Monday, December 3, 2007

The Need to Revive Vedic Teaching in Schools

An ongoing Critique of Dalrymple’s City of Djinns

By R. Ashok Kumar, B.E.,M.E(Power), Negentropist, Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal,299, Tardeo Road, Nana Chowk, Mumbai

William Dalrymple, in his book, City of Djinns- A Year in Delhi, Penguin, 2004, page 192 states of Bernier(Francois Bernier,Travels in the Moghul Empire,1656-68 ed. Archibald Constable,trans.Irving Brock (Reprint edn:Delhi, S.Chand,1972): For all his fropperies, Bernier was very much the educated European of the early Enlightenment: he knew his classics, was a firm believer in Reason, and had no patience with ‘ridiculous errors and strange superstitions’. In particular, like Macaulay two centuries later, he had little time for Brahmins and their Sanskrit learning:

He goes on to quote Bernier specifically:

They believe that the world is flat and triangular; that it is composed of seven distinct habitations….and that each is surrounded by its own peculiar sea; that one sea is of milk; another of sugar; a third of butter; a fourth of wine; and so on…(also that) the whole of this world is supported on the heads of a number of elephants whose occasional motion is the cause of earthquakes. If the renowned sciences of the ancient Indian sages consisted of all these exrtravagant follies, mankind has indeed been deceived in the exalted opinion it has long entertained of their wisdom.

It is important and interesting that Dalrymple mentions also Macaulay(1856) but leaves this hanging without bringing out what the timeless divine Vedas have to say (HP Blavatsky.1877. Isis Unveiled. THEOSOPHICAL UNIVERSITY PRESS PASADENA, CALIFORNIA; Theosophical University Press Online Edition


. It is but lately that one of the most zealous Sanskrit scholars, Martin Haug, undertook the translation of the Aitareya Brahmana of the Rig-Veda. It had been till that time entirely unknown; these explanations indicate beyond dispute the identity of the Pythagorean and Brahmanical systems. In both, the esoteric significance is derived from the number: in the former, from the mystic relation of every number to everything intelligible to the human mind; in the latter, from the number of syllables of which each verse in the Mantras consists. Plato, the ardent disciple of Pythagoras, realized it so fully as to maintain that the Dodecahedron was the geometrical figure employed by the Demiurgus in constructing the universe. Some of these figures had a peculiarly solemn significance. For instance four, of which the Dodecahedron is the trine, was held sacred by the Pythagoreans. It is the perfect square, and neither of the bounding lines exceeds the other in length, by a single point. It is the emblem of moral justice and divine equity geometrically expressed. All the powers and great symphonies of physical and spiritual nature lie inscribed within the perfect square; and the ineffable name of Him, which name otherwise, would remain unutterable, was replaced by this sacred number 4 the most binding and solemn oath with the ancient mystics -- the Tetractys.

If the Pythagorean metempsychosis(transmigration and reincarnation of the soul: this URL’s author) should be thoroughly explained and compared with the modern theory of evolution, it would be found to supply every "missing link" in the chain of the latter. But who of our scientists would consent to lose his precious time over the vagaries of the ancients. Notwithstanding proofs to the contrary, they not only deny that the nations of the archaic periods, but even the ancient philosophers had any positive knowledge of the Heliocentric system. The "Venerable Bedes," the Augustines and Lactantii appear to have smothered, with their dogmatic ignorance, all faith in the more ancient theologists of the pre-Christian centuries. But now philology and a closer acquaintance with Sanskrit literature have partially enabled us to vindicate them from these unmerited imputations. In the Vedas, for instance, we find positive proof that so long ago as 2000 B.C., the Hindu sages and scholars must have been acquainted with the rotundity of our globe and the Heliocentric system. Hence, Pythagoras and Plato knew well this astronomical truth; for Pythagoras obtained his knowledge in India, or from men who had been there, and Plato faithfully echoed his teachings. We will quote two passages from the Aitareya Brahmana:

