About Hinduism and India

Posts tagged ‘Sanskrit’

Splashes – 67/72 – Loss of Patronage to Hinduism

Before partition, at least in few princely states, Hinduism received some patronage. But in post partitioned India that patronage was also lost. Nepal was the only one Hindu kingdom on the global map, but it is no more. Hinduism has come to be neglected after partition, particularly at the behest of Congress leaders, who continued the policy of colonial government the same way, as that was handed over to them after partition.  Over and above politicians have assiduously encouraged the minorities to strengthen and preserve their fundamentalist outlook in the social structure of Indian Society by advancing financial and organizational infrastructures.  They have been assured of having first right on countries resources in comparison to Hindus.

Bias against Hindu Heritage

We ignore the fact that Christian organizations have a heavy stake in education. They want to hold on to the colonial – missionary version of history. They do not want our academic curriculum changed, because, they will have to teach the modern and scientific version, that would establish India the home of Vedas, scientific knowledge, and grand Civilization.

The education system of elite’s choice was monopolized by missionary schools during colonial days. The product of such schools came to occupy decision-making apparatus of the government in post partitioned India. Such Anglicized Indians valued dogma above rational thinking. While they preferred everything in English, they generated a dogmatic mindset incapable of critical analysis beyond colonial knowledge.

  • ‘One of their dogmas has been that Christianity is progressive, and rejection of ancient Vedic concepts is a sign of progressiveness’. They assume that Indians do not have the capability to question Western institutions. Jawaharlal Nehru used to pride in referring Vedic period as “Gobar Yuga” (cow-dung age).
  • ‘Muslims in India are a peace-loving minority, suffering at the hands of Aryan “chauvinists”, who want to saffronize the secular character of India’. They associate saffron color with terror by saying that biggest threat to India exists from Hindu fundamentalists.
  • ‘Minorities in India have the first right on resources of the country. Special welfare schemes are needed for their support’.

Due to such generated mind-set most of the youth identify Hinduism with superficial rituals performed on occasions like marriages and funerals. Photographs of drug-addicts in the guise of Sadhus and beggars are projected as representatives and propagators of Hinduism on the cover of glossy magazines. While minorities are hardening their life styles on extreme fundamental dictates, Hindu youth find an escape route in secularism. Government aided Madrassa education is churning out motivated Islamic youths to dream India turning an Islamic state in near future. Individually and collectively, Hindus express helplessness to block their aggressive designs.

Lack of Self-confidence

The net result of such timid mind-set is leading to destruction of Hindu self-confidence and national pride. Unless something is approved by the Westerners ‘educated Hindus’ do not repose faith in their own findings. If westerns certified the benefits of Yoga, sublimity of our classical music, curative properties of Ayurvedic medicines, and usage of Indian herbs for beautification; only then we regarded those as patriotic sophistication in Indian society.

We felt elevated only after being told by John Marshall that we were the oldest civilization. We quote foreign travelers to tell ourselves that there were universities at Nalanda and Takshashila in India, where students all over the world came to study Science and Mathematics. All that could not have been believed otherwise by us.

For rediscovering India, Indian elites happily to go to Oxford and Cambridge, but feel agitated, if facilities for our ancient studies are contemplated in Indian universities. We perceive it as a threat to secularism, which is practically being misused to protect the medieval mindset of ethnic minorities.

Judicial Activism

Of late judicial activism has added another dimension to anti – Hindu mindset. Many often Obitter Dictums are sounded that Caste system should be thrown to dust bin. While our Judiciary has been reluctant to interfere with the personal law of minorities, how passing references are made by courts against customs and traditions of Hinduism? Submitting to pressure from Islamic clerics while judgment in Shah Bano Case was nullified at the behest of Rajiv Gandhi, Congress government and Judiciary seemed to be enthusiastic in recognizing living in relationships, gay marriages and protecting marriages within same Gotras. The government has failed to pass uniform civil code to obliterate distinction between minority and majority.

Opposition to Hindu Studies

Perpetual opposition from secular politicians to introduction of astrology, and other Vedic studies in universities is continuation of slavish mindset, even if the studies are to be presented in modern light. When Astrology was sought to be taught in diploma course in Gujarat, elitists went on to argue that introduction of astrology would be counterproductive to scientific temperament. They contended that due to variability in astrological predictions, Astrology could not be classified as a Science.

Carrying this argument forward one can say that Business forecasts are nothing but estimates, based on market trends applying a blend of modern technology to the database created on past records. Even business predictions are open to errors in judgment. Many times meteorological forecasts also go wrong, though these are arrived after using most modern gadgetry. Should we conclude that Meteorology is also not a science? Likewise, business forecasting is superstitious? Going further, there should be no forward planning in the country, as future cannot be scientifically predicted.

Rediscovering through Technology 

Our astrology still has enough original scientific data and literature to work and improve upon. Systematic study in the field of Astrology has generated self-employment for many, since a market at home and abroad already exists. What astrologers should not have access to modern technology and facilities created in the universities? Further, streamlining Vedic education may help eradication of harmful bias associated with this branch of study. If we accept Vedic studies in our curriculum, experimentation employing modern technology will be helped to verify the correctness of predictions and make us self-sufficient in conceptualization followed by technological absorption of indigenous knowledge.

Neglecting Research

Scientific research can be undertaken to test the hypothesis, with the help of research tools available today and analytical aids applied to case studies. The same is true about our vast philosophical knowledge, which is lying compressed in Vedas and Upanishads. It is lying unused, because it is hard to convince brown elitists and secularists, who are conditioned not to quote beyond Aristotle, Socrates, and Fraud.

Neglecting Sanskrit

Though Sanskrit is the only language in the world to possess an original treatise in the field of all human sciences, we resist its retention in educational curriculum, due to communal bias generated by anti Hindu elements. Our software professionals meekly admitted the validity of Sanskrit for computers after westerners certified that. Convent elites remain blind to the fact that when Chaucer, the father of English poetry was born, Sanskrit literature was already enriched with classics yet to be surpassed by other languages of the world.

On the contrary we are over indulging in promotion of Urdu that has borrowed script and vocabulary. Promotion of Urdu will regenerate more communal mindset among minorities and impede acceptance of Hindi as our national language.

Distortion of History

Cultural self-hatred abounds due to the anti-Hindu educational policy of the government pursued by secularists in secular India. For the pleasure of minorities, atrocious doings of Muslim invaders against Hindus are being excluded from our History books. Attempts have been made to interpret historical events that factual wrongs committed by invaders and bigots, remain over looked. Shamelessly, we turn apologetic about the heroic deeds of Aryans, Rajputs, Marathas and Sikhs who resisted Islamic onslaught.

