Carl Sagan says in Cosmos, “The early universe was filled with radiation and plenum of matter. Originally hydrogen and helium were formed from elementary particles in a dense fire ball.” Relating this to Vedic terminology, the author says, in Atharva Veda tapa means heat, urmi is motion, panch-karma means live properties of motion, and panch-maha-bhuta-s stand for five types of pre-elements. Thus Atharva Veda shows knowledge of the construction of the Atom, as also of Magnetic and Electro-magnetic force. Here dwi-pada dhenu (‘two-legged cow’) actually means bipolar magnetic force (AV 1-42). A “one-leg cow” means the single proton present in Hydrogen, the first element. The Vedic terms himam and dhramsam for ‘cold fire’ and ‘hot fire’ actually mean negatively charged electron and positively charged proton respectively. Verses 1, 2, 4, 15, 16, 35, 38 in chapter I refer to rohit as the creator of the universe and describe it as “the cause of atoms, magnetism, gravitational forces, and therefore is the prime source of all these forces.” In terms of modern science, says the author, magnetism, gravitational force, electro-magnetic field and the force at the centre of the atom are discoveries made just within the past two centuries. The Sanskrit word ukha, meaning a ‘pit’, is used in the Veda-s in the sense of a void or vacuum. “After Newton the existence of void began to be recognised with reference to atoms”, says the author, and quotes Encyc1opaedia Britannica: “Newton’s conception of action as a distance was in perfect harmony with acceptance of void and the drawing of a sharp distinction between occupied and non-occupied space” (vol. II, p. 448).
In Atharva Veda viraj means carbon, skambha stands for hydrogen, and Lithium is called Brahmachari. The numbers given to these elements in the modern table of elements and the numbers given by the Vedas arc the same. So also, Nitrogen is listed at No.7 in the modern table, while Veda-s gave the same number to Brihaspati. Various Vedic verses clearly state that Brihaspati has seven strands, seven mouths, and contains seven deities within its body. As per the periodic table, the element Sodium has No. 11, while Rudra is also called Ekadash Rudra. Ekadash means eleven. Brahmodan is a term that occurs in Mandal XI, where 3 chapters are devoted to it. Justice Deshpande devotes two full chapters to quote the concerned verses proving that Brahmodan stands for phosphorus. The modern scientific theory that our Sun was created in the Second Explosion Super Nova is stated in the Veda-s when they refer to Aditya of the Second Parardha, that is, Time Span.
It was in 1783 that British astronomer John Mitchell first came up with the hypothetical existence of ‘Black Holes’ in space. Initially rejected, American astronomers supported the thesis in the 20th century. This phenomenon is extensively described by sage Bharadwaj in Atharva Veda (XX, 137), who terms it Krishna Drapsa, ‘Black Drop’.
To the foregoing review of facts and figures of speech in Justice Deshpandc’s penetrating study of Veda-s this writer could make a few relevant additions from his own two books, Indian Imprints on Ancient Europe (to be published) and The Global Story of Hindu Civilization (unpublished) that could show Weinberg that the narrative of Hindu Science in Vedic times (about 12000 BP, Before Present, to 5000 BP) continued during the post-Vedic, but still quite ancient, period (the next 5/6000 years). A brief overview:
In the Physics of ancient India the concepts about matter, energy, field, and the intra-convertibility of matter and energy were known. The laws of mechanics and gravitation and processes such as electrolysis were also known. So was also known the wave motion of light. Philosopher-scientist Kanada (600 BC) was the world's first exponent of the atomic theory. This theory is known as Vaisheshika Sutra, the Singularity Aphorism. Defining matter in a most scientific manner, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra states that any substance which has a property of existing in simultaneous inter-connection with the shant or past negated state and the abyapadeshya or emerging state is called matter. Nobel laureate Werner Heisenberg introduced this concept for the first time in modern physics only in the 20th century.
Time ‘Particle’: An “instant” of time is known in modern physics as the Particle-second, which has been measured as the unit of time expressed as 23 zeros in front of I after the decimal point. This unit of time is measured in modern physics “by the time a particle needs to travel over a distance a few times of its own size.” (F. Capra, Tao of physics.) The great sage Vyas also says the unit of kshana, an instant or a moment, is to be measured by the “time a particle takes to travel over a distance of its own size.”
