Science in Vedas
The core foundation of Hindu belief is that Vedas contain source of all knowledge – physical or metaphysical. However in last 100 odd years, this belief has come under scrutiny due to the advances that modern science claims to make.
An entire group of Vedic ‘experts’ have stood up to prove that Vedas contain early man theories and are not compatible with modern discoveries. These include communist historians propelled by commentaries on Vedas by western ideologists like Max Muller, Griffith et al and a new breed of intellectuals who initiate all research with assumption that ‘old means defective’.
However in modern era of religious marketing, another group has come up which would go to any length to discover scientific errors in Vedas. This is the group which would want 800 million Hindus to lose faith in Vedas and their religion and embrace what they believe is the final message of God.
Yes I am referring to Islamic and Christian evangelists.
While both these groups of evangelists are propelled by vision of making everyone in world a follower of their respective Holy Books, the situation is even more desperate for Quran zealots. This is because a bulk of Islamic evangelists believes that Jesus will come again towards end of the world after which they would reach Paradise forever. And an important sign of Jesus’ coming is conquest of India. I do not know the original source of this superstition, but this remains a primary motivator for most Islamic evangelists today.
Thus every now and then, we would see references to ‘Scientific Errors in Vedas’. The typical pattern would be English translation of some mantra followed by a Veda Mantra reference. For example
“Earth is flat” – Yajur Ved 32.8″.
Often the reference and English translation are both pointing to sources best known to authors of these works. But for layman, these create a lot of confusion and doubt over relevance of Vedas. While I would shy away from thrusting my personal faith on Vedas, I would like to provide some excerpts from Vedas that provide clues to deep scientific concepts hidden within them.
Unfortunately, due to thousand years of slavery, burning of our universities and libraries by barbarians and then demands for tackling issues of survival first, there remains a lot of work to be done to rediscover the Vedic sciences. However, sufficient clues exist to justify why this rediscovery would be worthwhile. In this article, I shall provide some brief snippets of such clues.
A point of note: Vedas not being dogmatic in nature and containing eternal truths do not try to spoon-feed us. Thus Vedas would contain seeds for all forms of knowledge and would urge humans to explore further. Because in the Vedic framework, it’s our efforts that can provide us bliss.
MOTION OF EARTH
Rig Veda 10.22.14
“This earth is devoid of hands and legs, yet it moves ahead. All the objects over the earth also move with it. It moves around the sun.
In this mantra,
Kshaa = Earth (refer Nigantu 1.1)
Ahastaa = without hands
Apadee = without legs
Vardhat = moves ahead
Shushnam Pari = Around the sun
Pradakshinit = revolves
Rig Veda 10.149.1
“The sun has tied Earth and other planets through attraction and moves them around itself as if a trainer moves newly trained horses around itself holding their reins.”
In this mantra,
Savita = Sun
Yantraih = through reins
Prithiveem = Earth
Aramnaat = Ties
Dyaam Andahat = Other planets in sky as well
Atoorte = Unbreakable
Baddham = Holds
Ashwam Iv Adhukshat = Like horses
Rig Veda 8.12.28
“O Indra! by putting forth your mighty rays, which possess the qualities of gravitation and attraction-illumination and motion – keep up the netire universe in order through the Power of your attraction.”
Rig Veda 1.6.5, Rig Veda 8.12.30.
“O God, You have created this Sun. You possess infinite power. You are upholding the sun and other spheres and render them steadfast by your power of attraction.
Yajur Veda 33.43
“The sun moves in its own orbit in space taking along with itself the mortal bodies like earth through force of attraction.”
Rig Veda 1.35.9
“The sun moves in its own orbit but holding earth and other heavenly bodies in a manner that they do not collide with each other through force of attraction.
Rig Veda 1.164.13
“Sun moves in its orbit which itself is moving. Earth and other bodies move around sun due to force of attraction, because sun is heavier than them.
Atharva Veda 4.11.1
“The sun has held the earth and other planets”
LIGHT OF MOON
Rig Veda 1.84.15
“The moving moon always receives a ray of light from sun”
Rig Veda 10.85.9
“Moon decided to marry. Day and Night attended its wedding. And sun gifted his daughter “Sun ray” to Moon.”