In the "Serpent-Mantra,"* the Brahmana declares as follows: that this Mantra is that one which was seen by the Queen of the Serpents, Sarpa-rajni; because the earth (iyam) is the Queen of the Serpents, as she is the mother and queen of all that moves (sarpat). In the beginning she (the earth) was but one head (round), without hair (bald), i.e., without vegetation. She then perceived this Mantra which confers upon him who knows it, the power of assuming any form which he might desire. She "pronounced the Mantra," i.e., sacrificed to the gods; and, in consequence, immediately obtained a motley appearance; she became variegated, and able to produce any form she might like, changing one form into another. This Mantra begins with the words: "Ayam gauh pris'nir akramit" (x., 189).

The description of the earth in the shape of a round and bald head, which was soft at first, and became hard only from being breathed upon by the god Vayu, the lord of the air, forcibly suggests the idea that the authors of the sacred Vedic books knew the earth to be round or spherical; moreover, that it had been a gelatinous mass at first, which gradually cooled off under the influence of the air and time. So much for their knowledge about our globe's sphericity; and now we will present the testimony upon which we base our assertion, that the Hindus were perfectly acquainted with the Heliocentric system, at least 2000 years B.C.

In the same treatise the Hotar, (priest), is taught how the Shastras should be repeated, and how the phenomena of sunrise and sunset are to be explained. It says: "The Agnishtoma is that one (that god) who burns. The sun never sets nor rises. When people think the sun is setting, it is not so; they are mistaken. For after having arrived at the end of the day, it produces two opposite effects, making night to what is below, and day to what is on the other side. When they (the people) believe it rises in the morning, the sun only does thus: having reached the end of the night, it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making day to what is below, and night to what is on the other side. In fact the sun never sets; nor does it set for him who has such a knowledge. . . ."**

This sentence is so conclusive, that even the translator of the Rig-Veda, Dr. Haug, was forced to remark it. He says this passage contains "the denial of the existence of sunrise and sunset," and that the author supposes the sun "to remain always in its high position."***

[[Footnote(s)]] -------------------------------------------------

* From the Sanskrit text of the Aitareya Brahmanam. Rig-Veda, v., ch. ii., verse 23.

** Aitareya Brahmanam, book iii., c. v., 44.

*** Ait. Brahm., vol. ii., p. 242.

Quote from Isis Unveiled ends.

Thus modern Civilisation is not a normal civilisation. Its adherents write on the basis that history starts with the new man- the colonizer- like the deplorable Macaulay. They used such force as to make unavailable the sara of the Vedas to the commons through traveling educationisists by removing their financial support from the decentralized system of India’s village administrations( The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century by Dharampal(2000);Other India Press,Mapusa403507,Goa, India).

When the school child is asked who found out that the earth goes round the sun it has learnt about Copernicus and Galileo, not a word of our own Vedas.

There is a need to support Vedic studies from childhood on again.

The Solar System (subset)

The National assessment Governing Board(USA) has the following statemenmt:


  • Observable evidence (Patterns of Change)
  • Description and models (Systems, Models)

Students should understand that the apparent daily motions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars are due to the rotation of the Earth about its axis every 24 hours. This rotation produces the Earth's night-and-day cycle. They should also understand that the Earth's 1-year revolution around the Sun changes how sunlight falls on one part or another of the Earth because of the tilt of the Earth's axis, thus producing seasonal variations in climate. They should know that the combination of the Earth's motion and the Moon's own orbit around the Earth, once in about 28 days, results in the phases of the Moon.

Science Framework for the 1996 and 2000 National Assessment of Educational Progress

8 0 0 N o r t h C a p i t o l S t r e e t , N W , S u i t e 8 2 5
W a s h i n g t o n , D . C . 2 0 0 0 2
P h o n e : 2 0 2 - 3 5 7 - 6 9 3 8