Many of ancient sites and shrines have been occupied by Muslims and bear Islamic names in spite of archeological evidence suggesting the original ownership. The government is hesitant to probe the matter to restore ownership to Hindus. This has made India a nation without nationalism, pride, or history for our younger generation. Pseudo-secularists want present generations to believe that Mahmood Gaznavi and Mohammad Ghouri, were not fanatics, but Shiva Ji and Maharana Pratap were the rebels. Western countries have converted most of our intellectual wealth to theirs, while we remained shy and ignorant to stake our claim.

We should assert our Heritage

Modern corporations spend handsome amounts on idea generation exercises, before the launch of new products. Had there been a system of patenting knowledge, India would have been the sole proprietor of world’s intellectual property. The fatherhood of many faculties of knowledge would have been bestowed upon Indians. But there is probably no other country except India, where indigenous concepts however enlightened, is ridiculed while western concepts are blindly parroted. In India, foreign cultures can preach what they want, even if the same were irrelevant, vulgar, backward or anti national. We agitate if our own ancient heritage is included in the curriculum.

It is well-known that concept precedes discovery. Concept changes rarely, while technology to transform concept in to reality changes at rapid pace. One can find for him-self several inspiring concepts lying scattered between the lines of Vedas, mythological literature, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Jatka tales and other classics in Sanskrit. Outsiders need not pull Indians down; we are ourselves quite busy in this exercise in the name of preserving secularism, even if we lose our ancient cultural identity. Our youth leaders like Rahul felt “ashamed” to be associated with India, while Italian Sonia in power declared that “India is not a Hindu country”. Our elected representatives kept mum.

Chand K Sharma

(Naxt: Splashes– 68/72 – Insecure Environment for Hindus)

Splashes– 60/72 – Destruction of Hindu Identities

Islam got entrenched in India due to multiple reasons. The most prominent of all were federalism, local treachery, lack of aggressive spirit and outdated military tactics. Almost every Hindu feudal ruler looked towards other side when his neighbor was under attack. Many often someone close to the Hindu ruler was won over by Muslims to defect and sabotage. Hindu warriors did not resort to offensive action even when situation was favorable. They remained defensive and allowed the invader to choose his time and direction of attack. Instead of offering wider frontage, Hindus would assemble at one place and let the invader launch a concentrated attack. Hindus lacked mobility, shrewdness to anticipate enemy moves while Muslims were cunning and did not shy from adopting ruthless and deceitfulness means. Hindus lacked initiative and did not learn from their defeat after defeat and repeated same mistakes. Prithviraj Chauhan and later several Rajputs were the victims of outdated military tactics despite their individual valor.  Thus Hindu paid heavily for their own neglect and are continuing in the same fashion.

Enslaving of Hindus

Apart from actual killing on the battlefield, millions of Hindus disappeared by way of enslavement. Slave markets in Baghdad and Samarkand were flooded with Hindus. Many of the slaves died of hardship. The mountain range Hindu Koh, (Indian mountain), was re-named Hindu Kush, (Hindu-killer), when on a cold night a hundred thousand Hindu captives died during transportation to Central Asia by Timur. Slaves were always subjected to inhuman treatment such as whipping, amputation of limbs, sexual assault and whatever else the master could think of. Their life had no meaning. They were subjected to ill-treatment till they died or converted to Islam. Because of conversions the numbers of Muslim community swelled.

Destruction of Temples

Many prominent Hindu temples were desecrated and destroyed. Somnath temple on the coast of Gujarat was plundered and destroyed. The Vishnu temple was replaced with the Alamgir mosque at Benares, and The Treta-Ka-Thakur (Lord Rama) temple in Ayodhya was demolished and Babri Masjid was erected on its debris. This is just to mention the few, as about over 63000 temples all over India were destroyed, or converted in to mosques. Many Hindu buildings like Dhruva Stambha at Mehroli (Delhi) and Tajo Mahalya at Agra were usurped and converted to Muslim monuments. Today every ancient site of temple is either fully usurped by some Islamic shrine or is being shared by Muslim encroachment.

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707) topped the list. The number of temples destroyed under his orders is counted in four figures.  He ordered all temples destroyed such as the Kashi Vishvanath that was one of the most sacred temples, and a center of Hindu learning. He had mosques built on a number of cleared temples sites. All other Hindu sacred places within his reach also suffered destruction, and mosques were built upon them. Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura was desecrated by cow slaughter and a mosque was built over it. Aurangzeb did not stop at destroying temples; the worshippers  were also wiped-out. He had his own brother, Dara Shikoh, beheaded for showing little interest in Hindu religion.

Islamic Conversion of India  

Islamic Conversion of India continued for eight centuries as under:-

Language – Sanskrit went out of use. Arabic and Persian came to dominate royal court. After some competition between the two, Persian replaced Arabic but most of the converted could not grasp the same. Thus a new language emerged by the name of Hindvi. That was a mixture of Persian and some Sanskrit words. Muslims wrote Hindvi in Persian script and called that Urdu, while Hindus used Devnagri script and called that language Hindi. Urdu derived its vocabulary from Persian and Arabic, while Hindi had her foundation in Sanskrit.

Places and Palaces – Ancient cities were renamed. Prayag and Ayodhya were made Allahabad and Faizabad. From the booty taken from Temples and Jazia Tax, Muslim rulers maintained large harems, built mosques and tombs for their dead. The ‘great builder’ Shahjehan kept more than seven hundred concubines, and emptied his coffers in building palaces for himself, including the Taj Mahal, a mausoleum, built for the burial of his wife, who had died far away long ago. On the basis of records made in ‘Badshahnama’, the official chronicle of Shahjehan, and other archeological evidence, Taj Mahal is now suspected to be a Hindu building ‘Tajo Mahalya’, which had been allegedly usurped by the Emperor from one of his Hindu nobles Mirza Raja Jai Singh.

Conversions – Many Hindu family names can be found in India among Muslim families. Some prominent surnames are Suri, Bakshi, Malik, and Desai. Those were basically Hindus that converted to Islam in the past. There is no case where any Muslims was converted to Hindu faith. Hindus maintained that one had to be a Hindu by birth. Thus conversions were never sought.

But Hindu identity withstood

Although Muslim rulers changed the identity of cities and places but they failed to obliterate the identity of the country. India remained to be the land of Hindus. Every Muslim ruler called the country as Hindustan and preferred to be addressed as Shahansha -e – Hind or Sultan –e- Mumalkat-e- Hindostan. Many of the Muslim Emperors extended their rule up to Afghanistan, but they could not shift their capital out of India or merged India with Afghanistan.

