rights is the question we are considering to be decided.
            If we attempt to settle it on the ground that these animals are ours by the legal right of inheritance, the analytical mind of an able lawyer would at once look into our title and trace it back and back till he came to those far-off days when our ancestors took their animals by right of might, and although he would admit that custom has established a right, he would at the same time tell us that our title was faulty inasmuch as our ancestors obtained their possessions by force.
            Let us draw a parallel between this case and that of many of the great families of our own country, or, for that matter, of any country in Europe. The landed possessions of many of the great ones of the earth are vast and yield great revenues. They are firmly established in them, and the law of the country recognizes their proprietorship. Nobody today brothers himself about the equity of their titles; the land is theirs; it has descended for generations from heir to heir, and that is enough.
            But trace back the history of some of these lords of the earth; go back generation by generation; back of those days when strife was rife, and breast plate and morion, sword and spear, were important factors in the formation of family estates and the up building of family names.
            Go back to those “good old days” when “barons held their sway” and serfdom was the portion of the people; to those fine old times when the strong hand took what it wanted and held what it took; when kings confiscated the estates to those who opposed them, and distributed them with lavish hand among courtiers and flatterers; gave any with unstinted generosity that which was not theirs to give, and enriched those who had no right to receive, save the right which might gives.
            You shall find that had not time sanctioned the title it would have been found of so faulty a nature that no court of justice of today would uphold it. And you would realize in this case, as in the other, that many an owner of inherited estates has no more equitable, just, moral right to his property than has the man who claims the right of taking the lives of living creatures.
            The right of possession, the right of might – both being legalized by man-made laws and by custom – are his; but man’s laws are not God’s laws, and although man finds it easy enough to justify himself before earthly judges, his conscience must tell him that he cannot and will not be able to offer justification before that High Tribunal which takes no cognizance of such human laws as are not framed in justice and equity, and administered in mercy and compassion.
            In considering the second point, that “the human teeth are evidently intended for flesh food,” we should not too readily accept all that people say in this world. Many an apologist for meat-eating will be found to defend the practice on the grounds of man’s teeth being those of the carnivore; whereas, as a matter of fact they are nothing of the kind. One writer says: -
            “The physical structure of man is declared by our most eminent biologists to reveal the indisputable fact that he is at the present day, as he was thousands of years ago, naturally a frugivorous (fruit-eating) animal … The accepted scientific classification places man with the anthropoid apes, at the head of the highest order of mammals. These animals bear the closest resemblance to human beings, their teeth and internal organs being practically identical with those of man, and in a natural state they subsist almost entirely upon nuts, seeds, and fruit.”
            There is, besides this testimony, overwhelming scientific evidence forthcoming of man being of the frugivorous order of mammals (see “The Testimony of Science in favor of Natural and Humane Diet, published by The Order of the Golden Age), and if those who follow the practice of partaking of flesh food, because they believe they belong to the carnivorous order, will not look into the question for themselves, then they must bear the charge of deliberately shutting their eyes to facts.          
            Man is not of the order of carnivorous animals, and no amount of sophistical jugglery can prove him to be so. He is declared by the most eminent authorities to be of the frugivorous order, and if, after science has spoken, man persists in his carnivorous practices, he will do so because he lusts after the flesh of God’s inoffensive creatures, and not because he believes he was intended by his Creator to be a meat-eater. - The Herald of the Golden Age.



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Criticism on Dr. Hall’s Lecture.
