We all come from the East. All that we value
has come to us from the East and in going to the East everybody ought
to feel that he is going to his old home full of
memories, if only he can read them. (Max Mueller, German
An emerging global
society is impelling us by necessity towards a keener awareness of
other cultures, other places, and perhaps for many, other times.
Muellers words are surely significant to those in the West who
have experienced and been captivated by the exotic allure of India.
There, perhaps more than any other place on earth, it is possible
that we unconsciously sense the spirit and remnants of our distant
past; a re-awakening of some submerged, essential element we most
inwardly desire in a time when identity, purpose and meaning are
fading priorities. The increasing complexity and demands of an
impersonal high-tech age are not without their dehumanizing effects.
This primordial and
perennial mystique which India exudes transcends personal style and
cultured fashion. It has moved the minds of writers from Schopenhaur
and Goethe to Tolstoy, Emerson, Herman Hesse, Forster, Huxley,
Coleridge, Shelly, Wordsworth, Blake, Yeats, Walt Whitman and T.S.
Eliot, to name a few, who were influenced by the insights of Indias
Carl Gustav Jung, the
eminent Swiss psychologist, stated in his book Modern Man in
Search of a Soul: Psychoanalysis and the lines of thought
to which it gives risesurely a distinctly Western
developmentare only a beginners attempt to what is an
immortal art in the East.
What he infers is that
consciousness and its by-product, mind, rather than chemistry is the
fundamental reality; an insight projected for millenniums by Indian
teachers. Transcendental meditation in Yogic techniques that nurture
the intuitive process and still the cluttered intellect, have
captured the interest of millions in the Western world and the
revelations of key transpersonal psychologists e.g. Stanislav Grof
and R.D. Laing, serve only to further qualify Jungs words.
Moreover, the realization
by aware Quantum physicists that the mental attitude and intent of
the experimenter influences any attempted measurement of sub-atomic
particles, is in accordance. The result has been a long overdue
narrowing of the long existing schism between science, art and
religion. Truth, it has been told in India and realized by modern
scientific visionaries in the West, is not approached by reductionism
or the observation of fragments of this or that, nor through
intellectual speculation or logic, but is best revealed by direct
THE ANCIENT VEDIC CIVILIZATION
VEDA a Sanskrit
word, means supreme knowledge and the Vedas,
Upanishads and Puranas form the Sanskrit texts relating to
cosmology, nature and the human experience. They exist as the most
ancient of teachings; the earliest records of human history,
carefully preserved and woven into the fabric of unbroken tradition.
They are the fountainhead of the Greek as well as the Judao-Christian
traditions upon which the Western civilization has been built.
From the new perspectives
in Indian archaeology and Vedic studies, the Vedic/Aryan civilization
is thought to have had its origin in the northern polar regions.
Pushed south by the alien ice of the last glacial period around
10,500 BC, they resettled in the area of the Caspian Sea and later
began a programme of geographical expansion, some moving towards the
Indian sub-continent and others towards the Middle East and Europe.
Around 25000 sites have
been found to date, the better known being those of Harappa and
Mohenjodaro in the Indus Valley. The earliest however, has been
listed as Mehrgarh, circa 6,500 BC during the early Neolithic period.
The Rg Veda is seen by some researchers to date from that era.
The word Arya
appears for the first time in the Rg Veda and its meaning there is
civilized, not denoting any race of people at
all. An Aryan invasion of India around 1500 BC perpetuated by many
European Indologists is without foundation in the light of current
Vedic influence spread
from Turkey in the West to the Himalayas in the East, from the
Caspian Sea in the North to the Persian Gulf and the southern State
of Karnataka in present day India and to Egypt which would explain
the use of Vedic concepts and motifs in ancient Egyptian religion and
art such as the Lotus, the Crux Ansanta, the symbol of life,
and the hooded Cobra.
civilization is seen as a continuous one from that early glacial
period to modern times; its oral and written traditions speak as
testaments to a highly developed scientific civilization belonging to
antiquity. Seafaring Vedic/Aryans sailed from Lothal, an export
centre for smelted copper and bronze, now in the State of Gujarat, to
Egypt, Arabia, Persian Gulf, Maldive Islands and beyond to Indonesia
and possibly to Fiji, or even as far as Easter Island; their
architectural remnants being seen in a host of megalithic structures
scattered across the face of the Pacific.
THE GREEK CONNECTION
An age of intellectual
activity in both India and Greece occurred between the 6th
and 4th centuries BC. The foundation of Western philosophy
and science laid down in the Grecian schools of learning was born
from concepts crystallized in India in previous centuries which had a
profound impact and Greek thought.
The flowing of this
influence and the accuracy with which the doctrines were transmitted
suggests a direct contact between the thinkers of the two countries
rather than knowledge acquired through intermediaries. The clarity
with which Greek philosophers propounded their views presupposes a
familiarity with a subject that can only arise when all doubts and
dissentions have been resolved through discussion.
