The Sarvasiddhāntattvacūḍāmaṇi or ‘Crest-jewel of the Essence of all Systems of Astronomy’, is a comparison in Sanskrit of the astronomical systems of Europe, Islam and India.
The author of this work is Durgāshankara Pāthaka, a well-known astronomer from Benares. The manuscript contains full-page paintings of representations of the signs of the Zodiac and of the constellations according to Indian and European conceptions. It also includes traditional representations of the cosmography of the Hindus centred on Mount Meru as well as many other paintings of the planets and lunar mansions.
At the beginning of the manuscript are portraits of Gurū Nānāk (1469–1539) and Gurū Gobind Singh (1666–1708), the first and the last in a lineage of ten human Gurus under which Sikhism flourished. Also included are a portrait of a boy with a halo, and one of a woman, presumably his mother. These are thought to be of Naunihāl Singh, grandson of the first ruler of the Sikh Empire, Ranjīt Singh (1780–1839), and of his mother, Rānī Chand Kaur.
Why is it significant?
This manuscript is a presentation volume apparently commissioned in 1839 by Kharak Singh (1801–1840), the eldest son and heir of Mahārājā Ranjīt Singh. The point of departure for this lavishly illustrated astronomical treatise was apparently the horoscope (janampatra) of his son, Prince Naunihāl Singh.