This aspect is pertinent that India’s identity remained tied with Hindus only. Muslims tried hard to make India Muslim dominated but India continued to be Hindustan till 1947. They were Muslims when compared to Hindus but when compared to outsiders they remained owners of Hindustan.

Hindu Survival Adaptations

The Hindu adaptations for survival were necessity-dependent. They had to survive under nearly impossible conditions to save Hindu girls from Muslim loot, raid, plunder, and rape, among other things.

  • Some Hindu texts escaped destruction as the same went underground, like Bhrigu Samhita. It was a compendium of all possible horoscopes to correctly predict the life events of every individual, provided, the sheet matching the time and place of birth of the individual could be traced within the bunch. The book is still available in parts with certain families practicing astrology in North India.
  • As an escape route from depression and humiliation, Brahmins, saints and poets devoted themselves to Hindu deities instead of being called the slaves of Muslims. They suffixed their name with ‘daas’ of their chosen deity such as Ram Dass, Krishna Dass or something like that.
  • From the practice of ‘Karamyoga’ they turned to ‘Bhaktiyoga’ to find some solace, while they lived in an environment polluted by insecurity, insult and fear.
  • Some sought spiritual guidance from humanized gods like Rama and Krishna; while others like Sant Kabir and Guru Nanak sought salvation in abstract from of God, and vainly tried for Hindu Muslim synthesis. Subsequently such individualized sects expanded and carved their own distinct identifying rituals. Primarily, they were Hindu initiatives for rapprochement, and have remained so. However they could not bring any change in absolutely fundamentalist Islamic mindset.

Hindus had to pay terrible price in order to survive. Although many Hindus rulers individually continued their military struggle to resist Muslim rule but collectively due to the selfishness of traitors among them, they failed to forge any united resistance.

Record of Births and Dead

Brahmins confined their activities and affiliated themselves to certain geographical areas. They maintained records of births, deaths and other events in respect of their client families at pilgrim centers at Haridwar, Varanasi, Ujjain and Nashik.  Even today any Hindu can approach such places to trace out the names of their ancestors and allied records more than five generations backward, provided ancestors had visited the pilgrim center during their life span and had updated the data. Fortunately, at certain places those records are now being computerized. Unfortunately the younger generation is unaware of it and patronage is lacking.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 61/72 – Hindu Resistance to Islam)

Splashes – 59/72 – Advent of Islam in India

Islam came to India with barbaric invaders, who hated Hindus and called them Kafirs (Infidels). They slaughtered hundreds of millions of Hindus and destroyed everything that Hindus loved. Indoctrinated by their founder, Muslims believed that only the believers in Islam had the right to live and Allah had commanded them to kill the non believers.

The new faith could not have been welcomed from the very outset by Hindus in India because they obliterated more than 63000 sacred temples and placed the idols of Hindu gods and goddesses under the footsteps leading to the entry of their mosques. Every new invader enjoyed making a pile of Hindu heads on the battle field to celebrate his victory over the ‘infidels’. Thereafter the severed heads were thrown on the tracks to be kicked by the Believers.

Blood Curdling Hindu Slaughters

During the Islamic conquests in India, it was a typical policy to single out Brahmins for slaughter, after the Hindu warrior class had been bled on the battlefield. Traders were looted and others were either converted to Islam or enslaved. The biggest slaughters took place during the conquest of North India, of which only a few are mentioned below:

  • According to the Chach-Nama – When Mohammed bin Qasim conquered the lower Indus basin in 712 AD, six thousand warriors were put to death in Multan, and all their relations and dependents were taken as slaves. The magnificent Sun Temple was destroyed and the idol of the deity made in solid gold was taken away along with other treasures.
  • In 1399 AD Taimur ordered a general massacre at Delhi. His soldiers killed over 100,000 Hindus in a single day, in addition to many on other occasions. Delhi and neighboring areas were looted. Insufficiently clad and barefooted enslaved Hindus were taken on foot across the mountain where most of them died during journey on account of severe cold.  That mountain pass got the name Hindu-Kush to signify killer of Hindus
  • In 1425 Babur invaded Chanderi. After the fall of Chanderi fort, all Hindu males over the age of 12 were beheaded. The area continued to stink for months thereafter.
  • The so-called Akbar the great ordered Rajput chieftain Fateh Singh to be trampled under the feet of an elephant and execution of 30,000 non-combatants after the capture of Chittorgarh in 1568. Eight thousand women immolated themselves by performing Johar.
  • The fall of the Vijayanagar in 1565 was ‘celebrated’ with a general massacre and arson against Hindus.
  • Ferishta listed several occasions when the Bahmani sultans, only a third-rank provincial dynasty in central India, killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like ‘punishing’ the Kafirs.
  • Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali ransacked India during eighteenth century and carried out general manslaughter besides plunder and arson on mass scale in Delhi.

Prided Sadistic Pleasures

The Muslims invaders did record with glee their genocide on Hindus, because they felt that they were doing their holy duty. Every ruler had his own perceptions and methods to cause death and destruction of infidels. Executions were carried out in full public view in most inhuman ways like, slicing a person in two halves with manual saws, skinning them alive or putting humans in boiling oil. They derived sadistic pleasure through torture of infidels.

The Darkest Age for India

Soon Golden age of Hindus changed into a ghastly reign of Islamic terror. India was also plunged in darkness. The most visible consequences were:

  • All the great Indian Universities such as Takshashila, Nalanda, Odantapuri and Vikramashila were burnt down to ashes. There was no infrastructure left for higher education in India.
  • Scholars were hunted down and Islamic Madrassas (schools) replaced Indian system of education. A Madrassa curriculum was limited to recitation of Quran only. Maulavi (Islamic Teachers)  curbed reasoning and scientific temperament.
  • Once state came under Muslim Rule, all indigenous knowledge vanished. Few odd Hindu scholars continued imparting teaching in Sanskrit Grammar, a bit of Mathematics, Logic, Medicine and Philosophy by individual efforts in secluded areas.
  • Hindus were subjected to communal taxes like Jazia in addition to excessive land revenue. They did not have enough money to give financial support to scholars, or to educate their children properly. The properties and produce of Hindus could be taken away under the whims of local administrators.
  • Hindus had no chance of getting justice against the atrocities committed by Muslims. They were not on equal pedestal with Muslims, and had no human rights of any sorts. They had no hope, but demoralization, as there seemed to be no end of the tunnel. Besides teaching Islam, Illiterate Maulavies and Qazi enjoyed judicial powers also. They could award anything up to death punishment on charges of blasphemy to any Hindu.

Miraculously,  even in that era of darkness, India still produced few sparks of knowledge such as noted mathematicians Bhaskaracharya (1114 -1185), who happened to be the last in the glorious tradition and was first to enunciate theory of gravitational force.