(Delivered in Madras in December 1906)
            In endorsing the views of Professor Deussen in his 4th lecture Dr. Hall seems to me to labor, along with the professor whom he quotes, under some misconception of the terms sin, ignorance, will and understanding. Here are the views expressed by the professor – “Why then do we need a release from this existence? Because it is the realm of sin, is the reply of the Bible. The Veda answers, because it is the realm of ignorance. The former sees depravity in the volitional, the latter in the intellectual side of human nature. The Bible demands a change of the will, the Veda a change of the understanding.” First there is a mistake in the assumption that the Hindu considers this world as a realm of darkness. Why if the world is a realm of ignorance and man needs a release from it, a simple process will secure this. A sharp knife is enough. But is that the eastern conception of ignorance and the world? Nor is the means for the removal of this ignorance suggested by the professor anywhere to be found in the Upanishads. Does the Hindu find depravity in the intellectual side of his nature and does he think that a change in the understanding will produce deliverance from the ignorant world? A more misunderstanding of the Upanishads, there can never be. Regarding the world, the very 1st mantra of the Isavasyopanishad is “Isavasyam idam Jagat.” This world is pervaded by the Lord. “Maya thatham Idam Sarvam Jagat Avyaktha Moorthina.” “By the Lord this world is filled.” “Padosya Visva Bhoothani. Tripadasya Amritam Divi.” This entire world is His 4th part and the other portion is the region of immortality “Vishtabyaham Idam Kritsnam Ekamsena Sthitho Jagat.” In one essence I fill this entire world. – (இந்த பூமி சிவனுய்யக் கொள்கின்றவாறு என்று நோக்கி) “observe this world as the place where the Lord bestows blessings on all.” What constitutes the world? Of course so far as we can understand, the mind, the eye, the ear, the sun, the moon, the stars, the entire universe etc., these I think constitute the world. These do not go to make up ignorance. All that the upanishads say about the world is that it is the realm of Bhoga, a place where the soul can gather experience, a region of probation, a scene of trial, an instrument of God (the Preritha) for the helping of the souls (Bhoktha) (Bhoktha Bhogyam Preritharamehamatva). Therefore, this world is not a realm of ignorance. Can this ignorance be removed by a change in the intellectual side? The Upanishads emphatically declare it may: - “Nayamatma Pravachanena Labhyo na Medhaya Bahuna Sruthona” “Not by the keen intellect can this Atma be attained.”
            The Hindu is said to find depravity in the intellectual side or the understanding; while the Christian is said to see the same in the will or volition. If the learned Christian doctor means by volition the “Icha” of the Hindu, then the latter also may be said to find depravity in it, and when he may find it in the “Icha” it needs no special mentioning that he may see it also in the “Gnana” (“intellect”) for gnana is but a concrete form of “Icha.”
            And what is sin? Sin, say the Christians, is the direct opposition to the Divine will carrying with it punishment of an eternal nature, as righteousness carries with it reward of an eternal joy, and his Gospel, a book of good news to humanity, a book of God-inspired men, thus describes the penalty for sin. “The Lord knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” “Shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” It shall not be forgotten him neither in this world nor in the world to come.” “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of Hell? “But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” “cast the unprofitable servant into utter darkness.” “Then shall he say unto them on the left hand “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his Angels.” “He that believeth not is condemned.” “But the heavens and the earth which are now by the same word kept in store, are reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” “But they all might be damned.” “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” “Through their (jews) fall is come salvation unto the gentiles.” “Who is he that condemneth. It is Christ.” “But that beareth thorns and briers is rejected and is nigh unto cursing whose end is to be burned.” “Which drown men in destruction and perdition.” “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” “But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and whore-mongers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” The most virulent denunciations, it need not be said, came from the mouth of Christ and is found in the gospel of the mystic John and in the book of Revelation. Sin thus, according to the gospels, carries with it eternal perdition. But not so the Hindu views it. To him sin means a blunder committed on the spiritual plane, because of the inability of the man to see things a right. Man, he says, commits mistakes often in the physical and intellectual planes – planes where he can command some understanding. And is he not, asks the Hindu, liable to commit similar blunders on the spiritual plane in an unknown plane. “For if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, shall he take care of the church of God (I Timothy 5), for the kingdom of God is not before his eyes as are other lesser things but is within. The Hindu thinks consequently that these mistakes on the unknown spiritual plane are at least as much liable to be corrected as are the errors in the other planes. He cheerfully accepts chastisement if eventually it is directed with the idea of correcting him. If not, he questions, to what end does punishment serve? Man, he says, commits sin because he had not the full vision of what it would entail on him. Man therefore is ignorant. He exclaims with Christ “Father – forgive them for they know no what they do. Saul, who was to be one of the foremost