He seems merely to be projecting in the poem such a position for the planets, etc., as would be propitious for a copious rainfall. The month of Simha seems therefore necessary to be postulated in that connection.

Then there is one statement in the poem itself, that the star Agastya (Canopus) abandons his position on high (in the zenith) and enters Mithuna when "scorching summer gives place to the rains."1 According to Hindu Astrology, the heliacal setting of Agastya begins at the commencement of the rainy season and his heliacal rising is a general indication of the cessation of the rains. In some parts of the country there are ceremonies performed in propitiation of Agastya for rains at the commencement of the rainy season. The authorities for this are fully described by Mr. R. Ganapati Ayyar, B.A , B.L., in the Tamil Journal, Sen-Tamil, in Vol. XIX, No. 11, October 1921. Hence it is open to us to make the inference that the poet had no other object in view in giving these astronomical details in the poem than to describe the coming of the rainy season with the planets in such position as to produce an abundant rainfall. Strict astronomy perhaps is not to be expected here, and perhaps, false astronomy from the scientific point of view, may even be possible.

1 Vide Proceedings of the First Oriental Conference at Poona, pp. 448-9 for another movement of Canopus.

That I am not alone in this view will become clear from the following extracts from the letters of Professor Jacobi (to whom I acknowledge my obligations with gratitude) who was so good as to put himself to the trouble of investigating the matter on my account and giving me the results of his investigations.

Letter dated 4th May 1922.

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"After having looked at the matter from all points of view imaginable, I have arrived at the persuasion that the horoscope has been invented by the author, because it is astronomically impossible."

* * * * *

"Now, it is not difficult to guess what prompted the author to assign to the planets and the Sun the positions stated in the horoscope under discussion. For he places the Sun and the five planets in those Rasis of which they are the Adiphas (cf'. Laghu Jataka I. 8) where they are the most powerful {Ib. II. 4). Only the Moon is not in his dominion, because in an eclipse, which is a very auspicious moment, he stands opposite the Sun. The author had the dominions of the planets before his mind; for describing the place of Jupiter he mentions that he was next to the two signs belonging: to Saturn; and the latter was in the sign next to that belonging to the former. So I think we can account for the places which the author assigned to the several planets. Now, if the horoscope is, as I believe to have proved, altogether fictive, it may not be used for chronological purposes, and the Age of Early Tamil Literature must be proved by literary and historical arguments as you have tried to do."

Letter dated 15th October 1922.

"1 beg to thank on for your kind letter of 20th Sep-tember about the horoscope in the Paripadal and the date to be assigned to it. You refer to Mr. L. D. Swamikkannu Pillai who kindly visited and discussed the whole question with me. The divergence of our results was caused by the difference of interpretation of the passage in the Paripadal. Mr. Swamikkannu has given his interpretation in Indian Ephemeris, I, Part I, p. 109; I went on your interpretation which is also that of the commentator Parimela agar. The points of difference are: (1) The commentator understands the passage, 'at first dawn, when Krttika stood high up' to mean that Krttika was culminating just before sunrise, thus indicating the place of the Sun and implicitly that of the Moon and Rahu; but Mr. Swamikkannu denies to the statement any astronomical signification assigning it only this meaning that the Krttikas were high up in the sky, i.e., at a good altitude above the horizon. (2) The commentator places Saturn in Makara, Mr. Swamikkannu at the end of Dhanus. The point is of less importance.

Now, if the commentator is right regarding (1), then as I told you in my last letter and has also been pointed out by Mr. Swamikkannu 1. c. p. 101, the positions of Mercury and Venus are impossible. Nor can we avoid this difficulty by assuming that not the true planets, but mean planets are intended; because the place of mean Mercury and mean Venus always coincides with that of the Sun (cf. Surya Siddhauta, I, 29). My conclusion, therefore, was that the horoscope in question is not a real one, but has been freely invented by the author as in the horoscopes of Rama, Yudhishtira, Buddha, etc., the idea of the poet being that the planets should have been in the signs which are their own houses as the commentator puts it. Such a horoscope is, of course, without any value for chronological purposes. If, on the other hand, Mr. Swamikkannu's interpretation, is admitted, then his chronological conclusions must also be accepted; for it goes without saying that his calculations can be relied on without reserve. The whole question, therefore, depends on the right interpretation of the original passage, and as I am ignorant of Tamil, I must leave the decision of the question to those who know it and are well versed in its old literature. I may, however, call attention to one point. The statement that "Krttika stood high up" occurs in the midst of entirely astrological items; hence it was very likely also intended to convey an astrological information, viz., that suggested by the commentator. Besides, as the whole passage no doubt states a horoscope, it would be strange indeed, if it contained no explicit hint about the place of the Sun, the Moon, and Rahu. But whether this course of reasoning is borne out by the mental habits of ancient Tamil writers, is beyond my ken. I have stated the case and my way of looking at it; now it is for you to decide the matter."

In the light of these remarks of the veteran scholar, and Mr. Swamikkannu Pillai's own, "Horoscopes are liable to all the failings to which human compositions are subject and unless one was certain of all the elements in a horoscope having been recorded, the time inference drawn therefrom may turn out to he widely discrepant from the truth," I may be excused if I hesitate to accept the conclusion of my friend in regard to the date indicated by the horoscopic