Social Evils gripped Hindu Society

Once the light of knowledge was gone, ignorance and social evils, embraced Hindu society from all sides. Leaving aside progress, daily life turned out to be a struggle for survival only. Multiple effects surfaced in the society were as under:

  • Muslim rulers reduced Hindus to poverty by plundering, and Jazia tax. Over and above, they were further incapacitated from earning their living in comparison to Muslims. Many often Hindus had to work for Muslims without any wages or for a handful of grains as wages.
  • Sanskrit learning disappeared as Islamic clergy disbanded institutions of Hindu learning. Illiteracy engulfed Hindu society at large. Only few continued their quest for knowledge through secrecy.
  • Music became a source of entertainment in Muslim courts than it was for spiritual uplift for Hindus. Kathak – a spiritual dance form got polluted and was converted to Mujra format, for the pleasure of licentious nobility.
  • Many stories and paintings of amorous love affairs and pranks wrapped around Lord Krishna, emerged out of imagination, for the pleasure of licentious Muslim princes.
  • To sustain their lives, the intellectual Brahmins had to serve as priests in the community, or faced starvation. To make living for their families they placed more faith in rituals than substance.

Displacement of Hindu Society

As there was no patronage to the Brahmins and the learned, they gave up their traditional occupation of learning and preaching. Being driven to poverty, they relied on charity from Hindu society, or made meager earnings by conducting rituals for their Hindu clients. Thus rituals dominated substance. Rituals turned cumbersome, and expensive. Rigidity in caste and outlook eclipsed freedom of thought and expression. Mutual trust within the community declined, and people turned more secluded and demoralized. Many converted to Islam out of fear, pressure, or allurements for safety.

As a measure of hurting their pride in public, the Kashatriyas, were not permitted to ride horses or carry sword in the presence of Muslims. Many of them gave up their traditional role of defending Dharma and turned peasants. Others died fighting, either for or against Muslims. Provincial Rajput kings were assigned the role of security guards on royal residence of Muslim Sultans.

The Muslim nobility had their lustful eyes on handsome Hindu boys and girls, who were enslaved and forced to embrace Islam. The Hindu ladies also picked the Islamic custom of Purdah (veil), to preserve their honor. Many diabolical customs crept into the Hindu Society, such as female infanticide, child marriage, johar and widow burning, as survival adoptions.

Eventually, unlike in South India, Hindu marriages started taking place at night. The groom would go to the bride’s place at late in the evening for marriage and return with the bride, before day break.

Muslims did not defecate in the jungle, as Hindus did. That was considered a Kafir practice. Due to defecation in private by Muslims, the carrying of the night soil on their head was forced upon Hindu prisoners. This disgraceful practice ushered un-sociability amongst Hindus for hygienic reasons. Later this aspect was further over-played, and still continues to be so, to engineer conversions out of Hindu society.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 60/72- Destruction of Hindu Identities)

Splashes – 57/72 – Sunset in East – Sun Rise from West

Unlike other invaders of medieval age, Alexander did not indulge in reckless destruction of knowledge and civilizations of the areas he conquered. He remained an inquisitive disciple, a soldier to the hilt, and a general par excellence. Indian fame had already impressed him and he was keen to see the country rather to destroy the same. Conquering India meant victory over the world.

When he reached India, the border King Ambhi extended cooperation to him. Thereafter he met next border King Puru (Porus) on the battle field. Although Puru was defeated on account of multiple reasons, the battle made Alexander realize that if he were to continue fighting he would be completely ruined. His army was grief-stricken and expressed strong desire to return.

As a matter of fact Alexander did not win any major war on the Indian soil but merely passed through the Indus Valley fighting skirmishes with the tribes of that area to safeguard the exit route of his bruised army that had got demoralized due to the might of Nanda Empire at Magdha. Alexander was the first European who carried the first-hand accounts of India’s glory to Europeans during 300 BC.

Renaissance in Europe

The period from Fourteenth Century to Seventeenth Century is known as the age of Renaissance in Europe. It bridges medieval age to modern age. Prior to Renaissance the theological shackles imposed by Roman Church had made any kind of scientific development impossible.

Although the European intellectuals had in their possession some texts of Greek and Arabs since first awakening, but they lacked courage and opportunity to put that knowledge to any practical use. As soon as the interference from Church declined, the knowledge gathered during ‘First Awakening’ and thereafter during ‘Renaissance’ electrified the spirit of exploration and inventions in every field. Geographically tiny countries also emerged as super powers on the globe to colonize others.

India after Alexander

During 563-483 BC, Buddhism and Jainism had emerged within Hinduism. Both sects had their founders as Khashatriya princes. Both preached Non Violence and stressed on living a simple life with nature. Several contemporary kings adapted to their fold. Prominent among them were Emperor Chandragupta Maurya who voluntarily gave up his newly found empire and converted himself to a Jain monk.

His grandson Emperor Ashoka turned a Buddhist and was instrumental in propagation of Buddhism to South Eastern Countries. Beside other things, several monasteries and statues of the founders were set up in all parts of India. House holders and youths started leaving simple life in monasteries according to tenants of new faiths with more stress on non-violence. Although they had certain reservations about castes and some rituals but after their founders, both the sects developed their own superficial rituals that could not withstand later events. After the retreat of Alexander, the tide of Buddhism was halted for some time in India, but it spread in the neighboring countries of South East Asia, Tibet and China.

Hinduism during Gupta Period

There was revival of Hinduism during the reign of Gupta KIngs. Hindu culture and literature witnessed progress in every field. Finest literature in Sanskrit was written during this period and the language came to be associated with the nobility. Most of the scriptures were written down during this period.

Hinduism witnessed the emergence of two prominent sub branches, such as Vaishnaites, and Shivaites. Brahmanas leading their respective branches authored mythological stories high lighting the prominence of their respective deities. Temples were constructed and rituals of stricture nature came to be observed.

ertain wrong practices also made their entry into Hindu society such as caste pride and rivalry among ruling classes. Brahmins and business community over indulged in pleasure. Gupta Empire declined in 500 AD and was followed by emergence of Kushana dynasty. After Emperor Kanishka there was again a vacuum of central authority in India and fragmentation of smaller kingdoms.

Excessive Indulgence 

There was a spurt in rituals of idol worship. Due to patronization of ruling classes the monasteries grew richer to attract more youths who discarded their worldly duties to pick up living on alms as monks. By over indulgence in pleasures or spiritual pursuits, Hindus went astray from political realities, environmental changes around them, and overlooked the need of political unity as a nation.

