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From Vedic Age to 18th Century: ICHR approves First project to Map the Scientific Achievements of Ancient India

The Indian Council of Historical Research has decided to map the scientific achievements of ancient India

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A document from the ancient Rig Veda. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons.
  • ICHR has decided to map all the scientific achievements of ancient India that took place between the Vedic Age and 18th century
  • Fund is being given to a Professor at Jain University, named R.N. Iyenger, to study Garga-Jyotisha
  • Iyenger has previous experience of working with such delicate subjects and has published 20 papers based on similar subjects

The scientific prowess of ancient India has never been under the spotlight. However, since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, he has never lost an opportunity to highlight the historical achievements of ancient India. On several occasions, he chose to focus on the references to scientific achievements mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata as well.

R.N. Iyengar. Image Source : aventure.ac.in
R.N. Iyenger. Image Source : aventure.ac.in

The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) has chosen it as its first project. The project is primarily about mapping all the scientific achievements that took place in India from the Vedic Ages to the 18th century. The apex body of funding which is responsible for donating funds for historical research has decided to donate 5 lakh rupees to a Professor of Jain University in Bangalore called R.N. Iyengar to study the Garga-Jyotisha.

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Garga-Jyotisha. Image Source : newsdogshare.com
Garga-Jyotisha. Image Source : newsdogshare.com

the grant has been sanctioned for two years, mentioned the Indian Express report. Garga-Jyotisha is a text which is composed of 8,000 verses and 16,000 lines. Iyengar opines that it has something to do with the mathematical formula propounded by Aryabhatta.

Vriddha-Garga-Samhita is a collection of astronomical information, observational astronomy leading to mathematical calculations and natural sciences. It has observations of planets, periods of eclipses, description of 26 comets which can give us an idea of ancient chronology. It also has a chapter on rainfall measurements. Most probably this tradition originated around 500 BC and could have influenced the mathematical astronomy of Aryabhata and other scholars in ancient India,” he said to the Indian Express.

A statue of Aryabhata. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons
A statue of Aryabhata. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

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Previously, Iyengar was employed in the civil engineering department of IISC, Bangalore. He had studied about different natural phenomenon there and believed that they can be explained with reference to the ancient scientific achievements made by scholars like Aryabhata. He has 20 other research papers published on similar topics.

– prepared by Atreyee Sengupta, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: Etrui14

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Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here

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Hinduism. Pixabay

Oct 06, 2017: Have you ever wondered what being a Hindu means? Or who is actually fit to be called a Hindu? Over centuries, Hindus and Indians alike have asked this question to themselves or their elders at least once in their lifetime.

In the 1995 ruling of the case, “Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Versus State of West Bengal” the court identified seven defining characteristics of Hinduism but people are still confused to what exactly defines being a Hindu in the 21st century. It’s staggering how uninformed individuals can be about their own religion; according to a speech by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya there are various common notions we carry about who a Hindu is:

  • Anyone born in India is automatically a Hindu
  • If your parents are Hindu, you’re are also inevitably a Hindu
  • If you believe in reincarnation, you’re a Hindu
  • If you follow any religion practiced in India, you’re a Hindu
  • And lastly, if you are born in a certain caste, you’re a Hindu

After answering these statements some fail to remove their doubts on who a Hindu is. The question arises when someone is unsure on how to portray themselves in the society, many people follow a set of notions which might/might not be the essence of Hinduism and upon asked why they perform a particular ritual they are clueless. The problem is that the teachings are passed on for generations and the source has been long forgotten, for the source is exactly where the answer lies.

Religion corresponds to scriptural texts

The world is home to many religions and each religion has its own uniqueness portrayed out of the scriptures and teachings which are universally accepted. So to simplify the dilemma one can say that determining whether someone belongs to a particular religion is directly related to whether he/she follows the religious scriptures of the particular religion, and also whether they abide to live by the authority of the scriptural texts.