champions of the church, persecuted the Christians before he became a Christian, i.e., before he was blessed with the vision of Christ. “At Damascus he heard a voice saying unto him “Saul why persecutest thou me? And he said who art thou Lord? And the Lord said “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” And he received sight and was baptized.” Does not this story illustrate that he was in darkness before he saw the light (Christ) and are not those in darkness liable to do mistakes? “He that hateth his brother is in darkness and walketh in darkness and knoweth not whither he goeth.” And when Jesus was about to be stoned for his preaching, he is said to have used “When I was daily with you in the temple ye stretched forth no hands against me but this is your hour and the power of darkness” and even at the time of the crucifixion when one of the malefactors taunted him, he said “Forgive, father, for they know not what they do.” “Are there not,” said Jesus, “12 hours in the day? If any man walketh in the day, he stumbleth not because he seeth the light of the world. But if a man walk in the night he stumbleth because there is no light in him.” Therefore, when there is no light in man, that is, when the soul is in darkness (ignorance) it stumbleth (sinneth). “And walk while ye have the light lest darkness come upon you” are the words written in the Bible. And the Hindu says that this want of light in him is the cause of man’s committing sin. And it is darkness in him that comprehendeth not the light. “God is a light and in Him there is no darkness.” But this Light, as is put by St. John, shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not. God is light no doubt. “In him we live and move and have our being.” But this light shining in darkness, the darkness comprehendeth it not. Soul is in God, and being also in ignorance, the soul comprehendeth not God. For both God and Ignorance soul is the place. “The kingdom of God is within you” said Jesus and the same gospel says that when Jesus “a light of them which are in darkness” walked on earth, men heeded him not, because that “light shone in darkness and darkness comprehended it not” “Yo Vignane tishtan Vignana dantharo yamvignanam na veda yasya Vignanagu sariram yo vignanam antharoo yamayathi Esha tha Atma Antharyamya mruthaha” “Yasyatma sariram yam Atma na vedayam Atnanam Antharo yamayathi Eshatha Atma Antharyami Amrthaha.” He who has the soul as his body, Him whom the soul does not know. He who directs the soul being immanent within it, is the Amrutha God. Soul, though it lives and moves and has its being in God, is not cognizant of God because it is also in “ignorance” and Sri Sankara instances the cases of certain animals whose eyes are blind even in midday sun. Vide his commentary on the “ya nisa sarva bhoothanam” sloka in the Bhagavad Gita. The eye is the place for both the Light and darkness. Similarly, the soul is the place for both God and “ignorance.”
            Being therefore in ignorance, the soul commits sin. Thus it is clear that sin is only an effect of the cause “ignorance” and ignorance is the cause of the effect “sin.” Therefore, if this “ignorance” is removed there will be an end of “sin.” But if a sin is wiped of, still there will crop up other sins as the “ignorance” still survives. What the Hindu aims is to eradicate while the Christian wishes to chop off the branches. And what is Light and what is darkness which both hold away over the soul?
            The Light is God’s “Chaitanyam” and ignorance or darkness is Avidya or Agnana or Mala. This Mala is in the soul even as is rust in copper. For the removal of this rust in the copper, tamarind is required and for the removal of this mala in the soul, he is equipped with the bodies, indriyas and karanas (organs). Think of that state of man in which he is deprived of the body etc. Think of the daily states of sushupthi, swapna and jagrat Avasthas. When the soul was not united to body, indriyas and karanas, what was its state? It was sunk in Avidya (Agnana) to its very core; it was not conscious of itself. Let mind be united to it, then it sees, dreams and let this external organs be united to it, then it sees, hears, speaks etc. What he was not once a wood-cutter or a king or a man or a woman – he is now in the waking state. Thus the Deha, Indriya, Karana etc., which constitute the world in the microcosm are the equipments of the soul for the removal of its Agnana. Here now it is clear that the world is not ignorance but rather an instrument with God for its removal. Avidya then is in the soul. Says the Upanishad.
            “Avidyayam Anthare Varthamanah Swayam Dheersha Panditham manya manah Jamgamyamanah pariyanthi Moodhah Andheneiva Neeyamanah yathandhaha. The Upanishad likens the state in Avidya to blindness in the eye. Some likens this to a cloud hiding the sun. This is wrong. Says a great man “Drashta Varaka mala-mayakarma Vyathirekena Drisya Varaka Kalpanayam Pramana abhavena” “There is no authority to suppose that without the enshrouding by Mala, maya and karma of the soul (seer) there is enshrouding of things cognized (seen).
            Sri Krishna says “Thasmath Agnana Sambootham Hridstham Gnanasinath mamanaha chitva.” Therefore, cut at the sin arising out of Agnana situated in the soul by the sword of Gnana.
            And the poet sings,
                “My son the world is dark with griefs and groans,
            So dark that men cry out against the heavens,
            Who knows but that the darkness is in man,
            The doors of night may be the gates of light.”

This Avidya is in man and not in the world.
            The question why man commits sin was asked thousands of years ago by a worthy disciple and the ever merciful Lord gives out that “desire to possess” or enjoy influences the man to do the same and that too has a substratum in Agnana which envelopes the soul even as the smoke envelops the fire, the dust envelopes the mirror, the bag envelops the embryo.”
