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Now-a-days it is well known that sun never rise or set but appears to human

The sun stays in its position at the center of our solar system. It doesn't rise and set. But it appears to rise and set because of the Earth's rotation on its axis. 1, 2

An Indian text named Aitareya Brahmana of Rig veda contains this fact

The sun does never rise or set. When people think the sun is setting (it is not so). For after having arrived at the end of the day it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making night to what is below and day to what is on the other side. When they believe it rises in the morning (this supposed rising is thus to be explained for). Having reached the end of the night, it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making night to what is below and day to what is on the other side." 1, 2

Although there is no unanimous conclusion on dating of the text, it may be as old as 2000 BC or 1st millennium BCE.

Is there any other text that contains this fact before or in the time range of the above mentioned text?

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    $\begingroup$ It is extremely difficult to authenticate very old document, if it ever existed. Please don't trust Wikipedia or take it by word because anyone can edit and people can say whatever they want- it has become almost a political narrative. Until and unless, there is an original document, one should not believe anything as a serious scholar of scientific history or science. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Dec 26, 2019 at 3:13
  • $\begingroup$ @M.Farooq Which part of the question needs more authenticity? the dating of the text or the statements quoted from the text? $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Dec 26, 2019 at 3:37
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    $\begingroup$ That updated reference seems to clarify that the connotation of sunrise or sunset is not scientific, but the Sun is being referred to as a diety or a living object "which inverts himself" See pg. 193 of the book archive.org/details/rigvedabrahmana00keitgoog/page/n210 $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Dec 26, 2019 at 4:08
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    $\begingroup$ @M.Farooq they view sun as a deity. But from the context it is clear that rise and set w.r.t sun (as an object). Suppose if a statement contains sun god produces heat. Can we argue that it is property as a deity but not for physical sun? $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Dec 26, 2019 at 5:02
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    $\begingroup$ @M.Farooq they treated both as heavenly object and as a deity. And you can read from the text that there is no concept of rise and set for any other deity except sun. So it is clearly the physical phenomenon they are talking about. $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Dec 26, 2019 at 5:04

2 Answers 2

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The sun, and its daily and yearly cycles, is one of the most important aspects of life on Earth, so it features prominently in many traditions, often in the form of a "solar deity". Within these myths, there are many different mythological explanations for sunset and sunrise - the sun might die and be reborn, travel out of sight through another land, or simply rest until the morning.

Given this variety of explanations, there is nothing particularly surprising about the idea that the sun turns to face some other land at the end of the day. There is a contrast in the cited passage with some other explanation, but it's not clear what the original writer would have meant by the phrase "when people think the sun is setting" - sunset is, after all, a real phenomenon. Possibly there was an alternative tradition that the sun deity died and was reborn (as did, for instance, the Ancient Egyptian Ra), and this writer was asserting that it "lived" continuously (as did, for instance, the Ancient Greek Helios).

Nor does the passage quoted actually match our modern scientific understanding in any detail. There is no singular moment where all observers would see the sun "reaching the end of the day"; rather, at every moment, it is sunset somewhere in the world. Nor does the sun "make itself produce two opposite effects"; it continues its same brightness, just obscured by the shadow of the Earth.

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  • $\begingroup$ Persons who are experts in Hinduism texts as well as Sanskrit language already discussed and translated it properly. My question is not about the interpretation of the translated statement. I'm asking mention of the fact before the text from which the passage was cited. $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Jan 2, 2020 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/12365/… $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Jan 2, 2020 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @hanugm Your question is based on the premise that this particular text contains a "fact" about the sunset. I see no such fact in the quoted text, only one myth among many, that has no noteworthy parallels with modern science. $\endgroup$
    – IMSoP
    Jan 2, 2020 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ my argument is that you are treating it as a myth because of the reason that you are seeing the cited and translated statement along with some other (probably) myths and you might not have total understanding on the language in which the scriptures written (Sanskrit) and the Hindu traditions. I'm saying that it is fact and you can see in the link provided in the comment above that Hindu community and experts of scriptures agree with it. $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Jan 2, 2020 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ @hanugm It is certainly not a "fact" that the sun "inverts itself" or "produces two opposite effects", which is what this particular text claims. If there are equally old texts that show a clear correspondence to modern science, you should quote those in the question; this particular text seems unremarkable, so the answer to what older texts are similar could include any equally unremarkable belief. $\endgroup$
    – IMSoP
    Jan 2, 2020 at 16:34
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The reference [22] from Wikipedia on "Aitareya Brahmana" quotes an English work A remarkable Vedic Theory, which in turn is based on a German work. I used DeepL to translate the quoted text in the reference:

