Recently I was invited to the Third Vedic Science International Conference which was held in Deccan College, Pune. The conference was organized by Vigyan Bharati together with Governments of Maharashtra and Goa. The four day conclave was inaugurated by Murli Manohar Joshi and addressed by a bevy of Vedic scholars and practitioners of ancient science of Yoga and Indian philosophy. Most of the speakers were old, with white beards and wore ochre robes and kurtas ! Nevertheless in all sessions there was a sprinkling of young students of philosophy from various schools and colleges in Maharashtra.
There was a general refrain by speakers specially the Vice chancellors of universities and deemed universities, and Directors of some colleges that Vedic sciences are not reaching the youngsters in the country and that there is a need for them to learn them. They did not offer any solutions as to how it could be done but like Government bureaucrats some suggested that teaching of Vedic sciences should be made compulsory in schools and colleges. What type of Vedic sciences or at what level will they be introduced was not
discussed or debated.
Most of the speakers (and quite a few were also from Europe and the U.S.) said that the Vedas had all the answers and that we are rediscovering the truth as has been enunciated in them.
Why do we have this fascination with Vedas and feel that roots of all present science are in it?
Part of the reason, I feel, is that excessive glorification of the past comes from a sense of insecurity and the notion that our ancient scriptures had all the answers gives to some a pillar of psychological support. There is no doubt that the ancient Indian philosophical thought contains wonderful gems regarding the nature of mind and cosmos but the modern science and technology has also helped mankind in expanding its knowledge and making life easier and better. A good mixture of both the ancient Vedic thought and
modern technology should be the mantra of development.
Delving into the ancient scriptures is almost like modern art. You see what you want to see !
Ancient India must have been a beautiful place to live in. It was a lush and green country with salubrious climate, abundant food and very few threats. Ancient India was also a very rich country and whatever available accounts of those times exist; they paint a picture of a noble and peaceful country.
In such a country when the basic needs were taken care of, people had enough time to think deeply about cosmos and other things which included themselves and their environment.
Such an environment must have given rise to great Rishis and Yogis who produced Vedas, Upanishads, Mahabharata, Gita and other Yogic knowledge.
Knowledge has always existed in Knowledge Space (KS). This is a space which contains templates, design and knowledge from the past universal civilizations. A prepared mind plucks the knowledge from KS as earth encounters it during the journey of solar system around the center of Milky Way. Einstein, Newton and hordes of other great discoverers plucked the knowledge from it. The only requirement was a powerful brain and least distractions and this is what our Yogis and Rishis might have done.
Once the knowledge was obtained they wanted to share it with mankind. In the absence of technology for writing or availability of paper they memorized it and passed it orally to their disciples. Obviously through ages this oral tradition was somehow lost and so what we have today of the ancient Vedic Knowledge could be a small portion of the great treasure. In some cases like that of Ashoka stupas and Harappan civilization the knowledge was etched in stone or special metal towers and thus survived.
As the time passed this oral knowledge was also modified and many authors might have added their findings to it. This could also be one of the reasons why most of our Vedic scriptures have no authors.
Nevertheless in whatever form the scriptures are available today, there is a mention of fantastic technologies like powerful weapons, flying machines, internet, and even some descriptions about gravity etc. However there is no mention of how to produce these technologies or to calculate gravitation and other forces. How gravity works etc. was discovered later on by Newton and Einstein and with advancement of technologies we have developed modern weapons and machines as described in some Vedic texts.
Since the knowledge existed and was plucked from KS it must have appeared to the Yogis or authors of Vedic literature that it was real but it was mostly a great story. What was real was the knowledge of the working of human mind (as described in Patanjali Yoga Darshan) and the medicinal material in Ayurveda which was based on plants available in India.
The working of both these things is still a mystery and our ancient scriptures offer a deep insight into them which in some cases are being rediscovered now by modern science. Keeping this in mind we should study the Vedic literature and try to understand or rediscover the truths. However the scientific knowledge from Vedic literature has to follow the scientific precept of experimentation, validation and replication. Only then it can be accepted as truth.
All great discoveries are spiritual in nature. The great discoveries of Einstein, Newton, Tesla and works of other discoverers were plucked from KS and it took many years after their discovery to produce some useful products. Similarly I feel the description of lots of material in Vedic literature was just that and in the absence of suitable materials and technologies available at that time they remained as descriptions only. Their study with the help of presently available materials and technologies might yield some useful
I therefore feel that conferences such as the one held in Pune recently raise the level of awareness among the general public about India’s past traditions. The deliberations of such conferences should be put properly in published proceedings showing their relevance in the modern world and should be made widely available on the internet and social media. This might also help make the younger generation interested in learning about them.