            “Atha kena prayukthoyam Papam charathi poorushaha. Anichan Api Varshneya baladiva niyojishaha.” The disciple here questions his Master “Impelled by what, oh descendant of Vrishni, does a man commit sin even if he does not like it, yet directed by a powerful agent. The far seeing disciple here used the words “even if he does not like” because no one in the world, no embodied creature on the face of the earth courts voluntarily misery. The wine-bibber seeks pleasure in the unintermittent swallowing of bottles. He thinks he can find pleasure in it. Thus from the vilest sinner to the highest saint, all seek pleasure. Some seek carnal pleasure, some pleasures of the senses, some of the intellect, others of imagination and some spiritual. The martyr seeks death for the pleasure of the soul. It is on account of this fact of the soul seeking pleasure in every sphere of life, that the Highest Brahmananda is vouchsafed for the soul and it is owing to this and this alone, that man is enjoined to seek Brahm (God) for in every other pleasure there is pain, but in Brahmananda there is no pain and no fear at any place or time. This is a test to show that the soul is heir to Brahmananda. Hence the far seeing disciple says “though not wishing it.” The Lord says “Kama Esha krodha Eshaha Rajoguna Samuthbahva – Mahasano Mahapapana Viddhi Enam iha Vyrinam Dhoomena Avriyathe Vannilu, yatha Darso Malenacha yatholbhena Avruthe garbhaha thatha thena idam Avrutham.” The desire to possess then is the cause of sin. The mother of nations, according to the Bible, committed sin out of this desire to possess. “And when the woman “saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruits thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband and with her he did eat.” Where did this arise? “It arose out of man’s Agnana “Thasmat Agnana Sambhootham Hridstham gnanasina Atmanaha” Elsewhere the Lord clearly point out “Agnanena a Vritham Gnanam Thena Muhyanthi Janthavaha Gnanenathu thad Agnanam Esham Nasitham Atmanaha Thesham Adithyavath Gnanam Prakasayathi Nanyatha” “The soul’s Chaitanyam is enveloped in Agnana. Therefore, the souls are agitated. When by Gnana they destroy this Agnana, then the same chaitanya shines with the lustre of the sun.” When Agnana is removed, God, the glorious Light, who is ever present in the soul covers it with His light and the soul melts in that light and being immersed in that light shines there. (Niranjanaha Paramam Samyam upaithi) and here the soul more than realises the Mahavakya “That Twam Asi.” The consciousness or chaitanyam of the soul is the Dharma and the soul is Dharmi. This consciousness is bound by Agnana. This consciousness underline the souls will, thought and action. When the conscious soul is united with Prakrithi, then arises will (Icha) and this will acting on the mind becomes gnana and this gnana action on the senses (eye, ear, hand, feet etc.) becomes Kriya. As the underlying consciousness itself is bound by Agnana, man may will sin, think sin and act sin. But the fact is that these organs etc., are united to this soul not for plunging man into sin but to raise him up from that torpor, to lessen the power of darkness and thereby to enable him to work out salvation. Hence Kalidasa sings “Sariram Adyam Khala Dharma Sadanam.” This body is of a primary help for practicing virtue. When with the bodies he has gained experience and has grown wise, the bodies then become a burden to him then useless. Of what use is medicine (body, eyes etc.) when the disease (Mala or ignorance) is cured. (But certainly medicine is not disease and body is not ignorance.) Then he requires to leave it, not because it is darkness but because this body cannot contain that food of light, which seeks to burst forth from from the body, this ever increasing flood of light springing from God within him (Bhagne ghate yatha Deepo Sarvathra Samprakasathe).
            The eyes of all are not opened alike to this Light. Some have not seen this. Some have had glimpses. A few have seen. To that Blessed Few belongs Krishna. This seer of all nations, of all aspirations and of all mental attitudes has a word of comfort for all. He condemns none. He gives hope to all. “Partha Naiveha namutra Vimasaha thasya Vidyathe. Nahi Kalyanakrith Kaschit Durgathim thatha gachathi.” His is a ministry of Love and Hope to all. This is not a mere sentiment as in the case of some other religions. It is an actual fact. To realise this Light may be a difficult thing. Indeed, as the Lord himself says, one in thousand tries to seek the Light; one of thousand such knows him really, and this man too reaches Him after many incarnations. The truth of this is also explicitly stated in the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Except Lot, one individual, none in that accursed city was found fit to be saved. If He had known 100, at least10 in that city He would have saved the same. (But whether the same requires destruction is another question.) God is said to have grieved at his heart for the creation of the world, when in the imagination of their hearts he found only evil. The quest after wealth is too well plain in the west. Christ has already fled from the west. But no one deserves eternal damnation on that account. For in the heart of man is darkness. This darkness (Mala) can be removed by methods described in the Agamas, books of Revelation, by a recourse to suitable Acharyas, the chosen vassals of God. Few have reached the God but all may strive towards it.

