Suddenly he turned to all of us listening to him and shot a question - in contrast
what have the Indians been doing?
I felt as if he has slapped us. What have the Indians done? Sitting on their
Where shall I begin? Their contributions in Philosophy, literature, poetry, drama,
education, Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine, Surgery, Plastic surgery, Veterinary science, Economics, Political science - the list just goes on.
Gone is the old idea of an Aryan invasion. In its place, the world is accepting a
continuity of Indian civilization and its literature dating back to the earliest period
of history. The work done by the ancient Indian scholars in the fields of Medicine,
mathematics, geometry, Astronomy and logic are being recognized to be among
the earliest the world has seen. While trying to answer the question of "what have
the Indians being doing?" I decided not to go by a statistical route. Plenty of
information to engage in a lively argument is already available. I believe, that the
way in which we visualize any particular thing is based on the outlook we entertain
in respect of that thing. Usually we do not have a comprehensive idea of most of
the things in this world. When we think about a subject we regard it with some
blinkers limiting our vision of that subject, whereby we tend to ignore other aspects
which also go to have a strong bearing on the subject. While trying to answer the
question "what have the Indians been doing", to get a more comprehensive idea, I
chose to unfold the various facets of Vedic culture including their literature, their
philosophy, their learning etc. The entire book has been written with that question
Slowly, the world has started accepting the Indian civilization to be the earliest
leading the rest of the world in spiritual, material and scientific progress.
"India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's
languages; she was the mother of our philosophy; mother through Arabs of much
of our mathematics; mother through Buddha of ideals embodied in Christianity;
mother through village community, of self-government and democracy; mother
India is in many ways is the mother of us all." - Will Durant; American Historian
What I could present in this book represents just the tip of an iceberg. Will Durant
was correct in stating that India was the mother, not just of philosophy, but a
majority of other subjects as well. India's glory was not like a wick that shone for
brief period and then got extinguished. It shone for thousands of years shedding
light on a number of subjects. In fact, the knowledge it spread, in many instances,
was not limited to people within the boundary of Bharat Varsha, but to the entire
world. Bhagavad Gita is a typical example. The concept of zero in the counting of
numbers is another. And there are many others as well.
In this book I tried to present available information from different sources. The
period covered included from the time of the Vedas up to the 15th century AD.
Greatest challenge faced was in fixing the dates. More work needs to be done by
our scholars in this context.
During ancient times the teaching was done at the Ashrams of the sage. These
Ashrams were located far away from the cities. Students, all Brahmacharins, lived
at the Ashrams. Subjects were not taught in modules or by a semester system.
Typically, the students were taught eighteen Vidyas -Four Vedas, six Vedangas,
two Mimamsas, one Nyaya and one Puranas / other scriptures; Along with this,
four other vidyas are also taught. Ayurveda (1); Dhanurveda (1); Gandharva Veda
(1); Artha Shastra (1). This brings the total of vidyas taught equal to 18. It is my
wish to bring about in this book, if not entirely (some of the vidyas were not
touched upon, to keep the book within reasonable size), an atmosphere of com-
apprehensive learning available at the Guru Kulas in ancient India.
I don't believe the aberration that my friend suffered was an isolated case. It
has to be accepted that the knowledge of general public regarding our literature,
our contributions has thinned out. I am not for a moment suggesting that the cur-
rent education / knowledge should be replaced by ancient learning. On the contrary, the current learning should supplement what we have achieved over the many
years. A pride should be apparent on every Indian's face befitting our cultural
The author has compiled the information collected from different sources
from the time of Vedas to 15th Century A.D. Inspite of such an industrious study,
the author humbly says that this book represents just the tip of an iceberg. He also
states that there is a large scope for an extensive in-depth research in this context.
He submissively opines that- 'A pride should be apparent on every Indian's face
befitting our cultural background'. The Author's statement influences my senses to
think over it. His valuable ideas are appreciable. I am immensely happy to bring this
book to the vision of the public. I also urge the readers to think widely to implement certain ideas as a supplement to their life style, because India's glory has
attracted the entire world and it is on its journey even today.