Plato and Democritus, it
is told, traversed the long distance to the Indian sub-continent to
confer with Indian sages as did Pythagoras at an earlier date. As the
responsible one for ushering in the Golden Age of Greece, he was
educated for 20 years in astronomy, geometry, medicine, psychology
and mathematics in the Vedic institutes of Egypt. An Indic colony
existed in the Egyptian city of Memphis by 500 BC.
Ayurvedic medicine or the
Vedic Science of Life occurs in Platos writings and
the importance of correct breathing, as taught in Yogic disciplines,
was emphasized by Hippocrates in the same way as is done in the
Ayurvedic system. Hippocrates and described and employed Indian
medicaments in the treatment of diseases. The Asclepinan centres of
healing throughout Greece were identified by their use of the image
of the coiled serpent around a central staff called the Caduceus,
symbol of the medical profession to this day and born from the
original Indian Naga (Cobra) motif. Surgical expertise was highly
developed by the early Indian practitioners, the knowledge spreading
to the Arabs the Egyptians and the Chinese.
VEDIC MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE
Theoremthe acknowledged foundation for higher geometry,
trigonometry, calculus and various other branches of mathematics have
been traditionally ascribed to the Greek Pythagorean school. But
latest research has shown that the Theorem was of Vedic origin as was
Appolonius Theorem, both of them not being beset with the
irksome and needless lengths of proof with which it has been
traditionally endowed. Arabic numerals and Cartesian
co-ordinates are also found to be historical misnomers both being
also of Vedic origin as was the zero.
The National Council for
Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in India has included
ancient Vedic mathematics in the Teachers Guide For Text Books in
schools throughout the country and the teaching of Vedic mathematics
is well underway. In Quantum Physics the Rg Veda refers to the speed
of light with near perfect accuracy and the inter-changeability of
energy and matter as laid down by Einstein early in this century was
fundamental to Vedic understanding. Such insights are to be offered
to modern students of science at the Sanskrit University of the
Maharashtra State Government in India: It is not a revivalist kind of
institution but rather one with a purposeful programme of exposing
scholars of present science to the ancient wisdom and having them
interpret it from the modern point of view.
In Hyderabad, the Birla
Science Centre, it is reported, has undertaken an ambitious project
to decode and scientifically evaluate ancient Indian manuscripts
dealing with aeronautics, metallurgy and chemistry. Dr. Naren Seth
has explained that in relation to aeronautics, a solid named
chumbakmani with semi conductor properties was fitted on
ancient aircraft. The solid collected solar energy and stored it to
power flight. The text has been translated into English by G.R.
Joyser of the International Academy of Sanskrit Research. (Ref:
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. Newsletter, Delhi, India, April
The now indisputable fact
is that the Western cultural tradition is derived originally not from
Greee, but from India. This realization, gained from intense
research, is helping to forge a new world view.
The present sociological,
environmental and ecological crisis encompassing much of the planet
has been due, in great part, to an over weighted mechanistic ethos
that has for 300 years dictated the socioeconomic and political
climate of Western civilization. The decree of the life sciences,
that human beings are mere machines, purposeless accidents in time
and space, separate and distinct form nature has left little room for
personal dignity or feelings about being part of a higher grand
design and purpose.
But a brighter light is
beginning to illuminate the dark vaults of this type of thinking.
Throughout the world an evolutionary impulse appears to be at work.
In Australia, for
example, a Creative Physics movement, spearheaded by the Government
recognized Science-Art Research Centre of Australia Inc. is being
impelled by such considerations. Strongly endorsed in India by
Paramahamsa Tewari, a chief engineer with Indias Nuclear Power
Corporation and an internationally known researcher/author, the
Centres work and ideals point to a new science of life
based on ethical, humanitarian ends; in reality, and old Eastern brew
in a new Western bottle.
The concept is not to
deny the wonders of modern science or our technological age, but to
balance the existing paradigm with a more purposeful and meaningful
model of life; to augment rather than diminish. The information,
simplified and accessible to all via computerized, global internet
facilities, freed from the chains of over-specialized and often
cryptic language, is designed to bring the inter-relationship between
modern knowledge and ancient insights into clearer focus. The
Centres work has already been included in an important
world-wide Futures Studies Tertiary Education Programme endorsed by
the United Nations University in the USA.
In addition, an
international touring science-art exhibition titled Icons of
the Second Renaissance in liaison with leading scientists in
other countries who are working in Creative Physics research is being
planned as a new millennium project.
These endeavours, which
are designed to assist any individual in the realization of his/her
potentialities in a more positive and democratic way, may help to
bring about a true East-West synthesis.
The more closely we approach twenty-first century
physics the more closely we find ourselves approaching the cosmology
of ancient systems.