Rig Veda 5.40.5
“O Sun! When you are blocked by the one whom you gifted your own light (moon), and then earth gets scared by sudden darkness.”
“SCIENCE OF BUILDING SHIPS AND AIRPLANES”:
Swami Dayanand has detailed Mantras regarding these in his Vedic commentary and Introduction to Vedas” (1876). The scientists of IISc concluded that the mechanism of airplane as suggested by Dayanand is feasible. The first manned plane was built 20 years after death of Swami Dayanand.
The verses are difficult to translate in English here, but readers are advised to review “Introduction to Vedas” by Swami Dayanand or interpretations of following mantras: Rig Veda 1.116.3, 1.116.4, 10.62.1, 1.116.5, 1.116.6, 1.34.2, 1.34.7, 1.48.8 etc.
SCIENCE OF TELEGRAPHY
Rig Veda 1.119.10
“With the help of bipolar forces (Aswins), you should employ telegraphic apparatus made of good conductor of electricity. It is necessary for efficient military operations but should be used with caution.”
I am also attaching a few pdfs of the scientific advancements of ancient India. These are developed by Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage.
I hope this would be sufficient to at least drive the need for further exploration of our scientific heritage originating from Vedas.
Scientific and Technological Heritage, we claim these are Indian discoveries…
SURPRISING IDEAS IN THE VEDIC TEXTS
It was Herodotus who first spoke of the idea of the wonders of the ancient world. He was, of course, talking only of monumental art. There is a list of the wonders from the Greek world that was compiled in the Middle Ages. This list has the great pyramid of Giza, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the lighthouse of Alexandria. Only one of these seven survives.
There are other lists too that are not Greek-centric. We have marvels of art and architecture from China, Mexico, Europe, Peru, Iran, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and other countries. Not all of these marvels are in a good state of repair. Some are under the threat of destruction. Three of the most magnificent creations were lost in Afghanistan just recently.
But here I don’t wish to speak of wonders of stone and metal. Rather, I wish to propose a list of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient Mind’. These are revolutionary and astonishing ideas that have had a lasting influence on the world. Not surprisingly, it is hard for us to place these ideas in context. For most of them, we cannot name the originator.
Such lists are subjective, and mine is no exception. I had to leave out many obviously impressive ideas, such as airplanes, space travel, weapons that can destroy the world, embryo transplantation, multiple babies from the same embryo, space travel, and so on–from just the Mahabharata and the Puranas. (Lest I be misunderstood, we are not speaking of real planes, bombs, and biotechnology, but rather of the conception of their possibility.)
The ideas that I chose are perhaps more fundamental than those above that I left out. Ultimately, I used the criterion of not just originality, but continuing relevance and sheer improbability of the thought of it in the ancient world.
Here’s my list of the seven most astonishing ideas:
1. An Extremely Old Universe:
The idea that the universe is very old is quite startling, when one notes that humanity’s collective memory doesn’t go further than a few thousand years. The universe is taken to go through cycles of creation and destruction. This conception also assumes infinite number of solar systems.
2. An Atomic World and the Subject/Object Dichotomy:
According to the atomic doctrine of Kanada, there are nine classes of substances: ether, space, and time that are continuous; four elementary substances (or particles) called earth, air, water, and fire that are atomic; and two kinds of mind, one omnipresent and another which is the individual. This system also postulates a subject/object dichotomy, which is a part of the systems of Sankhya and Vedanta as well. In these systems, the conscious subject is separate from the material reality but he is, nevertheless, able to direct its evolution. The atomic doctrine of Kanada is much more interesting than that of Democritus. It is the recognition of the subject/object dichotomy that led to the creation of modern physics.