Christianity emerges from the guidance of the Gospels and Islam from the Quran where Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet. Similarly, Hinduism emerges from a set of scriptures known as the Vedas and a Hindu is one who lives according to Dharma which is implicated in the divine laws in the Vedic scriptures.By default, the person who follows these set of religious texts is a Hindu.

Also Read: Christianity and Islam don’t have room for a discourse. Hindus must Stop Pleasing their former Christian or Muslim masters, says Maria Wirth 

Vedas distinguishes Hindu from a Non-Hindu

Keeping this definition in mind, all the Hindu thinkers of the traditional schools of Hindu philosophy accept and also insist on accepting the Vedas as a scriptural authority for distinguishing Hindus from Non-Hindus. Further implying the acceptance of the following of Bhagwat Gita, Ramayana, Puranas etc as a determining factor by extension principle as well.

Bottom Line

So, concluding the debate on who is a Hindu we can say that a person who believes in the authority of the Vedas and lives by the Dharmic principles of the Vedas is a Hindu. Also implying that anyone regardless of their nationality i.e. American, French or even Indian can be called a Hindu if they accept the Vedas.

– Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram                                                                

(the article was originally written by Shubhamoy Das and published by thoughtco)

One response to “Are We Hindus If We Live in India? The Answer to Contentious Question is Here”

  1. Hindu is a historical name for people living “behind the river Indus”. So, everyone living in India is a Hindu, eventhough he might have a different faith.

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Mohammad Iqbal: The Man Behind Partition and a Pariah in India is Still Sung by Secularists

Iqbal is a pariah in India as many regard him a hypocrite, communal Islamist

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Allama muhammad iqbal at Lahore Museum. Wikimedia

Aug 22, 2017: Indian history has been crafted by the leftists who have done nothing more than distorting the facts to put unfit personalities as honourable. One such person which some great minds in India honour are Mohammad Iqbal, the man behind “Pakistan” who held the idea more of a secular symbol. Even in the past, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee praised him to drum up Muslim votes. However, Iqbal is also a pariah in India as many regard him a hypocrite, communal Islamist.

What many secularists till date fight for is the lack of respect for Iqbal. According to them, the song should have been the national anthem of India.  However, it wasn’t made the song of the nation owing to its Muslim author.

Tarek Fatah, a well-known journalist expressed his views on social media:

He went on by exposing the dark reality behind the nationwide popular song- ‘Sare Jahan se acha’

Now, if we look into our history books we will be able to spot Iqbal for the patriotic song he wrote- ‘Sare Jahan se acha, Hindustan Humara’.

The song became the anthem of the opposition to British India. ‘Tarana-e-Hind’  (song of Hindustan) became the catchy phrase at that time. The under mentioned line became the new sensation as it carried the sentiments graciously.

“Mazhab nahin sikhata apas mein bair rakhna, Hindi hain hum, watan hain Hindustan hamara”

(Religion does not teach us to hate each other, we belong to Hind, our nativeland is Hindustan)

In no time, Iqbal underwent into an outright transformation after his return from England. The man who discerned Hindustan as an amalgamation of Hindu-Muslim, returned as an Islamic philosopher only to become Pakistan’s progenitor. Sooner he became intolerant of Hindus and wrote Taran-e-mili (song of community), which was the negation of the taran-e-hind he wrote formerly.

From Hindustan humara to Chin o Arab hamaara, this is how Iqbal demonstrated multi-faceted character:

“Chin o Arab hamaara, Hindustan hamaara, Muslim hain hum, watan hain sara jahaan hamaara”

(China and Arabia are ours, Hindustan is ours, we are Muslims, the whole world is our nativeland).

Our history books have entirely omitted the fact where Iqbal proposed the two-nation theory, which ultimately led to the partition of Indian subcontinent and plethora of lives suffered. He is even called the father of the nation (Pakistan).

Iqbal addressed Allahabad session of the Muslim League in December 1930 as president of the session:

“I would like to see Punjab, the North Western Frontier Provinces (NWFP), Sind and Balochistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British empire, through the formation of a consolidated North Western Indian Muslim state, appears to be the final destiny of Muslims, at least of North West India”.

