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EARTHSYSTEM SCIENCES AWARENESS AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATION (Regd.8667/2000)
 
(ESWARA)
 
Lecture Series in Ancient Indian Sciences
 
Lecture 41
THE PHYSICS OF KANADA'S VAISESHIKA DARSHANA
by
Dr. C.S.R.Prabhu,
Abstract
 
The origin of basic Classical Physics is usually attributed to the West from about 16 th or 17 th Century A.D. However, the great monuments all over the World (e.g., Pyramids of Egypt or Temples of India) provide the evidence which demonstrates the knowledge of significant engineering skills for at least several centuries before the 16 th Century, if not even earlier. Without the knowledge of basic classical physics it is not possible to execute such engineering feats.

What was the basic framework of classical physics of ancient Indian origin? The earliest reference to the principles of Physics is found in Vaiseshika Darshana, one of the six schools of Indian philosophy known as the Six Darshanas. The Vaiseshika Sutras of Kanada are the earliest known source of discussion and analysis on the basic principles of classical physics. In this lecture an attempt is made to bring out the clear exposition of ancient classical physics, in terms of the three states of matter and various forms of energy with the qualitative description of their properties. The description of various laws of physics, as various types of laws of motion, gravitation, electricity, magnetism and other forces are all available in Vaiseshika. The atomic theory of Kanada is his highest contribution to ancient physics.

The causalty principle " Kaaranaabhaavaat Kaaryaabhavaha " , which is the bedrock of rationality and scientific spirit, is clearly propounded as the basis for all laws of physical world. The Law of Conservation of Matter " Na Dravyam Kaaryam Kaaranam Cha Vadhati " and the law of conservation of energy along with impossibility of perpetual motion were mentioned. The first Law of Motion (Inertia) "Asamavaayat Snamaanya Kaaryam Karma na Vidyate", the description of force, acceleration and also third Law of Motion (action-reaction) are all stated. The atoms as the ultimate building blocks of the Universe, their primordial vibrations and their combinations are all described. More importantly, Mind and Self as "Observer" are also propounded as fundamental substances in the Vaiseshika Darshanam of Kanada. It may be recalled that the role of the "Observer" was emphasized later in Quantum Theory.

It is significant to note that in expounding the laws of classical physics, the atomic theory, including the modeling of the physical world, Vaiseshika precedes all other similar works, including that of Greeks. In fact Vaiseshika Darsanam formed the foundation for many other branches of sciences of the time including engineering (Shilpa Shastra) and medicine (Ayurveda). This basic atomic theory of Universe continued till 17 th Century A.D. It was only after 18 th Century that the atom was explored for its internal structure and the understanding of the atomic structure led to the discovering of the Periodic Table and later to the understanding of the complex sub atomic structure and the particles, whose study is covered in Quantum Mechanics. A recent book by this author (Prabhu, 2009) presents an exposition of Vaiseshika's Physics with its models and laws of the physical world, including its atomic and molecule theories, which form the basic foundations of modern physics.

Ancient India can boast of several other Darsanas such as Yoga Darsana, Panini Darsana, Rasesvara Darsana etc. which contain great scientific merit that can be utilized by the present day scientists.
 
 
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Lecture 40
SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY AND SPIRITUALITY
Sri Swamy Tattvavidananda Saraswati
 
The growth and progress of any society depends on its social and historical ethos. America has a history of 250 years whereas India 's history extends to several millennia and even today there are scholarly people in India who live a very simple and eco-friendly life which was practiced by their distant ancestors. India 's history can be divided into three parts, the marvelous golden age from 500 BC to 600 AD, the dark medieval period up to 18 th century and the colonial period there on. Although India gained independence in 1947, the Indian renaissance may be considered to have started around the end of 19 th century when Swami Vivekananda espoused the spirit of ancient India in the parliament of religions in Chicago.

While the Papal authority was supreme in the West and eminent personalities like Bruno, Galileo, Socrates, Christ were humiliated, suffering and in some cases even death, in India there was total freedom and religion never stunted the growth of science, philosophy and spirituality, resulting in great contributions in these fields. To cite an example, Charwaka the great materialist who argued, contrary to the established belief, that Consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter, was also considered a Maharshi, a seer of truth. Great mathematicians like Bodhayana, who invented the theorem being known after Pythagoras, belonged to the golden age.

