Vedas a vast Store House of Scientific Knowledge
Scientific Knowledge in Vedic Times. 1
Vedas, Anatomy and Medical Sciences. 2
Vedic Astronomy. 2
Vedic Physics. 3
Vedic Hindu Calendar (Panchanga) and Its Contribution to the World. 6
Vedic Architecture and Vastu Shastra. 7
Scientific Knowledge in Vedic Times
The early Europeans believed in Geo-centrism (earth to be the centre of the universe) before 16th century. They also believed that the earth was created in 4004 BC. After Copernicus and Galileo’s scientific investigations in the 16th and 17th centuries they started believing in Helio-centrism of universe (Sun as the centre of the universe). Harlow Shapely (1885-1972), an American astronomer gave a big blow to this theory on 26 April 1920. He showed that the sun was not the centre of our galaxy and that it was far on the outskirts of the galaxy (about 26,000 light years from the centre). According to him, our position in our galaxy (Milky Way) and the then supposed universe was eccentric. Now the scientists believe that the universe is ever expanding and that it has no known centre. They also believe that the earth is millions of years old.
(Milky Way has at least 200 billion stars like our sun. Milky Way is but one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Milky Way is part of the Local Group which is part of the Virgo Cluster and which in turn is part of Virgo Super Cluster. This is part of the visible universe which is up to 14 billion light years from earth).
The ancient Vedic seers said the universe is “Ananta Koti Brahmanda” or universe is made of billions of galaxies and heavenly bodies. Hence we can understand how primitive science was in Europe before 17th century.
The ancient Indians laid the foundation of mathematical, scientific, spiritual, medical, ethical and psychological knowledge. They measured both time and space and mapped out the heavens. They analyzed the constitution of matter and understood the nature of spirit. They conceived and developed the sciences of logic and grammar and made great advances in fields so divergent as anatomy and astronomy, aeronautics and architecture, music and magic, medicine and mathematics, mythology and martial arts, philosophy and physics, religion and rational logic. In the words of Einstein, “We owe a lot to Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.” India invented the zero and shared it with the world. Without zero there would be no binary systems and no computers; counting would be clumsy and cumbersome. Can we conclude the contribution of Hindus to science and technology is “Zero?”
Vedas, Anatomy and Medical Sciences
Our present knowledge of the nervous system fits in so accurately with the internal description of the human body given in the Vedas (10,000 years ago). Then the question arises whether the Vedas are really religious books or books on anatomy of the nervous system and medicine.
The word for human body in Sanskrit is Deha and Shareera. Deha comes from Dahyati which means consumed by fire and Shareera is derived from Shara which means that which will decay. Hindus Buddhists and most modern Europeans and Americans cremate the body after death and most Semitics bury the body which decays after some time. Thus in lighter vein we can say that the Hindus, Buddhists… have deha and the Semitics have sharira.
The word for heart in Vedic Sanskrit is “Hridaya”. It is made of three parts - Hri, Da, Ya. Hri comes from Harati which means to receive, Da is short form of Dadati which means to give and Ya stands for Ayati which means to go, to move or to circulate. It is amazing to know how the Vedic seers coined this word since heart has only these three functions. Millenniums later William Harvey in 1628 A.D. was the first European to discover the circulation of blood.
Plastic surgery performed today in the most modern hospitals is similar to the one performed by Sushruta 3,000 years ago. Early Hindu doctors knew bone setting, arresting of blood flow, cataract operations, cure for most ailments and so on… Yogasan and meditation which are very ancient, are sought by over 10% populations in America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Indian astronomers have been mapping the skies for over 8,000 years and had reached a very high degree of proficiency in astronomy. The six Vedangas deal with six different subjects namely Siksha (phonetics or speech sounds), Vyakarna (grammar), Chhandas (meters or music), Niruktam (etymology or origin and developments of words), Jyotisham (astrology), and Kalpam (ceremonies). Vedic ceremonies are to be performed at specified periods of time and hence accurate measurements of time became imperative.
Exact calculations of amavasyas, purnimas, solar and lunar eclipses, solstices, and equinoxes were known during the Vedic times. In the Vedic times each grahasta was required to do Sandhya vandanam three times a day and on some special days like amavasyas, eclipses etc. During sandhya vandans he has to recite the date of that day since creation. Jyotish Shastra which is part of the Vedangas contains many books that give the position of the planets and moon. Most Hindu ancient books contain references to planetary positions. Mahabharata, written more than 5,000 years ago, has more than 150 references to astronomy. According to the Hindu calendar we are in the 52nd Century of the 28th Kaliyuga in one of many cycles of creation. Hence we have nothing euphoric about 21st century.
Vedic Cosmology is yet another ancient Vedic science which can be confirmed by modern scientific findings and this is acknowledged by well known scientists and authors, such as Carl Sagan and Nobel laureate Count Maurice Maeterlinck, who recognized that the cosmology of the Vedas closely parallels modern scientific findings. Carl Sagan stated, "Vedic Cosmology is the only one in which the time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology." Count Maurice Maeterlinck wrote of "a Cosmogony (the study of the origin of the universe or of a part of it) which no European conception has ever surpassed."
French astronomer Jean-Claude Bailly corroborated the antiquity and accuracy of the Vedic astronomical measurements as "more ancient than those of the Greeks or Egyptians." And that, "the movements of the stars calculated 4,500 years ago, does not differ by a minute from the tables of today."
The ninety foot tall astronomical instrument known as Samrat Yantra, built by the learned King Suwai Jai Singh of Jaipur, measures time to within two seconds per day.
Cosmology and other scientific accomplishments of ancient India spread to other countries along with mercantile and cultural exchanges. There are almost one hundred references in the Rig Veda alone to the ocean and maritime activity. This is confirmed by Indian historian R. C. Majumdar, who stated that the people of the Indus-Sarasvata Civilization engaged in trade with Sooma and centers of culture in western Asia and Crete.
Maha Kalpa or Brahma Ayu is the largest Unit of Time = 311,040,000,000,000 solar years. And “TRUTI” is the smallest Unit of Time = 33,750th part of a Second. According to modern science the known universe is 13.7 billion years old with a diameter of at least 20 billion light years (and probably much larger). Certainly the world was not created in 4004 BC as believed by the Europeans until a few centuries ago.
Shani in Sanskrit means slow and it is the name of planet Saturn. It is so because Shani or Saturn takes 29.46 years to go round the Sun once. Jupiter is called Guru which means the leader or biggest or heaviest (Its radius is 11.21 times and mass is 317.8 times those of earth). Sun itself is called Mitra (friend), Khaga (roams in the sky), Sapta Ashwan (rider of seven hoses) etc. Lord Vishnu the protector of the universe is called Jagadish which is made of two words Jagat and Ish meaning there by Lord of Universe. Jagat it self is made from two words Ja and Gata which means “That which moves”. Hence Lord Vishnu is Lord of only that which moves and not a lord of that which does not move. But in this universe from the tiniest atom to the farthest star there is nothing that does not move. Hindus were so sure of the universe that they called their God Jagdish.
The richness of ancient Sanskrit language and the incredible wealth of knowledge in the Vedas can be inferred from the words they were familiar with.
· Hiranyagarbha = Cosmic Egg
· Neeharika = Nebula
· Krishnatara = Black Hole
· Dhumaketu = Comet
· Griha = Planet
· Upa-Griha = Satellite
· Ulka = Meteorites
Classical Physics consists of measurements of length, mass, time and temperature. All physical quantities like velocity, acceleration, force, viscosity etc are obtained from these four measurements. Velocity = distance ÷ time; acceleration = velocity ÷ time; force = mass x acceleration and so on. Vedic seers had several tables for all these four measurements. Here we give one example of each measurement.
Measurement of Length
8 Paramanu = 1 Trasarenu 8 Trasarenu = 1 Renu
8 Renu = 1 Balagna 8 Balagna = 1 Likhya
8 Likhya = 1 Yuka 8 Yuka = 1 Yava
8 Yava = 1 Angula 24 Angula = 1 Hasta
4 Hasta = 1 Danda 2000 Danda = 1 Krosha
4 Krosha = 1 Yojana
1 Danda = 1 Meter 1 Angula = 1.0416 cm
Circumference of earth Sulva Sidhanta agrees with Modern Science
4.02x107 Danda 4.02x107 Meter
Measurement of Mass
10 Krishnala = 1 Maasha
16 Maasha = 1 Suvarna Pala (Gold Pala)
32 Maasha = 1 Raupya Pala (Silver Pala)
48 Maasha = 1 Lauha Pala (Iron Pala)
Many other Forms of Weight were also in usage
Measurement of Temperature (Linka)
1 Pralinka = 1 Padakakshya = 0.885o C
4 Pada Kakshya = 1 Kakshya = 3.54 o C
6 Kakshya = 1 Linka = 21.24 o C
113 Pada Kakshya = Boiling Pt of water = 100 o C
101 Kakshya = Boiling Pt of Mercury = 357 o C
50 Linka = Boiling Point of Gold = 1062 o C
The temperature between Freezing Point of Water and Melting Point of Gold is divided into 50 Linkas
Vedic Units of Time
(a) Smaller Units of Time
TRUTI = 33,750th fraction of a second is the smallest unit of time
100 Truti = 1 Tatpara
45 Tatpara = 1 Nimesha
30 Nimesha = 1 Prana = 4 seconds
3 Nimesh = 1 Vipala = 0.4 seconds
60 Vipalas = 1 Pala = 24 seconds
60 Palas = 1 Ghatika = 24 Minutes
60 Ghatikas = 1 Divas = 1 day or 24 Hours
7 Divas = 1 Saptah = 1 week
15 Divas = 1 Paksha = 1 Fortnight
2 Paksha = 1 Maas = 1 Month
2 Maas = 1 Ritu = 1 Season
6 Ritu = 12 Maas = 1 Varsha = 1 Year
100 Years = 1 Shatabda
10 Shatabda = 1 Sahasrabda =1 Millennium
= 1,000 years
(b) Higher Units of Time
432 Sahasrabda = 1 Kali Yug or Yug = 432,000 years
2 Yug = 1 Dwapar Yug = 864,000 years
3 Yug = 1 Treta Yug = 1296,000 years
4 Yug = 1 Satya Yug = 1728,000 years
10 Yug = 1 Maha Yug = 4.32 Million Years
1000 Maha Yug = 1 Kalpa = 4.32 Billion Years
= Morning of Brahma
2 Kalpa = 1 Day of Brahma = 2,000 Maha Yug
= 8.64 Billion Years
360 Days of Brahma= 1 Year of Brahma = 3110.4 Billion Years
= 3.1104 Trillion Years
1 Maha Kalpa or Brahma Ayu = 100 Years of Brahma
= 311.04 Trillion Years
= 3.1104 X 1014 Solar Years = 311,040,000,000,000 solar years.
Thus the Vedic Seers had thought of the smallest and the largest units of time namely,
TRUTI , the smallest Unit of Time = 33,750th part of a Second
Maha Kalpa or Brahma Ayu, = 311,040,000,000,000 solar years, the largest Unit of Time.
Other Fractions of time
2 Ghatkas = 1 Muhurta = 48 Minutes
60 Ghatikas = 30 Muhurtas = 1 Day
2.5 Ghatikas = 1 Hora = 1 Hour
2 Paksas = 1 Maas = 1 Month
- Shukla Paksha (Bright Half of Moon)
- Krishna Paksha (Dark Half of Moon)
12 Maas: Months
Chaitra, Vaishakh Jyeshtha Ashaadh
Shravan Bhadrapad Ashwin Kartik
Margasheersh Paush Maagh Falgun
6 Ritus Seasons
Vasant, Gresshma, Varsha,
Sharad, Hemant, Sishir
2 Ayanas Uttarayan Dakshinayan
In the 5th century Aryabhatt discovered many laws of physics which we today attribute to Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). He knew the value of pi. He knew that the earth revolves round the sun, that earth is spherical, that earth rotates on its axis, that earth is suspended in space and that lunar and solar eclipses occur by interplay of the sun, moon and earth. He also knew the laws of gravity, circumference of the earth, distance between the planets and the sun, revolutionary movement of the earth around the sun and so on. Aryabhatta in his Aryabhateeyam in the 5th century at least 1100 years before Galileo and Newton, has said, “Just as a person traveling in a boat feels that the trees on the bank are moving, people on the earth feel that the sun is moving”. Hinduism and Vedic thoughts are criticized by people who only imperfectly understood them, who were incapable of the great effort required to grasp them in their relationship to larger truths.
Vedic Hindu Calendar (Panchanga) and Its Contribution to the World
Vedic rituals are very particular about muhurta or auspicious times. Hence they had accurate measurements of years, seasons, dates and minute fractions of a second. Panchang or Vedic calendar gives much information on all these aspects.