3. Relativity of Time and Space:
That space and time need not flow at the same rate for different observers is a pretty revolutionary notion. We encounter it in Puranic stories and in the Yoga Vasishtha. Obviously, we are not speaking here of the mathematical theory of relativity related to an upper limit to the speed of light, yet the consideration of time acting different to different observers is quite remarkable. To see the significance of this idea a couple of thousand years ago, note that modern relativity theory was forced upon scientists a hundred years ago by certain equations related to the transmission of electromagnetic waves. Here’s a passage on anomalous flow of time from the Bhagavata Purana: “Taking his own daughter, Revati, Kakudmi went to Lord Brahma in Brahmaloka, and inquired about a husband for her. When Kakudmi arrived there, Lord Brahma was engaged in hearing musical performances by the Gandharvas and had not a moment to talk with him. Therefore Kakudmi waited, and at the end of the performance he saluted Lord Brahma and made his desire known. After hearing his words, Lord Brahma laughed loudly and said to Kakudmi, ‘O King, all those whom you may have decided within the core of your heart to accept as your son-in-law have passed away in the course of time. Twenty-seven chaturyugas have already passed. Those upon whom you may have decided are now gone, and so are their sons, grandsons and other descendants. You cannot even hear about their names.’”
There are other stories, less dramatic, where an observer returns from a journey to another loka, and finds that people he loves have aged many more decades than he has.
4. Evolution of Life:
The Puranas have a chapter on creation and the rise of mankind. It is said that man arose at the end of a chain where the beginning was with plants and various kind of animals. Here’s the quote from the Yoga Vasishtha: “I remember that once upon a time there was nothing on this earth, neither trees and plants, nor even mountains. For a period of eleven thousand years the earth was covered by lava. In those days there was neither day nor night below the polar region: for in the rest of the earth neither the sun nor the moon shone. Only one half of the polar region was illumined. Apart from the polar region the rest of the earth was covered with water. And then for a very long time the whole earth was covered with forests, except the polar region. Then there arose great mountains, but without any human inhabitants. For a period of ten thousand years the earth was covered with the corpses of the asuras who roamed the world.”
Vedic evolution is not at variance with Darwinian evolution but it has a different focus. The urge to evolve into higher forms is taken to be inherent in nature. A system of an evolution from inanimate to progressively higher life is clearly spelled out in the system of Sankhya. At the traditional level this is represented by an ascent of Vishnu through the forms of fish, tortoise, boar, man-lion, the dwarf, finally into man. Aurobindo has argued that this evolution of intelligence is still at work.
5. A Science of Mind, Yoga:
Yoga psychology, described in the Vedic books and systematized by Patanjali in his Yoga-sutras is a very sophisticated description of the nature of the human mind and its capacity. It makes a distinction between memory, states of awareness, and the fundamental entity of consciousness. It puts the analytical searchlight on mind processes, and it does so with such clarity and originality that it continues to influence people all over the world. Several kinds of yoga are described. They provide a means of mastering the body-mind connection. Indian music and dance also has an underlying yogic basis.
6. Binary Number System, Zero:
A Binary number system was used by Pingala (450 BC, if we accept the tradition that he was Panini’s brother) to represent meters of songs. The structure of this number system may have helped in the invention of the sign for Zero that, I believe, took place around 50 BC – 50 AD. Without the binary system, the development of computers would be much harder; and without a sign for zero, mathematics would have languished. It is of course true that the binary number system was independently invented by Leibnitz in 1678, but the fact that the rediscovery had to wait almost 2,000 years only emphasizes the originality of Pingala’s idea.
7. A Complete Grammar, Limitation of Language:
The Ashtadhyayi is a grammar of the Sanskrit language by Dakshiputra Panini (450 BC) that describes the entire language in 4,000 algebraic rules. The structure of this grammar contains a meta-language, meta-rules, and other technical devices that make this system effectively equivalent to the most powerful computing machine. No grammar of similar power has yet been constructed for any other language since. The famous American scholar Leonard Bloomfield called Panini’s achievement as “one of the greatest monuments of human intelligence.”
The other side to the discovery of this grammar is the idea that language (as a formal system) cannot describe reality completely. This limitation of language, the rishis tell us, is why the Truth can only be experienced and never described fully!
VEDANTA AND PHYSICS:
Let me now talk of a savant who followed Vedic ideas and was inspired enough to create a modern theory that has transformed the world. I have in mind the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who was arguably one of the two greatest scientists of the 20th century. If Albert Einstein is celebrated for his creation of the theory of relativity, Erwin Schrödinger is equally famous for his creation of Quantum mechanics, the deepest theory at the basis of outer reality. Quantum mechanics went so far beyond the already radical framework of relativity that Einstein refused to accept it to his last day. Without quantum theory, advances in chemistry and electronics that are the foundation of modern technology would have been impossible.