If birds and animals discarded their instinctive duties given by Nature, their existence would be useless in the chain of ecology. For example if snakes, lions, eagles and cats turn vegetarians overnight and adopted total non-violence, what would be the purpose of their living? Khashatriyas in India were confronted with similar situation.

They replaced their weapons with begging bowls, discarded their ruling functions particularly in the area of security of the state and neglected vigilance to indulge in sensuality. They forget that many often offensive action was the best form of defense. Their over indulgence to principle of non-violence proved disastrous.

Smaller fiefdoms started emerging all over India on the basis of caste or families. Military training was relegated to pleasures of dance and music. Even robbers settled on the out skirts of India turned bold to over-power frontier rulers. The environment was ripe to invite death and destruction as the riches of India were alluring motivating force.

The Last Hindu Emperor

Emperor Harsha Vardhana was the last Hindu Emperor who ruled the country at the age of sixteen and continued for 41 years from his capital at Kannauj. He tried his best to forge unity once again but achieved partial success. He was defeated by Pulkeshi II of Karnataka and had to compromise on accepting River Narmada as a border between the two states. Emperor Harsha Vardhana took interest to consolidate segmented Hindu faiths together.

Buddhism and Jainism came to be accepted in the fold of Hinduism since the life styles of their followers and the philosophy of ‘Live and let live’ was perfectly in tune with Hinduism. Cultural integration among various communities of India had been taking place since the pre-Vedic periods. All those who entered India such as the Greeks, Parthians, Sakas, Huns, Gurjaras, Pratiharas, Kushans, and the Scythians had already been assimilated into the Hindu culture. The Buddha and Tirathankaras of Jainism came to be regarded as incarnations of Vishnu. Once again Emperor Harsha Vardhana put India to glory but that was short-lived and proved to be the beginning of anti-climax.

The Slide was set

Soon after the demise of Emperor Harsha Vardhana India fragmented into small states on the basis of clans and castes. There was disunity and strong jealousy among the neighboring states. Rituals eclipsed the substance and grew like cobwebs. Brahmins turned selfish and greedy, Khashatriyas turned sensual and debauch; and were less farsighted to discriminate between personal and state interests. Spiritual, economic and intellectual progress came to abrupt halt. Business men felt insecure, and people at the lower strata started looking for personal safety for life and living elsewhere.

Excess of everything is bad 

Orthodoxy and lethargy prevented Hindus from going abroad across the sea to see for themselves the dangers that were lurking all around. Although the Sun of progress moved towards West but it took over thousand years to disappear.

In comparison by this time Europe was in total darkness except couple of countries like Greece and Rome that were raising powers. The effect of Renaissance was not universal in all the countries of Europe. During Renaissance age India was under the rule of Khilji, Tughlak and Lodhi dynasties. It was under Mughal rule during French Revolution.

Wars for succession always followed the death of Islamic rulers coupled with uncertainty and insecurity in the country. Provincial rulers went out of control of central authority. Indian population was frequently getting looted and massacred by Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali as well as the local claimants to the throne.

The Niyama of Contentment (Santosha) had been greatly influential on the mindset of Indians. It helped them to have fewer demands and necessities. In the absence of necessities, there were no inventions either. That was the reason that in spite of knowledge in their possession, Indians did not invent like the Europeans who were able to put several inventions of utility items in everyday life.

Thus when Sun went down in India, Europe was basking in glory.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 58/72 – Darkened Horizons)

Splashes – 56/72 – Plagiarism of Intellectual Property

Political stability is key factor for development and in its absence, all systems go out-of-order. When political conditions in India became unstable, everything was dislocated and Hinduism lost the patronage of the ruling class. As a consequence social, economic, and religious infrastructures crumbled down.

Prior to the rise of Islam Indian ideas and texts had already reached Baghdad. During eighth century the Arabs gained political power and ruled from Indus to Spain. Arabic schools were established all over the Abbasid Empire of Arabs.

Translation Centers

Indian texts that were picked for translation had been taken out of India even before the spread of Islam. Since pre-Islamic intellectuals were not biased against Hindu scriptures, many of the texts were read, understood and translated to Arabic, Persian and other languages as an academic activity. Translation Centers existed at the following places:-

  • Spain – Caliph Abdur-Rahman III (891–961) built a massive new library at Cordoba in Spain and filled it with manuscripts in Sanskrit and other languages brought from Baghdad. The library contained 400,000 volumes.
  • Sicily – Arabs governing Sicily also imported texts from Baghdad and had a rich library there. The translation of Hindu-Arabic literature continued till the end of sixteenth century.
  • Syria – Translation Centers were at work in Syria, Damascus, and Palermo where translations of Aryabhatta also found their way.
  • Europe – In 1120 an Englishman Robert of Chester living in Spain translated Al-Khwarismi’s Algoritmi De Numero Indorum into Latin.This work was in fact based on Aryabhatta. The translation  carried Indian numbers, arithmetic, Algebra and Astronomy to the Latin world along with Aryabhatta’s works in the field of fractions, quadratic equations, sums of power series, concept of version 1- cos, equations of imaginary numbers and square root of One.
  • Palestine Frederick founded the University of Naples in 1224 endowing it with a large collection of Arabic manuscripts. From Spain he brought a translator who created a Latin summary of Aristotle’s biological and zoological works. The library was endowed with a large collection of Arabic manuscripts of ancient Greek and Indian texts; as well as commentaries of the Arab scholars on them. Copies of Latin translation were sent to universities in Paris and Bologna. Frederick also led the Fifth Crusade to Palestine in 1228-1229, and recaptured Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. These efforts brought back to Europe the works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. It also brought to Europe the works of Indians in the field of Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Philosophy and Music.

Indian identity got camouflaged

Europe was still passing through ‘Dark Age’ and ‘Renaissance’ was far off. Even about more than thousand years after Christ, Europeans were ignorant of India and her progress. Their knowledge extended up to the Arab world due to which they attributed the inflow of knowledge only to Arabs.

  • By 976, Hindu numerals started appearing in plagiarized form as ‘Arabic numerals’, even though the Arabs had been referring the same numerals as  “Hind-se”, implying ‘from India ’.
  • It was only in 1202 that Leonardo Pisano introduced Arabic numerals to Europe and the original Hindu numerals Hind-se were adopted as modern International form of numerals under the brand of Arabic numerals.
  • Many of the Arabic manuscripts had been translated to Latin at the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripon in Spain. However the people of Spain had no inkling that the text material was originated from India.
  • In the tenth century, Gerbert of Aurillac (946–1003), became the Pope. He learnt the Indian counting system from the Moors of Spain, and in 990 he taught the Hindu numerals to his students and monks. He trekked to Northern Spain to carry home Latin translations of Arab treatise on Abacus and Astrolabe. He encouraged adoption of those systems especially by merchants. The new numbers revolutionized accounting and made Europeans a successful mercantile community.

