Re: ARTICLE : Modern Discoveries in Ancient Works
Posted By Mike Wolverton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wed, 08 Jan 1997 09:29:48 -0800
Rajan P. Parrikar wrote:
> In article <ghenE3EvA4.email@example.com>, <Madhava.Kumar@lana.zippo.com> wrote:
> > Modern Discoveries in Ancient Works
> > ===================================
> > By : Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati
> >There are a few scientific discoveries that are not found
> >mentioned in Varahamihira's "BRUhat-Samhita".
> >How do heavenly bodies remain in the skies? How is it that
> >they do not fall? Everybody thinks that it was Newton who
> >found the answer to such questions. They very first stanza
> >in the "Suryasiddhanta", which is a very ancient treatise,
> >states that it is the force of attraction that keeps the
> >earth from falling.
> >In Sankara's commentary on the Upanishads there is a
> >reference to the earth's force of attraction. If we throw up
> >an object it falls to the ground. This is not due to the
> >nature of the object but due to the earth's force of
> >attraction. "Akrasana-sakti" is force of attraction, the
> >power of drawing or pulling something. The breath is called
> >"prana" goes up, "apana" pulls it down. So the force that
> >pulls something downward is apana.
> >The Acharya says that the earth has "apana-sakti". The
> >Prasopanishad (3.8) states: "The deity of the earth inspires
> >the human body with apana." In his commentary on this
> >Sankara observes that, just as an object thrown up is
> >attracted by the earth, so prana that goes up is pulled down
> >by apana. This means that our Upanishads have a reference
> >to the law of gravitation.
> It is true that Hindu mathematical and scientific thought has not
> gotten the recognition that it merits. For instance, it is common in
> certain western circles to dismiss Hindu contributions to mathematics
> by saying that it didn't have the symbolic form or the rigour that the
> Greeks exhibited and hence doesn't amount to very much in today's
> scientific practice. Even when a seminal idea points to an Indian origin
> there is a strong a priori tendency to show that it must have travelled
> from Greece to India - in short, everything good in Indian heritage MUST
> have had a western origin. Today, this attitude is partly born out of
> superficial knowledge of Hindu contributions and partly out of a supercilious
> Eurocentrism that generally pervades intellectual discourse and writing in
> the west. In this particular instance the positive fallout was that it
> motivated V. George to write his wonderful book "Crest of the Peacock:
> Non-European Roots of Mathematics" (sadly out of print today) and also
> Prof. T. Bhanu Murthy to write his monograph "Ancient Indian Mathematics."
> Be that as it may, there is dire need of modern Indian intellectuals
> competent in the sciences to undertake extensive study of the no-doubt
> impressive contributions of their own civilization. The aim of this effort
> should be to document, highlight and put on a firm footing (in modern
> scientific terms) the indigenous contributions and NOT to repudiate or
> diminish the worth of the impressive feats of modern western scientific
> thought (universal in character today).
> Which brings me to the main purpose of this rejoinder. Such silly, sloppy
> and slippery writing as witnessed in the quoted article does more harm
> than good to the cause I just described. Every nugget of this flapdoodle
> makes the task of the genuine conscientious student of ancient Indian
> scientific/mathematical thought that much harder. For besides discrediting
> legitimate Hindu achievements it also provides muscle to the perception that
> the only thing we were good at was handwaving and mouthing recondite
> philosophical jargon.
> See for instance how the great intellectual accomplishment that Newton's
> generalization, the law of gravitation, represents is here dismissed and
> substituted with a facile one or two-liner purporting to convince us
> of an Indian precursor to the idea. And following that the entry of the
> Upanishads as fonts and repositories of scientific knowledge. What is
> conclusive from all this is the author's tenuous grasp of science and the
> scientific method. Also suggestive is the author's innocence of the nature of
> Upanishads themselves. The track eventually winds up trivializing the
> profoundity of Upanishadic thought while simultaneously contributing zilch
> to the advancement of any scientific material of historical value.
> Before I quit here's another piece of nonsense:
> >"BhoogOLa SAStra", not just "bhoo-SAStra". We have known
> >from early times that the earth is a "gola", a sphere.
> >we call the universe, with all its galaxies, "Brahmanda".
> >It means the egg created by Brahma (the cosmig egg). An egg
> >is not exactly spherical in shape, but oval. According to
> >modren science the universe too is oval in shape.
> <rest deleted>
> Let us for the moment assume that you've gotten the last sentence
> right. Then, quackass, modern science may tomorrow, due to newer
> theoretical imperatives or fresher rounds of observation, alter its
> hypothesis and propose a different shape for the universe. If it turns
> out to be, say, cuboid, I can tell that Brahma ain't going to have
> a very pleasant time laying those eggs.
> Mail posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org : http://www.hindunet.org/srh_home/
I understand the scientist, for I am one myself. Also, inner perceptions
are possible, but only if one tries this approach too. Finally please
consider, namecalling is disrespectful, and inappropriate in this news
In divine friendship,