It is a fact that the great European scientists have searched for truth by first abandoning the narrow theologies of the religion into which they were born. But for Schrödinger, Vedic ideas provided the very foundation for his uncompromising search for meaning.
It is not generally known that before he created quantum mechanics he expressed his intention to give form to central ideas of Vedanta which, therefore, has had a role in the birth of quantum mechanics. In 1925, before his revolutionary theory was complete, Erwin Schrödinger wrote:
This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the “whole”; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear: tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”
Schrödinger’s influential What is Life?(1944) also used Vedic ideas. The book became instantly famous although it was criticized by some for its emphasis on Indian ideas. Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA code, credited this book for key insights that led him to his revolutionary discovery. According to his biographer Walter Moore, there is a clear continuity between Schrödinger’s understanding of Vedanta and his research:
The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles. During the next few years, Schrödinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on superimposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the Vedantic concept of All in One.
Schrödinger was born on August 12, 1887. He became a Vedantist, a Hindu, as a result of his studies in his search for truth. He kept a copy of the Hindu scriptures at his bedside. He read books onVedas, yoga, and Sankhya philosophy, and he reworked them into his own words, and ultimately came to believe them. The Upanishads and theBhagavad-gita were his favorite scriptures.
According to his biographer Moore, “His system–or that of the Upanishads–is delightful and consistent: the self and the world are one and they are all. He rejected traditional western religious beliefs (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) not on the basis of any reasoned argument, nor even with an expression of emotional antipathy, for he loved to use religious expressions and metaphors, but simply by saying that they are naive.”
Schrödinger was a professor at several universities in Europe. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1933. During the Hitler era he was dismissed from his position for his opposition to the Nazi ideas and he fled to England. For some years he was in Ireland, but after the conclusion of World War II he returned to Vienna where he died in 1961.
Quantum mechanics goes beyond ordinary logic. According to it reality is a superposition of all possibilities which restates Vedic ideas. It is quantum mechanics which explains the mysteries of chemical reactions and of life. In recent years, it has been suggested that the secrets of consciousness have a quantum basis.
In a famous essay on determinism and free will, he expressed very clearly the sense that consciousness is a unity, arguing that this “insight is not new… From the early great Upanishads the recognition Atman = Brahman (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.”
He considered the idea of pluralization of consciousness and the notion of many souls to be naive. He considered the notion of plurality to be a result of deception (maya): “the same illusion is produced by a gallery of mirrors, and in the same way Gaurisankar and Mt. Everest turned out to be the same peak seen from different valleys.”
Schrödinger’s ideas continue to be fundamental in a variety of new fields. The wonders of modern science, such as electronics, biology, chemistry, wouldn’t have been possible without the insights of quantum theory. The possibilities inherent in quantum theory have not all been realized. Schrödinger remains one of the most discussed figures in modern scientific thought. His ideas will continue to inspire science.
Schrödinger was a very complex person. But he had a sense of humor and paradox. He called his dog Atman. Perhaps he did this to honour Yudhishthira whose own dog, an incarnation of cosmic justice (Dharma), accompanied him on his last march to the Himalayas. More likely, he was calling attention to the unity that pervades the web of life.
EVOLUTION AND RELIGION
The West has seen a Cold War between science and religion going back to Charles Darwin. His subversive thought that man evolved out of apes had a chilling effect on religion; it freed science from the meddling by church, giving birth to the modern age. Western religion has retreated from one defensive position to another. After a few decades it conceded that animals may have evolved, insisting man was special. By now that the idea of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve has been discarded, the fight has shifted from the creation of man to whether God created the first life. The church is certain that life couldn’t have arisen without an intelligent designer.
In the West, evolution theory has led to a loss of the traditional religious belief. If nature could be explained naturalistically, then there is no place for an anthropomorphic God. The church having retired from the academic debate, the main fight in the academy is between those who believe that biology can determine human behavior to a great degree and others who claim that for man biology stands superseded by the world of culture, with its own laws of interaction and evolution.
Western and Indian thought are divided on the argument for design. In the West, thinkers from Aquinas to Newton maintain that nature manifests the design of a preexistent mind or the Creator. This idea helps to define the Westerner’s personal sense of purpose and meaning.
