Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vedic Science Vs Modern Science I


Vedic Science??

Is Vedic Science really science in disguise? Is it some kind of archeological find of something very sophisticated and highly advanced science and technology? Did our ancestors have all answers to our questions? Did we have access to nuclear technology, did they understand atomic physics, and could they cure any disease? Did they fly planes?

Many Indians are enamored with their ancient history. It gives them a hope and confidence which they lack in the modern world. Trying to find some glimmer of achievement, they go back into distant past and find solace in unraveling the mysterious conundrums and cryptic statements from ancient texts. Some so-called scholars, who seem to have monopoly on interpretation of these documents, invest great deal of time and energy to ‘prove’ to us that indeed our ancestors had all the answers – that their science was more advanced than the modern-day Quantum Physics.

Though no remarkable achievement has come from these studies into our ancient books we continue to attribute undue credit to them. No breathtaking scientific theory or a simple contraption that actually works has come out of those studies. Yet, we continue to be enamored of our ancient texts, touting them as alternate science. What is sad is that there is a big school of thought in India, harbored by our intellectuals, scientists and physicists, that continues to cripple our scientific temperament, leading to celebration of blind belief, superstition and irrationality.

One may ask, why so much obsession with these ancient texts? What purpose does it serve?

It actually serves two purposes.

One, it gives most Indians a reason to feel proud of themselves. If West could arrive at the same conclusions using the path of modern science through Age of Enlightenment, toiling in labs and conducting elaborate research, our ancestors have in fact discovered all of them, thousands of years ago, only by meditation under banyan trees and by experiencing it through deep consciousness. This allows Indians to say to the West- “Look we were always ahead of you. And we don’t need your empiricism, rigor, and scientific methods to arrive at the same conclusions. We have our own methods. Our practice of looking at the world spiritually is as relevant as yours, which is based in lowly materialism.”

Second, it gives some Indians a taste of ‘pure Indian’ achievement, in which there is no participation or involvement of Muslims, Christians, and other invading people. It gives them a taste of what they were originally- great and supreme beings that had answers to all the problems of the world before they got corrupted by alien forces. They relish in ‘pure Indian’ discoveries and inventions that preceded all advances made in the West. Now, they can find reasons for Akhand Bharat and Hindutva, and give legitimacy to Aryan supremacy.

Finding more than what Vedas says

Many of these new age Indians are fascinated with their ancient achievements. They try to find meanings and achievements in those places where there are none. If there are no achievements, they want to create them. Trying to read into poems, calling bears and wolves and bosons and fermions, these studies make a mockery of our intelligence. Instead of spending time in developing modern science by spending time in research, they want to sip chai and equate the modern sciences with the poetry of our ancient folks.

I discredit most of these attempts, this fascination with ancient texts, deciphering them, creating new terminologies and concepts to explain them, making fantastic and completely ridiculous analogies to prove them as alternate science. I like Vedas, for what they are- for the mythology with a dose of philosophy. There are many mythological documentaries in each civilization. Mythology and even philosophy of olden days should be read as such.

If one were to analyze “Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien few thousands years from now, this future man may conclude that we actually had Middle Earth, elves, dwarfs, etc, and that we could conjure up the dead and use them as armies, and that some of us were immortal, etc. Such books should be read as mythology or as fiction. Trying to solve the hidden puzzles to come up with theories that indeed we had middle earth would be foolish. That’s exactly what we are doing each time we utter the word ‘Vedic Sciences’.

Vedas are Vedic. Let them be. They are ancient. There is nothing scientific about them. However, we see many trends in modern India which suggest the contrary. There is an attempt to glorify these ancient texts as alternate science. I could go on and take many examples. Instead, I thought I will concentrate on one such attempt and see what merit it carries. [To be continued.]

Related Topics: Vedas and Science, Decline of Science in India II, Astrology Vs Science I, Pseudo-science: Vaastu Shastra, Science and Mythology: Ram Sethu, ABC of Ram Sethu,
Rejection of Rationality I: Indian Hindus and the New Age

30 comments:

  1. I can understand where you are coming from. I had a physics teacher in 12th standard who used to discuss more about mysteries of veda than physics. Once he was teaching about the secret power of "Om" and told that "Om" is actually three letters a+u+m, which correspond to electron, proton and neutron respectively. Someone pointed out that now it is established that atom has more than three subatomic particles and he became upset.