Effect of Sanskrit on English

Relative Pronouns – Sanskrit word Pitra had been transformed into Pidar in Arabic and Persian. It travelled further and got converted to Father in English. Similarly Matra underwent changes in the order of Mather and Mother, Bhratra changed to Biradar and then to Brother. Many Sanskrit words as well as their connotations found their way to Europe. It is obvious that there was outflow from Sanskrit but no words found their way to Sanskrit.

Proper Names – The names of towns and places also have been affected.

  • Tashkent is derived from Takshak Khand. India was called Bharat Khand when King Bharata ruled over it.  The area inhabited by Bundela and Ruhela clans came to be known as Bundel Khand and Ruhail Khand
  • Fortified towns used to be named after their owners by adding a suffix Garh, such as Lakshman Garh, Pithora Garh and so on. The suffix Garh could be spelt in English as Gard also; like Lenin-grad and Stalin-Grad.
  • British often spelt Kanpur as Cownpore and Lukhnow as Lucknow. Likewise they mis-spelt Sinhpur as Singapore, Maley as Malaya, Kamboj as Cambodia, and Astralya as Australia. In India and Gandhara (Afghanistan).
  • Towns with watch towers were suffixed with word Names of cities in Europe have similar suffixes like Pitts burg and so on.
  • Hari-kul Ish (Balrama, the elder Brother of Krishna) got converted to Hercules, and Alkhshendra to Alexander.
  • River Ganga is known as Ganges.

That trend is reversed now. Many Indians shorten their names to mingle with Europeans and Americans. Otherwise if one made a list of proper nouns in English, the list will be a repetition or modification after about hundred original names have been noted.

Customs and Traditions – It has been customary for the new brides to kick a pot filled with rice at the main entrance of her husband’s house to denote that their new abode be blessed with plenty of food and comforts. Since Europeans preferred drinks, the young brides there kick a Champaign bottle on the occasion of her first entrance in husband’s house.

The English word husband too is linked to Hindu marriage rites. The word referred to the person whose hand had been tied to the specific female for the purpose of marriage. The ritual is still performed during Hindu marriages when the groom ties a wrist band to the right hand of the bride.

Calendar – The word Calendar is written and pronounced as Kalander in Portuguese. It is derived from Sanskrit word Kal-antra (Time interval). The English months September, October, November, and December also had their roots in Sanskrit such as Sapta-ambar.  Seventh Ambar meaning 7 th mark in Sky, Ashta- ambar – 8th, Nav – ambar – 9 th and Dasha- ambar 10 th mark in the sky.

The word ‘Ambar‘is a synonym for sky in Sanskrit. The yearly sky-route of Earth’s revolution around the Sun was marked by Zodiac signs. When Sun entered new Zodiac, which signaled the beginning of new month in Hindu calendar. Prior to 1752 March used to be the first month of the year in England also. Accordingly September happened to be the seventh month and so on.

Theological Opposition to Knowledge

It was Galileo in the late sixteenth century who for the first time tried to understand what was contained in the Latin translation of the Sindhind (Siddhanta Shiromani) of Brahmagupta. When he propounded the theory of rotation of earth he had to suffer the persecution of the Church, as it did not match the Gospel. Considered by many to be the founder of modern science, Galileo not only built the first telescope but also discovered the laws of bodies in motion.

But instead of rewarding his discoveries, Galileo was put under house arrest in Sienna. Theological rejection of Truth continued in other fields also in contrast to Hinduism.

Europeans took years in understanding science complied by Hindus and presented to them by the Arabs, because of Church’s domination in everyday life.  The decline of Christian faith coupled with rise of knowledge ushered Europe into all round development and they came in a position to dominate world.

Patenting of Knowledge

The sages and intellectuals in India had been in the pursuit of Knowledge and had devoted themselves for self-actualization.  There were no patent laws to protect intellectual property rights as there are today. The Sages never indulged in commercialization of Knowledge.  It is only in the Western world where they are trying to patent Basmati Rice, Neem tree and Yoga to make business out of knowledge. The plagiarism and conversion of Hindu knowledge continues unabated though India is projected as land of savages and primitives.

The positive View

The positive aspect of export of Hindu knowledge was that their compilations were put to use for inventions, otherwise the knowledge in unused state would have been perished. Unless one made use of knowledge, power, and wealth, he is sure to lose the same. Un-used assets always reach usurpers.

Need for Political Patronage

Lack of political patronage has resulted in massive loot and destruction of our intellectual wealth. We have not even estimated and identified the losses. Since our government is “secular” – there is none to stake claim. Unless Indian youths are acquainted with their past heritage and are motivated, these treasures left by our ancestors will fade into history.

There is need for Indian scholars to undertake research to trace out and reclaim our intellectual heritage. Many of our artifacts and ancient manuscripts are still lying un-ciphered in museums of the world. Only patriotic Indian scholars with deep knowledge of Sanskrit can undertake this work with financial backing from government or some patriotic foundations. For this mammoth task we have to pick leads from Sanskrit language.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 57/72 – Sun set in East – Sun rise from West)

Splashes – 55/72 –Indian Illumination in Renaissance

European countries were already in contact with West Asia through Turkey. In the first instance they were influenced by Latin and Greek classics since many of the Greek fugitives intellectuals had taken shelter in Turkey and other nearby countries. That event is referred as the ‘first awakening in Europe’. They translated Arabic and Persian literature to English, which had already been influenced by Ancient Sanskrit texts.

The efforts of Europeans were initially limited to carrying out translations only. Subsequently, the Europeans discovered that most of the Arabic and Persian texts had their source from Sanskrit. It was only thereafter that Europeans turned to the original source in Sanskrit literature. That was the beginning of ‘Renaissance’ in Europe.

Spread of Indian Knowledge

Arithmetic – In 1100 AD, Robert of Chester, an Englishman, visited Spain and translated al-Khwarizmi’s little book into Latin. Thereafter other translations of al-Khwarizmi inspired Latin texts. Book on the ‘new arithmetic’ included description of the decimal system and positional notation system. Initially the Europeans were slow to absorb new type of numbers. Thus most of the work was limited to copying the manuscripts and translating them. They were not able to use decimals until a Dutch mathematician Simon Steven (1548-1620) explained the system in his book La Thiende (The Tenth). After him, Marini and Christopher Claudius used decimals in their works. In 1621, Bache published the Latin version of Arithmetica from Arabic.