In Indian thought, there is no separation between the Creator (the preexistent mind) and the universe. Consciousness is taken to be the fundamental characteristic of reality out of which material nature and individual minds emerge. Laws govern physical processes, but individuals remain free.
Evolution is basic to this view. Life is seen to have evolved over millions of years in a manner that makes the cell mirror the cosmos. This is expressed in the famous sentence: yat pinde tad brahmande, ‘as in the cell so in the universe’.
From Consciousness arises matter (prakriti), and matter evolves as the balance between its three attributes (gunas) called sattva, rajas and tamas changes. This is the principle of Vedic evolution as given in Kapila’s Sankhya darshan. Even mind evolves out of matter. The evolutionary sequence goes through many levels. There exist tattvas (principles) that lead to the emergence of life out of inert matter. These tattvas, which include the various sensory and motor capacities, are latent in matter. The chain of sensory organ adaptations may be seen amongst the animals.
The gunas are not to be taken as abstract principles alone. Indian thought believes that structure in nature is recursive, and the gunas show up in various forms at different levels of expression. For example, at the cellular level, the genetic informational flow is sattva, the metabolic activity israjas, and the membrane that provides identity to the cell is tamas.
Texts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas speak of evolution of life at many places. Earth is not considered unique regarding life. We are told that there exist countless planetary worlds, which go through cycles of evolution and decline. Hindu cosmology speaks of recursive cycles of creation and destruction.
The texts imply that ingredients for the growth of life are available throughout the universe. Infinite numbers of universes are conceived, so as a new one is created like a bubble in an ocean of bubbles, life elements from other existing universes migrate and at a suitable time lead to larger life forms. This idea supports the notion of an extra-terrestrial source of life on Earth. (On September 28, 1969, a meteorite fell over Murchison, Australia. Analysis of the meteorite revealed that it was rich with amino acids. The Murchison meteorite shows that the Earth may have acquired some of its amino acids and other organic compounds from outer space.)
The story of Vishnu’s avataras is seen by some to represent evolution through the stages of fish, tortoise, boar, man-lion, dwarf, Rama the axe-man, Rama (the ethical man), Krishna (the spiritual man).
The Indic idea of structure showing up at different levels may be seen in the parallels between biological and linguistic evolution. Their analogies may be divided into four principal types. In historical and comparative linguistics, species with individuals capable of interbreeding are compared to the mutually comprehensible speakers of a language. In the study of animal behavior, genes coding for physical and behavioral traits are compared to fragments of culture capable of transmission and expression. In evolutionary epistemology or history of ideas, competing scientific concepts are compared to interacting organisms in an environment in an intellectual ecology. Finally, there is an analogy between the processes in living cells and processes in the brains of persons. Each cell listens to and comprehends its own DNA speech stream; likewise, the human language helps to generate and maintain a stable network if mental reactions (mental metabolism) by means of the ongoing inner dialogue.
DRIVING FORCES IN EVOLUTION
The idea of evolution was originally taken to be a linear, ladder-climbing ascent from simple life to humans. Darwin assumed blended inheritance, in which if an organism inherits certain factors, A and B, from its parents, it passes a factor which is a blending of A and B to its offspring. But evolution cannot proceed with such a theory: the variation needed for evolution disappears rapidly as it is blended out of existence.
The next advance was provided by the Mendelian theory of heredity where the organism preserves the inheritance from the father and the mother, without blending it. The idea of such non-blending genetic inheritance is also in the Garbha Upanishad.
Mendelian ideas combined with Darwinian ideas provide a synthetic theory of evolution that has been called neo-Darwinism. In this theory, although mutation is recognized as the ultimate source of genetic variation, natural selection is given the dominant role in shaping the genetic make-up of populations and in the process of gene substitution.
In the 1960s, Mitoo Kimura proposed that molecular evolution was mainly driven not by natural selection but by random drift among equally well-adapted sequence variants. This theory (neutral theory of molecular evolution) contends that a neutral drift is the cause of most of the evolutionary change at the molecular level; also, much of the variability within species is caused not by positive selection of advantageous alleles, or by balancing selection, but by random genetic drift of mutant alleles that are selectively neutral.