He dreamt of Muslims emerging as a Global Power, rising above the political and geographical constraints. The dream of Iqbal is still lived in Pakistan.

This surfaces the question that how can a person with such dogmatic outlook be ever called great? and How can the person because of which the nation witnessed massive bloodshed be ever called great? 

 


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Maria Wirth on How Ancient Indian Wisdom can Help Modern Science Progress in the Right Direction

Maria Wirth, in her new blog article, opines that science has rarely tried to investigate what Indian Rishis have to say

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Maria Wirth. Twitter
  • The Modern Science, which is usually portrayed as a critique of religion, is shy to fight the Indian wisdom
  • Scientists have been too busy finding answers in their labs, having ignored the wisdom of Indian Rishis
  • Maria Wirth in her blog article suggests that ancient Indian wisdom could help science progress 

August 11, 2017: It was the Indian Rishis who had answers to existential questions centuries before the discovery of scientific postulates. These Rishis successfully determined the age of the universe. They also knew that it was the Earth that orbits around the sun. Further, they also knew that there was more than just one sun, and that matter is made up of small units called atoms.

It had taken science a lot of years to validate the truth behind this ancient Indian wisdom.

The scientific conclusion that everything is “one energy” was long before preceded by the Indian thought that there is only one consciousness/ awareness.

Maria Wirth, in her new blog article, opines that science has rarely tried to investigate what Indian Rishis have to say. Science is a recent phenomenon as compared to religion and spirituality, and for the many findings in such short time, science has been too proud to investigate into Indian wisdom.

Thus, it is common for science to believe that these old theories that were postulated before science have little to nothing to offer. Scientists feel that these old theories have no role to play.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Book Discussion on Arun Shourie’s ‘Two Saints’

Maria Wirth explains how thirty years ago, ancient wisdom and modern science came together when nuclear physics came to the conclusion that everything is one energy.

However, there is a difference in the notion of what science says and what the Indian Rishis have said. Indian Rishis claim that the ‘energy is aware of itself’. Whatever exists has emerged out of a singular awareness. The universe exists and is fully aware of it.

Modern science begs to differ. The energy that it talks about is ‘dead energy’ meaning it is not aware of itself. The humans that are ‘aware’ of their existence are manipulated by the brain into thinking so. This is a result of an accidental chemical reaction produced in our brains. This awareness dies when the brain dies.

For this distinction, Maria Wirth gives two possible reasons. Firstly, in the western societies, there was a period of renaissance and reformation when scientific knowledge was rapidly expanding. It led to a narrative that says science is opposed to religion. As religion believed that there was a God that watched over us, science opposes that.

The other reason is rather simple. “Awareness cannot be objectified,” which violates scientific principles. The inability to objectively measure and explain awareness is beyond scientific comprehension, at least as of now.

The literature in India regarding awareness and consciousness is extensive. Atman, which refers to ‘self’ also implies individual experience and awareness. Brahman, on the other hand, refers to the absolute and universal awareness. Brahman is the absolute truth.

Atman is a capacity that resides within us. It makes us “feel alive.”

The Mahavakyas in the Vedas claim that “atman is Brahman.” Ultimately, atman and Brahman are one. This means that a person’s individual awareness is their absolute awareness of the world.

If it is so, then indeed, science needs to move away from research and explore more of consciousness.

Wirth highlights the five components of the universe according to Indian scriptures. Name and form, which make up the first two components, are dynamic. They emerge out from the world of Maya. The other three; sat-chit-ananda (being-awareness-bliss) are constant. While science covers name, form and sat, it misses out on chit and ananda, i.e. the bliss that is derived from the awareness.

Modern science presents us with a rather bleak scenario, where there is basically no meaning in living, all is chance and with the death of the body, everything is finished. This nihilism is a popular belief among the intellectuals of the West.

– Summarised by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394