(Sivam Asthu.)
[* This paper appears in the May number of the Indian Review, and is reprinted here by the special permission of the author. – Ed. L. T.]
Modern criticism has laid rude hands upon that ancient and venerable institution, the Indian Calendar. If hoary antiquity, intrinsic worth and practical utility could have saved any institution from such violence, then the Indian Calendar might well have claimed the privilege. Form has it not presided over the destinies of the children of India for more than 2,000 years, recording with jealous minuteness the hour and the day, nay the very minute and second of their births, marriages and deaths? Was any event of importance, public or private, ever done in this country without the fiat of the Indian Calendar? And was not its veto sufficient to arrest the mightiest conquerors proceeding to battle or to stay their hands in the hour of victory? Yet, this venerable witness of Indian history is called upon to take its trial before a judge born yesterday, the Nautical Almanac. In vain does the venerable prisoner appear to the public of India whose destinies it has controlled for a hundred generations. In vain does it appeal to the expert skill of its custodians, the Jyotishis, the Panchangis and the Astronomical Computers of India. The public looks wit pity on so old an institution reduced to such sad plight, but says the public: “Are not these custodians the men into whose keeping the calendar, when a child, was entrusted by its parents, the great Siddhantis of India? Let these custodians come to the rescue of their ward and prove their fitness for their charge.” Alas, the custodians are at a loss what to urge on behalf of their ward! They never dreamt that such evil times should ever come upon it or upon themselves, or that they should be called to render an account to a scrutinizing public of a craft whose origin and methods are to this day wrapped in mystery. They know only the traditions which enable them to keep up the ancient forms of the calendar. In the years that have rolled by, these traditions have very often deviated, whether on purpose or unawares, from the path originally appointed by the Siddhantis; but of such deviations, any more than of the original principles of the calendar, its so called custodians know very little at the present day.
            The above is perhaps a sentimental version of recent events which have taken place at Kaladi in the State of Travancore, where Astronomical Conferences were held in February and March 1910, for the purpose of unifying the Indian Calendar.
            What practical results have been achieved as the result of such Conferences, the public has not yet been informed; but it will be no surprise to the public to learn in course of time that the proceedings have been barren of result. Whether such proceedings yield a definite result or not, the suspicion once cast upon the Indian Calendar continues unabated, and it will he hard for the Almanac makers of India to rehabilitate their position unless they can produce very good and very palpable evidence in their favor.
            One thing is remarkable about these Conferences, namely, that considering the hoary antiquity and the hitherto unquestioned authority of the Indian Calendar, one might reasonably expect to see a well-formulated charge or series of charges against its accuracy, drawn up by expert critics, as the basis of any proceedings reviewing its past history or assailing its present position. No such charges have been published, however, it being apparently assumed that the charges are well-known. It is difficult for any one who has bestowed serious attention upon a study of the Indian Calendar to conceive what possible ground of dislike the public could suddenly have found to justify such proceedings. In the absence of definite charges one is driven to conclude that the causes of dissatisfaction are of a general nature. But even so, it may be of profit to reduce them to definite shape and to investigate each of them.
            The most important causes of public dissatisfaction with the Indian Calendar appear to be the following: -
(1)        The multiplicity of calendars and the too patent fact that among them there are palpable divergences. Before calendars began to be printed in India, it was seldom possible for more than one calendar to obtain currency or general recognition over a local area and the inhabitants of a tract, where a particular calendar was current, had no reason to suspect that their neighbors in other tracts followed a different kind of reckoning; at any rate, it did not disturb them in their usages of daily life which were guided by a single calendar of more or less local origin. At present, however, there is no limit to the circulation of a printed Almanac, and when several Almanacs giving different reckonings are current in the same local area, confusion is the natural result.
(2)        Obvious discrepancies between the purely Indian Almanacs and such European publications of undisputed accuracy as the Nautical Almanac. It is found that between the ordinary Almanacs in use in India and the Nautical Almanac there is a divergence of an hour or so in the moment of occurrence of New and Full-Moons and a divergence of several hours in the ending moments of stages intermediate between two New Moons. Suspicion naturally falls upon a method which yields results so apparently erroneous, and attempts have in consequence been made and with no small measure of success to reconstruct the Indian Almanac upon the basis of the Nautical Almanac.
(3)        The difficulty and tediousness, amounting almost to unintelligibility, of the processes prescribed for the construction of an Indian Almanac. It is no doubt the case that the best and the most learned exponents of the system of the Indian Calendar have not succeeded in opening up the thorny hedge which has been growing for centuries, as in the fairy tale, around the residence of this Sleeping Beauty. The earlier exponents of the system such as WARREN (1825) and JERVIS (1836) delighted to return in their primitive crudeness the endless multiplications and divisions prescribed by traditional methods for arriving at the ending moment of a single tithi. About 20 years ago, Professor JACOBI of Bonn University introduced to Indian readers, through the pages of the “Indian Antiquary” (1888) a method of calculation of Indian dates based upon the well-known method of M. Largeteau in France. This method is more or less the basis of the subsequent exposition of the Indian Calendar by Messers. SEWELL and DIKSHIT (1896). Meanwhile, in the year 1892, Professor JACOBI had republished his tables in the Epigraphica Indica, Vol. I, and subjoined to them certain special tables, for the purpose of completing M. Largeteau’s approximation. The same German authority, who is at this date the greatest and most reliable living exponent of the Indian Calendar, published in the second volume of the Epigraphica Indica a method of computing the moment of sunrise or true local time for any latitude or longitude in India. Valuable as these modern expositions are to the enthusiast, they fail to comply with the standard of convenience which ordinary lay readers usually fix for themselves. Apart from the difficulty of understanding the technical language of astronomy, used by these writers, there is the difficulty and inconvenience of having to expend an inordinate length of time on each calculation, the constant risk of perpetrating Arithmetical errors in such calculation and the uncertainty of the ordinary methods of approximation. To meet these difficulties certain rough and ready methods, intended mainly for the use of epigraphists and archaeologists, have been devised by Dr. SCHRAM of Vienna and the late Professor KIELHORN. These methods are, however, not suited to the purpose of the ordinary modern lay Hindu enquirer, who wishes to get to the bottom of the particular. Almanac he is using and to verify the results there stated. Compared with such processes, that of the Nautical Almanac for arriving at any of the data of the Indian Calendar is simple, easily intelligible and accurate. You take the longitude of the sun and the moon for a particular noon then you take the same quantities for the previous noon and you ascertain by an easy sum in ration the time when the difference between the two longitudes amounted to an exact multiple of 12 degrees; and you have without any further trouble the absolute ending moment of the tithi, to which of course you have to apply, as a correction, (1) a quantity representing the difference of the terrestrial longitude between Greenwich and your own place and (2) another quantity giving the moment of local sunrise. Several Indian Almanacs based upon this method called Drigganita or “Computation checked by Observation” are at present in use in many parts of India.
The above is a summary of the main charges against the purely Indian system of calculating astronomical data; and we are now in a position to enter upon a discussion as to whether each of these charges is sufficiently grave to be pressed home, and if pressed, whether it can be held to be proved. One important point seems to be lost sight of by the generality of the critics of the Indian Calendar, namely, that there is an essential difference between a calendar instituted for the ordinary purposes of social or religious life and a Nautical Almanac intended to assist the navigator in combating and overcoming the dangers and risks of a sea-voyage. A civil calendar, as we might call the former, may or may not lay claim to a certain degree of accuracy; but its objects above all, are, or ought to be, case of calculation and practical utility as distinguished from theoretical accuracy. Each nation has its own standard of practical accuracy to be maintained by its civil calendar. Most nations that we are acquainted with in history, including the nations of modern Europe, are satisfied with dividing the courses of the sun and the moon into integral days, excluding fractions of a day, and with subdividing the day from midnight to midnight or from noon to noon into equal divisions called hours, minutes and seconds. The Indian Calendar, on the other hand, divides the courses of the sun and the moon into integral spaces or arcs of a circle and not into integral days. It takes account, for example, of the moment when the sun completes any thirty degrees of its course, of the moment when the moon gains 12 degrees or an integral number of 12 degrees over the sun in her orbit, and of the moment when the moon, irrespective of the sun, completes 13° 20´ of her sidereal course or an integral number of such spaces. The first of these is called a solar sankranti or the commencement of a month the second is called the ending moment of a lunar tithi; and the third the ending moment of a lunar nakshatra. It will be noticed that in these three reckonings the spaces are whole numbers, and therefore the corresponding times must include fractions of days, hours, minutes and seconds. Every year the Almanac maker has to compute 12 such moments for monthly Sankrantis, 360 moments for as many lunar tithis occurring in the course of a lunar year, and about the same number of lunar nakshatras. Where the follower of the European Calendar is satisfied with reckoning the day that he is passing through as the 1st of January, the 1st of February and so forth, the Indian does not begin his month till a particular moment of a day is reached: he cannot know what tithi he is passing through unless he knows the ending moment of the tithi for the particular day, and he is in a similar difficulty as regards the nakshatra. No doubt the calendar or panchang for the year, of which he invariably has a copy, gives these details in all the desired minuteness; but it is not necessary for the purpose of civil or religious life that each Indian householder should know the absolute ending moment of a sankranti tithi, or nakshatra. All these occurrences are, however, calculated in Indian almanacs as taking place so many hours and minutes or so many ghatikas and palas after local sunrise and just as it is necessary to know the moment of a mean sankaranti, tithi or nakshatra, it is necessary to know the moment when the sun rises at a given place in order to be able to reckon the portion of a tithi or nakshatra that has expired since, or which remained unexpired at the moment of sunrise. Here again absolute accuracy is claimed by the Almanacs, but such accuracy is probably not desired by, or necessary for the householder in the performances of his duties.
