First article – “Terrorism and Cultural Wars”* – of this four parts series discussed how social and cultural upbringings can explain terrorism. The second article – and “Religion, Politics and Arts”* – presented aspects of religion used for political exploitation and arts. For understanding life scientific knowledge of the universe is essential. The following topics are discussed in this third article.
- Ancient Vedic Science
- Pre-17th century Science
- References and notes: Star (*) followed by a bracketed number (#1, etc) identifies applicable specific reference and notes.
Comparative religion, arts and science are tools for understanding life. An objective of four part series is to illustrate the central place of science in life. The relevance of science is to improve knowledge of material world for humanity.
Another two part series – Tides of Ideas* (#3) and the Golden Age of Muslims* (#4) showed that science is a major contributor to growth of human knowledge and history of science is punctuated by periods of Dark Ages, etc. “Tides of Ideas” surface with the comparative studies of science, arts and faiths.
Human understandings reside in brain; however brain capacity is limited to personal understandings. Comparative studies of religion, art and history offer an insight into the social and cultural life and how humans accumulated knowledge over several thousand years. Some human accomplishments are preserved. Archeological explorations unearth many more from time to time. A vast amount of historically significant accomplishments were destroyed and lost forever leaving an impression that ancient men lived in Dark Ages. Like the lines in sand we are left with Dark Ages including of Greek and Vedic periods, etc * (#3).
The article starts with an introduction to importance of energy for a sustainable improved quality of life and most recent discovery for conversion of energy to mass. We follow up with contributions of the Vedic and Indian scholars to human knowledge. History of science identifies a factor that separates modern science from the pre-17th century science.
The significances of scientific developments lie in understanding how it has helped improve quality of life for a majority of 7 billion global populations that have access to useful energy or power. In 21st century enlightened nations are focusing on improving quality of life for all humanity with ever increasing use of energy.
Energy is needed for mass production of consumer and defense products as well as technologies for exploration of materials invisible to naked eyes. High energy LHC (Large Hadron Collider) and cyclotrons for colliding strings of select particles have enabled scientist to establish structures and properties of elementary particles* (#5). Energy driven technologies have enabled scientists to land man on Moon as well as conduct explorations of space and under seas to discover new materials.
A primary task for humanity is to harvest useful energy from source other than those currently used – oil, gas, nuclear and coal, which are materials with weight. These under- and above ground resources are concentrated forms of non-renewable energy. The harvesting of renewable energy – sun, wind and tide – is a result of developing advanced state-of-the-art technologies.
Energy of universe is infinite. Energy is not destroyed but it is transformed into many avatars. We use stored forms of energy by converting it to desired useful energy (of motion, heat, and electricity, etc). The laws of conservation of energy state that energy cannot be created, or destroyed, but can change forms. It is for human ingenuity to harvest the renewable resources of energy to meet the expected geometrical growth in demand for useful energy.
We know that only 4% of universal energy exists as all matters we are familiar with. Additional 23% is the detectable dark energy stuff or matter and balance 73% energy is transparent (to detection and hence mysterious) dark energy. There is plenty of energy in the universe. The challenge is to harvest useful energy from the infinite sources of universal energy and make it available to all humanity for sustainable improved standard of living.
Growth of scientific knowledge may be divided into two distinct periods: pre- and post 17th century sciences. Prior to the 17th century scientists could study only that was visible to naked eye* (#6): three dimensional space and light in straight line. Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Hindu and Arab Muslim scientists had limited math capabilities. The knowledge of the Euclidean geometry, algebra and number theory with Sanskrit numerals and zero were neither sufficient to study space in four and more dimensions nor the wave nature of light.
- Ancient Vedic Science
A brief introduction to origin of science starts with ancient Vedic times (3,500+ years ago).
As societies and cultures appeared starting with agricultural settlements from about 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, the curiosity driven scholarship and scientific inquiry surfaced. In ancient Vedic times* (#7) emphasis was on understanding environmental parameters (panchangas or calendars) necessary for establishing productive livestock ranches, agricultural industry, behavioral science (psychology) and naturopathy (Ayurvedic medicine) to cure common diseases.
Astronomical developments of ancient India or Vedic period were limited to visual range observations and it provided sufficient information for development of calendars and almanacs. Indian scientists with astronomical studies have contributed theories on ‘evolution of the universe’ in pre-17th century as well as modern scientific era. Ancient Hindu theories of evolution of the universe (Cosmic-Man), the Numbers (Sankhya) and behavioral (Guna) sciences are incorporated in the Geeta, the Hindu equivalent of the Bible* (#8).
Indian astronomy (2,500+ years ago) is associated with study of Vedas. As with other traditions, the original application of astronomy was religious, and would be considered astrology in modern terminology. The oldest extant text of astronomy is the treatise by Lagadha, dated to the Mauryan era (final centuries BCE). Indian astronomy flowered in the 6th century, with Aryabhata, whose Aryabhatiya represented the pinnacle of astronomical knowledge at the time and significantly influenced medieval Muslim astronomy. Other astronomers of the classical era who further elaborated on Aryabhata’s work include Brahmagupta, Varahamihira and Lalla. But an identifiable native Indian astronomical tradition remained active throughout the medieval period and into the 16th or 17th century, especially within the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics.