According to the Newton-Descarte model of the universe, the universe is made up of dead matter, each conscious individual is viewed upon as an isolated ego in a separate body. This concept of extreme duality is responsible for the industrial revolution that has completely changed the culture and social ethos of the world. But the Newton-Descarte model, which divides the universe into subject and object, is not acceptable in the context of Indian philosophy and spirituality, according to which truth is only one and one with out a second.. One can compare this concept of Advaita or non-dualism with the efforts of modern scientists to formulate a unified field theory from subatomic to cosmological. All sciences, whether it is physics, chemistry or biology, merge into this unity. This is understood by many great scientists like Julius Huxley, Schrödinger, Oppenheimer and others who are also philosophers. Adi Shankara, one of the greatest philosophers of ancient India , was also a physicist in his own right. The Chandogyopanishad says " Sadeva somyedamagra aseet ekameva adviteeyam ", which means: Dear Student, this universe, before its creation, was the Being, one, one alone, one with out a second.

Interestingly, Swami Vivekananda, a person who represented Hinduism in the Parliament of Religions at Chicago , was also a great philosopher and spiritualist who was dreaming and looking for a proof for the oneness of the Truth and Reality or the merger of two realms of matter and energy into which the world was divided into by the physicists. The great scientist Tesla, the father of Alternating Current, who happened to be among the audience of Vivekananda when posed with this question, said that mathematically he can prove that force (field or energy) and matter can be reduced to potential energy. Later the famous equation E= mc 2 of Einstein conclusively proved the convertibility of matter and energy, validating the apparently philosophical scientific concept of non-dualism or Advaita of Adi Sankaracharya. Gayatri mantra, which is one of the greatest of hymns, also seeks to emphasize on this unity as the devotee looking at the Sun invokes its brilliance. Shankara's non-dualism, where the separation between the subject and object is not real, is conclusively proved by Einstein when he established that the separation between any event an its observation by an observer is zero.
 
 
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Lecture 39
Non-Dualism (Advaita) and Neuronal Processes in Human Brain
Dr. Vemuri Ramesam
 
Our bodies are made up of atoms from the stardust spewed out by an exploding supernova billions of years ago. These atoms were used and reused many times before entering our bodies. In addition to the body, we think we have a 'self.' The subject matter of 'self' has now moved from philosophy into the realms of Neuroscience. In this presentation, an attempt is made to identify possible Neuronal correlates of Non-Dualism in human brain.

Any religious inquiry is usually directed towards redemption of sorrow and suffering whereas a scientific investigation proceeds with an open-ended 'wonder' aimed at an understanding of the natural phenomena. Recent developments in imaging technologies enabled us to probe finer and finer details of the brain. We are able now to study the brain from a few square centimeters of area through MRI to a couple of cubic millimeters using fMRI, the individual brain cells, cell connections (synapses) and molecules in the cell walls (ion channels). Advaita tells us that our perception of the world around is an illusion and our sense of 'self' or I - consciousness is a fallacious non-entity ( aabhaasa ). Neuroscience too finds that what we make out of our sensory and cognitive perceptions is what we imagine to be 'out there' rather than what exactly is there. "Whether we experience the feeling of " redness ," the appearance of " squareness ," or emotions such as love and hate , these are the results of the electrical activity of neurons in our brain." The neuronal connections in the brain define what we are. 'self' is a post facto construct, language dependent and is the result of confabulation by the left temporal lobe. There is an obvious disconnect between reality out there and what the brain shows to us.

Advaita
advises us to give up the individualistic egoistic 'self' mode of operation and be one with the Universal Self (Brahman) in order to be free of sorrow and misery in life. A man who loses his sense of separate 'self' is said to be 'liberated.' He or she is called a Sthitaprajna or Jivanmukta . Liberation happens within and to an individual only and is not transferable.

Neuroscience as yet does not know how the electrical firing in the neurons engenders the subjective experiential feeling of 'self' or what consciousness actually is. Neural code is now being deciphered and it looks that groups of neurons function together in hierarchical networks in giving a meaning to what is perceived. A gateway node of neuronal network may somehow generate the sense of 'self'. Current neuroscientific research shows that a lot of brain activity goes on invisible to our I - consciousness or self. Therefore, I suggest that it is quite possible that there is a Universal Self gateway node in our brain and propose a way to test its neuronal correlates. At least three distinct 'markers' can be identified in the characteristics of a Jivanmukta , though for all practical purposes, his/her behavior and action happens to be indistinguishable from others. The markers are: Universal Love ( maîtri ), absence of the sense of individuation and absence of 'doership' in action. Universal Love would get reflected in the brain chemistry and the neuronal connections should also throw distinct signature regarding the other markers.

