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काँग्रेसी सरकार धर्म-निर्पेक्ष नही – परिवारवादी धर्म हीन सरकार है

कोई भी देश भारत की तरह हज़ार वर्षों तक गु़लाम नही रहा। अपने पूवर्जों की आस्थाओं, नैतिक मूल्यों, सामाजिक मर्यादाओं, और देश के ऐतिहासिक नायकों के प्रति श्रध्दा, देश भक्ति की भावना के आधार स्तम्भ हैं। यह कमजोर हो जायें तो देश भक्ति समाप्त हो जाती है। जब स्वाभिमान मर जाता है तो देश गु़लाम हो जाता है। भारत में ऐसा कई बार हुआ है और आज भी हो रहा है। हम ने अपने इतिहास से सीखने की कोशिश ही नहीं की।

आज देश भक्ति सभी आधार स्तम्भों पर कुठाराघात हो रहा है और हम मनोरंजन में अपना समय नष्ट कर रहे हैं। देश के कई भागों में हिन्दूओं को ईसाई या मुसलिम बनाया जा रहा है।

इसाई मिशनरी और जिहादी मुसलिम संगठन इस देश को दीमक की तरह खाये जा रहे हैं। कोई हिन्दूओं को ईसाई या मुसलमान बनाये तो वह उदार है और प्रगतिशील कहलाता है, लेकिन अगर कोई हिन्दू को हिन्दू बने रहने को कहे तो वह उग्रवादी और कट्टर पंथी होने का अप्राधी कहा जाता है। राजनैताओं ने भारत को एक धर्महीन देश समझ रखा है कि यहाँ कोई भी आ कर राजनैतिक स्वार्थ के लिये अपने मतदाता इकठे कर ले ?

धर्म-निर्पेक्ष्ता का तात्पर्य  सरकारी क्षेत्र में समानता लाना है ना कि विदेशी धर्मों का बहुमत बना कर इस देश को फिर से खण्डित करने का कुचक्र रचना। अगर असीमित धर्म-निर्पेक्ष्ता पर लगाम ना लगाइ गई तो एक बार फिर हिन्दू अपने ही देश में अल्प-संख्यक और बेघर हो कर अन्य देशों में भटकते फिरें गे।

वेद, पुराण, उपनिष्द, रामायण, महाभारत, गीता, मनु समृति आदि ग्रंथ हिन्दु संस्कृति और नौतिक मूल्यों की आधारशिला हैं जिन की वजह से भारत को विज्ञान कला और संस्कृति के क्षैत्र में विश्व-गुरू माना जाता था। शिक्षण क्षैत्र का कोई भी विषय ऐसा नही जिस के बारे में जानकारी इन ग्रंथों मे ना हो। लेकिन आज हमारी नयी पीढी इन ग्रंथों की महानता से बेखबर हो चुकी हैं। कॅनवेन्ट प्रशिक्षित युवा-वर्ग इन ग्रथों का पढना तो दूर, बिना देखे ही इन ग्रथों को नकारना और उन का उपहास करना आधुनिकता की पहचान समझता है। धर्म-निर्पेक्ष्ता की चक्की में पिस कर विज्ञान कला और संस्कृति के यह अग्र-गणी ग्रंथ भारत में ही शिक्षण क्षैत्र से निकासित कर दिये गये है।

लार्ड मैकाले का भारतीय संस्कृति मिटाने का बचा-खुचा काम नेहरू से लेकर सोनिया गाँधी तक ने पूरा करने में लगे हैं। नयी पी़ढी अब ‘लिविंग-इन‘ तथा समलैंगिक सम्बन्धों जैसी विकृतियों की ओर भी आकर्षित होती दिख रही है। धर्म-निर्पेक्ष्ता के मुखोटे के पीछे केरल सरकार, और इसी तरह अन्य प्रदेश सरकारें भी, लगभग 300 करोड सालाना अल्प-संख्यक विद्यालयों को अनुदान देती है जिस से भारत को खण्डित करने के लिये ईसाईयों और जिहादी मुसलमानों की सैना तैयार होती है।

व्यक्तियों से समाज बनता है। कोई भी व्यक्ति समाज के बिना अकेला नहीं रह सकता। हर व्यक्ति की निजी स्वतंत्रता की सीमा समाज के बन्धन तक ही रहनी चाहिये । समाज के नियम भूगोलिक, आर्थिक, राजनैतिक, धार्मिक आस्थाओं और परम्पराओं पर आधारित होते हैं। इस लिये एक जगह के समाज के नियम दूसरी जगह के समाज पर थोपे नही जा सकते। यदि कुछ कट्टरपंथी विदेशियों को हिन्दू समाज के बन्धन पसन्द नही तो उन्हें हिन्दूओं से टकराने के बजाये उन देशों में जा कर बसना चाहिये जहाँ उन्हीं के अनुकूल सामाजिक परिस्थतियां उपलब्ध हैं।

विश्व के सभी देशों में स्थानीय र्मयादाओं का उल्लंघन करने पर कठोर दण्ड का प्राविधान है लेकिन भारत में धर्म-निर्पेक्ष्ता के साये में खुली छूट है। महानगरों की सड़कों पर यातायात रोक कर भीड़ नमाज़ पढ सकती है, दिन हो या रात किसी भी समय लाउडस्पीकर लगा कर आजा़न दे सकती है। किसी भी हिन्दू देवी-देवता का अशलील चित्र, फि़ल्में और उन के बारे में कुछ भी कहा या या लिखा जा सकता है। हिन्दू मन्दिर, पूजा स्थल, और त्यऔहारों के सार्वजनिक मण्डप स्दैव आतंकियों के बम धमाकों से भयग्रस्त रहते हैं। हमारा धर्म-निर्पेक्ष कानून तभी जागता है जब अल्प-संख्यक वर्ग को कोई आपत्ति होती है। इस प्रकार की इकतरफ़ा धर्म-निर्पेक्ष्ता से युवा हिन्दू अपने धर्म, विचारों, परमपराओं, त्यौहारों, और नैतिक बन्धनो से विमुखहो कर पलायनवादी होते जा रहे हैं।

मुसलिम मतदाताओं को लुभाने के लिये देश के इतिहास के साथ छेड़छाड़ करना तो कांग्रेस पार्टी की नीति ही रही है। अब प्राचीन ऐतिहासिक स्थलों को तोड़ने का षटयंत्र भी किया जा रहा है। मानव इतिहास की अनूठी धरोहर राम-सेतु निशाने पर अभी भी है परन्तु अमरनाथ यात्रियों की सुविधा के लिये दी गई ज़मीन कुछ अलगाव-वादी मुसलमानों के दबाव कारण कांग्रेसी सरकार ने वापिस लेने में देर नहीं लगाई थी।

हिन्दू सैंकडों वर्षों तक मुस्लिम शासकों को जज़िया टैक्स देते रहै और आज भी कांग्रेसी वोट बैंक बनाये रखने के लिये ‘हज-सब्सिडी‘ के तौर पर दे रहै हैं। हज-सब्सिडी को देश का सर्वोच्च न्यायालय भी अवैध घौषित कर चुका है तो भी केन्द्रीय सरकार ने इस पर रोक नहीं लगायी। उल्टे अब इसाई वोट बैंक बनाये रखने के लिये ‘बैथलहेम-सब्सिडी` देने की घोषणा भी कर दी है। संसार में कोई भी अन्य देश इस प्रकार की फिज़ूलखर्ची नही करता लेकिन भारत की धर्म-निर्पेक्ष सरकार के माप दण्ड वोट बैंक प्रेरित हैं।

