(1) The king said: 'Your lordship described how the most powerful god of the sun moves around Mount Meru and Dhruvaloka leaving them to his right side, ànd that he, with the different signs of the zodiac right in front of him, leaves them to his left. What should we think about that?'
(2) To that he [S'uka] clearly stated: 'Just as what one sees with the movements of small ants spinning around on a potter's wheel, who because of their changing positions experience a different orientation, such a difference can also be observed with the movement [of the sun and the planets] in relation to Meru and Dhruvaloka [the central heap of stars and the galaxy center]. With the stars moving around [that center], the two are located at their right side, but because of the individual movements of the planets lead by the sun upon that rotating wheel of time, the sun and planets that are observed in different mansions and constellations are evidently of another progress.
(3) He [that solar lead of time], this supremely powerful Original Person who is Nârâyana Himself, the Supersoul of the three Vedic principles who is there for the benefit and karmic purification of all the worlds, is the cause sought by all saintly and Vedic knowing. He divides the year, as He thinks fit, in its twelve parts and arranges the six seasons beginning with spring with their different qualities. (4) The people here who, in respect of the threefold of Vedic knowledge follow the higher or more earthly standards of the status orientations [of varna and âs'rama], attain without difficulty the ultimate benefit of life when they worship Him full of faith with ritual activities and grow in the science of uniting their consciousness [in yoga]. (5) He now, the Soul of all the worlds, who [in the form of the sun] has entered the wheel of time in a position between heaven and earth, passes through the twelve divisions of the year consisting of the months that are named after the signs of the zodiac. The scholars teach that they [according to the moon] are divided in bright and dark halves or [fifteen day] fortnights and that, following their instruction, the six portions of its orbit called ritu or season calculated to the stars each cover two and a quarter constellations [thus one speaks of twelve or more constellations]. (6) They also say that the period of time the sun moves through [the visible] half of outer space is called an ayana. (7) The time that the passage of the sun takes moving through both the spheres above and below, speeding slow, fast or moderate, is in the descriptions of the scholars, discussed as a samvatsara [a solar year], a parivatsara [one twelfth of a revolution of Jupiter], an idâvatsara [a day of the gods consisting of 360 solar days] an anuvatsara [a lunar year comprising twelve lunations] and a vatsara [a year to the ecliptic in terms of the 27 lunar mansions or nakshatras, see also 3.11: 14].
(8) By the sunlit moon that is situated a hundred thousand yojanas [astronomy: ± 385.000 km] above [the earth] and is moving much faster [than the sun], in the course of a month [two 'fifteen day periods'] a distance is covered which takes the sun a whole year, is in two and a quarter day a distance described which takes the sun a month and is in one day a part of the sky traversed which by the sun is covered in fourteen days. (9) The moon, changing its phases, waxes to the [full] part of the moon that is of the demigods and wanes to the [dark] part of the moon that is of the forefathers. In [about] thirty muhûrtas [a full day] per nakshatra one after the other passing the lunar mansions, it with its waxing and waning constitutes the division of the days [of the gods] and the nights [of the forefathers] of the sum total of all living entities. Thus it is considered the jîva or essence of their life. (10) This moon with all its sixteen aspects [concerning the senses, their objects and the mind] is by the scholars described as the Supreme Person, the predominating deity of the mind, the power source of all food who represents all the delight in life. He is considered the refreshing, all-pervading life breath [prâna] of all the gods, ancestors, human beings and all other living entities like the mammals, the birds, the reptiles and the plants.
(11) [More than] two hundred thousand yojanas behind [the moon], there are [spinning] with Meru to the right, to the many stars that by the Supreme Controller were attached to the wheel of time, the twenty-eight lunar mansions including Abhijit.
(12) At a distance of two hundred thousand yojanas there about [about the star center or the sun; astronomy: at a distance of 107 million km] there is Us'anâ [Venus], the planet that can be seen going in front, behind and rotating along with the sun just as fast, slow or with a moderate speed. It is of all the planets the one considered to exert as good as always a favorable influence in the form of rainfall, it by its movements neutralizes the influence of planets that obstruct rainfall.
(13) Another two hundred thousand yojanas behind Venus [astronomy: 57.9 million km from the sun], so is explained, Budha [Mercury] is situated, the son of the moon. It is as good as always working auspiciously, but during the time it is not moving along with the sun, there is almost always an increase of fearful conditions like draughts, a closed sky and stormy conditions.
(14) At two hundred thousand yojanas outside of our orbit one also finds Angâraka [Mars, astronomy: at about 228 million km from the sun]. If it doesn't make a curve it passes by three fortnights each, one after another the twelve signs of the zodiac. It is as good as always an unfavorable planet causing trouble.
(15) Two hundred thousand yojanas outside of Mars [astronomy: 778.3 million km from the sun] one finds the most powerful planet of Brihaspati [Jupiter] which, if it doesn't run a curve, takes a year [a parivatsara] to move through a single constellation. It almost always turns out to work in favor of the family of the brahmins.
(16) Two hundred thousand yojanas behind it is situated S'anais'cara [Saturn, astronomy: 1.43 billion km from the sun], that takes a period of thirty months to travel through a single sign of the zodiac. Being that slow it takes an equal number of years [30 anuvatsaras] to cover all of them. It means almost always a lot of trouble to all.
(17) At 1.1 million yojanas beyond that planet are situated the [seven] great sages [represented by the seven stars of the Great Bear, Ursa Major] who always consider the good fortune of the inhabitants of all the worlds. They clockwise circumambulate the transcendental abode of the Supreme Lord Vishnu [the center of the stars].'