Vedantins
explicate Advaita principally based on 'avastha traya' - Wakeful, Dream and Deep Sleep states. However, our comprehension of the three states is much better now. I suggest a Model of "Four Outcomes" as a logical possibility based on body and brain and their activity in different states in order to explain Turiya avastha .

Evolution vs. creation debate on the Origin of the Universe becomes irrelevant in Advaita because world is considered to be of illusory origin. Actual suffering of the physical body is not alleviated by Advaita . Nor Disease, decay or death were conquered. By becoming Brahman, are we just practicing a survival tactic at an individual level as an escape from suffering?
 
 
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Lecture 38
Dr. Jagdish Chandra Bose - A Scientist and a Sage
Dr T.S.Ramakrishna
Founder and Secretary ESWARA
 
India is justifiably proud of one of her greatest scientists and also greatest sons Dr. Jagadish Chandra Bose, who was born 150 years ago in the East Bengal province of the united India . The multifaceted personality of Dr. Jagadish Chandra Bose can be understood from the fact the he is Physicist, biophysicist, biologist, Archaeologist and a writer of science fiction as well. Having studied in a local school where he used sit between the sons of his father's attendant and a fisherman who were also his good friends and playmates, Bose was never conscious of his caste or religion and loved life in various forms of creation, humans, animals and plants in its totality.

After his school education Bose joined St. Xavier's college, got his B.A in Science. Although he wanted to compete for the Indian Civil Service, his father wanted him to be a scholar. Bose went to England to study Medicine but finally shifted to get degrees in Natural Science (Hons) from Cambridge University and B.Sc from the University of London . He was inspired by the work of James Maxwell, Oliver Lodge and Heinrich Hertz among others.Returning to India , he joined Presidency College in Calcutta (Kolkata) where he was shown racial discrimination by over load of work and denial of proper facilities for research. In spite of trying circumstances, he did pioneering research for a decade in wireless waves (EM waves) and was the first to use semi-conductor junctions to detect radio signals. Realizing the disadvantages of long waves for studying the optical analogue of EM waves, he made remarkable contribution in reducing the wave length to millimeter level (GHz frequency). A year after Nikola Tesla made public demonstration of radio communication and two years before Marconi performed his wireless signaling experiment in Salisbury in England , Bose made a demonstration in Kolkata in 1895 where he ignited gun powder and rang a bell at a distance, using millimeter range waves. His high frequency equipment consisting of wave guides, antennas, dielectric lenses, various polarizers etc are preserved in the Bose Institute. Declining a lucrative commercial offer from a wireless apparatus manufacturer, he made his inventions public to allow others to develop on his research. When the Bose Institute was opened, in the inaugural address the great scientist said "I dedicate today this Institute as not merely a laboratory but a temple.

Bose's next major contribution is even more original and phenomenal, this time in the field of plant physiology. He forwarded a theory for the ‘ascent of sap' in plants in 1927, which today stands validated by the ‘CP theory' of Canny (1995). Bose showed with the help of his newly invented Crescograph that plants responded to various stimuli as if they had nervous system and circulatory system like animals. Bose's major contribution in the field of biophysics was the demonstration of the electrical nature of the conduction of various stimuli, which were earlier thought to be of chemical nature. He claimed that plants can feel the pain and understand affection etc. For the first time he studied action of microwaves, effect of temperature etc in plant tissues and corresponding changes in the cell membrane potential. He found a parallelism between plant and animal tissues. His experiments showed that plants grow faster in pleasant music and growth stunted in noise or harsh sounds. He also showed that life-force in metals responds adversely or beneficially to stimuli and demonstrated that poisonous substances showed their effect on metals. Bose instruments have demonstrated that metals such as steel used in scissors and machinery are subject to fatigue and regain efficiency after periodic rest. It is no exaggeration that many people believe that his work in high frequency EM as well as plant physiology are of Nobel Prize quality.

Bose's sagacious attitude and his extraordinary abilities to peep into the Nature can be easily understood if one goes back to the millennia old ancient Indian sciences. The classification of plants, osmosis, photosynthesis, grafting, the sensory perception in plants, the fact that plants are also endowed with consciousness to experience joy and sorrow, have all been mentioned in numerous scriptures and other Sanskrit literature like Mahabharata (Shanti parva), Bhagavatam, Manu Smruti, Charak Samhita, Vrukshayurveda Upavanavinoda, Bruhat Samhita etc. Modern scientists will do well to solve their problems if they take pains to peep into the brilliant Vedic wisdom, which is conceptually and qualitatively the ultimate.
 
 
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