26. WHO CREATED THE TIME
How could such an accurate constant of precession, as that of Hindu cosmological time cycles, have been obtained without modern instruments and techniques? Certainly, at the very least, we must allow for a very long period of observation.
It appears possible to make naked-eye observations on the celestial sphere with an accuracy of 1/6 degree. If the precession were a point moving uniformly on the celestial sphere, it would then be just possible to determine the constant of precession to an accuracy of three places of decimals in not less than 50°(72 years/1°) = 3600 years.
Unfortunately, measuring the constant of precession is not so simple. To start off, times of the equinoxes must be very accurately observed. Ptolemy speaks with pride in The Almagest of "very accurately" observing the equinox to within a quarter of a day, that is, to within at best one quarter of a degree of arc. To this difficulty we must add the proper motions of the stars. The star Sirius, for example, would have been an extremely unfortunate choice for a point from which to measure motions on the celestial sphere because of its large proper motion of -0".553 ecliptic longitude per year. But it would take 1000 years for Sirius to move 1/6 degree and for this mistake to become sensible to a naked-eye observer. We add on, that in such a protracted interval of observation the motion of the Earth's perihelion would become sensible and have to be accounted for. In short, it is difficult to imagine the resolution of these difficulties to produce a constant of precession accurate to three places of decimals in less than 10000 years of continuous naked-eye observations.
Similar arguments might be adduced to show that to measure the sidereal period of the Sun to eight places of decimals could be accomplished by naked-eye observations alone in hardly less time.
Our minds, already totally unable to comprehend how an undertaking of such magnitude could be accomplished, must still face the incredible genius of the cycles themselves: a calendar for eternity so accurate that its formulations must be seriously considered as laws of nature, while at the same time a structure so simple, symmetrical, and orderly, that the best astronomers of modern times have heretofore completely failed to see the astronomical basis. It is hardly to be wondered that Hindus have regarded the cosmological time cycles as a revelation from the gods.
The peoples who used the 360 day year were always the most advanced civilizations. But the astronomy of these peoples, by all the available evidence, was in every case vastly inferior to the astronomical science which made possible the development of Hindu cosmological time cycles. The time cycles must, therefore, have been created by a civilization which flourished before the time of these historical civilizations and bequeathed its science to the Hindus, Chinese, fertile crescent civilizations, Egyptians, and Mayas alike. Primary traces of this ancestral culture are the sexagesimal number system and the 360 + 5 day calendar.
By the epochs preserved within the time cycles themselves as well as by extensive references throughout Sanskrit literature, the cosmological time cycles appear to be older even than Hindu civilization. Nevertheless, because Hindus are the only people to have preserved the exact dimensions of the cycles and maintained the tradition of their astronomical basis by including them in their textbooks on astronomy as well as in their vast literature, it is clear that Hindu astronomy is in the direct lineage of the astronomical system of the creators of the cycles and not "borrowed" from the astronomy of another people.
No other historical or existing people claims or has any claim on the cosmological time cycles. It is in this sense that we call them the "Hindu cosmological time cycles".