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EARTHSYSTEM SCIENCES AWARENESS AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATION (Regd.8667/2000)
 
(ESWARA)
 
Lecture Series in Ancient Indian Sciences
 
 
 
Lecture 37
TRIBUTE TO VEDIC SARASVATI RIVER
Dr T.S.Ramakrishna
Founder and Secretary ESWARA
 
Long long ago, perhaps when history merged into mythology, there was a great River called Sarasvati in northwestern India that originated in Bandarpunch massif from the Sarasvati-Rupin glacier in the Siwalik Mountains of Himachal Pradesh and ran into the Arabian Sea near Rann of Kutchchh, after flowing for more than 1000 km in Punjab , Haryana, Rajasthan. The word Sarasvati literally means ‘abounding in pools of water'. The greatness of River Sarasvati lies in the fact that there were frequent references to it in Rig Veda, the oldest literature anywhere on the globe, dating back perhaps to the beginning of Holocene period that began 10,000 years ago. The greatness of the River is also reflected in the attributes ambi tama (best of all mothers), nadi tama (best of all Rivers) and devi tama (best of all godesses). It is believed that the River was active as early as 8000 BC. The decline of the river might have started around 4000 BC leading to its disappearance, possibly between 2000 BC and 1500 BC. An extraordinary civilization existed along the banks of River Sarasvati thousands of years before the Indus valley civilization.

The picture of Rig Vedic Sarasvati brings to mind the 3 to 10 km wide bed of the Hakra in Rajasthan and the furious flooded Ghaggar ( a distortion of the name Gharhgar means roaring) inundating vast areas. The ancient bed of Gaggar (Sarasvati) has a width of no less than 6 to 8 km all the way from Shatrana in the Punjab in India to Marot in Pakistan . Geomorphological information coupled with satellite imagery suggest that in the past Sarasvati (Gaggar) was fed by both Sutlej and Yamuna, both of which due to tectonic movements moved towards West and East respectively, depleting the River Sarasvati. Sutlej joined the Indus and Yamuna joined the Ganga , leaving behind the original Sarsvati as Gaggar as a non-perennial stream. The recent examination of satellite imagery confirms the presence of large number of faults in the Sindhu Saraswati region suggesting the possibility downward seepage of its water and supporting the belief that the River disappeared through underground passages. Interestingly samples of groundwater in parts of Jaisalmer district dated by the tritium content are found to be 8000 years old! The identification of the Vedic Sarasvati River with the Ghaggar-Hakra River was already accepted by Christian Lassen and Max Müller and Marc Aurel Stein.

The ancient climate of the Marusthali, the great desert of Rajsthan , reconstructed by analyzing the pollen grains and other biological samples collected from the bottoms and the shores of saline lakes like Sambhar ,Lunkaransar, Didwana, revealed the presence of Cerealia pollen mixed with datable charcoal, which gave an age of 7000 BC. Interestingly the buried courses of Sarasvati River to the west of Jaisalmer have an estimated reserve of 3000 million Cu m of groundwater lying below 50-60m although modern principles of environment may not permit large scale exploitation of these waters.

The great geographer Holdich (1909) wrote in Imperial Gazetteer of India “Over a vast space of the now desert country, east of Indus traces of ancient river beds testify to the gradual desiccation of a once fertile region and through out the deltaic flats of the Indus valley still be seen old channels, which once conducted its waters to the Rann of Kutchchh, giving life and prosperity to the past cities of the delta, which have left no living records of the countless generations that once inhabited them”. Sir Martimer Wheeler wrote that “in India it is possible to dig any where below living level and to discover the vestiges of civilization layer upon layer”. Around 1970 archaeologists arrived at the conclusion that the Hakra, which is a continuation of Gaggar after it enters into the Cholistan desert of Bahawalpur district in Pakistan , also formed an important segment of Sarasvati. Recent archaeological findings also indicate that River Sarasvati was one of the major commercial waterways in ancient India during fourth and third millennium BC. All kinds of Vedic sacrifices (Yajnas) and worships were done on the banks of this sacred River. It is noteworthy that Sarasvati (Gaggar) has more than 1000 Harappan sites compared to only 50 on Indus (Mughal, 1992).