    In many ways we have indeed reversed our gears and gone back even beyond the ancient authors. For example, Shankara in his Gita bhashya takes great pains to elaborate why Veda-s CANNOT be taken as authority in physical world -- something modern vedic scientists may find difficult to stomach. Similarly, author of Meemamsa Sutras - Jaimini- argues at length why deities mentioned in Veda-s CANNOT be considered actual beings -- something Rama Sethu supporters will find outrageous.

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  2. Hmm. Tricky justification. However these kind of "things" cannot be proved.. So :)

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  3. I like Vedas, for what they are- for the mythology with a dose of philosophy.

    Sujai, I didn't know you'd done a thorough study of vedas. ;)

    Looks like you're running out of material to write posts, hence recycling older rants. What happened? No more roads being dug up in your neighborhood? Have people stopped spitting? :)

    Oh and btw, Blogger has a functional archive section.

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  4. Sujai,
    I agree with your following claims:
    1." Many Indians are enamored with their ancient history. It gives them a hope and confidence which they lack in the modern world...it gives most Indians a reason to feel proud of themselves"
    2."Second, it gives some Indians a taste of ‘pure Indian’ achievement, in which there is no participation or involvement of Muslims, Christians, and other invading people"
    However I do not understand why you waste time and energy by writing on old topics when there are important current affairs- Raj Thackeray, for example.Got to agree with chirkut on this one-"Looks like you're running out of material to write posts, hence recycling older rants".;)
    Also chirkut read my mind when writing "I like Vedas, for what they are- for the mythology with a dose of philosophy.

    Sujai, I didn't know you'd done a thorough study of vedas. ;)
    "

    In future please do not write about something about which you have zero knowledge. I expect better from a rational fellow like you.
    Kindly note: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Please spare some time to visit the following link:
    http://hinduwisdom.info/Vimanas.htm

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  5. http://hinduwisdom.info/Vimanas.htm
    makes my case.

    You don’t have to waste much time reading through the garbage. Any one sentence is good enough.

    Loot at this one:
    " The atomic energy fissions the ninety-nine elements, covering its path by the bombardments of neutrons without let or hindrance. Desirous of stalking the head, ie. The chief part of the swift power, hidden in the mass of molecular adjustments of the elements, this atomic energy approaches it in the very act of fissioning it by the above-noted bombardment. Herein, verily the scientists know the similar hidden striking force of the rays of the sun working in the orbit of the moon." (Atharva-veda 20.41.1-3).

    And when you start asking questions, you will realize that atomic energy, neutrons, etc, are all made up.

    In one discussion, one translator actually translated a story of bear and wolves and said that they were in fact bosons and fermions.

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  6. I just don't understand why we Indians (Hindus esp.) are so obsessed with our (fictitious or real) achievements in the ancient past. We are not living in the past. We are living in the PRESENT. What use is a glorious past?? Why can't we concentrate on making the PRESENT glorious???

    "We had this", "we did this", "we were great"..blah blah. What are we NOW? What are we doing NOW? Why can't we think of beating the U.S. and Japan in science and technology TODAY?????

    Even if we really had 'flying machines' 5000 years ago, the fact is that currently we manufacture flying machines according to modern standards of Western Aeronautical Engineering. If somebody is so proud of ancient Vedic science and medicine, why does not he/she try TO APPLY that and invent/discover things in THE CURRENT FRAMEWORK OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, HERE AND NOW??

    Till there is no DEMONSTRATION, NO PROOF, all this "Vedic science" will remain great stuff for science fiction.

    The Vedas and Upanishads were compiled with great wisdom, with a lot of empirical observation about physical nature,human nature, and with a lot of deep philosophy. Unfortunately, many shlokas use figurative metaphors to describe deep philosophical concepts, which some people try to take in the literal sense. Understand the "bhavaarth", not just the "shlokaarth" !!

    And guys, please learn to live in the present, and develop self-esteem independent of ancient achievements. Try to create something new that your descendants would be proud of!!

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  7. And to the person named 'Chirkut', do you get some kind of sadistic pleasure out of poking and irritating people??
    I've been reading most of your responses in previous posts, and very few go into constructive debate with rational arguments. Most of them have a subtle dig just to provoke.
    Cut it out, please.

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  8. Chirkut and Anonymous:
    You still don’t get it, do you?

    I don’t pander to the tastes and wishes of my commenters. I never said that this blog is a discussion forum for contemporary events. If you like to read contemporary events, please pick up a newspaper.

    Sometimes I am reflective; other times I get triggered by what happens around me, including the national events on the news or local events during interactions.