भले ही कितने अन्य़ वर्ग के मतदाता भूखे पेट रहैं, उन के बच्चे ग़रीबी की वजह से अशिक्षित रहैं मगर अल्पसंख्यक तीर्थयात्रियों को विदेशी धर्म यात्रा के लिये धर्म-निर्पेक्षता प्रसाद स्वरूप सब्सिडी मिलती रहै गी। भले ही सरकारी अनाज खुले में सड जाय लेकिन शरद पवार जैसे नेता सडा हुआ अनाज भी गरीबों को नहीं देते और धर्म निर्पेक्ष बनने का स्वांग करते हैं। मनमोहन सिह चुप्पी साधे रहते हैं या अपनी मजबूरी बता कर मूहँ छिपा लेते हैं।

यह कहना सही नहीं  कि धर्म हर व्यक्ति का निजी मामला है, और उस के साथ सरकार या समाज को हस्तक्षेप नहीं करना चाहिये। जब धर्म के साथ जेहादी मानसिक्ता जुड़ जाती है जो व्यक्ति को दूसरे धर्म वाले का वध कर देने के लिये उकसाये तो वेसा धर्म व्यक्ति का निजी मामला नहीं रहता। ऐसे धर्म को मानने वाला अपने धर्म के दुष्प्रभाव से राजनीति, सामाजिक तथा आर्थिक व्यवस्थाओं को भी दूषित करता है। उस पर लगाम लगानी आवशयक है।

जहाँ सरकारी-धर्म-हीनता और हिन्दु-लाचारी भारत को फिर से ग़ुलामी का ओर धकेल रही हैं वहीं आशा की ऐक किरण अभी बाकी है। यह फैसला अब भी राष्ट्रवादियों को ही करना है कि वह अपने देश को स्वतन्त्र रखने के लिये हिन्दू विरोधी सरकार हटाना चाहते हैं या नहीं। यदि उन का फैसला हाँ में है तो अपने इतिहास को याद कर के वैचारिक मतभेद भुला कर एक राजनैतिक मंच पर इकठ्ठे हो कर काँग्रेस की हिन्दू विरोधी सरकार को बदल दें जिस की नीति धर्म-निर्पेक्ष्ता की नही – धर्म हीनता की है़ और देश को केवल परिवारवाद की ओर ले जा रही है।

चाँद शार्मा

Splashes – 39/72 – Sanskrit- the Perfect Language

Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world, and mother of all Indo-European languages. Impressed with Sanskrit grammar and scientific structure, the linguists consider it the most suitable language for computers. It is link between present generation of population divided into Nationalities all over the world, and past of entire mankind on this planet.

Richness of Original Texts

The Sanskrit is written in Devanagari script. Rishis discovered Sanskrit and used it to create the mantras that were made up of a combination of sound vibrations to create specific effect on the mind and the psyche, when recited. It is the language of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas. Sanskrit literature is the richest literature in the history of mankind.

The popularity and richness of Sanskrit is indicated by the wealth of literature composed in the language covering every subject under the Sun. On every subject a masterpiece treatise can be found in the Sanskrit literature. The range expands from Philosophy, Religion, Science, Fine Arts, Sex, Music, Astrology, Palmistry, Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics, Martial Arts, and Diplomacy, just to list the few.

Panini’s Grammar Ashtadhyayi

Panini’s Sanskrit grammar, produced in about 300 BC is the shortest but complete grammar in the world for its precision of statement, for its thorough analysis of the roots of the language and of the formative principles of words. By employing an Algebraic terminology it attains a sharp succinct-ness unrivalled in brevity. It arranges, in logical harmony, the whole phenomena, which the Sanskrit language presents. It is one of the most splendid achievements of human invention in the science of Linguistics.

Panini’s masterpiece Ashtadhyayi (Eight Chapters) stands out as the first scientific analysis of any alphabet. The work is the more remarkable since the author did not write it down. He worked it all out of his head. Panini’s disciples committed the work to memory and in turn passed it on to their disciples. Though the Astadhayayi has long since been committed to writing, rote memorization of the work, with several of the more important commentaries, is still the approved method of studying grammar in India today.

Ashtadhyayi comprises of four thousand sutras or aphoristic rules. Prior grammatical analysis is clearly evidenced by the fact that Panini himself mentioned over sixty predecessors in the field. Subsequent grammarians, especially Katyayana and Patanjali, carried the work much further, and by the middle of the second century BC Sanskrit had attained a stereotyped form, which has remained unaltered for centuries.

Scientific Structure of Sanskrit

The Indian grammar set the pace for Europeans to analyze speech forms. Ancient Indian work on grammar was objective, systematic, and brilliant than that done in Greece and Rome. This refers to the period centuries before that of Geoffrey Chaucer; the Father of English poetry who came on the literary scene in 1350 AD. In most of the European countries people resorted to yodeling to draw attention of their neighbors working nearby.

Since English has been enjoying the status of global language, it will be appropriate to compare and contrast Sanskrit with international language in simple laymen style, to avoid complexity of jargon.

  • Alphabets – In every language, sounds are represented by signs. One distinct sign is allotted for identifying every smallest audible sound. Total number of signs when arranged in any uniform order worked out by users is called alphabet of language. Thus every developed language has its own alphabet, otherwise it has to borrow the same from some other language. English borrowed Roman script. English language has only 26 alphabets; implying only 26 basic natural sounds can be recorded in her script for use. Even out of that ‘Q’ ‘W’ ‘X’ are not natural sounds. Thus the efficacy of scripting natural sounds is only 23. Compared to this, Sanskrit has 46 Alphabets in her own Devanagri Obviously for this reason, her capability to record natural sounds is twice more than English.
  • Vowels and Consonants – Alphabets are subdivided into Vowels and Consonants. Consonants are natural sounds expressed in shortest durations. Vowels are added to consonants to prolong, mold and twist the natural sound towards desired expression. English has only five vowels in her kitty. Those are often used as consonants also. Thus most of the time every vowel has to perform double or even triple role by producing different sounds. In comparison, Sanskrit has thirteen vowels distinct from consonants. Therefore on this count also capability of Sanskrit to articulate natural sounds is much higher than English. In Sanskrit, no vowel is assigned dual role.
  • Simplicity There are several sounds which cannot be properly written or spoken in English, such as ‘Kha’, ‘Tha’ ‘Khsa’ to express proper nouns imported from other languages. The vowels in use are not sound specific so are the consonants too. For instance, the sound of alphabet ‘c’ is not uniform in the word ‘ceased’ and ‘cat’.  The alphabet ‘w’ and ‘v’ are used for similar expression on the basis of convention. West begins with ‘W’, while vest is to be worn with ‘v’. In contrast, whatever is scripted in Sanskrit, the same is spoken also. Every sound can be scripted the way it should be spoken. Nothing is left to guess-work or convention. Therefore Sanskrit is easier to learn and use.
  • Pronunciation – The Sanskrit alphabets have been arranged according to their body source, such as sounds made from throat, nasal and tongue or through the combination of body parts. The sounds represented by the letters of the alphabet have been scientifically arranged. Vowels and diphthongs are separated from mutes, semivowels, and sibilants. The sounds have been grouped into guttural, palatal, cerebral, dental and labial. This purely corresponds with human anatomy in practice.

The above is a brief but obvious comparison between ancient languages with the current International language, on few counts only. Sanskrit is no doubt a scientific and systematic language with perfect grammar. It has rightly attracted scholars worldwide.

But there is no justification for present generation of Indians to feel proud about it unless Sanskrit is respected by Indians at home also. Until 1100 AD Sanskrit was without interruption the official language of the whole of India, but now it is losing home turf to regional languages, English and Urdu. Younger generations are not being attracted towards it due to neglect of India’s selfishly secular politicians.

Linguistic Imperialism

Language is the identity of Individuals and nationalities. England though a tiny country in size to India, is regarded as a super power in the world. This equation of strength is mainly due to the English language that the British introduced throughout in their colonies. They initiated the most primitive and illiterate locals of their colonies to English and raised the strength of working classes to accept as their language. Today economy and technology of the developed countries is being commanded by the English-speaking people only. Libraries all over the world have been stocked with volumes of English literature and Technology scripted in English.

