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An East-West Synthesis The India Connection

“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 Indologist).

An emerging global society is impelling us by necessity towards a keener awareness of other cultures, other places, and perhaps for many, other times. Mueller’s 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 India’s greatest sages.

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 rise—surely a distinctly Western development—are only a beginner’s 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 Jung’s 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 intuitive insight.


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 evidence.

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.

The Vedic/Aryan 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.


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 Plato’s 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.


Pythagora’s Theorem—the 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 1991).

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 India’s Nuclear Power Corporation and an internationally known researcher/author, the Centre’s 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 Centre’s 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.