According to Lal (1998) former Director General of Archaeological Survey of India, “Indian (archaeological) sites have thrown an altogether new light on the civilization. We have now the earliest dockyard known to humanity at Lothal, the earliest ploughed field yet discovered through excavation and also the earliest earthquake at Kalibngan, the earliest example of damming a stream for water supply and also a unique township comprising a Citadel, middle and lower towns all duly fortified, at Dholavira.” A coexistence of urban and rural characteristics in Kalibangan supports the view that the Indus civilization represents a natural growth of an earlier culture.

In the light of the recent archaeological discoveries, some people now like to even rename the Indus civilization as the Sarasvati-Sindhu Civilization. A project for the ‘revival' of the Sarasvati River (Kalyanaraman, 2002) is also mooted. Notwithstanding the efforts of a section of people who try to underplay the great ancient Indian heritage and antiquity, Vedic Sarasvati River and the civilization, will continue to interest future generations of scholars.
 
 
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Lecture 36
Developing Economies and Deteriorating Environments
Dr T.S.Ramakrishna
Founder and Secretary ESWARA
 
It is easily recognized that all developing economies are facing numerous environmental problems. Unless there is a judicious balance between the economic development and environmental protection, countries as well cultures may be destroyed sooner or later. Unlike many other developing countries, India had a great past backed by the brilliant Vedic wisdom and thus has the capacity to lead the world in fighting pollution and controlling global warming and the consequent calamities.

Assessment of India 's pre-colonial economy is mostly qualitative, owing to the lack of quantitative information. One estimate puts the revenue of Akbar's Mughal Empire in 1600 at £17.5 million, in contrast with the total revenue of Great Britain in 1800, which totaled £16 million. An estimate by Cambridge University historian Angus Maddison reveals that India 's share of the world income fell from 22.6% in 1700, comparable to Europe 's share of 23.3%, to a low of 3.8% in 1952. Thus at the end of colonial rule, India inherited an economy that was one of the poorest in the developing world. After forty years of experimentation with a socialistic economy, which failed in many respects, India switched over to a capitalistic free trade model. In 2003, Goldman Sachs reportedly predicted economies in the developing world; that India 's GDP in current prices will overtake France and Italy by 2020, Germany , UK and Russia by 2025 and Japan by 2035. By 2035, it was projected to be the third largest economy of the world, behind US and China.

While this is one side of the story, social inequalities grew with each year and each Five Year plan. With the concept of materialism going deeper in to the psyche of every one, there is a steady degradation of human values. There is large scale discontent in the society, which is completely stratified, with each stratum trying to corner as much benefits as possible at the cost of other. Each stratum is oblivious to the pain and suffering of the others. The dubious Western concept of ‘equality' instead of the age old Indian concept of ‘harmony', never worked. Poor people who wanted their basic requirements are bombarded with useless commodities, which they never asked for- all to promote the rich who incidentally, are also unhappy amidst riches because they are not richer. The present economy of the country may be compared with a man with aristocratic hat, sun glasses, a respectable cover for the upper part of the body and a rag to cover his lower half and no shoes. It is a pity that India discarded its centuries old village based economy, which Mahatma Gandhi also strongly advocated. India failed to develop its own brand of economy, keeping in view its billion - strong population, its culture, heritage and value system.

So many atrocities are perpetrated on the poor people in the name of development. Central and State governments and business magnates formed a nexus to exploit every situation. Multi National Corporations from abroad joined hands with vested interest within the country and together they started trampling the country bringing serious environmental problems. This rat race for development is going on all over the world endlessly, leaving behind a dangerous environment that is responsible for the much talked of Global Warming. It took twenty years, huge money and strict discipline for the developed countries to control pollution to a reasonable level. But Western industries still produce enormous toxic wastes that are threatening to destroy the world's climate.