About this miniscule unit of time Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra says ‘two instants cannot exist at the same time, nor do two instants constitute a sequence.” The ‘Exclusion Principle’ of Wolfgong Pauli, for the discovery of which he received the Nobel Prize in 1949, also states that “two particles cannot exist in the same state, that is, in terms of their position and Upanishad-s the Brahmana texts on the Veda-s also state scientific truths. For instance, apropos the Sun’s apparent course through the heavens from morning to night Aitareya Brahmana says: “'The Sun never sets, nor rises.”
“We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.” —Albert Einstein
Aryabhatta was the first to propound the theory of the earth being a sphere in the 5th century AD. This was a thousand years before Copernicus and Galileo. Brahmagupta estimated that the circumference of the earth was 5000 Yojana-s. A yojana is around 7.2 km. Calculating on this equation his estimate comes to 36,000 km as the earth's circumference, which comes quite close to the actual circumference known today.
Vast Ayurveda: The ancient holistic Indian system of medicine, known as Ayurveda, ‘Science of Life’, has been called a “vast science” by Will Durant in The Story of Civilization : Our Oriental Heritage. He says it deals with lymphatics, nerve plexus, fascia, adipose and vascular tissues, mucous and synoval membranes, and many more muscles than any modern cadaver is able to show. Anticipating Weisman by 2,400 years, Atreya (c. 500 BC) held that the parental seed is independent of the parent's body, and contains in itself in miniature the whole parent organism. Sushruta, who lived about 3000 years ago, is the father of surgery the world over. Sushruta Samhita, while dealing extensively with surgery, also covers subjects like obstretics, hygiene, diet, even medical education. Surgical Feats: Sushruta has described 1,120 diseases, 760 medicinal plants, 121 surgical instruments—101 blunt and 20 so sharp that they should have “an edge so fine as to divide the hair on the skin.” In modern terminology these included lancers, sounds, forceps, catheters, and rectal and vaginal speculums. Sushruta was the originator of plastic surgery, and had no less than 15 operations for repair of torn ear-lobes. In fact Sushruta Samhita mentions 300 different operations using 42 surgical processes.
Sushruta was also a pioneer in the field of human Anatomy. In his Samhita he has listed and enumerated the main constituents in great detail, such as: Primary f1uids (7), arteries (700), musceles (500), tendons (900), bones (300), veins (24), nutritional canals (9), sinews (6), intestines (2), and even hair pores (35 million). In the science of Genetics the latest field of medical research is Stem Cell research. Actually it is one of the “lost Hindu sciences”, and is as old as Mahabharat (3100 BC), says Dr BG Matapurkar, pioneer of stem cell research in India. He holds that the Kauravas were born of embryonic stem cells. He holds a US patent for growing human limbs from stem cells.
Hindu Geometry originated in the need to design and construct Vedic sacrificial altars, which were complex geometric designs demanding fairly sophisticated knowledge of geometry. Many such altars of the Harappan age have been discovered in a wide area stretching from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh to Baluchistan and Iran. This makes the Shulva Sutra-s of Boudhayana the oldest mathematical texts, which tackled geometrical and other mathematical problems. As they fulfilled a Vedic requirement they have become known as Vedic mathematics. A Seidenberg, an American mathematician and historian of science, holds that Shulva Sutra-s are the source of all ancient mathematics in the world. Boudhayana’s theorems are also the origin of Trigonmetry: the very name is derived from the Sanskrit tri-kona-miti, meaning “measurement of a triangle”. Later, Aryabhatta developed this branch of mathematics. The terms sine and cosine, frequently used in trigmometry are also derived from Sanskrit.
Arithmetic: Apart from the Vedic references mentioned earlier. arithmetic was discovered as a body of rules by Hindus around the second century BC. Bhaskaracharya’s treatise Leelavati is considered the first book on the subject. Arithmetic has been defined as the “science of numbers”, and all three fundamental inventions of this science—the numbers 1 to 9, the zero, and the decimal system—are Hindu inventions. In The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage Will Durant writes: “Among the vital parts of our oriental heritage are the ‘Arabic’ numerals and the decimal system, both of which came to us, through the Arabs, from India.” In Mathematics for the Millions Lancelot Hogben wrote, “There has been no greater contribution than the one which the Indians made when they invented zero.” Australian Indologist Basham said, “The world owes most to India in the realm of mathematics.” (To be concluded)
(The writer is a renowned columnist)