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  9. " The atomic energy fissions the ninety-nine elements, covering its path by the bombardments of neutrons without let or hindrance. Desirous of stalking the head, ie. The chief part of the swift power, hidden in the mass of molecular adjustments of the elements, this atomic energy approaches it in the very act of fissioning it by the above-noted bombardment. Herein, verily the scientists know the similar hidden striking force of the rays of the sun working in the orbit of the moon." (Atharva-veda 20.41.1-3).

    Lol. That is some hilarious nonsense

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  10. I could not agree more locutus83 please learn to live in the present

    The first person who needs to learn to live with "Be Here Now" principle is the author of this Blog. Instead of being utmost apologetic and ashamed on the shameful past and threatened about uncertain fears in the future, it would be good to live in the present.

    You just poured my heart out.

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  11. SKapur:

    instead of being utmost apologetic and ashamed on the shameful past...

    There is a big difference between being 'apologetic and ashamed' about one's past
    AND
    bursting the bubble of unfounded grandiosity and an inflated image of oneself based on non-achievement.

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  12. bursting the bubble of unfounded grandiosity and an inflated image of oneself based on non-achievement

    I think you are right Sujai. We are just one inflated bubble of pseudo-pride and ego.

    Question is - What do we need more - some Blogs that could inspire by humble and simple deeds, identifying the hidden good so that we start working towards "realistic" goals, or some one who just pokes all the holes in our disgraced past and doomed future?

    May be, we need a little bit of both. May be you are not the guy who could or would like to inspire in a way that great leaders do. Though, you could argue that as a leader your job is to bring people back to ground and show how inflated their sense of self is and provide pointers to the real things that they should be proud of and enhance that part.

    Keep doing what you are doing but remember to "Be Here NOW".

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  13. SKapur:
    May be you are not the guy who could or would like to inspire in a way that great leaders do.

    That's an assumption.

    A Blog is not everything in a man's life. It is only one facet.

    ;-)

    Can I read people's blogs and know what they do in their lives? [May be you can, I cannot.]

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  14. locutus83: If you have a problem with my comments, here's a simple solution: just skip them.

    I agree with Sujai on certain issues, and disagree on others and let him know through my comments. Why are you getting all huffed up? Take a chill pill. ;)

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  15. Sujai: Can I read people's blogs and know what they do in their lives?

    The assumption here is that the Blog is authentic. It assumes that you are writing what you really think and truly believe in. If that is true, then what you write is a complete reflection of what you are, if not, then one can never infer anything from Blog writers.

    The question is - Is your Blog authentic and does it portray your real-self?

    I am sorry, I just realised that is is taking this discussion on a tangent and away from the core topic that you started discussing. We could just leave it here, I guess, I understand what you are trying to achieve here.

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  16. Frankly speaking, indians do have a certain attachment with what our ancestors have done.

    Means, if vedas had everything like flying machines and all,then why did britain went on to usher the industrial revolution and become the first developed nation. Same with america. In my opinion, as now i have realized,indians dont have that penchant for thinking something out of box,like tinkering with machine or going on for creativity. Till now, i am yet to hear an engineering stud like tesla or edison from india. Ok, dr vishvesharaya was there. Apart from that we are declining in the production of real technocrats or scientist. All we look are faked child geniuses.

    People in india do everything just to get a job. Not to become a leader in a field.

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  17. On the importance/relevance of this topic, that a few people have raised:
    If people dont speak up about this nonsense, our high school physics book will have chapters on Vedas too! (I strongly suspect its going to be the case, in a few elections)

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  18. I think the validity(or invalidity) of the science and power of Veda cannot be argued by anybody who was born after 1900 AD.

    So i thought why don't i list some of the facts that are known and leave the assertions to the individual's common sense.

    Facts
    1. The compilation of entire vedas (unlike any other human creation on earth) is so huge that no single person has ever come close to reading (or even begin to understand) it.
    2. Ayurveda (science of medicine), Samaveda (science of Music), AtharvanaVeda (science of Metaphysics) which is 10,000 years old, is still being practiced in south India.
    3. The origin of such huge compilation is still a mystery and is till date unconclusively debated.
    4. The modern science is primarily focused on building industrial technologies unlike Vedic science which predominantly focuses on the science of life itself and the way to lead it.

    I am sure there are more....but ..the above things are more than enough for me proudly say that i am a decendent of such a highly sophisticated civilization and may be someday if I have enough money i will try to learn sanskrit to appreciate the riches of Vedic science.

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  19. "Instead of spending time in developing modern science by spending time in research, they want to sip chai and equate the modern sciences with the poetry of our ancient folks" - Excellent words penned there.

    Destination Infinity.