Algebra – Al-Mammon had summoned Abu Jafar Mohammed Musa al-Khwarizmi, (780-850) to Baghdad during 820 AD. He led two scientific missions to India to meet Indian scholars and had collected manuscripts. Based on them he wrote ‘Kitab Al-Jabr Wa al-Muqabalah’ meaning calculation by addition and subtraction. Algebra is a short Latinate form of the word. Later its Latin translation became a standard text-book of Mathematics in European universities.

Logarithms and Positional Notation System – In 825, al-Khwarizmi wrote on the concept of logarithm zero and positional notation system again based on texts of Brahmagupta.  The Latin translation of the book was titled ‘algorithmic de numero Indorum’. This book in its Arabic form, reached Spain, that was then under Arab control.

Indian Astronomy – During 850-929 AD Al-Battani had studied Indian astronomy and carried out critical analysis of Hindu Mathematics and Siddhantas, as well as philosophy, religion, Patanjali’s Yogasutra, Bhagavad Gita and Sankhyakarika. He discussed in detail the Hindu cycle of evolution, dissolution, and re-evolution of the Universe. He expounded trigonometric methods and endorsed Indian finding that the distance from the earth to the sun varied during the year. However being afraid of fanatics, he qualified his comments by saying that to be the belief of Hindus. For instance, he wrote that ‘Indians believe that the earth is five billion years old, which is wrong, since Islam said it was created only four thousand and five years ago’. He also described the Hindu concept of Geography and observed that Hindus believed the existence of an island located diametrically opposite to the city of Rome on the globe. Those ideas were later translated into Latin and people like Columbus were inspired to reach India by going westward. The error thus led to the discovery of Americas. Al-Battani is known in Europe as Albategnius.

Astrolabe – Aryabhatta lived during 475 AD – 550 AD and he had already discovered that planets and moon reflected the light of the sun. Rotation of Earth caused day and night. The orbiting of Earth around the Sun caused year. He had also brought out causes of eclipse and that the orbits of planets were elliptical and not circular. His calculation of Earth’s diameter at 8316 miles was very accurate and inspired the astronomers of the West.

Thereafter further progress continued as under: –

  • In 1050 AD astrolabe were introduced into Europe from Asia. The tables were used to measures longitude, latitude, and the time of the day at sea.
  • Abelard of Bath (1075–1160) journeyed by ship along the new eastern trade routes to the crusader held coast of Syria, where he translated Euclid into Latin using Arabic translation of the original.
  • In 1175 Italian Gerard of Cremona translated Ptolemy’s astronomical text ‘The Almagest’ into Latin, disseminating the erroneous information. He was fluent in Greek and Arabic.  He translated into Latin the Arabic texts of Galen, Aristotle, Euclid, al-Khwarizmi and Ptolemy.
  • Inspired by Aristotle, In 1190 Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides wrote his text, ‘The guide for the perplexed.’

Planetary Charts and Astronomical Tables

The oldest astronomical tables based on Indian charts were brought to Baghdad by Kanaka. Those later traveled to the rest of Europe through Spain where a Latin translation was made in 1126. It came to be regarded as one of the most influential works on astronomy in medieval Europe. Due to that:

  • In 1272 Alphonse tables (Planetary charts) were completed in Toledo, Spain. The work tabulated the position and movement of planets.
  • It took another 200 years when the tables were printed in 1483, and the information more widely disseminated. The work was compiled by the finest astronomers gathered by Alfonso X of Castile.

Motion of Earth – Many reconciled to Aryabhatta’s revelations that Earth rotated on its axis and its diameter was 8316 miles. During 1224 AD Abdullah-Ur-Rumi prepared ‘Mujam-ul- Buldan’ a geographical encyclopedia, in Arabic. In 1440 Cusanus theorized that the Earth is in constant motion and the space as infinite. Edwin Hubble reinforced his ideas in the early 1900 when Hubble observed the planets rushing away from Earth, thereby expanding the universe.

Fore-runners of Newton – Movement had already been analyzed in Visheshika Darshan Shstra. During sixth century Prasthapada carried out a review on the basis of planetary movement, polarization and gravitational force, and further added that the speed and elasticity also affected movement from the opposite. That theory was a fore-runner to Newton’s law of Motion.

Medical Science – Since the days of Sushruta and Charka, great advances had been made by India in the field of Medicine and Surgery. As far back as the sixth century BC, Indian physicians had described ligaments, sutures, lymphatic, nerve plexus, fascia, adipose, vascular tissues, mucous, and many more muscles than any cadaver are able to show. They understood remarkably well the process of digestion, different functions of gastric juices, and conversion of food in to blood. The European discoveries were yet to surface. They found their way much later as below:-

  • Medicine – During 1200-1300, Pietro D’ Abano, an Italian physician, wrote ‘Conciliator Differentia rum’, which integrated Greek and Arabic medical thought. He noted brain as the source of nerves, and the heart as the source of blood vessels. He was suspected of being a magician and died under trial by the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Human Anatomy – In 1543 Andreas Visalia published a treatise on Human Anatomy -‘On the Structure of Human Body’. His research was conducted through dissection of human bodies, a practice that was strictly forbidden. The work corrected many prevalent historic misconceptions about the subject in Europe.
  • Circulation of Blood – In 1628, William Harvey described the circulation of blood in the body, paving the way for modern physiology. Before Harvey, the circulatory system was misunderstood. For example, Aristotle believed that blood originated in the liver. Others thought blood moved in spurts. Harvey accurately described the function of the heart. He also theorized that mammals are produced from eggs. It took about 150 years to prove him right.

Performing Arts – Frederick II encouraged translation of Indo-Arabic texts. Frederick was elected the Holy Roman Emperor in 1220. He surrounded himself from philosophers and sages from Baghdad and Syria, dancing-girls from India and Iran.

His pursuits introduced many Indian elements into the classical dance of the West. Opera had already originated in India.

It will be relevant to compare the above fact on a time line in history. When our sages had already risen to the crest of scientific knowledge in the first millennium, it was in 19 th century that Abraham Lincoln (later American President) used an old bear skin to cover himself at night. His relatives were using deer skins as their daily wear. The Europeans were busy in establishing their colonies and exploitation of locals. That was the time when India was under the rule of East India Company as a spent force.

 Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes– 56/72 – Plagiarism of Intellectual Property)

Splashes– 50/72 – Aerial Warfare in Ancient India

The ancient Indian epics go into considerable detail about aerial warfare over 10,000 years ago. Aerial battles and chases are common in ancient Hindu literature. The functions of military planes that have been given in detail read like science fiction today, but factual possibility cannot be ruled out either.

The aerial vehicles described therein (vimana) fell into two categories:

  • Airplanes that could fly in a mysterious manner and were generally not made by earthly human beings. Those are described in ancient works such as the Rig Veda, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Puranas. They have many features reminiscent of UFOs.
  • Man-made craft that resembled airplanes and flew with the aid of bird-like wings. The machines of this category are described mainly in medieval and secular Sanskrit works dealing with architecture.