"Interessant ist die Angabe des Ai. Bra. (iii, 44), dass die Sonne wirklich weder aufnoch untergeht, sondern dadurch dass sie sich umdreht, inden unteren Regionen, d.h. auf der Erde, abwechselnd Tag und Nacht hervorbringt. Wie die Sonne vom Westen zum Punktedes Anfangs zuruckkehrt, daruber geben die vedischen Texte keinen Aufschluss."

[Translation] Interesting is the indication of the Ai. Bra. (iii, 44), that the sun really neither rises nor sets, but by turning around, in the lower regions, i.e. on the earth, alternately produces day and night. The Vedic texts do not explain how the sun returns from the west to the point of the beginning.

The OP provides a reference "Rigveda Brahmanas" from the Internet Archive, which quotes the similar text that the Sun never sets. A quick search of the word Sun shows that it occurs mainly in the context of Sun being treated as a deity as well as a home of deities.

One such example is

the sun is the world of the gods, and the fathers are the world of the fathers, verily thus they ascend from the world of the fathers to the world of the gods. or The divine lordly power is the sun ; the sun is the overlord of these beings.

Therefore, it is not surprising to find the main context of Sun never setting or rising statement. Immediately after the Sun never setting or rising, a statement like this appears

he (sun) never really sets or rises. In that they think of him He is setting ', verily having reached the end of the day, he inverts himself ; thus he makes evening below, day above. Again in that they think of him ' He is rising in the morning, verily having reached the end of night he inverts 'himself ; thus he makes day below, night above. He never sets ; indeed he never sets, union with him and identity of form and world he attains

The use of capital H in "He" makes it clear that Sun is being treated as a deity, which inverts itself to cause day and night. Thus it is hard to associate a scientific meaning with this statement.

Praying and worshipping the Sun, is apparently prehistoric. One should not extract a scientific meaning from a coincidental mention of Sun never setting in a very old literature, which may have changed over a course of centuries. It is very clear that Sun is being referred to a deity in the context that it will not set. This Sun worship practice dates even before the time of prophet Abraham (the forefather of Judaism, Christianity and Islam), and apparently he also briefly worshipped the Sun before quickly denouncing and devoting himself to a single God. Certainly the dating of this Sun worship practice must be more than 2000 years old.

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  • $\begingroup$ Then what about sun never rises? $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Dec 26, 2019 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ And it clearly says that they think that sun rises and sets, which clarifies that it is a physical phenomenon. Else you can show that who will think that sun deity rises and sets. $\endgroup$
    – hanugm
    Dec 26, 2019 at 5:43
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    $\begingroup$ How would you explain "He is rising in the morning, verily having reached the end of night he inverts 'himself ; thus he makes day below, night above." other than considering Sun as a deity which inverts itself. Search the word Sun in your internet archive reference. It occurs more than 130 times. See what context is being used for the Sun in majority of the cases. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Dec 26, 2019 at 5:51
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    $\begingroup$ Even if we forget about Sun being worshiped, the inversion process nullifies the coincidental mention of Sun never setting or rising. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Dec 26, 2019 at 5:52
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    $\begingroup$ Heh, reading the wikipedia page, at least one other person had the same interpretation of the passage: "According to K. C. Chattopadhyaya, the verse simply implies that the sun has two sides: one bright and the other dark" $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2022 at 10:40

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