Bharat: Source of Science behind Modern Technology part 2
The aim of ancient Indian sciences was to devise collective solutions to multiple problems.The scientists/philosophers/strategists/environmentalists or putting them all together inword, integral humanists, refrained from formulating silo-based problem solving methods.This is what made Bharat different, unique and successful from other civilisational states.
Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy: Expertise Beyond Iamagination
In Vedic sciences, light is referred to as Tejas. Tejas is not available in all materials. Itis available in such materials that are supported by Special and divine properties.NASA’s Parker Solar Probe (first ever mission to touch the Sun) is an attempt to studythese divine properties of the sun, i.e., what accelerates solar wind as well as solarenergetic properties.
The first quantitative estimate of the speed of light is seen in Indian vedic scholarSayana’s commentary on the Rig Veda. It says that sun light travels 2,202 yojanas inthe time span of a nimisharda (half a nimisha). The yojana is an ancient unit oflength. Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2is based on the speed of light. Manymodern technologies like the GPS system, Electromagnets, etc. find their origin inEinstein’s equation
Baudhayana Salbsutras, compiled by Baudhayana (800 BCE – 740 BCE), provide arange of mathematical wonders. These include providing the value of Pi, finding thesquare root of 2 and giving the infamous Pythagorus theorem. Today, the theorem isinstrumental in architecture, construction, navigation, surveying, etc.
Pingalmuni’s Chandashastra, through classifying poetic meters of long and shortsyllables, presents the Mount Meru, which is also known as the Pascal’s triangle(given figure). The shallow diagonals of the Mount Meru sum to the Fibonacci series,whose limiting ratio is the golden mean. Golden Mean is the mathematical solutionof explaining how plants grow, how new leaves place themselves on the plant, andeven how bees reproduce.
Maharishi Kanada (600 BCE) is known to have given the atomic theory, 2500 yearsbefore Dalton, thus becoming the Father of Atomic Theory. He authored theVaisesika Sutras, pioneering the atomic theory, describing dimension, motions andchemical reactions of atoms. The process of nuclear fission and fusion is based onthe larger construct of the atomic theory. Today, the same processes are used forderiving nuclear power.
In Yajur Veda, there are references to 12 lunar months amounted to 354 days. Thesynchronisation was done using Ekādaśarātra ceremony. This made 365 days in ayear leaving an error of 0.25 days per year. But the Vedic year consisted of 12months, each of 30 days. This gives the duration of the year as 360 days. This wassynchronised to the seasons simply by adding 5 days to the calendar. Solstice dayswere also noted in literature.
The astronomical instruments at Jantar Mantar in Jaipur provide a brief descriptionof Bharat’s astronomical knowledge. The mammoth instruments like the SamrathYantra, Nadivalaya Yantra, Rama Yantra, Yantra Raj, Kapali Yantri, JaiPrakash Yantra,etc. are in use post 300 years of construction. The series instruments bewilders evenmodern day astronomers.
Architecture: Constructing Scientific Marvels
The traditional science of architecture – Vastushastra (6000 BCE) – was sensitive toenergy flow patterns – particularly of light and wind, utilisation of shelter space forvarious activities like cooking, washrooms, living area, position of water source andoverall people’s lifestyle and occupation patterns. It took into account the fivesacred elements – earth, wind, water, fire and space. This science was a synthesis ofman-nature relationship. This ancient science provides a sustainable mode of houseconstruction and living, thus, providing a green technology for the same.
The frequency of natural disasters like earthquakes, flash floods, etc. are increasingin the Himalayan region, especially Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Tomeet the impact of the seismic forces, the traditional structures stand on a plinth(dressed stone masonry). Mud is used as a result of easy availability, good insulation and binding properties. The rammed Earth Technique involves filling mud intowooden forms and rammed into the place slowly building up a wall. In adobe styleconstruction method sun dried bricks are used.
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam experience extremely heavy rainfall throughout theyear, resulting in the flooding of the Brahmaputra river. Chang houses areconstructed offer a disaster resilient solution for the purpose. They are constructedover bamboo posts; bamboo diagonal bracing are tied in stilt areas, reducing impactof heavy monsoon. Floor and wall inlays are made up of woven bamboo. The slopingroof allows rainwater to runoff. Below the stilt, there is an emergency storage duringfloods. These houses can be instrumental for modern day architects in the region toprovide sustainable disaster resilient homes.
The typical havelis of Jaisalmer were four to five storied buildings. These were builtaround courtyards and had balconies, basements, etc. The ground level had lowtemperatures maintained by the stack effect of being in the shadow of highbuildings. These are used for daytime activities. The upper floors were night-timeand evening spaces when the temperature cooled down. This way modern needs ofrequiring centralised air conditioning can be avoided, thus achieving carbonneutrality.
Several temples of Bharat portray a remarkable feature of the fractal geometry.Beginning from the Kandariya Mahadev temple of Khajurao to the Yellama temple inKarnataka to the Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple in Tamil Nadu to the SunTemple at Modhera, fractal geometry were widely used for the process of templeconstruction. Today, fractals are important part of modern day architecture,computers and science and technology. Khajurao temples Meenakshi Amman Temple
With modern technology sky-scrapping innumerable heights, the ancient Indian source ofscience remains disdained. Reclaiming the ancient knowledge economy will not just enrichourselves with our forgotten culture but also address contemporary problems such asclimate change, natural disasters, population explosion, etc. They will enable us to achievethe 2030 Agenda of the United Nations. Moreover, sharing these with the world will furtherour cause of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwaas on a global level.