Aeronautics in Ancient Literature

What we know about ancient Indian flying vehicles comes from written texts in Sanskrit that have come down to us through the centuries. There are literally hundreds of them and most of them have not even been translated into English. Some of the ancient texts are mentioned as follows:-

  1. The Rig Veda: There are at least 20 passages in the Rig Veda that refer exclusively to the three-storied, triangular and three-wheeled flying machines of the scientists called Ashvins. The machines were made of gold, silver and iron, and had two wings. At least three passengers could be carried through them.

The Vedas described vimana of various shapes and sizes; such as the Ahnihotra-vimana with two engines, the ‘elephant-vimana’ with more engines, and other types named after the kingfisher and other animals.  The Rig Veda has references to the following modes of transportation:-

  • Jalayan – designed to operate in air and water. (Rig Veda 6.58.3)
  • Kaara – operated on ground and in water. (Rig Veda 9.14.1)
  • Tritala – a vehicle consisting of three stories. (Rig Veda 3.14.1)
  • Trichakra Ratha – a three-wheeled vehicle designed to operate in the air. (Rig Veda 4.36.1)
  • Vaayu Ratha – a gas or wind-powered chariot. (Rig Veda 5.41.6)
  • Vidyut Ratha – a vehicle that operated on Electric power. (Rig Veda 3.14.1).
  1. The Yujur Veda: The Yujur Veda also described the movement a flying machine that was used by the Ashvins (two heavenly twins) to rescue King Bhujyu from distress at sea.
  2. The Vaimanika Shastra: The Vaimanika Shastra, written by Rishi Bhardwaja, was rediscovered in 1875 from a temple in India. The text referred to about 97 previous works about Aeronautics out of which at least 20 works dealt with the mechanism of aerial Flying Machine. Of course none of the previous works are now traceable but the text of Vaimanika Shastra has been translated into English. It deals with the operation of Vimans:
  • The text has eight chapters with diagrams; describing three types of aircraft, including apparatuses that would be fire-proof and un-breakable.
  • It also mentions 31 essential parts of these vehicles and 16 materials from which they are constructed. As the recommended materials could absorb light and heat; they were considered suitable for the construction of vimana.
  • It included information on precautions during long flights, such as steering, protection of the airships from storms and lightning, and how to switch the drive to solar energy from a free energy source that sounds like anti-gravity.
  • The position and functioning of the solar energy collectors are described. It said that eight tubes had to be made of special glass capable of absorbing the Sun’s rays. Though the details are comprehensive but some of those are unintelligible.
  1. Yantra Sarvasva: This work is also attributed to Sage Bhardwaja. It consists of as many as 40 sections of which the Vaimanika Prakarana dealing with aeronautics has 8 chapters. About hundred topics have been explained in 500 sutras.  Sage Bhardwaja classified airplanes (vimans) into three categories:-
  • Domestic airplanes – that could travel from place to place;
  • International airplanes – that could travel from one country to another;
  • Interplanetary airplanes – that could travel between planets.

Of special concern among those were the military planes whose functions were delineated in some very considerable detail and which match to the science fiction of today. For instance, those aircrafts had the following capabilities:-

  • Impregnable, unbreakable, non-combustible and indestructible. They were capable of coming to a dead stop in the twinkling of an eye;
  • Invisible to enemies;
  • Technically proficient to see and record things, persons, incidents and situations going on inside enemy planes;
  • Know at every stage the direction of the movement of other aircraft in the vicinity;
  • Capable of rendering the enemy crew into a state of suspended animation,
  • Intellectual to recover from complete loss of consciousness;
  • Capable of destruction;
  • Manned by pilots and co-travelers who could adapt in accordance with the climate in which they moved;
  • Temperature regulated from inside;

Constructed of very light and heat absorbing metals; provided with mechanisms that could enlarge or reduce images and enhance or diminish sounds.

Notwithstanding the fact that such contraption would resemble a cross between an American state-of-the-art Stealth Fighter and a flying saucer, it adequately points to the existence of concept that air and space travel were well-known to ancient Indians and airplanes flourished in India when the rest of the world was just learning the rudiments of agriculture.

  1. The Samarangana Sutradhara: It is a scientific treatise dealing with every possible angle of air travel in a Vimana. There are 230 stanzas dealing with the construction, take-off, cruising at thousands of miles, normal and forced landings, and even possible collisions with birds.

In the Samarangana Sutradhara five flying machines were originally built for the gods such as Brahma, Vishnu, Yama, Kubera and Indra. More additions were made later. Four main types of flying Vimans are described:

  • Rukma: The Rukma were conical in shape and dyed gold.
  • Sundara: Sundara were like rockets and had a silver sheen.
  • Tripura: The Tripura was three-storied.
  • Sakuna: The Sakuna looked like birds.

Ten sections deal with uncannily topical themes such as pilot training, flight paths, the individual parts of flying machines, as well as clothing for pilots and passengers, and the food recommended for long flights.

The texts also explained how to clean metals, the acids such as lemon or apple to be used and the correct mixture, the right oils to work with and the correct temperature for them.

Seven types of engine are described with the special functions for which they are suited and the altitudes at which they work best. The catalogue is not short of data about the size neither of the machines, which had stories, nor of their suitability for various purposes.

The movements of the Vimana are such that it can vertically ascend, vertically descend, and move slanting forwards and backwards.

  1. Katha Saritsagara: This work refers to highly talented woodworkers called Rajyadhara and Pranadhara. While Rajyadhara was so skilled in mechanical contrivances that he could make ocean crossing chariots, Pranadhara manufactured a flying chariot to carry a thousand passengers in the air. These chariots were stated to be as fast as thoughts.

The Arthasastra of Kautilya mentions amongst various tradesmen and technocrats, the Sauvikas as pilots to fly vehicles in the sky. Kautilya used another significant word ‘Akasa Yodhinah’, which has been translated as persons who are trained to fight from the sky.  The existence of aerial chariots, in whatever form it might be, was so well-known that it found a place among the royal edicts of the Emperor Ashoka which were executed during his reign from 256 BC – 237 BC.

In the Vedic texts the configuration of the machines has been broadly shown as triangular, but the description of these machines in old Indian texts is amazingly precise to specific details. However the difficulty is that the texts mention various metals and alloys, which have not been identified so far. The above texts cannot be dismissed as mere fantasies without going into critical evaluation since most of the possibilities are realities of our age today. 

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 51/72 – Revealing Mohenjo-Daro Excavations)

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: