Thursday, June 5, 2014

Do You Know About Ancient India's Scientific Heritage?

Today, a friend on Facebook shared this video of Khurshed Batliwala, Director of World Alliance for Youth Empowerment.  He was speaking at Ruia College, Mumbai.

I knew a bit about him, nicknamed "Bawa". But this video blew me off.. It had amazing amount of examples from ancient Bharat (India) that was hard core scientific. And Bawa being a faculty member of the Art of Living, under Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's guidance, his smiling way fo communicating was more captivating.

Technology of Spirituality


Earth is round/spherical: Ancient Hindus knew that the earth was round, long before Europeans theorized the same. If you look at Varaha avatara (Vishnu's 3rd avatara among the 10 major ones), the varaha or boar is lifting a round or spherical earth.. Not a flat earth!
Varaha Avarata: Pic from allhindugodgoddess.blogspot
No wonder the Sanskrit name for Geography is Bhu-Gola (Bhu = Earch, Gola = round/spherical) from time immemorial! Outside India, even today some religions and cults are believing that earth is flat, due to their books. Now contrast that with the scientific temper of Hindus.

Also, the Sanskrit word for our world is called Jagat (the one which moves) knowing fully well that the earth is moving all the time!

Indians knew about Antares twin star system: Nearly 5,000 to 7,000 years ago ancient Indians could recognize the 15th brightest object in the sky, the Antares twin star system.

Antares or Arundhati-Vasishta twin stars - pic from
This system was called Jeshta (in Sanskrit meaning the biggest, oldest or eldest). Now science shows us that it is the biggest start. 40,000 times or more bigger than earth. In fact, this Antares was wedded into Indian tradition deeply. This 2 stars system was named Arundhati and Vasishta stars. After marriage in south India, husband and wife should go out and look at these 2 stars after wedding's night!

And this particular Twin star system is unique. Both stars circle around each other, instead of hte usual one star revolving the other. So symbolically how a perfect marriage should be, was demonstrated by ancient Hindus 5000+ years ago, using a star system, that too a perfect one in twin rotation form, without any modern telescope!

Amazing Metallurgy of India: Many of us would have seen the iron pillar in front of the Qutub Minar in Dilli. That's over 1000 years old and still not rusted in spite of empires changing, weather changing and severe pollution of the capital city.
Kollur Mookambika temple's iron pillar. Pic: Flickr
Similarly, the Kollur Mookambika temple's iron pillar in coastal Karnataka, where it rains 6 to 8 months in a year, at a very high 750 cm level per year, has not rusted in over 2000 years! And this was built by tribals of the region, and not some well known architects of the 1st millennium BCE.

Production of Zinc in ancient India: India had the sole knowledge of Zinc production for nearly 4000 years during our human history. This is because Zinc is very tricky. When you heat the ore, at
997 degree C it melts, but at 1000'C it vaporizes. So you have only 3 degree window to pull the Zinc out, after heating up the ore. This must have been very difficult for pre-modern humans. But ancient Indians found a technique. They heated it from the top, with an ice bath below to collect that molten liquid. China stole this technique from India after 4000 years. Then British (William Champion) stole this from the Chinese in 1543 CE.

Value of Pi: Then Bawa shows a shloka in Sanskrit on Lord Krishna. It looks like a simple one starting with Gopibhagya ...

Then he explains the Katapayadi Samkhya (number system), using which, this simple 2 liner gives us the value of Pi into 30 decimal places!! 3.1415....

A Gujarati guided Vasco da Gama to India: We all have learnt that Europeans found naval route to India through Vasco da Gama. There's even a place in Goa today named after him. But Bawa explains the actual "finder". Portuguese wanted to to India. But it was not Vasco who discovered India. The story is in Vasco's own journal in Lisbon. Columbus and Vasco were the first to search India. Christopher went in the opposite direction and found Americas. Called the natives there Indians.

Vasco went in the right direction. He had the biggest ship available at that time in Europe. He reached Cape of Good Hope the tip of Africa, without venturing too far from the coast all along. But then he had to sail over a massive Indian ocean. There he met a Gujarati. Kanha was a trader from Gujarat. Kanha's ships were 12 times the size of Vasco's ships!! His ships escorted Vasco's ships to Goa in India. We never heard of this in our text books. In fact, ancient India's naval technology needs lot of research.

In summary: The amount of knowledge India had was phenomenal. 5 to 10,000 years ago itself when Europe was in pre-civilization mode. But how did they acquire so much knowledge?

Because ALL our scientists were saints! Our scientists did Yoga, Pranayama and did meditation.
They could focus mind into smallest of the things and farthest of the things. Basis of science is spirituality. This wealth of India was systematically destroyed by foreigners. They rewrote our history. Made Indians of the 20th century ashamed of their own culture. They broke the education system and traditions.

So what is this Technology of Spirituality?
A human has 3 Gunas: Tamas (brings sleep), Rajas (ability to act), Sattwa (Rajas and Tamas are balanced). Learn to meditate to keep Sattwa in place throughout the year. Balance Rajas and tamas, and increase sattwa. Spirituality is not about renouncing. For example, Narayana is the God of knowledge. Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth. And they are married to each other!

To succeed in this world, soft skills are far more important than the core domain expertise. But more than 90% of the money, time and effort is going into acquiring domain expertise. Exactly opposite of what's needed! That's the main reason India has become a country of crores of unemployable educated people.

Get back to roots. Learn to meditate. Learn to increase Sattwa guna. You will start understanding how our ancient scientists excelled so well in so many amazing technologies!

Thanks Bawa for this lecture :)