            The divergence between theoretical accuracy and practical convenience in Almanacs is, as we have seen, not peculiar to the Indian system, but of course it will be readily seen that the frequency of error and of divergence is more probably under the Indian than under other systems. Under all systems however such divergence is, by the common consent of mankind, got over in certain well-understood ways. One of these is to allow an error to accumulate until it becomes inconveniently large and then to remove it by means of a correction. Such a correction may be applied deliberately as in the adoption or omission of leap years under the combined Julian and Gregorian systems; or it may be rendered necessary owing to previous unperceived errors of astronomical computation, as in the well-known case of the dropping of 11 days by Act of Parliament in the year 1752. The principle applied in such cases is that the mere existence of an error or divergence between theory and practice does not matter, so long as we know its magnitude and are in a position to correct it from time to time. According to this principle, not only the Indian Calendar, but calendars pretending to very much less accuracy might, in all reason and conscience, be regarded and used as instruments of civil time reckoning, and no fault whatever need be found with them during the course of ages. It is not improbable that the existence of some at least of the errors and divergence pointed out above in the Indian Calendar were foreseen by the original authors of the various siddhantas, and they seem purposely to have inserted in their systems certain automatic corrections whereby the errors could never exceed a certain limit, or whereby, if they did exceed such a limit, they would be removed on the completion of a cycle of years. Practically, the error in the ending moment of what we may call intermediate tithis, that is, the tithis between New Moon and New Moon, is a recurring and not an accumulating error. It is caused by the phenomena known as evection and annual equation and its operation is confined to the quarters and the eighth parts of the lunar orbit. No inconvenience can be caused by the occurrence of such errors so long as their existence is known and their rectification can, when necessary, be easily effected.
            There is one divergence of considerable importance between the European and the Indian Calendar which perhaps deserves more than a passing remark. It is the divergence between what is called the tropical longitude and the sidereal longitude of the sun. As the sun measures his annual course round the earth (which by the way is a familiar example of a practical divergence between theory and practice, for everybody knows theoretically, that the earth moves round the sun and yet everybody talks in practice of the sun going round the earth) his longitude or distance from the starting point of his journey increases. That starting point in European Astronomy is the first point of Aries, that is the point where the ecliptic or the path of the sun crosses the celestial equator. Properly speaking, when the sun has completed 360° of his course, he ought to return to this point; but as a matter of fact, owing to the precession of equinoxes, the point itself meets him instead of his coming to meet it and it has been computed that the first point of Aries will travel along the whole course of the ecliptic in a series of 25, 868* years. [* It is a remarkable coincidence, for which however no mathematical reason can be assigned, that the length of the Solar year, according to the Arya Siddhanta, contains in the decimal places absolutely the same figures as are contained in the cycle of revolution of the vernal equinox, the length of the year according to the Arya Siddhanta being 365.25868055 days, and the modern cycle of revolution of the vernal equinox, 25,868 years.] In Hindu Astronomy, on the other hand, the longitude of the sun is measured not from the first point of Aries as it changes from year to year, but from the first point of Aries as it stood about the year 3600 Kali Yuga (about 500 A.D.) Consequently, the Hindu Solar year commences every year later than the European mean solar year which is a strictly tropical year. In the year 3102 B. C., (the first year or year 0 of Kali Yuga), the Hindu Solar year commenced at midnight between the 17th and 18th February. In the current year, 1910, A. D., the Hindu Solar year commenced on the 13th April and it will go on advancing by a day or two every century until it has passed through every day of the European Calendar and returns again after about 30,000 years to the 17th February. This is an example of an error adjusting itself through a cycle of years. The Hindu Astronomy provides an easy rule of calculation for ascertaining the sun’s tropical longitude when it is really necessary to ascertain it, e.g., for the purpose of determining the actual moment of sunrise. The rule is merely to add three degrees to the sidereal longitude of the sun for every 200 years elapsed since 3600 Kali Yuga; or if the longitude is reckoned in days, to add one day for every 64 years elapsed since 3600 Kali Yuga.