In contrast, India and China despite being world’s most populated countries, have no say in their own language. They are compelled to interact only through English. Unless they learn to converse in English they are regarded deaf and dumb on the global stage. Is it not a shameful situation for the youth of any self-respecting country?

Cultural Identity of India

For lack of determination, Indians have failed to establish their linguist identity anywhere in the world as well as at home. They prefer to continue being yoked under English for earning bread. Our ancestors had left most valuable legacies for the world to admire and educate us in return, but we have proved worthless to deserve and uphold their glory.

No doubt, India has an edge over China, because Chinese script is difficult and complicated. Our Devanagri script is more scientific, simple and natural. This script is used for Sanskrit and Hindi that happens to be the National Language of India. Still there are no takers for both the languages even in India, and the class rooms in Universities of India have been facing shortage of students. Those who do not get admission anywhere finally take up these languages to obtain a degree to be called qualified and learned.

The word Sanskrit literally means Perfected Language. This is quite an appropriate name to describe Sanskrit, but unfortunately our convent educated secularists did not reconcile to it. We run after certificates from others. Till NASA declared Sanskrit to be the only unambiguous language on the planet we did not care about her well-being. Little do we realize that Sanskrit is the only language that can function as an effective tool to link with the past history of India, and to enable us understand literature of Ancient time.

If we want to stand at our own in the world, we shall have to build indigenous technology; for which the road passes through the domain of Sanskrit.  If we continue to overlook the importance of Sanskrit in India, we shall be obliterating this last link also that has provided continuity with since the creation of Universe. If India wants to regain her past, they shall have to revert to Sanskrit, otherwise they would be drowned in English Channel

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 40/72 – Literary Contributions by India)

Splashes – 37/72 – Founders of Medicine and Longevity

There was no trace of Allopathic science or Homeopathy prior to tenth century AD anywhere in the world.  In contrast India possessed comprehensive medical literature and had several luminaries on her panel who contributed to the development of Medical Science in the World. Besides mythological physicians Dhanwantri and Sushain, the great names in Indian medicine were those of Sushruta in the fifth century BC and Charaka in the second century AD. They were World’s first Physicians and Surgeons.

The origin of Medical Science 

Medicine has been the oldest Indian science. Puranic descriptions relate Ayurveda to have been brought to this world by celestial physician Dhanvantri during churning of the ocean. The text was then handed over to the Prajapati (king) for training of physicians and putting the same in to use for public welfare. Thus in India, state had been directly concerned with the health of the subjects, creation and preservation of healthy environment, and maintaining high standard of sanitation at public utilities. Segregation of the contaminated was also a part of this drive.

The records of Indian medicine begin with the Arthava Veda; where a list of diseases with their symptoms can be found. Appended to the Atharva-Veda is the Ayur-Veda, a treatise exclusively dedicated to the Science of Longevity. The ancient Hindus had carried the science of medicine, like other sciences, to a very high degree of perfection.

Sushruta – Father of Surgery

Sushruta wrote in Sanskrit a system of diagnosis and therapy whose elements had descended to him from his teacher Dhanwantari. His book dealt at length with hygiene, surgery, obstetrics, diet, bathing, drugs, infant feeding and medical education. His treatise is in six parts and is still in use as a reference book. For the detection of the 1120 diseases he enumerated, Sushruta recommended diagnosis by inspection, palpitation, and auscultation.

Sushruta is known to be the Father of Surgery.  He performed surgical operations to treat cataract, hernia, and also Cesarean. He brought into use 121 surgical instruments, including lancet, sounds forceps, catheters, rectal and vaginal speculum. The surgical instruments were sufficiently sharp and capable of dividing a hair longitudinally.

Despite Brahmani-cal prohibitions he advocated the dissection of dead bodies as indispensable in the training of surgeons. He was the first to graft upon torn ear portions of skin taken from another part of the body. He can be rightly called the Father of Rhinoplasty also, since the surgical reconstruction of the nose-descended into modern medicine

Regarding Digestive system and development of body Sushruta has written:

रसाद्रक्तं ततो मांसं मांसान्मेदः प्रजायते। मदेसोSस्थि ततो मज्जा मज्जायाः शुक्रसम्भ्वः।। (सुश्रुत)

(It means – Whatever is consumed by humans, it is carried to stomach for digestion and turned into juice, after five days the juice turns into blood, after another five days flesh is made out of blood. The process of conversion is continued after every five days to produce meda, bones, marrow, semen and finally Ojas; that gives shine to the body. Semen is transparent and is a sticky substance. It is known as Rajas in females with red color. The entire process from digestion to conversion takes thirty days and four hours). Thus out of 40 Sear ( sear is unit of measure that equals to 1.6 kilograms) intake of food only one sear of blood is formed – and out of one sear blood only two tolas of semen is formed. It is for this reason that Observation of BrahmacharyaYama is stressed in Hindu way of life.

Sushruta had laid elaborate rules for preparing an operation and his suggestion that the wound be sterilized by fumigation is one of the earliest known efforts at antiseptic surgery. Sushruta’s work refers to surgery and operations which are considered difficult even in modern times.

Charka – precursor of Hippocratic Oath

Charaka authored Charaka Samhita. It is an encyclopedia of medicine, which is also being used in India. His work is divided into eight books, describing various diseases and their treatment. As a precursor of Hippocratic conception, he prescribed Diksha to his followers. His advice to his students contained the gist of professional ethics:

“If you want success in your practice, wealth and fame, and heaven after your death, you must pray every day on rising and going to bed for the welfare of all beings and you must strive with all your soul for the health of the sick. You must not betray your patients, even at the cost of your own life. You must not get drunk, or commit evil, or have evil companions. You must be pleasant, of speech and thoughtful, always striving to improve your knowledge”.

Rishi Atreya

Atreya (500 BC) held that the parental seed is independent of the parent’s body, and contained in itself, in miniature, the whole parental organism. He recommended examination for virility as a prerequisite for marriage in men. He supported the Code of Manu that warned against marrying mates affected with tuberculosis, epilepsy, leprosy, chronic dyspepsia, piles, or loquacity.

Above all he prohibited marriages within the same ‘Gotra’. The ancient prohibitions adopted by Hindu society were not based on blind faith or conservative attitude of the society but on scientific reasoning. Even the modern medical science cannot contradict the parental effect on off springs that had been explained in Manusamruti as under:-

क्षेत्रभूता स्मृता नारी बीजभूतः स्मृतः पुमान्। क्षेत्रबीजसमायोगात्संभवः सर्वदेहिनाम्।।

विशिष्टं कुत्रचिद्बीजं स्त्रयोनिस्त्वेव कुत्रचित्। उभयं तु सनं यत्र सा प्रसूति प्रशस्.ते।। (मनु स्मृति 9- 33-34)

(Female is like a soil and Male is identical to the seed. Life comes into existence due to the combination of seed and soil. Either could be important, but when both are equally balanced, the off springs born are the best.)

बीजस्य चैव योन्याश्च बीजमुत्कृष्ट मुच्यते। स्रवभूप्रसूतिर्हि  बीजलक्षणलक्षिता।

यादृशं तृप्यते बीजं क्षेत्रे कालोपपादिते। तादृग्रोहति तत्तस्मिन्बीजं स्वैर्व्याञ्जतं गुणैः।। (मनु स्मृति 9- 35-36)

(Between the two, seed is more important than the soil. All living beings have dominant qualities of the seed. Whatever kind of seed is sown in the soil at appropriate time, the plant shall possess characteristics of the seed.)

इयं भूमिर्हि भूतानां शाशवती योनिरुच्यते। न च योनिगणान्कांशि्चद्बीजं पुष्यति पुष्टिषु।।

भूमावप्येककेदारे कालोप्तानि कृषीवलैः। नानारुपाणि जायन्ते बीजानीह स्वभावतः।। (मनु स्मृति 9- 37-38)

(Soil is the source of all kinds of produce, but if different seeds are planted in the same field, the individual plants that will come up shall have the characteristic of seed.)