A Hindu panchāngam or panchānga is a astrological almanac, which follows traditional Indian cosmology, and presents important astronomical data in tabulated form. Panchāngas are published in India by many learned authors, societies, academies, and universities. They forecast celestial phenomena such as solar eclipses, forecast weather (rain, dry spells) as well as more mundane occurrences.
Ayurvedic medicine is a system of healing that originated in ancient India and it is designed for prevention as well as promotion of the body’s own capacity for maintenance and balance.
- Pre-17th century Science
Arab scholars of 12th – 13th century translated into Latin many Arabic texts on astronomy, physics, alchemy, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, literature and poetry* (#4). Arab scholars of Abbasid dynasty (8th – 13th centuries) were surprised that many Muslim converts belonged to earlier and great civilizations and they absorbed knowledge from all these cultures. Persian scholarships included translated Vedic/Hindu texts as well as Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian, Nabataea and Roman. Abbasid scholars discovered that based on prevailing scientific discoveries the pioneers of the ancient cultures had built wondrous cities, created legal systems, businesses for international trade, found cures for diseases, and studied stars and universe.
History of science teaches that science is dynamic. The science by Greek, Vedic/Hindu and Muslim scholars was limited to three dimensional space and linear travel of light. Euclidean geometry was the level of math known to Greeks and Iberian Arabs-Persians until 13th century.
The forth article 0f the series describes developments in the Modern Science.
References and notes
- Kishan Bhatia, “Terrorism and Cultural Wars” (0625 0810 2012) submitted to www.indiacause.com
- Kishan Bhatia, “Religion, Politics and Arts” (0625 0810 2012) submitted to www.indiacause.com
- Kishan Bhatia, “Tides of Ideas,” 0716 2012 (2,876 words) http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2012/07/29/tides-of-ideas-revised/ 0729 2012
- Kishan Bhatia, “Golden age of Muslims by Saeed Mirza 0716 2012” (3,760 words including Appendix with 2,273 word) http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2012/07/29/golden-age-of-muslims-by-saeed-mirza/ 0729 2012
- Lisa Randall, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” (2011).
- The naked eyes see objects only in presence of visible light emitted by sun and other stars. Telescopes are required to zoom in at the distant stars that are lighted celestial objects. The zooming power of microscopes is needed to magnify tiny objects for visual observations. Eyes can not see atomic and subatomic particles; study of these particles requires technologies that can measure energy associated with each atomic and subatomic particles. Higher the energy of a particle, smaller is the particle; all high energy particles have fast decay times. The book by Dr Randall should be consulted for more details.
- Vedas; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas. The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The Samhitas date to roughly 1500–1000 BCE, and the “circum-Vedic” texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000-500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
- The Vedic Sanskrit corpus is the scope of A Vedic Word Concordance (Vaidika-Padānukrama-Kosa) prepared from 1930 under Vishva Bandhu, and published in five volumes in 1935-1965. Its scope extends to about 400 texts, including the entire Vedic Sanskrit corpus besides some “sub-Vedic” texts.
- Volume I: Samhitas
- Volume II: Brahmanas and Aranyakas
- Volume III: Upanishads
- Volume IV: Vedangas
- A revised edition, extending to about 1800 pages, was published in 1973-1976.
- Panchangam, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchangam is a Hindu almanac.
- Indian Astronomy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_astronomy
- Hindu Ayurvedic medicine utilizes diet, detoxification and purification techniques, herbal and mineral remedies, yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, and massage therapy as holistic healing methods. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/ayurvedic+medicine.
- Ayurvedic medicine is widely practiced in modern India and has been steadily gaining followers in the West. Ayurvedic treatment is non-invasive and non-toxic, so it can be used safely as an alternative therapy or along-side conventional therapies. Ayurvedic physicians claim that their methods can also help stress-related, metabolic, and chronic conditions. Ayurveda has been used to treat acne, allergies, asthma, anxiety, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, colds, colitis, constipation, depression, diabetes, flu, heart disease, hypertension, immune problems, inflammation, insomnia, nervous disorders, obesity, skin problems, and ulcers.
- Kishan Bhatia, “Introduction to Hinduism Part I of V Parts; Published in a modified form on 11202009 at http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Basic-Hindu-Beliefs-Scriptures-Part-I/blog-329.htm; Original article – 1,394 words; revised copies available upon request. Part IV of the series, “Dharma and Cosmic-Man” at www.ivarta.com; http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Dharma-Cosmic-Man/blog-334.htm describes Hindu theory of evolution of the universe; and Part V “Sankhya System and Guna Theory” at http://blogs.ivarta.com/Hinduism-Sankhya-System-Guna-Theory-V/blog-336.htm present a Numbers Theory and Hindu Theory of Behavioral Science.
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