We also see that calendars all over the world bear significant similarities with the Hindu Vedic calendar used in Bharat since times immemorial. The Western Gregorian calendar that we all use today was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 AD. Before 1582 AD, Europe followed Roman calendar, Julian calendar and a correction to Julian calendar by the Roman abbot Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD. In Europe and their colonies prior to 1582 AD it was common for March 24 of one year to be followed by March 25 of the next year. One can see how close this date is to Hindu New Year day of Chaitra Varsha Pratipada. Again we see that calendars all over the world have seven days in a week similar to Hindu practices. In the Vedas one of the names for Surya Bhagwan is “Sapta Ashwan” or rider of seven horses. In Hindu pantheon Sun God is shown as riding a chariot driven by seven horses. Hindus call Sunday as Ravivaar, Bhanuvaar (or Nyayitru Kizhamai in Tamil). Ravi and Bhanu in Sanskrit and Nyayiru in Tamil mean Sun. Similarly Monday or Moonday is called Somavaar (or Tingal in Tamil). Soma in Sanskrit and Tingal in Tamil mean moon. Saturday is Shanivaar and Shani is the name of the planet Saturn. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are named in English after the Norse Gods Tiu, Woden, Thor and Freya which are similar to their equivalents in Sanskrit namely Mangal, Budh, Guru and Shukravaar. Romans had only ten months in a year but the Hindus had 12 months starting from Chaitra in end March and ending in Falguni. Abbot Dionysius Exiguus in 525 AD added two months to Roman calendar and named them July and August in honor of Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar. The nomenclature of Roman calendar months bears similarities to Sankrit language. Starting from their first month March, the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months are September, October, November and December. These must have been derived from Sanskrit words Sapta for seven and hence September, Ashta for eight and hence Ashtober or October, Nava for nine and hence November and Dasa for ten and hence December. The clock changes its date at midnight 12 O’clock because when it is mid night in Europe, it is early morning 5.00 O’clock in Bharat when we start our new day. Thus we see that most parts of the world followed Bharat in astronomy and calendar. As we have already seen Europe was not aware till 17th century that the earth was round and that it revolved around the sun. In the absence of these details it is impossible to arrive at a proper calendar and hence it is logical that they all followed the Hindu calendar.
In the Julian and modified Julian calendar till 1582 AD, 1st January and 1st April fell on Hindu festivals namely Makara Sankranti and Besakih the Hindu solar New Year. The influence of Hinduism can be easily appreciated from the fact that these days are declared holidays in Europe.
On 24th February 1582 Pope Gregory issued a papal bull, Inter Gravissimas, establishing what is now called the Gregorian calendar reform. The Gregorian calendar is the calendar which is currently in use in all Western and Westernized countries. One of the Gregorian reforms was the shifting of New Year Day from 25th March to 1st January. The other was to delete 10 days in 1582 (and one day each was deleted in 1700, 1800 and 1900). Initially most countries in Europe continued to observe March 25 as their New Year which was very close to Hindu lunar New Year day or Varsha Pratipada.
Only Catholic countries of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland readily adopted the Gregorian calendar upon the promulgation of Pope Gregory’s decree in 1582. France and Luxembourg followed shortly. During the next two years most Catholic regions of Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands came on board. Hungary followed in 1587. The rest of the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland made the change during 1699 to 1701. The Gregorian calendar was adopted in Britain (and in the British colonies) in 1752, with September 2, 1752, being followed immediately by September 14, 1752. Sweden adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1753, Japan in 1873, Egypt in 1875, Eastern Europe during 1912 to 1919 and Turkey in 1927.
Vedic Architecture and Vastu Shastra
Vastu Shastra was codified by Vedic God Vishwakarma, the Lord of engineering and constructions. Mohan-jo-daro one of the most ancient cities of the world had underground sewage system, unthinkable even today in major cities of the world. It had well laid out streets, public libraries, swimming pools, water treatment plants and buildings and unlike most ancient monuments does not glorify graves of monarchs (pyramids, Chinese graves etc). Some of the old structures in India like the Brahadeeshwara temple in Tanjavur, Madurai Temple and the ancient pillar in Delhi falsely called the Kutub Minar boast great engineering skills. The iron pillars built by emperor Ashok in the fourth century BC have not rusted. Ajanta, Ellora and Elephant cave temples are rare master pieces in engineering and paintings. The fort of Kumbalgarh, the Dilwara Jain temples in Ajmer, Gomateshwara rock carvings near Mysore, rock carvings at Mahabalipuram, Sun temple in Konark, Belur and Halebedu temples are among the less known wonders of the world.
Ancient India had several world renowned universities like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vaishali, Kanchipuram, Ujjain and Madurai that attracted scholars from world over.