Evidence supporting the neutral theory includes the discovery that synonymous base substitutions, which do not cause amino acid changes, almost always occur at much higher rate than no synonymous (amino acid altering) substitutions. Evolutionary base substitutions at introns also occur at a comparatively high rate. This is because the changes that are subjected to natural selection will include many that are deleterious and so unlikely to survive in later generations.
In contrast to phenotypic evolution, molecular evolution is characterized by two outstanding features. First is the constancy of the rate, so that for each protein or gene region, the rate of amino acid or nucleotide substitution is approximately constant per site per year (giving rise to the molecular clock). The second is that functionally less important molecules, or portions of molecules, evolve faster than more important ones.
Molecular evolution is like language change where grammatical markers and basic vocabulary changes much more slowly than the less basic vocabulary. It is providing new insights in biological evolution, and the molecular clock has been critical in helping reconstruct the history of life. Similarly, language evolution has helped in the understanding of ancient history.
Vedic evolution theory is like the neutral theory. If the gene function is seen through the agency of the three gunas, then evolution has a net genetic drift towards higher intelligence.
The tattvas are not discrete and their varying expression creates the diversity of life in and across leading different species. Each sensory and motor tattva is mapped into a corresponding organ.
Schrödinger, in his What is Life?, was the one to suggest that an “a periodic crystal forms the hereditary substance,” inspiring Watson and Crick to search for this molecule (DNA). He also thought that the Sankhyan tattvas were the most plausible model for the evolution of the sensory organs.
ALIENATION AND HEALTH
The world is in a crisis, not only because of religious conflict, but also due to the corrosive effect of materialism on the human psyche. There is violence in the schools, despair and depression amongst the young, and the fear that globalization will be destructive to social well-being.
In the midst of this, modern medicine is failing: not only because of the side-effects of drugs, but also because of the manner it creates drug dependency, so that most people are on one medication or other for stress, heart disease, cholesterol reduction, or pain. This has driven up the cost of health care so high that American companies are no longer competitive in the international marketplace, placing American prosperity at risk.
Perhaps this is because modern medicine seeks to look only at the body, without thought for the mind. The linkages between the mind and body are becoming apparent to science as a result of new research. For example, it is now known that stress caused reduction in the immune function. But, in itself, this knowledge is not helpful in creating new therapies. One needs a paradigmatic shift that takes as the starting point the Vedic conception of mind and body as a single entity.
Vedic science offers a vision of the world that is richer than that of materialist science, which it subsumes as a lower kind of knowledge. Unlike the Bible or the Koran, the Vedas are not in conflict with secular knowledge. They offer a way to obtain knowledge of the self that is essential for self-transformation, a knowledge that complements secular knowledge.
The challenge is to translate the categories that describe the nature of consciousness in the Vedas and the later books into a contemporary idiom that makes them accessible to a wider audience. Meanwhile, personal sadhana on the Vedic path is a way to obtain wisdom and insight needed to navigate through the present times.
What our ancient heritage scriptures Vedas say about physical sciences, role of scientists (ashvinaus) and scientific temper, a brief note is given below. To get a feel of Vedic physical sciences, reference to a few hymns are given.
The Sun never sets or rises and it is the earth, which rotates (Saam Ved 121). The gravitational effect of solar system makes the earth stable (R.V.1-103-2, 1-115-4 and 5- 81-2).
The axle of the earth does not get rusted and the earth continues to revolve on its axle (R.V. 1-164-29).
The science of Time and its subtle nature is described in (R.V.1-92-12 and 1-95-8). The need to study the properties of water, air and fire for discovering and manufacturing aircrafts, ships and other vehicles capable of moving in the firmament, land and water are mentioned in Rig Ved 1-3-1,2, 1-34-1, 1-140-1 and many other hymns.
Reference to infinite number of both gross and subtle atoms and the energy principle as spirit of God in each atom is given in R.V. 5-47-2 and Saam Ved 222. Atoms and sub atomic particles are not inert and have unsuspected vitality owing to this energy principle.
Physical sciences relating to agriculture, medicine, astronomy mathematics particularly algebra, toxicology etc. are described in R.V.1-71-9, 4-57-5, Saam Ved 121 and many other hymns.
In the Vedas scientists are described as men and women of absolute self-control, truthful with scientific outlook and destroyers of miseries (R.V., 1-3-4).
