Chapter 10, The Revolution and Rotation of the Spheres, the Earth, etc.

We shall now take into consideration the question whether the spheres like the earth and others revolve or not. According to the teachings of the Shastras, the Veda, etc., all the heavenly bodies, the earth, etc., are in motion.

Our authorities for the motion of the earth are as follows:-

The following verses teach that all the globes, the earth, etc., are in motion.

this globe, i.e., the earth as well as the sun, the moon, are revolving in space (Prishni=Antariksha). The same is true of the other globes also. Among them the earth along with the waters of the oceans, which are, as it were, her mother, resolves round the sun who is a mass of fire. Similarly, ether is said to be the mother and air to be the father of the sun, and

  • the fire is said to be the father and water to be the mother of the moon – Yajurveda IX.6.

[In the Nighantu of Yaskacharya, the word ‘Gow’ occurs among the 21 names of the earth such as ‘gma’ and ‘jma’ etc.. and the word ‘prishni’ among the six names of interstellar space (Antariksha). Nirukta II. 5. The earth is called ‘gow’ because he moves on and on or because living beings move upon her.

The sun is called ‘gow’ because he causes the heavenly bodies to revolve round him or because he causes the vapors to move, or because he himself move in space. ‘Dyauh’ is called ‘gow’ because it extends far and away from the earth or because the rays of light move in it Nirukta II. 14. The word‘gow’ is the name of the sun’s rays, the moon and Gandharva

  • also in the Vedas. Nirukta II. 9. Svah is the name of the sun. Nirukta II.14. The earth is called ‘gow’ because it is every minute in motion.

In the Taittiriyopanishat it is said that the earth was produced from water, and hence water is regarded as the mother of the earth; because that is to be considered as the mother of an object from which it is produced. From the fact that the word ‘Svah’ means the sun and the word ‘pitar’ is uses as an adjective qualifying it, it is evident that he is to be regarded as the father of the earth.

The meaning of the phrase ‘duramgata’ (in the passage quoted from the Nirukta) is that the earth moves round the sun keeping at a distance from him (or that she tries to fly at a tangent from him). Similarly, all spheres, supported by God’s might = the force of gravitation, revolve in their orbits.

  • The said earth revolves round the sun in her orbit which has been fixed by God for her revolution. The earth supplies the living beings with abundant juices and fruits of various kinds and fulfils the fixed laws of her motion. She provides the performers of noble deeds, who give liberally, and the learned, with all their comforts by her bounty and she is, indeed, the cause of the audible speech of all living beings. Rigveda VII.2.10,1

The next verse teaches that the moon revolves round the earth.

The moon, whose nourishing properties are well-known, revolves round the earth. Sometimes in the course of her journey she comes between the earth and the sun. we shall explain this more fully in our commentary. The meaning of the words ‘Dyava prithivi atatantha’, which occur in the verse, are that the sun (Dyava) and the earth (prithivi) also

  • are in motion. It is, therefore, established that all heavenly bodies move in their orbits. Rigveda. VI.4.13.3.

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