Medical Literature

Besides Atharva Veda and Ayurveda the following texts are also included in ancient Medical Literature:-

  • Panini’s Grammar Ashtadhyaihas listed several ailments that indicate that 350 BC Indian diagnostic system was fully developed. Another treatise Amarkosha in Sanskrit has listed all the body parts.
  • Vaghata authored a Medical Text in poetic as well as prose format in 625 AD.
  • Bhava Mishra authored a comprehensive text in 1550 AD in which he explained blood circulatory system in detail. This text was written a century prior to Western expert Harvey. Bhava Mishra has also suggested use of Mercury for curing syphilis. This disease was imported to India through the Portuguese from Europe during fifteenth century.
  • Narayana Sukta explains the anatomy of human body as well as functioning of Heart.
  • Malini Shastra by Shiranga Rishi explains about Jada (un-Aware) and Chetanya (Aware) bodies.
  • Garuda explains the properties of several anti-poisonous medicines that can be used.

System of Treatment

According to Chinese Historian Yuan Chwang, the treatment in Indian system followed a period of fasting for seven days. Normally the patients were cured merely due to the fasting. Smaller quantity of medicine was prescribed if necessary. The dose of medicine was gradually increased if required as a last resort. Some of the treatments were:-

  • Diet, special baths, inhalation, urethral and vaginal injections were also given where necessary. Indian practitioners possessed vast knowledge about antidotes of poison.
  • Both Sushruta and Charaka mention the use of medicinal liquors to produce insensibility to pain. In 927 A.D. two surgeons trepanned the skull of a king, and made him insensitive to the operation by administering a drug called Sammohini. Taking of the pulse was described in a treatise dating 1300 A.D. Urinalysis was a favorite method of diagnosis.
  • Vaccination was unknown to Europe till eighteenth century, but it was practiced in India as early as 550 AD as apparent from a text attributed to Dhanwantari that reads

“…Take the fluid of the pock on the udder of the cow…upon the point of a lancer, and lance with it the arms between the shoulders and elbows until the blood appears; then, mixing the fluid with blood; the fever of the small-pox will be produced…

  • Smallpox inoculation is an ancient Indian tradition. Preventive inoculation against the smallpox went from India to China during 11th century AD. This inoculation process was practiced by Brahmins in India, but during 1803-04 the British government banned it since most of the Europeans objected to inoculation on theological grounds.

Practice of untouchables developed out of hygienic reasons. Hindus were aware about the existence of invisible agents that transmitted disease. Many of the laws of sanitation were based on germ theory of disease. Personal attention was therefore given to hygiene, cleanliness of the body, and purity of diet in India.

Code of Ethics

Last but not the least, the practice of medicine, like all other sciences, was regulated by a code of social ethics. A physician (Vaidya) was to be devoted to the service of the sick. Sage Manu has suggested several measures for eradication quackery in Manumamruti. Even before Charaka’s Diksha, there is reference in epic Ramayana, where Sushain, the personal physician of Ravana, treated Lakshamana on the battlefield. No action was taken against Sushain for helping the rival camp. That depicts the height of professional ethic and commitment to the purpose of medicine.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 38/72 – Ancient Medical Infrastructure)

Splashes – 35/72 – India’s Technological Contributions

Vishwakarma is the celestial engineer in Hindu Mythology, to whom all the knowledge of Technology is attributed. He is worshiped by devote engineers and crafts men in India. Vishwakarma is worshiped by devote engineers and crafts men in India before starting new projects.

He is believed to have designed the weapon systems of gods like Sudarshan Chakra, Shiva Dhanush, Indra’s Vajra, and Arjuna’s Gandiv, just to mention the few. He designed Ravana’s Pushpak Vimana and also the wonderful palaces of Indraprastha. Pushpak Vimana was seven storied aircraft, with five-star luxuries that could fly according to the wishes of its master.

It appeared fantasy some time ago but, we have touch screen technology, invisible fences like Lakshman Rekhas to restrict the pets. Chinese Researchers have created a ‘quad copter’ similar to Pushpak Vimana that can be controlled by thought alone and has the potential to give people with impaired motor abilities a new avenue for interaction. Now we can be assertive in explaining that our so-called “blind faiths” are taking concrete shape as well.

Invention of Wheel

Technological development started after the discovery of wheel. Westerners credit Mesopotamians for this discovery in 500 BC. This is due to simple reason that prior to Fourteenth century, Westerners had no knowledge about India and whatever they had learnt was sourced from Greeks. Even today, Americans and many other countries of the West have been holding concocted knowledge about Indian culture, beliefs and voluminous literature. This can be easily ascertained by opening literature available in their libraries today. Facts are either missing or have been misrepresented as for as India and Hinduism are concerned.

For the sake of argument only, without inventing the wheel Indians could not have had Sudarshan Chakra added to the icon of Vishnu and Durga. Without wheels Mahabharata war could not have been fought with Arjuna on a chariot driven by Krishna. Arjuna was definitely not on sledge, the kind of which is normally associated with Santa Claus. Bhishma Pitama had provoked Krishna to attack him with a chariot wheel during the battle!  Thus certainly the initial step towards technological development was taken only in India.

The Indian invention of wheel accelerated the pace of technological development in other countries also. Conclusive evidence has also been provided by the wheeled cart toy excavated from the site of Indus Valley civilization and at display in National Museum at New Delhi.

The Spinning Wheel

The discovery of wheel was made use for spinning through Charkha. This was as important discovery as its predecessor wheel. Today’s mechanical development owes a lot to invention of Charkha by Indians. With this technique motion could be continuously transferred to another wheel with the help of belt. Bhaskracharya had invented this technique and that reached Europe via Arabs.

Many other inventions have been mentioned in Samrangna Sutradhara a treatise dating 1100 AD, during the reign of Raja Bhoja of Central India. The descriptions include pullies, levers, cantilevers, and bridges.  Arabs acquired this technology from India and later passed the same to Europeans in Arabic and Persian language. Mechanical writings of D Vince were instrumental in its further spread.

Mineralogy and Metallurgy

Great progress was made by India in mineralogy and metallurgy also. The mining and extensive use of gold, silver and copper was undertaken in the Indus Valley in the third century BC. In the Vedic period extensive use was made of copper, bronze, and brass for household utensils, weapons, and images for worship. It is noteworthy that whereas gods and goddesses in other mythologies are depicted in head dresses made of animal skins and horns, Hindu gods are always dressed up in gold crowns.

Patanjali, authored Lohasastra in the second century BC. He has given elaborate directions for many metallurgic and chemical processes, especially the preparation of metallic salts, alloys, and amalgams, and the extraction, purification, and assaying of metals. The discovery of Aqua Regina, a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid to dissolve gold and platinum is also ascribed to him. Manusumriti also contains several passages on purification of various metals, such as:-

अपामग्नेश्च संयोगाद्धेमं रौप्यं च निर्वभो। तत्मात्तयोः स्वयोन्यैव निर्णेको गुणवत्तरः ।।

ताम्रायः कांस्यरैत्यानां त्रपुणः सीसकस्य च। शौचं यथार्हं कर्तव्यं क्षारोम्लोदकवारिभिः ।।

(Manusumriti 5- 113-114)

(The formation of Gold and silver is attributed to water and Fire, thus both the metals can be effectively refined through water and Fire. Copper, Iron, Bronze, Brass, Raga and mirror should be refined with using acids, detergents and water.)

Chemistry and Metallurgy

Chemistry developed in India from two sources – medicine and industry. There is mention about the construction of dams, bridges and even suspension bridge in Kautillya’s Arthashastra. Agriculture had its beginning in Indus valley during 4500 BC. Water storage system has been excavated from Girnar (3000 BC). There is bath connected with under-ground outlets lined with baked tiles. Similarly excavations at Harappa revealed use of utensils and swords made of copper, brass, and bronze.

India was looked as industrially developed and militarily strong country by Roman Empire since Gupta period. They regarded it as most skilled nation possessing chemical industries such as dyeing, tanning, soap-making, glass and cement.