With the help of these scientists one could travel far on the earth and also in the sky through conveyances, which run and touch the middle region (R.V. 1-3-1, 6-22-2 and 1-22-2). Such scientists from both the sexes go across to distance places quickly like the mind and electricity (R.V. 1-71-9). In this hymn aircrafts and even space ships are hinted. These ashvinaus should be well versed in Physics, agricultural sciences (R.V. 4-57-5), medical sciences (R.V. 5-74-3), astronomy (S.V. 121) and other sciences.
Ashvinaus have been advised to learn thoroughly about Prakrti (divine Nature), characteristics and various qualities of water, air, fire, electricity and heat and sound energy.
Other sciences mentioned are Toxicology and use of various kinds of medicines and drugs (R.V 1-191-14), science of Time (Kala vidya) that starts with dawn (Usha). R.V. 1-95-2, and 10, refers to use of time for mathematics.
There is a mention of infrared rays, study of Algebra (Rekha di ganit vidya), sound as a medium of knowledge for various sciences, diseases like bile, cough, jaundice and others and their treatment etc. The relevant hymns in this regard are in Rig-Ved 1-185-2, 1-12-1, 2, 1-22-1 to 4, 1-2-3, 1- 95-1, 1-101-1 and many others.
However, the greater emphasis is on the development of Scientific Temper amongst the members of Society with a view to curb spread of blind faith, hypocrisy, miracle and ostentatious worship of God. Thus the knowledge of Vedic sciences is meant to save the human beings from falling into an utter darkness as Isa Upanishad and the last chapter of Yajur Ved caution us.
The unity in diversity is the message of Vedic physical and metaphysical sciences. While matter is the cause of diversity owing to three primordial subtle particles of purity, activity and passivity present in it, the spirit (jiva) provides the necessary unity.
The Vedas combine science with metaphysics and clearly mention that it is God who is the giver of knowledge of all sciences as ‘Sahstra sam’ (R.V. 1-10-11). The scientists are advised to study cause and effect of all material elements and also how the objects are produced and there after utilize these properly (R.V. 5-47-3).
By following these guidelines they can alleviate much suffering of the people (R.V. 5-77-4). Without the knowledge and practical application of physical sciences, it is not possible to eradicate poverty and attain prosperity (R.V. 1-34-1 to 5).
Vedic Mathematics is the name given to the ancient system of Indian Mathematics which was rediscovered from the Vedas between 1911 and 1918 by Sri Bharati Krsna Tirthaji (1884-1960). According to his research all of mathematics is based on sixteen Sutras, or word-formulae. For example, ‘Vertically and Crosswise` is one of these Sutras. These formulae describe the way the mind naturally works and are therefore a great help in directing the student to the appropriate method of solution.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Vedic system is its coherence. Instead of a hotch-potch of unrelated techniques the whole system is beautifully interrelated and unified: the general multiplication method, for example, is easily reversed to allow one-line divisions and the simple squaring method can be reversed to give one-line square roots. And these are all easily understood. This unifying quality is very satisfying, it makes mathematics easy and enjoyable and encourages innovation.
In the Vedic system ‘difficult’ problems or huge sums can often be solved immediately by the Vedic method. These striking and beautiful methods are just a part of a complete system of mathematics which is far more systematic than the modern ‘system’. Vedic Mathematics manifests the coherent and unified structure of mathematics and the methods are complementary, direct and easy.
The simplicity of Vedic Mathematics means that calculations can be carried out mentally (though the methods can also be written down). There are many advantages in using a flexible, mental system. Pupils can invent their own methods; they are not limited to the one ‘correct’ method. This leads to more creative, interested and intelligent pupils.
Interest in the Vedic system is growing in education where mathematics teachers are looking for something better and finding the Vedic system is the answer. Research is being carried out in many areas including the effects of learning Vedic Maths on children; developing new, powerful but easy applications of the Vedic Sutras in geometry, calculus, computing etc.
But the real beauty and effectiveness of Vedic Mathematics cannot be fully appreciated without actually practicing the system. One can then see that it is perhaps the most refined and efficient mathematical system possible.
Shabeer Mon.M, Asst. Poressor , Kerala. please write at firstname.lastname@example.org