            It may be asked why the Hindu system tolerates such a divergence from the tropical year when it could easily adopt the European system. The reason is that the Hindu Solar year is a Sidereal (practically an anomalistic) year, and it coincides almost exactly with the period of revolution of the sun’s mean anomaly or his rate of motion round the earth. By reckoning the Solar year according to the sun’s anomaly, we are enabled to obtain without further calculation, certain very important elements in determining the two most useful data of the Indian Calendar, namely, the absolute ending moment of a tithi and the actual moment of sunrise. The writer of the present article hopes to publish shortly a method* of calculating Indian dates which will demonstrate the very great simplification of method that results from the adoption of the anomalistic, instead of the tropical year. [* Tithis, Nakshatras and other Indian Dates B.C. 1 to A.D. 2000. (In the Press).]
            In conclusion, it is not pretended that the Indian method of astronomical computation is without flaw or error of any kind; all that is claimed for it is that in the long course of years through which it has been in use, it has served its purpose with remarkable fidelity. It has needed no correction on the scale on which, for example, Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory or the British Parliament found it necessary to correct the European civil calendar and its results, deduced uniformly from principles and constants settled more than thousand years ago, compare very favorably with the results of modern observation and research. As regards the discrepancy between the moment of New Moon as deduced from the Siddhantas and as given in the Nautical Almanac, it is important to observe that the reason is not at all any inaccuracy in the Indian method, but a reason inherent in the nature of the lunar orbit. It has been ascertained by enquirers from the time of Laplace onwards that the moon actually moves faster in her orbit in the present day than she did two thousand years ago. To make this intelligible to ordinary readers, we will take the actual orbit of the moon as determined now and that laid down several thousand years ago. The orbit of the synodical month, laid down by modern Astronomers, is 29.530887 days. According to Ptolemy, the period was longer than this by half a second. It is probably the case that Ptolemy’s period was correct in his day and the present period is certainly correct in our day. From the difference, however, there results this practical inconvenience that if we apply Ptolemy’s period to the modern moon for determining her longitude, that is, her exact position in her monthly course, she will be found to have advanced less than she has really done; and if we apply the modern period to ancient new moons we shall imagine the ancient eclipses and new moon to have occurred an hour or so before they actually occurred. In no system of European Astronomy has there been a continuous application of the same synodical lunar period for 2,000 years; whereas in India we have had to apply such a constant for at least 1,500 years. The ancient Indian Astronomers seem to have purposely adopted a shorter synodical month than was correct in their day in order to provide against future divergences, with the result that the synodical month according to the Surya Siddhanta (29.530587946 days) is shorter than the modern period, and consequently New Moon according to the Surya Siddhanta occur a little before the time of their occurrence as predicted in the Nautical Almanac. On the other hand, it is possible to adopt a synodical period which is midway between the ancient and modern periods. DR. GRATTAN GUINNESS has found by actual calculation of New Moon for a period of 3,500 years beginning from 1655 B. C. that a synodical month consisting of 29.5305916 days produces on the whole the least divergence between actual and calculated New Moon at the present day, while it also gives with sufficient accuracy for practical purposes the moment of occurrence of ancient New Moons. Now, the synodical month adopted by the Arya Siddhanta, which Siddhanta is or to be followed by the Almanac – makers of Southern India, is almost exactly the same as that of DR. GRATTAN GUINNESS; for, it is 29.5305925 days, and may therefore be inferred that New Moons, deduced according to the Arya Siddhanta, must coeteris paribus agree very closely with the New Moons predicted in the Nautical Almanac. We may remark in conclusion that the error due to lunar acceleration will as time advances become sensibly less even according to the Surya Siddhanta.
L. D. S.