With modern science and technology catering to a lifestyle focused on instant results, instant relief, instant fame, and instant money at the cost of long term interests, there is an exponential surge in pollution of air, water and land besides other pollutions like radioactivity, electromagnetism, sound, light, visual etc. resulting in global warming and climate change, with disastrous consequences like floods, draughts, heat waves, hurricanes, epidemics etc. In the 21st century sea-level rise will be anywhere between 18 to 59 cm against 17cm in the 20 th century, leading to a dooms day for several low lying countries.

In fact the pollution in the world is directly related the pollution in the minds of the people. Only a polluted mind can do such damage to the Nature on which his very survival is dependent. Every ritual, custom and festival in ancient India was based on super scientific, holistic and above all eco-friendly practice. It is clear that governments and scientists obsessed with high technology cannot find solutions for the global warming. Only natural and simple solutions involving minimum technology can save us and the Mother Earth. While many people are doing many things to control the pollution, some propagandistic, some demonstrative, some exhibitive, some experimental, some conceptual etc., for an Indian austerity becomes the best option as well as best weapon to fight pollution.

Fortunately or unfortunately the world pollution may not adversely affect the economy. On the other hand the economy will continue to boom because all people will be forced to drink bottled water. Pollution of the air will cause respiratory and several other diseases including cancers. Hospitals will thrive. Exploitation will increase. That is the heavy price of so called development.

India 's politicians do not have the courage to take on the big polluters nor would like to displease the poor polluters because their votes are important for them. With the half hearted half attempts of the governments, it will take a long long time for India to control its pollution. Meanwhile millions of people are going to die. The solution is possible only if there is a mass movement of the people to awaken their elected representatives in the government swing into action.

In spite of all that there is a hope that Indians will change to justify their daily prayer “Let there be peace on earth, peace in the space, peace in the skies, peace with medicinal herbs, peace with flora, peace in the universe, peace with all Gods, peace, peace and peace everywhere.” And hopefully the world will follow!
 
 
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Lecture 35
PANCHABHUTA PARIRAKSHNA – PROTECTION OF THE HUMAN AND HIS ENVIRONMENT
Dr T.S.Ramakrishna
Founder and Secretary ESWARA
 
While this beautiful Earth provides us food, water, air and all other requirements, the Sun provides us the necessary energy in the form of heat and light. That is why Indians respect them with a sense of gratitude and call Earth as Mother and Sun as Father. But thanks to the modern civilization the Earth is not only in bad shape, its people are facing a perilous situation that is unfortunately not even being realized them. Various pollutions of air, water, land besides radioactivity, electromagnetism, sound, light, visual and others are acquiring dangerous proportions threatening the very life on the planet. Even if they are realizing, sadly, the people are not willing to change their lifestyle and governments are blatantly continuing their money spinning development programs.

The reason for the present crisis in India (as in other countries) is the shedding of the great Indian culture and aping the West. The result is that we landed in to various life threatening pollutions. Every ritual, custom and festival in ancient India was based on super scientific, holistic and above all eco-friendly practice. This wisdom was faithfully passed on from generation to generation over the millennia. Even scholars from developed countries have a great regard for the brilliant Vedic wisdom of India and trying to research into the ancient Indian sciences and practices, but it is the educated local ‘elite' who condemn the ancient Indian culture as superstitious.

According to the ancient Indian sciences and philosophy, the entire universe including both animate as well as inanimate objects is made up of Pancha Bhutas, namely earth (clay), water, fire, air and space ( akaash ). The saying Yada pinde tada brahmande means that the internal body and the external universe are similar. An imbalance in the Pancha Bhutas is the root cause of all that is going in the world. The internal Pancha Bhutas of the Human are bombarded by numerous man made toxins introduced through the modern lifestyle, leading to the disease of body and mind. Our physical health depends on the inputs like air, water and food and of course exercises to the body. Just as to rebuild a collapsed wall one needs the same material the wall was made off, diseased Human can be brought back to health by administering only the Pancha Bhutas.