    ReplyDelete
  20. please read this blog:

    http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/

    This guy is one of those Hindu Nationalist kinds. Interesting....

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  21. "damir.miric"
    Hello all,

    "At JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation), we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event."

    Do we have anyone here who would be able to take that challenge and
    prove astrology to be right once and for all ?

    http://www.randi.org/joom/challenge-info.html

    Best,
    Damir

    James Randi debunks Astrology
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFwOeXi3Yz8

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Sujai,

    I just got banned from a vedic astrology forum, where I had posted a rather famous lecture of Swami Vivekananda debunking predictive astrology.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vedic-astrology/message/101729


    I had posted the link to this post of yours along with other sources debunking astrology. I had quoted Dante (your favorite quote). They associated me with your blog & got kicked out. They have stereotyped me as someone who debunks hinduism.
    In their own words THIS IS THIER OPINION OF YOUR BLOG (sujaiblog.blogspot.com>>> " The blog which this person used to advertise is
    totally anti-hindu, anti-vedic, and infact the blog openly supports
    islamic-terrorism and threatens hindus to stop idol-worship and convert to islam
    or chrishtianity. The blog uses super argumentative skills to insult hindus.
    This person is covertly adopting the debates of astrology v/s science to break
    the backbone of our ancient culture and convert all Indians to other abrahamic
    religions. I bet that in next decade, such persons will even start arguing that
    we dont need temples as they are "unscientific". Hence its upto all of us to be
    pro-active in replying aptly to this person rather than ignore. Otherwise the
    day is not far when laws come into force (with the
    help of such intellectuals) that debars hindu religion and temples and all our
    ancient culture." <<<

    Meanwhile as someone who knows the principles of vedic astrology inside out, I will take it upon me to debunk it point by point. Though you have effectively debunked it outside-in I would like to do so inside-out.

    This would be in the interest of the desperate indians who are swayed by such beliefs.

    Although I agree, by doing so we cannot give (false) hope to the hope seeker, we can stop them from being led astray.


    Swami Vivekananda debunks it thoroughly here-->
    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_8/Notes_Of_Class_Talks_And_Lectures/Man_The_Maker_Of_His_Destiny

    http://churumuri.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/what-the-stars-foretell-for-our-avivekanandas/

    If you do not believe in James Randi, I would offer all readers a more
    "credible" Indian source with lesser prize (Rs. 20 lakhs!).


    The challenge by Prabir Ghosh:- On behalf of Science and Rationalist
    Association of India, Mr. Prabir Ghosh will pay Rs. 20,00,000 to
    anyone who claims to possess supernatural power of any kind and proves
    the same.

    The Science and Rationalists' Association of India (Bharatiya Bigyan O
    Yuktibadi Samiti) is predominantly a rationalist group based in
    Kolkata, India. It was established on March 1, 1985 by rationalist
    Prabir Ghosh, which happens to be the international rationalists' day.
    The association has prominent philosophers like Khushwant Singh and
    Paul Kurtz as its members, and preaches against irrational blind faith
    and superstition.

    Challenge to miracle and astrology

    The group offers a prize of Rs. 20,00,000 ($50,000) to anyone who can
    demonstrate "supernatural power of any kind" or make accurate
    astrological predictions/calculations under proper observing
    conditions. Many godmen and astrologers have accepted this renowned challenge and have been defeated.

    Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_Rationalists'_Ass

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think this article is a chit-chat gossip about "Vedic Science vs Modern Science" with no definite conclusion or result. Further more, its an article discussing Science, but talks about feelings and sentiments of Indians about it. I think it will be more productive to show with examples and case studies convincing skeptical western scientists how effective the ancient Indian sciences were as compared to modern science and why they are termed as mythology and not fully accepted in the modern western scientific diaspora.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just a heads up: http://ccdb4fs.kek.jp/cgi-bin/img/allpdf?198912227


    Restructuring Physics From Its Foundation In Light Of Maharishi's Vedic Science.
    John S. Hagelin (Maharishi U. of Management)

    and before you laugh too much:

    http://www-spires.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=FIND+A+HAGELIN%2C+JOHN+S&FORMAT=www&SEQUENCE=citecount%28d%29

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear All

    Recently I came across a book on Vedic Sciences-What are They? written by Dr. Vedavyas. Please find below the details of the book. This book gives lot of information on who invented what with lot of references.