The author, belonging to the field of Physics and Instrumentation has put
forth his best knowledge related to Philosophy and Theism. I wish him all the best
and also hope that his dreams come true.
Prof. Max Muller while recording the first voice on a Gramophone chose the first
Shloka of Rig Veda "Agni Meele Purohitam". He proceeded to explain the reason for
his choice - "Vedas are the oldest text of the human race. And Agni Meele Purohitam
is the first verse of Rig Veda. In the most primordial time, when the people did not
know how even to cover their bodies and lived by hunting and housed in caves, .
Indians had attained high civilization and they gave the world universal philosophies
in the form of the Vedas."
There are two important aspects about the Vedas - (a) Hindus regard that the Vedas
have been received through revelation. It was not written by any man
(Apaurusheya); and (b) The Vedas are without a beginning and end.
How is it possible? Swami Vivekananda explains. "By the Vedas no books are
meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different
persons at different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery,
and would exist if all humanity forgot it, so is it with the laws that govern the spiritual
world. The moral, ethical, and spiritual relations between soul and soul and between
individual spirits and the Father of all spirits, were there before their discovery, and
would remain even if we forgot them". The name given to the discoverers of these
laws was" Kavi". The Vedas described them as kavayah salyasrulah meaning seers
who were the hearers of the truth. The Veda itself was called Shruti meaning
revealed scripture. The sage who had a direct intuitional perception is called
Sakshalh Krutha Rishi. The sage who heard it from his Guru and remembered it is
called Shrutha Rishi.
Veda have been divided into Karma Kanda (section of works and rituals) and Jnana
Kanda (section of knowledge) the former associated with the hymns and the later
with the Upanishads. European scholars took up the ritualistic tradition and went on
to make their own etymological explanation of the words resulting in arbitrary
meaning for Vedic verses. In fact, what they were looking for in Veda was the early
history of India, its society, institutions - in short a picture of the times. They then
invented the theory (based on the difference of languages) of an Aryan invasion from
the north, and an invasion of the Dravidian India. The Indians themselves had no
memory of such invasions and there were no records of such events in their classical
literature. Yet, this appears to have persuaded the minds of some Indians in favor
of this view. All this resulted in a chaos and a mutilation of dates of historical events.
As Aurobindo puts it "the Vedic religion was on this account only a worship of
Nature-Gods full of solar myths and consecrated sacrifices and a sacrificial liturgy
primitive enough in its ideas and contents, and it is barbaric prayers that are the
much vaunted, haloed and apotheosized Veda" .. And we were left to trace our
civilization and ancestors from among the ruins at Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. In
recent years, Indian scholars have started work on the scientific dating of various
events described in our Puranas. The Rishis, the poet seers of Veda, were men with
a great spiritual and occult knowledge not shared by ordinary men. Among this
enlightened group, there are a number of Rishidas (female Rishis) as well. Still the
task is unfinished. To be revealed is one thing, to preserve it and pass it on is quite
another thing. The mantras acquire their powers by virtue of their acoustic energy of
the syllables (Shabda). In addition, correct sequence of words, purity of the
language, exact pronunciation of the words, precise stress on syllables, measured
pause between syllables, appropriate tone, accent, modulation and pitch of
recitation, proper breath control etc are very critical. In the case of written texts
comparisons may be carried out much more easily. How can you devise a system to
control the requirements of Vedic texts? In addition the requirement for memorizing
the entire Vedic texts existed. The Ashrams of the Rishis served as the learning
centers and they were located in forests. And maintaining large libraries was
Systems have been devised to meet this challenge. It is astounding that large
volumes of Vedic texts were preserved by oral tradition for over thousands of years,
safeguarding their purity and entirety. Svaadhyaya, the oral tradition, by which Vedas
have been preserved, emphasizes the preservation of actual sound of the Vedas
over their meaning and interpretation! Careful thought and planning have gone into
devising methods to achieve the desired results. Oral methods have been around in
other parts of the world as well but rarely has any other oral tradition been so
venerated and so well preserved as the Vedic tradition.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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