In the case of a complex, multi-cellular organism as a human being, akash corresponds to spaces within the body, vayu denotes the movement agni controls the functioning of the enzymes jal is in all body fluids and prithvi manifests itself in the solid structure of the body. The Thridoshas or three defects in Ayurvedic practice, vata, pitta, and kapha have particular qualities or attributes which characterize their effects on the human body. People remain healthy as long as the doshas are in a state of balance or equilibrium within the body. The body has the capacity to overcome minor disturbances in the equilibrium of the doshas, but if the equilibrium is disturbed too greatly, the body then succumbs to disease and decay. Though everyone's body contains all three doshas, generally, one or two of the doshas will predominate in an individual, leading to the categorization of people as different Ayurvedic body types, for example, Vata-Pitta, Kapha, or Pitta-Kapha, etc. People are also characterized by their qualities into three types or Trigunas. Just as the doshas are the essential components of the body, the three gunas - Satwa , Rajas and Tamas - are the three energy types of the mind. Essentially Sattva is knowledge based, Rajas is desire based and Tamas is inertia based.

Vata is mainly due to imbalance in air and space elements. Vata has a dislike for cold climate , dry skin and hair, quick to pick up and learn and forget information etc. A vata subject is advised to keep warm, avoid cold and frozen foods, and take good rest. Pitta is mainly due to imbalance in Fire and water elements. Pitta subject has flushed skin, profuse perspiration, bad breadth and body odour, sharp in mind etc. He is advised to cut down salt and spices, eat cool foods. Kapha is mainly due to imbalance in water and earth elements. Kapha subject is obese, heavy, steady, has soft skin and hair, slow movements. He should get plenty of exercise, avoid fatty foods etc.

In fact the pollution in the world is directly related the pollution in the minds of the people. Only a polluted mind can do such damage to the Nature on which his very survival is dependent. So if we want fight the pollution outside, we have to first fight the pollution inside our minds. The environmental degradation all over the planet earth due to human activity, particularly of three of the Panch Bhutas namely air, water and land (fire and space being immune) is resulting in global warming and climate change, with disastrous consequences like floods, draughts, hurricanes, epidemics etc.

The tiny amount of carbon dioxide resident in the atmosphere at any time is extremely important to keep the Earth from freezing but excess of it along with other greenhouse gases creates over heating of the Planet. Temperature increase in glacial regions is a precursor for the rest of the earth. A UN report on global warming based on the findings of 2,500 scientists says, that more than one billion people may face a shortage of fresh water by 2050, and that millions will be threatened by floods as sea levels rise by the 2080s. Himalayan glaciers which feed into seven of Asia's great rivers sustain hundreds of millions of people in the Indian subcontinent and China with water for drinking, irrigation and industry. And they are melting and retreating at a rate of 10-15m/year leading to a reduction of their area from the present from 500,000 sq km . to 100,000 sq km by the 2030s. The rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers will reportedly first increase the volume of water in rivers, causing widespread flooding, followed by draughts damaging agriculture and livestock.

The Indian Nobel Laureate and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Kumar Pachauri says that in the 21st century sea-level rise will be anywhere between 18 to 59 centimetres, even with out taking in to the collapse of Greenland and the Antarctica ice-sheet. A rise in sea level by 0.4 meters to 1.4 meters in the coming years will spell doom for several communities and several habitations on this planet including countries like Mauritius and Bangla Desh, sparking a mass migration into India . Due to global warming the poorest people and the poorest nations are likely to suffer most.