In second century BC Nagarjuna devoted an entire volume to Mercury. By the sixth century Indians were far ahead of Europe in industrial chemistry; they were masters of calcification, distillation, sublimation, steaming, fixation, the production of light without heat, the mixing of anesthetic and soporific powders, and also the preparation of metallic salts, compounds and alloy. Ancient Indians were highly skilled in manufacturing and working with iron and tempering steel. The analysis of zinc alloys like brass, from archaeological excavations, testify that the zinc distillation process was known in India as early as 150 BC.

Southern India was a region that was renowned for metallurgy and metal work in the olden days. The Muslims carried Indian chemical science and industry to Europe.

  • Karnataka – fine steel wires were being produced for use as strings in musical instruments, at a time when the western world was using animal gut for stringed musical instruments.
  • Kerala – besides its large iron smelting furnaces, Kerala possessed skill of special processes such as the metal mirror of Aranmula.
  • Tamil Nadu – High quality steel from Tamil Nadu was exported all over the world since Roman times.
  • Andhra Pradesh –Kona Samudram region in Andhra Pradesh was famous for producing the world-renowned Woozy steel – the raw material for King Salahuddin’s fabled Damascus Sword. The tempering of steel had been brought in ancient India to perfection.
  • Rajasthan – Zink mining was carried out at Jhavar during 400 BC.

King Porus is said to have made a special gift to Alexander in the form of thirty pounds of steel. The Muslims carried Indian chemical science and industry to Europe. The image of Nataraja was made of five metals (Pancha-Dhatu).  This technology of mixing two or more metals and deriving superior alloys had been observed and noted by the Greek Historian Peisistratus. The Spire (Makara) over Hindu temples were always adorned with brass or gold toppings (Kamandals). 

Units of Measurement

  • Yativrasabha prepared tables for distance measuring and time calculations in his treatise Tiloyyapannati way back in 6 century.
  • Yakaspati Mishra has explained in Niyaya-suchini-bandha (840 AD) that location of any point in space could be fixed by the intersection of three imaginary lines drawn and distance accurately measured. This principle was a forecast of Solid Quadrant Geometry later propounded by Descartes in 1644 AD.
  • Niyaya Visheshika mentioned 1,944,000 Kshana as the duration of Sun Day. One Kshana equals to .044 of our today’s second. Truti was the smallest unit of time.
  • Para-manu has also been mentioned in Niyaya Visheshika It was the smallest unit of measure for measuring length. It equals to 1/349525 th part of modern inch. This measure can be imagined to equal the smallest particle of dust visible in sun light entering a dark room.

Iron pillar at Delhi 

Traditional Indian iron and steel are known to have some very special properties such as resistance to corrosion. This is substantiated by the 1600-year-old, twenty-five feet high iron pillar next to the Qutub Minar in New Delhi, installed during the period of Chandragupta Maurya. The famous iron pillar in Delhi is a metallurgical wonder. This huge wrought iron pillar, 24 feet in height 16.4 inches in diameter at the bottom, and 6 1/2 tons in weight has stood exposed to tropical sun and rain for fifteen hundred years, but does not show the least sign of rusting or corrosion.

Evidence shows that the pillar was once a Garuda Stambha from a Vishnu temple and added as a trophy in the Quwwat al-Islam mosque in Delhi. Experts at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur have now found that a thin layer of ‘miswrite’ – a compound of iron, oxygen and hydrogen – protected the cast iron pillar near the historic Qutub Minar from rust for centuries. The metallurgy could be used to develop a model for containers used to store nuclear materials. The protective film had formed due to the presence of high amounts of phosphorous in the iron – as much as one percent, against less than 0.05 percent in today’s iron. The high phosphorous content was a result of the unique iron-making process practiced by ancient Indians.

Galvanizing Feat

Zinc metallurgy traveled from India to China and then to Europe. As late as 1735, professional chemists in Europe believed that zinc could not be reduced to metal except in the presence of copper.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 36/72 – Astrology Palmistry and Gemology)

Splashes – 34/72 – Indian Contributions towards Physics

Philosophy and Science are deeply related. Ideas precede inventions. Philosophers generate ideas and scientists shape them. The two functions might be combined in one person or more. The founders of Western scientific thought were also philosophers. So were the Indians. Indian scientists were called Ashvins.

The Beginning of Physics

Today the text books on Physics tell that matter lays in three states, that are solid, liquid and gas. This statement tells the condition of matter at some particular time only. The forms and shapes can change. The properties of different kinds of matter are the subjects covered under the Science of Physics.

Vedas were the first text books on Physics. The compiled knowledge about matter and its properties came to humans originally through the text of Vedas that provided the first, foremost and subtle knowledge about basic elements (Panch Bhuta) of Nature – Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Ether; out which rest of the things have come in to existence. The process of acquiring knowledge about the composition of different things, properties, and establishing cause to the effects has been a continuously ongoing process.

Vedanga and Vedanta carried forward the studies in Physics. Upanishdas, Darshana Shastras and Puranas are the sources that contain mantras explaining properties of various natural phenomena and link causes to the effects. All Mantras are not meant for spiritual development. Most of them contain vast knowledge in compressed form, like zipped files, and need further expansion.

Format of Texts

Those days even the scientific writing was also done in poetic Chhandas, economized within the given structure of the metric measure. That served as an aid for memorizing. Mostly the style of writings was either in ‘Ode’ format. The author ‘addressed’ the ‘Subject’ and narrated the properties and utilities before seeking the effect. Another style used in ancient texts was a dialogue between the Rishi and disciples. This style offered explanation with examples also. 

Example of the knowledge content

Atharva Veda is mostly devoted to Physics.  It stated that there are seven fundamental elements of matter. Those are (1) Dhara (Earth), (2) Jala (Water), (3) Teja (Fire), (4) Vayu (Wind), (5) Khitija (Horizon), (6) Tanmatra (Quantity) and (7) Ghamanda (Ego).

Further, every kind of matter is possessed by three Gunas (qualities) of (1) Satvik, (2) Rajasik and (3) Tamsik. That implied that all matters can cause beneficial, dormant and harmful effects.

By different permutations and combinations of seven fundamental matter and three Gunas, 21 more products could be formed.

Likewise, another Treatise Vaisheshika Darshana Shastra lists out Prithavi (Earth), Jala (Water), Agni  (Fire), Vayu (Wind), Akasha (Horizon), and adds Kala (Time), Disha (Direction), Atma (Soul) and Mana (mind).

The properties of those are briefly  explained below:-

Prithavi- Earth element has qualities of smell, shape, taste and touch, out of which smell is most significant.

Jala – Water qualities are Taste, Touch and shape. Taste is most significant. Presence of Water is identified through coolness in matter. The warmth in Water denotes the presence of Fire element.

Agni – Fire element has qualities of shape and touch, out of which shape is most significant. 

Vayu – Wind element has distinct quality of touch. 

Akasha – Ether element has qualities of sound. It is formless, but where ever sound can be heard, presence of this element is confirmed. Ear drums are the recipients of this property.

Kala – Time causes origin, state and destruction of everything. For practical interpretation, it has been conceptualized into hours, days, months, age, present, past and future.

Disha For practical application there are ten directions that have been conceptualized for the origin, existence and expiration of matter.

  • These are four cardinal points East, West, North and South.
  • Four corners North East, South East, South West, and North West.
  • Two sides, Surface and Bottom

Atma – Awareness is the sign of Atma. Awareness is not the identity or qualification of senses, because previous knowledge continues to stay even after destruction or mal- functioning of the sense that had acquired knowledge in the past. It implies that Atma experienced knowledge and is separate from senses. Desire, feelings, efforts, comfort and discomfort are separate from body and are the identity of Atma.

Mana – It is a tool to experience various sensory feelings.

The above illustrations depict that spirituality has been neatly blended with the subject of pure science Physics. It is not necessary to use only European terminology to look authentic. Explaining subtle scientific facts through artistically woven mythological stories has been the hall mark of Hindu religion.

