Till middle of first millennium India had made trail blazing discoveries in every field of knowledge. Indians had pioneered comprehensive texts on all the branches of Science and Arts. Hindus were the most developed, prosperous, civilized and powerful Nation on globe, while other countries and faiths had yet to make some start.
Due to vested interests India’s contribution to the world of science are under-rated, negated, distorted and twisted to such an extent that many are used to believe that Indians did not contribute to the field of original sciences. The chronology of Indian history has also been demoted by 1200 years in a planned way by vested interests.
So called intellectuals think that modern civilization is a product of Judo-Christian tradition. As a benefit of that, imperialist countries of West are having a monopolist hold over the world knowledge. Anything that contradicts their thought is branded blind faith, orthodoxy and fantasy.
The facts are contrary to that. Modern philosophy and science are the contribution of Hinduism whereas Christianity did everything to suppress and destroy the achievements of ancient who did not echo their theological thought. Our ‘modern Hindus’ are fooled to believe with their mouth wide opened in appreciation of Europeans’.
India Shined when Europe Slept
While India was known all over the world for its wealth and knowledge, historical facts confirm that up to fifteenth century, Europe was in the ‘Dark Age.’ This fact is now openly agreed by European historians. There was no knowledge like mathematics, science, and medicine in Europe.
There was some enlightenment in Greece. Turks invaded Greece and their intellectuals fled to Italy and later reached England along with few books on ‘knowledge. This event is called the ‘first awakening of Europe’. Even that much was also through import of knowledge from India during sixth century BC.
The re-appearance of this knowledge in the 16th century is called ‘the age of Renaissance’. It was only thereafter that European explorers desperately raced to locate and reach India.
We need to co-relate certain historical facts relevant to the loot and destruction of Hindu knowledge bank. The period under reference extending fourteen hundred years onward were called ‘dark ages’ by the Europeans in their own history. In India Hinduism had lived to flourish as a system to promote ‘Live and let live’ part of Dharma, within their peaceful environment. The ‘environment’ was the outcome of economic progress, social practices, acquisition of knowledge, and political stability. Developments in one field affected the other fields also.
During that period, apart from India, only Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia and China were counted as developed countries. In rest of the world people still lived in primitive kind of settlements.
The First Awakening
India had been the birthplace of science over ages. Takshashila University was a great center of learning where students from Iran and further west came to study. In the first millennium BC, Iran could be considered an expansion of Indian culture and civilization. Turkey was known as Asia Minor and was a meeting ground between Greeks and Iranians. Islam had not been founded then, thus people who lived in Turkey were not Muslims.
Effect of Upanishads
Iran was located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Being located on the route of migration, Iran was a mixture of many ethnic groups. Over the centuries its borders have changed frequently. Sometimes Iran was a mighty empire and ruled over lands as far apart as Egypt and India. At other times, foreign invaders ruled over Iran. Around 1500 BC groups of people began migrating into Iran from North. They were sometimes called Indo-Europeans and sometimes called Aryans.
Those days Mecca was a center of International trade and also a religious center. Arabs gathered there once a year to worship at a black stone (Shiva Linga) which they believed had fallen from paradise.
Monotheism of Upanishads literature had reached a full development in India. It had influenced Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and also Akhenaton of Egypt (1350 BC). Zoroaster lived in eastern Persia during fifth century BC, close to India. His belief to wage war on evil and struggle between good and bad, light and darkness is Indian in origin and influenced by Upanishads. The religions in Middle East based on the principle of monotheism had their ethical origins from Hinduism.
Mithraism was Vedic Concept
Mithraism was another branch of Vedic religion, which spread widely over Iran, South Europe and Egypt. The birthday of Mithra, a Vedic Sun God, used to be celebrated on 25th December since after this Sun entered Northern Hemisphere. This day was later adapted by the Christians as the date of birth of Christ.
Influence of Hindus concepts
During third century BC, a sizable community of Indian traders lived at Alexandria in Egypt. Besides traders, Vedic and Buddhist monks also traveled the area that is now known as ‘Middle East’. Thus Indian beliefs, philosophy, science, and customs had already traveled beyond ‘Middle East’ before the rise of Christianity and Islam. Many of the modern scientific, philosophical and political theories inspired by Hindu concepts had also found their way to Europe through Middle East. Some of the Hindu concepts that influenced the world are mentioned as under:-
- Earth is round – The concept of a round earth had never been disputed in India. Hindu mythology depicted Varah Avatar lifting the rounded earth on His tusks in many sculptures, and Buddhist icons depicted Lord Buddha as a lion fighting a dragon representing Ignorance, holding a round earth by its tai.
- Theory of Relativity – Hinduism encouraged its followers to seek truth as a goal of life. It also recognized that different individuals under different circumstances may conceive truth differently. Thus Hinduism preached tolerance in difference of opinion as the first requirement for the growth of knowledge. The sages said that knowledge was relative.
- Religious Freedom – Those who refuted the existence of God were also accepted within Hindu religion. The religion and belief were a matter of personal choice and could not be enforced by the family, society or the state. Clergy and priests did not exist in Hinduism in Western sense. Priests were to perform the rites only, when requested. Every individual visualized the Creator according to his choice and method.
- Unified Field Theory- The theory of Brahman not only inspired the Theory of Relativity but also the unified field theory in Physics.
- Law of cause and effect – Hinduism always considered Truth to be a subject of investigation, and not a matter of belief. It encouraged people to know and experience God, rather than to believe someone else having seen Him. The Universe has been regarded a complex system of causes and effects flowing in time.
- Karma Theory –The doctrine of ‘Karma’ making people responsible for their acts and denial of the doctrine of divine will and fate was the first seeds of modern attitude and scientific temper. Because of this investigative temper, India was ahead of all other nations in modern thought, science and mathematics. In contrast, Jewish, Christianity and Islam were based on the faith that God identified by the founder of their faith alone was real and all others were false. The words of the God as revealed to their respective Prophets were final. Anything contradicting them had to be destroyed. That bred heresy hatred and intolerance.
Alexander the Great
This was approximately the period when Alexander the great invaded Afro Asian Countries. Alexander was a real military leader who was not greedy after gold alone. Wherever he conquered he did not destroy the local civilization. If he saw some exotic bird, animal or book, he used to send the same to his teacher Aristotle in Athens.
Alexander met several learned persons and collected pieces of wisdom from them for his country. From his time the process of knowledge from East to West started. His campaign established links between Eastern and Western parts of the world. That is how flow of knowledge moved westward from India to Greece.
Chand K Sharma
(Next: Splashes – 53/72 – Shine of Indian Wisdom)