    Book Title: VEDIC SCIENCES- What are They?
    Author: Dr. Vedavyas Ph.D, D.Litt
    Pages: 421 pages
    Price: Rs.120 (India), $10 (USA) Postage Extra
    Send your orders to: gubharathi@gmail.com
    Delivery: By VPP / Courier /BookPost
    Highlights
    There was a "Science Age" before our own origins of the present day western Science. The present book is a result of long and intentensive Research, by a post doctoral Sanskrit scholar and Science post graduate Dr. Vedavyas.
    D.Litt.
    A Master Degree holder in Zoology, Biology and – a traditional Vedic
    Sanskrit scholar, specially wrote this book, as a Text Book for teaching students for B.Sc and B.A. for a Degree in Vedic Sciences – like Ayurveda,Yoga, VastuSastra, Atomic Theories of Rishies like Kapila Kanada and
    Mathematical equation of Rishi Medhatithi and
    Veterninary Science by Rishi Shalihotra,
    Surgery of Sushruta – and the master Physician to Buddha, namely
    Jeevaka – also of Agastya's metallurgy, Bodhayana's climatology and Kapilas
    Cosmology – Rishi Vedavyasa's "Unified Field theory of a living Universe" –
    and many more such science marvels, are described – each a breath taking discovery.
    Dr. Vedavyas is the President, University of Vedic Sciences, accredited by Minesota University of USA. He was a former Secretary of the Government for 32 years till he demitted office in 1992 to establish this University. An author of 72 best sellers, research monographs and doctoral thesis for Ph.D – he was awarded a post Doctoral degree thesis for Ph.D – he was awarded a post Doctorate degree of D.Litt for his epoch making Discovery of 45 Lost poems of the ancient Bhagawad Gita – lost for 2000 years! This books like a
    Science thriller.
    Contents
    1. Vedic Sciences
    2. The Science of Vedanga Jyotisha
    3. Encyclopedia Indicana- Brihat Samhita of Varahamihiracharya
    4. Evolution of Vedic Sciences
    5. Evolution Theory
    6. Vedic Sciences of India
    7. Geometrical Algebra
    8. Science of Ayurveda
    9. The Magic Triple
    10. Vedic Science of Alchemy
    11. Kanada
    12. Ancient Vedic Concept of Atomic Theory
    13. Kapila Maharshi
    14. The Sankhya Theory of Matter Mind & Universe
    15. Ancient Vedic Concepts of Matter, Elements, and Nature of Energy and
    Vibrations
    16. Military Science in the Mahabharata War-I
    17. Military Science in the Mahabharata War-II
    18. Spiritual Science of the Vedas
    19. Hasta-Samudrika – The Ancient Vedic Science of palmistry
    20. Unknown Vedic Sciences of India Sakuna Shastra
    21. The Samudrika Shastra or the Occult Science of Physiognomy
    22. Cosmic Astrology
    RISHIES – SCIENTISTS OF VEDIC SCIENCES
    23. Salihotra
    24. Lagadha
    25. Jivaka
    26. Aryabhata
    27. Vagbhata
    28. Brahmagupta
    29. Bhaskaracharya
    30. Master Alchemist Nagarjuna
    31. The Vedas
    32. Unity of Sciences
    33. Ancient Vedic Science of God Realization - Yoga
    Have nice reading,
    regards,
    G.Gadadhar

    ReplyDelete
  26. Come on guys, Indians have plenty to be proud of their history and present. Sure they have problems to solve at home but they'll get there.

    I'm not an indian myself.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I pet on your immature blog. 3,000 people spending 10 billion dollars over decades found today that a God Particle exists. That too they are not confident enough says still they require some calculations. Atleast 1/10 of it is spend to retrive the ancient treasures of India and try to understand what they said will arrest major disasters spreading from laboratories to warfornts.

    ReplyDelete
  28. "Vedas are Vedic. Let them be. They are ancient. There is nothing scientific about them."
    Dude u neither kno vedas nor do you kno quantam physics. still u have the audacity to say there is nothing scientific about them when people who are leading the researchs in dese areas of science put in effort to understand wat is in vedas and comment about its validity... This cant be ur audacity its should be called extra ordinary ignorance due to extremem arrogance

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ayurveda is one of the limbs of veda. And we have researches nd colleges dedicated to ayurveda. It cures millions of people everyday in India. Students study 5 years to become an ayurvedic doctor and later 2 years for specialization.

    According to u der is nothing scientific in dis too rite...

    ReplyDelete
  30. The arguments above clearly showcases the lack of original thinking & shallow perception. A real pity. Here ia an example of what the scientific community actually thinks and not posing by some pseudo- intellectual who is at best fanciful about his claims towards the intelligentsia.

    http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/09/09/colony-earth-advanced-science-rig-veda/

    ReplyDelete

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