Scope of Hindu Scriptures

Scientific gems are lying scattered throughout in Hindu Scriptures like Vedas, Vedangas, Vedants Purans and Epics. Modern physics confirmed that the Sun’s rays travel in a curved way, but not in a straight line. The same fact our ancestors had artistically explained through mythology that seven horses tied by snakes drew Sun’s chariot. As the movements of the snakes are crooked and curved, so also are the sun’s rays. This phenomenon has been poetically described in scriptures:

भुजंगनः मितः सप्तः तुर्गः

Similarly the Atharva Veda explained another scientific truth about Sunlight that there are seven colors in the white ray of the Sun. Sun rays contain blend of seven colors:

सप्तः सूर्य्स रसम्यः। 

Contribution of Indian Scientists

In the realm of physics, Indian scientists have made remarkable contributions.

  • Rishi Kanada, the founder of the Vaisesika system of philosophy, expounded that the entire matter in this world consisted of atoms, as many in kind as there were various elements. About light he explained that light and heat are variations of the same reality. He is the fore-father of Atomic Science. Jain thinkers went a step further. They thought that all atoms are the same kind and variety emerged because they entered into different combinations.
  • Sushrut explained that we are able to see the objects around us due to the light falling on them. Aryabatta also supported his views later. In contrast, Greek scientists held the view that objects are seen because of light in the eyes.
  • Varahmihir in sixth century explained how shadows were cast.
  • Chakrapani was the first to explain that light and sound traveled through waves, but the speed of light was many times faster than the sound waves.
  • Pratispda further elaborated that sound waves travelled in the shape of concentric circles and every sound wave has a corresponding echo.
  • Vachaspati interpreted light as composed of minute particles emitted by substances striking the eyes. This is a clear anticipation of the corpuscular theory of light, which was proposed by Newton, but was rejected till the discovery of the proton.

Gravitation and Astro-Physics

The theory of gravity found its existence in Yajur Veda that explains that the Earth is kept in space owing to the superior attraction of the Sun. Scholars of the Gupta period were already acquainted with the movement of the heavenly bodies, the reasons for eclipses of the Sun and the Moon.

  • Aryabhatta put forward a brilliant thesis regarding the Earth’s rotation on its axis. As regards the stars being stationary, Aryabhatta stated that starry vault was fixed, but the earth moving round its axis, again and again caused the rising and setting of planets and stars. He also described the Polar days and nights of six months duration. Aryabhatta affirmed the diurnal revolutions of the earth on its axis. He wrote that when the sun rose in Sri Lanka, it was midday in Yavakoti (Java) and midnight in the Roman land. Yavadvipa, a Sanskrit name mentioned in the Ramayana, to which Sugriva sent search parties looking for Sita, was the ancient name of Java. As regards to the size of the earth, he calculated the circumference of the earth as 4,967 Yojanas and its diameter as 1,581 1/24 Yojanas.  A Yojana is equal to five English miles, and the calculation tallies with modern calculations. The circumference of the Earth works out to be 24, 835 miles, with its diameter as 7, 905 5/24 miles. He also wrote a textbook Aryabhatta Siddhantafor working out astronomical calculations.  Even today, this data is used in preparing Hindu calendars (Panchangs) giving most accurate results.
  • Brahmagupta, (598 AD – 665 AD) is known for introduction of negative numbers and operations on Zero in Arithmetic. His main work was Brahmasphuta Siddhanta, which was a corrected version of an old astronomical treatise Brahma Siddhanta. From his time the Hindus were aware of the length of diameter and circumference of the earth.
  • Varahamihira in 6th century produced valuable material relating to Astronomy, Geography and Mineralogy in his work Brihat-Samhita. It is stated that one half of the moon, whose orbit lies between the sun and the earth, is always bright by the Sun’s rays;  while the other half is always dark by its own shadows, like the two sides of a pot standing in the sunshine. Explaining eclipse of the Moon and Sun, he wrote that Moon enters into the Earth’s shadow; and in Solar eclipse the same thing happens to the Sun. He further explained the commencement of a lunar eclipse does not take place from the Western side. The solar eclipse does not take place from the Eastern side. He gave the calculation of eclipses; independent of any reference to the mythological ‘Rahu Ketu’ episode.
  • Bhaskaracharya knew the law of gravitation. In a verse in Sidhanta Shiromani, he held that the Earth is endowed with the power of attraction. It drags with own power heavy objects on the sky.  It appears that objects are falling but actually they are not, they are only being dragged by the power of attraction of the Earth. When everything on the sky drags each other equally there is no question of objects on Earth to fall. It is explained that Earth, planets, stars, Moon, and Sun – each of them is being dragged by the other with its respective power of attraction and as a result of this attraction none of them is removed from their axis. This theory was deliberated in the Siddhanta Shiromani centuries before Newton was born. According to Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya the diameter was calculated to be 7182 miles, some calculated that to be 7905 miles, while modern scientists take it to be 7918 miles. Bhaskara is renowned for his concept of Tatkalik-agati (instantaneous motion).

Last but not the least, none of the Hindu scientists suffered the fate of poor Galileo for making new discoveries. 

Chand K Sharma

Next: Splashes – 35/72 -India’s Technological Contributions

 

Splashes– 33/72 – Indian Contributions to Mathematics

Hindus have contributed most to the science of Mathematics. Our decimal system, place notation, numbers 1 through 9, and the ubiquitous ‘0’ zero, are the major contributions towards this fundamental science. In the Vedic age, India was ahead of the rest particularly, in mathematics and astronomy. Mathematics (Ganita) had been at the top of the sciences known as Vedanga. It is through the magic of Vedic Mathematics that Shakuntala Devi dazzled computer wizards by orally solving complex equations.

Combination of physical and Spiritual

Mathematics served as a bridge between understanding material reality and the spiritual conception. The mathematics of the Vedas contrasts the cold, clear, and geometric precision of the West and is cloaked in the poetic language that distinguishes the East. Vedic mathematicians devised sutras for solving mathematical problems with apparent ease.

Aryans were deeply interested in planetary positions to calculate auspicious times and they developed Astronomy and Mathematics side by side, towards that end. They identified various constellations (Nakshatras) and named the months after them. Indian system was far superior, to that of the Greeks. They could count up to 1012, while the Greeks could count up to 104 and Romans up to 108.

Ancient Literature on Mathematics 

Indians had adopted verse form to explain Mathematical concepts. The earliest available work in the field of Mathematics include Bakshali Manuscript that was discovered from Bakshali, a village near Takshashaila. Other texts are Ganitasara-Sangraham of Mahavira Acharya, who lived between Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya and Akshara Lakshana Ganit Shastra, containing 84 Theorems.

Invention of Numbers

Invention of numerals from 1 to 9 has been the major contribution of Indians to the science of Mathematics. Its importance is similar to the alphabets in any language, without which, the language cannot be visualized. Not only they designed the shape of numbers, but also assigned valuable meaning to each shape. By adding the system of placement to each number they expanded their expressive and application potential.

Discovery of Zero

The earliest use of the zero symbols is in one of the scriptural books dated about 200 BC. The zero is called Shunya or ‘nothing.’  It was initially represented by a dot and later it was replaced by a small circle. It was thereafter accepted as a numeral like others. There is a beautiful definition of the infinite in the following line of a Vedic mantra of Isavasya Upanishad:-

ॐ।।पूर्णमद : पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य  पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते।।

It says: “Take the whole (Infinite Brahman) from the whole and the whole still remains”. This is almost like the mathematician, Cantor’s definition of infinity.

For example, in Roman Numeral System the figure ‘three thousand three hundred thirty three’ will be represented as ‘MMMCCCXXXIII’. The same figure can be easily expressed as 3333. For multiplying this figure by ten, all that is required under the Indian system is just to place a zero on the right so that all digits get shifted one step to the left and it is read as 33330. Performing such simple mathematical functions like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division was extremely tedious in Roman Numeral System.

