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About Surya Siddhanta

[Written by Sreenadh and Veneet]

How many Surya Siddhantas you are aware of? If your answer is "just one" let me share
some info on this.
There are many texts popular with the name "Surya Siddhanta"; may be the different
renderings of the same basic teaching of one tradition, or may be altogether different
texts having slightly different material and base. I am aware of at least 5 Surya
1) Original Ancient Surya Siddhanta by Maya. : This text is lost and is unavailable. The
period of this text is unknown. The name of Maya's guru Surya is included in the 18
propagators of astrology. Sounka hora states that Kausika Viswamitra learned accurate
astronomy from Maya. All these push back the period of this original Maya to ancient
past - to the same period as that of the 18 sages - the ancient propagators of oldest indian
astrological traditions. At least 18 Siddhantas were known during this period.
2) Some sections of Surya Siddhanta quoted by Mihira as part of Pancha Siddhantika:
Pancha Siddhantika uses AD 505 as the base year for calculations and is thought to have
been written around AD 525. It is not much clear which sections of Pancha Siddhantika is
based on ancient Surya Siddhanta and which not, even though an approximate idea is
possible. Mihira lists 5 major siddhantas (such as Brahma, Surya, Pitamaha, Vasishta,
Poulisa and Romaka) and states that Surya Siddhanta is most accurate among them. (The
Surya Siddhanta mentioned here too is unavailable, except for the references to the same
in Pancha Siddhantika). It is notable that Aryabhata tradition of Kerala was based on
Brahma Siddhanta, while Surya Siddhanta connected traditions became popular in
Kashmir and north in general. (The story of many laterday Brahma siddhantas is a quite
different one)
3) Surya Siddnata that is part of Narada Purana: This text is still available, even though I
am yet to see much studies based on the same. (This text is available)
4) The Surya Siddhanta which is quoted by Bhattolpala etc.: This Surya Siddhanta is
different from the one quoted by Mihira and the one that is part of Narada Purana. We
don't know much about this Surya Siddhanta except for the quotes provided by
Bhattolpala. (This text is unavailable, except for the quotes quoted by Bhattolpala)
5) The popular modern Surya Siddhanta which is different from the one quoted by
Bhattolpala. Bhattolpala lived in 10th century AD and the first commentaries to this book
surfaced around 12th century AD. Even though ascribed to Maya, and outwardly might
seems to be in tune with the oldest Surya Siddhanta, this text includes some references
which seems to have been adopted from the Greek astrologer Hipparchus. This leads us
to think that this is a text originated between 10th and 12th century AD, by the effort of
some laterday scholar who tried to modify the original Surya Siddhanta based on the

works of greek astrologers like Hipparchus etc. (This text is available. This is the text that
is making waves now a days with the name 'Surya Siddhatna').
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