Positional Notation System

Intellectuals all over the world had been grappling with numerical signs but till India supplied them the knowledge of positional notation system, they remained handicapped to utilize their application. If that had not happened, there would not have been any progress in the field of Mathematics as well as in Computer Science.

Our ancient mathematicians, by assigning positions to numbers extended the application of Mathematics to other branches of learning. The number on the right of digit raised the value of the first digit tenfold and the process continued till infinity. For example if we added one zero to the right of any digit, the value of the digit increased in multiple of ten.  Adding another zero would increase that to multiple of hundred and so on. Conversely if the digit is placed on the left side the value of the digit decreased in multiple of ten and so on. This revolutionary discovery goes to the credit of Indian mathematicians.

Decimal system

Not only zero denoted its own value, but the complete system based on its positional concept opened the gates for subsequent revolutionary system of decimal. Brhahmagupta pioneered the decimal concept about 1500 years ago. The Western world owes a great deal to India for this simple invention made by an anonymous Indian. Without it, most of the great discoveries and inventions (including computers) would not have come about. This invention was the decimal system of numerals – nine digits and a zero. Roman system of numerals even today is too clumsy to be used as a scientific tool.

Miscalled “Arabic” Numerals

The miscalled “Arabic” numerals are found on the Rock Edicts of Ashoka (250 BC), a thousand years before their occurrence as Hindsa even in Arabic literature implying imported from India. The Arabs carried this system to Africa and Europe.

Symbols in Trigonometry and Calculus.

Indians also added more branches to the field of Mathematics, such as Trigonometry and Calculus. They studied and applied this knowledge in Astronomy. The symbol for infinity is called the lemniscuses. English mathematician John Wallis introduced this symbol for the first time in 1655. Hindu mythological iconography contained a similar symbol representing the same idea. The symbol is that of Ananta, the great Adisesha of infinity and eternity, which is always represented, coiled up in a horizontal figure of ‘8’ just like the lemniscuses.

Algebra 

Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskara conceptualized negative quantity in positional system. They found the square root of 2, and solved indeterminate equations of the second degree in 8 th Century AD. They expressed their science in poetic form and added grace to mathematical problems, a characteristic to India’s Golden Age. The same were unknown to Europe until Euler appeared on the scene thousand years later. Bhaskara invented the radical sign and many other algebraic symbols.

The largest numbers used by Greeks and Romans were 106, whereas Indians used numbers as big as 10 to the power of 53, as early as 5000 BC. The use of symbols-letters of the alphabet to denote unknowns, and equations are the foundations of the science of Algebra. The Hindus were the first to make systematic use of the letters of the alphabet to denote unknowns. They were also the first to classify and make a detailed study of equations. Thus they may be said to have given birth to the modern science of Algebra. Algebra went to Western Europe through the Arabs. To them Al-Jabr meant adjustment.

Ancient Indian Mathematicians

  • Aryabhattalived during 475 AD – 550 AD and was born in Kerala. He had studied at Nalanda. In the section Ganita (calculations) of his astronomical treatise Aryabhatiya (499 AD), he made the fundamental advance in finding the lengths of chords of circles, by using the half chord rather than the full chord method used by Greeks. He gave the value of pi as 3.1416, claiming, for the first time, that it was an approximation. He also gave methods for extracting square roots, summing arithmetic series, solving indeterminate equations of the type ax – by = c, and also gave the table of Sines.
  • Brahmagupta lived during the period 598 AD – 665 AD. He is known for introduction of negative numbers and operations on zero into arithmetic. His main work was Brahmasphuta Siddhanta. As a matter of fact, it is a corrected version of old astronomical treatise He formulated the rule of three and proposed rules for the solution of quadratic and simultaneous equations.  He was the first mathematician to treat Algebra and Arithmetic as two different branches of Mathematics. He gave the solution of the indeterminate equation Nx2+1 = y2. He is also the founder of the branch of higher Mathematics known as ‘Numerical Analyses’. Brahmagupta‘s work Brahmasiddhanta was later translated into Arabic as Sind Hind.
  • Mahavir Acharaya wrote Ganitasara Sangrahamin 850 AD, which is the first text-book on Arithmetic in present day form. He is the only Indian mathematician who has briefly referred to the ellipse, and called it ‘Ayatvrit’.
  • Bhaskaracharaya is the most well-known ancient Indian mathematician. He was born in 1114 AD at Bijjadabida (Bijapur, Karnataka). He was the first to enunciate that any number divided by zero is infinity and that the sum of any number and infinity is also infinity. Bhaskara can also be called the founder of Differential Calculus. He gave an example of what is now called ‘differential coefficient’ and the basic idea of what is now called ‘Rolle’s Theorem’. Unfortunately, later Indian mathematicians did not take any notice of this. Five centuries later, Newton and Leibniz developed this subject further.  Bhaskaracharaya wrote Siddhanta Siromani in 1150 AD. It is divided into four sections as under:-
  1. Leelavati – a very popular text-book on Arithmetic
  2. Bijaganita – introduced chakrawal to solve algebraic equations. Six centuries later, European mathematicians like Galois, Euler and Lagrange rediscovered this method and called it ‘inverse cyclic’ equation.
  3. Goladhayaya– chapter on sphere – celestial globe,
  4. Grahaganita – mathematics of the planets.

Geometry

Vedic altars and sacrificial places were constructed according to strict geometrical principles. The Vedic altar had to be stacked in a geometrical form with the sides in fixed proportions. Brick altars had to combine specific dimensions with a fixed number of bricks. Again, the surface areas were so designed that altars could be increased in size without change of shape, which required considerable geometrical ingenuity. Geometry was known as Kalpa. Geometry was developed in India from the rules of the construction of the altars.

Geometrical rules found in the Sulbha Sutras, therefore, refers to the construction of squares and rectangles, the relation of the diagonal to the sides, equivalent rectangles and squares, equivalent circles and squares, conversion, of oblongs into squares and vice versa, and the construction of squares equal to the sum or difference of two squares.

Aryabhatta discovered the method of calculation for areas of triangle, trapezium and circle. In a verse (shloka), Arybhatta has explained the value for pi (tyajya) which is accurate to four decimal places.

We must appreciate the geometrical expression of Duryodhana in Mahabharata when he declared that he would not gift land to Pandavas even that measured equal to the land placed under a needle point. The statement expressed his acute sense of precision and measurement even as a layman.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 34/ 72 – Indian Contributions towards Physics)  

Splashes – 32/72 – Cosmic Time in Hindu Scriptures

Hindu scriptures tell us that Universe is without a beginning (Anadi) or an end (Ananta). Cosmos undergoes infinite number of deaths and rebirths. Every moment old stars are dying and new being formed. This truth stands ratified by the modern scientists also. Santana Dharma and modern science are not in conflict. Search for truth was the pursuit of Hindu Sages, and modern scientists have also kept up the same tradition.

Calculation of Time

The time scales worked out by Hindu sages also correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. One cosmic day and night of Brahma equals 8.64 billion years on our planet Earth. It is therefore longer than the age of Earth as well as the Sun at the center of our solar system.

The Rig Veda lists a number of stars and mentions twelve divisions of the sun’s yearly path (rashis) and 360 divisions of the circle. Thus, the year of 360 days is divided into twelve months. Using mythology as a training aid, the Sun’s annual course was artistically explained as a wheel with twelve spokes that correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Time taken in twinkling of eye is called Nimish. This unit of measure is more or less like a micro second.

The time calculation table for day and night on Earth in Manusamruti is given as under:-

  • 18 Nimish = 1 Kastha
  • 30 Kastha = 1 Kala
  • 30 Kala = 1 Mahurata
  • 30 Mahurata = 1 Ahoratra
  • 30 Ahoratras = 1 Masa (Month)

Due to rotation of Earth one Ahoratra is divided in two parts called day and night (Divas and Ratri). Day is meant for work and night is for rest.

Every month has two fortnights (Paksha) of fifteen days each. Moonlit nights are called Shukal Paksha, while dark nights are called Krishna Paksha.

The above division is perfectly natural, tangible, and scientific. The day starts with Sun rise. At the day break all living beings wake up. There is freshness in breeze and streams. Flowers bloom. Nature signals every living being to start activity.

Similarly at Sun set, all living beings start returning to their resting place, flowers close, streams also indicate feeling of slowing down, and Nature ushers everyone to sleep and rest except those species that are assigned and designed by the Creator to work at night.

If we compare Natural division of Day – Night with the division followed vide Roman calendar, the date is upgraded at midnight when everyone is sleeping in bed. There is no perceivable change around and everything is artificial, stale and unscientific!

Cosmic Time and Yugas

As per Hindu scriptures, process of creation and destruction of Universe continues in cyclic order. The creation goes on for 4.32 billion years (Srishti Kalpa – Brahma’s day) followed by an equal period of destruction (Praleya Kalpa – Brahma’s night). Srishti and Praleyas Kalpas follow each other like our day and night. Together they sum up to, 8.64 billion years to make one Brahma day – called a Brahma Ahoratra. Such 360 Braahma Ahoratras, or 3110.4 billion years make one year of Brahma.

Chaturyuga is the time taken by our solar system to circle bigger solar system in the Universe. It is also called Mahayuga or great year. The Indian concept of the great year (Mahayuga) was developed from the idea of a lunisolar period of five years, combined with four ages of the world (Yugas) which were thought to be of unequal perfection and duration, succeeding one another and lasting in the ratio of 4:3:2:1.

This figure was calculated not only from rough estimates of planetary and stellar cycles, but also from the 10,800 stanzas of the Rig Veda, consisting of 432,000 syllables. The enlightened Hindu Sages calculated the great period as one of 4,320,000 years, the basic element of which was a number of sidereal solar years, 1,080,000 a multiple of 10,800.

Hindu texts have further divided a Kalpa in to 14 Manvantaras. Every Manvantra has 308448000 years or 308.448 million years.

Manvantras are divided in to Chaturyugas.  One Chaturyuga consists of 43 lakhs & 20 thousand years.  Chaturyuga is further subdivided as under:-

  • Satyug = 17 lakhs 28 thousand years
  • Treta = 12 lakhs 96 thousand years
  • Dwapar = 8 lakhs 64 thousand years
  • Kaliyug = 4 lakhs 32 thousand years

71 Chaturyugi make for one Manvanter. (30 crore, 67 lakhs, & 20 thousand years). This is the time bigger solar system takes to circle around further solar system and there is no end to more solar systems.

According to the Hindu scriptures the present phase of creation began with the beginning of the current Shwetavaraha Kalpa about 1.972 billion years ago. Since then, 6 Manvanters have passed and the 7th Vaibasvat Manwantara is in currency. There names of previous six Manvanters are Swayambhar, Swarochish, Ottmi, Tamas, Ryivat and Chakshash.

Out of currently running seventh Manvantra 28 Chaturyugas have also passed. Of the running 29 th Chaturyuga, we are passing through present Kaliyuga. That has also passed its time of 5002 years. According to Bhagavat Purana, King Uttanapaada, the father of Dhruva, ruled during the period of first Swayambhuva Manu. That was nearly 1.97 billion years ago.

Slavery to Western mindset 

Western scientists as usual, continued to reject these mind-boggling calculations, till Michael A. Cremo, an American researcher, propounded that human beings existed 2 billion years ago on Earth. Mr Cremo’s findings substantiated the narration of the Bhagavat Purana. The neat question is that do we need to overlook own achievements till certified by others?

Indian Calendar

Unfortunately, our present generations are totally ignorant about the names of the months in Indian Calendar and its base. India’s Vikrami calendar is based on the movement of planets and is more scientific whereas Gregorian (Roman) calendar is conventional and unscientific.

Our ancestors had named the days of week after the planets of our solar system.  Starting the week with Sun (Ravivar) the following days have been named according to the proximity of planets in relation to Earth. They are moon (Somvar), Mars (Mangalvar), Mercury (Budhvar), Jupiter (Brahaspativar), Venus (Shukravar) and Saturn (Shanivar).

The word calendar is pronounced kalandar in Portuguese and resounds with Sanskrit word kal-antra meaning time differentials. Other time units in Sanskrit are Yug-antra, Manv-antra, and Kalp-antra. The months of September, October, November and December also have their source in Sanskrit words Sapt-ambar, Ashta-ambar, Nov-ambar, and Dash-ambar implying seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth in order.

Gregorian (Roman) Calendar

Gregorian calendar was introduced in Rome by Julius Caesar after his victory. Although Christians claim to believe in one God, but for no reason they named the days and months of their calendar after pagan gods, whom they denounce otherwise.

It will be interesting to trace the induction of Gregorian calendar in India through East India Company. The British did not have any of their own calendar, and like other European Countries they also had been using Julian calendar. Their year started with the month of March, and counting further September was seventh month followed by October, November and December as eighth, ninth and tenth months respectively. Months of July and August was added much later and like December and January both have 31 days one after another.

The Gregorian calendar was adopted in England as official calendar in 1750 and till 1772 England also begun her new year on 1st of March every year. Later by an act of British Parliament New Year was made to start on 1 st January, the month following Christmas.

Basis of Rashi Chakras

Our sages knew that Earth took 365-1/3 days to circle the Sun. Rig-Veda has described several constellations in the sky. Our sages identified the route of Earth around the Sun and prepared a chart. The spread of constellations in the sky were imagined to resemble out lines of animal figures and given names that came to be known as Zodiac signs (Rashi chitras). Those were used as reference points in the sky along the route of Earth while circling the Sun.

The sages arrived at the conclusion through repeated observations of the sky that Earth took 30 days’ time to pass through one constellation (Rashi). Thus they worked out 30 X 12 = 360 days of the year and twelve month. But little extra time was also to be adjusted.

For the sake of simple calculations, sages standardized every month to have thirty days each. The left-over period was allowed to accumulate for twelve years after which an extra month was added to the year. That year was supposed to have 13 months that was called ‘Malmas’. It is relevant that the rotational festival of Kumbha is held after 12 years at the same place.

The Sun entered new constellation on the first of every Indian month and made exit after thirty days accordingly. Indian system is not a matter of blind faith, but purely based on calculations that are perceivable. The same 12 zodiac signs have been adopted all over the world with slight local variations but each Zodiac sign begins somewhere on 20 th or 21 st of Calendar month for ‘unknown’ reasons and relevance.

Compared to that Roman calendar months had 30 or 31 days, but the last month of the year February held ‘left-over days’ in its kitty. Sometimes it contained 29 days and sometimes 28 days. Thus extra days are adjusted by having a leap year after every four years and varied numbers of days during months. It is all conventional and arbitrary.

Reminiscent of Slavery

East India Company officials had no clue to the scientific making of Indian calendar. Along with other British colonies, British calendar was heaped upon us in India, and we as slaves had no choice or resources to resist. Indian standard time is five and half hours ahead of British time. When there is Sunrise in India to start fresh date, there is mid night in England. But as they happened to be the masters, they ordered Indians and other colonial slaves to change date at midnight to suit British. Other colonies readily obliged as they did not have any calendars of their own.

We do appreciate that cosmic time schedule cannot be taken into use to establish our historic events. The weighing bridge used for heavy-duty trucks are not used for weighing ornaments. The age of a person can neither be expressed in Light years nor in micro seconds.

But why India has been still following Roman calendar for the sake of standardization? What is the necessity for us to match our dates with Roman calendar? Even today our Government and its functionaries have made no use of ‘Saka Calendar’ that was adopted in the Constitution as Official Calendar. If we want to trace our history we shall have to rely upon our own Calendar.

Chand K Sharma

Next: Splashes – 33/ 72 – Indian Contributions to Mathematics

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