While high technology solutions will not solve the problem they only aggravate it. Opinion is undivided among the intellectuals that unless the world learns to live a Pro-Nature eco-friendly life, it is impossible to stop the global warming. It remains to be seen whether humanity will opt for soft options or hard options. It is hear that India , backed by the brilliant Vedic wisdom, can lead the world to safer shores. May it happen - Tathaasthu
 
 
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Lecture 34
GLIMPSES OF VEDIC MICROBIOLOGY
Dr T.S.Ramakrishna
Founder and Secretary ESWARA
 

Mounting problems of human environment and human values are making life more complex and more miserable, leading to a revival of the timeless knowledge of Vedas. Of late, the dedicated work of individuals and organizations in Vedic Sciences is coming into a better focus of the society. The numerous microbiological phenomena surrounding life on earth were well understood by the sages who discussed them in various books on agriculture, environment and health of humans as well as that of flora and fauna. Unfortunately in several branches of science including microbiology, discoveries made by ancient Indians centuries ago are wrongly ascribed to western scientists of recent times. “ Gurus of Vedic Microbiology” and “Revised History of Microbiology (Vedic to Modern)” by Chakradhar Frend et al (2007) of the Rishi Kanva Vedic Microbiological Research Institute, are some interesting recent additions.

Health

According to Ayurveda Agni (Ojas), one of the Pancha Bhootas is a prime factor in life. Its presence is life and absence is death. The entire defense mechanism of the body – thermal, chemical, hormonal, metabolic and tissue changes are controlled by Agni (Sriramulu, 2007) which is a form of energy. We can also visualize each individual to carry a biomagnetic field of his own. The constant interaction between the bioenergies among individuals under the overall influence of cosmic energy explains many phenomena which are not understood by the modern scientist. In an interesting book titled “The Biology of Belief” Bruce Lipton, the author says “thoughts are more powerful and can bring changes in genes or DNA”. This proves the power of positive thinking, which is not new to ancient Indian philosophy.

Indians also believe that a food or medicine prepared by violent means affect the consumer! Only Indians know about the Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik foods and their characteristic effects on humans as reflected in the sloka:

Aaharastvapi sarvasya trividhobhavati priyaha

Ygjnasthapa sthatha daanam tesham bheda mimam srunu (Gita 17-7)

The process of fermentation was also mentioned in Rig Veda (1.191.10). Kautilya cites about six kinds of alcoholic drinks in his famous work ‘Artha Shastra' in the chapter Suradadyaksha (2.25). Charaka mentions about 14 types of Suras (Pankaj Goyal, 2007). We are also aware of the importance of cow's urine as a great medicine as this sloka shows:

Gavyam samadhuram kinchidoshagnam krimikusthanutkandoom cha samayet pittam samyagdoshodare hitam (Chandogyopanishad 1-10)

Which means “the cow's urine is sweetish, it alleviates tumors, is bactericidal, cures leprosy. If drunk will purify the body and is good for the abdomen”. The US patent and Trade office has granted patent for the Indian innovation, which has proved that cow's urine can make antibiotics, anti-fungal agents and also anti-cancer drugs more effective. This work was done by CSIR's Centre for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow in collaboration with Gau Vigyana Anusandan Kendra, Nagpur.

Agriculture

It is a pity that centuries old practices of organic farming in India based on the principle of “ Jivasya jiva bhojanam ” (Vyas, 2007) are replaced by chemical farming for short term gains in pursuit of “Green Revolution”, leaving behind a sickly soil and subsurface and a host of allergies, digestive ailments, cancer, physical and mental deformities, and weakened immunity among people. Is it not a paradox that the developed countries are now advocating organic farming? Should not our national laboratories and universities since independence have concentrated on improving the organic methods of cultivation? Now another hollow slogan “Evergreen Revolution” is coined. Is it possible if we do not resort to Vedic practices of agriculture with the spirit:

Annat bhavanti bhootani parjanyat annasambhavahYgjnat bhavati parjanyo yagjnah karma samudbhavah (Gita 3-14)

Lunar radiation

The magical effects Lunar radiation on life on earth are not given much importance in modern science although some random studies of correlation are made in the West relating to menstruation, criminal behavior, accidents and hospitalization (Michal Zimecki, 2006)

The ancient Indians d ecidedly knew a lot about the amazing effects of moon on all living organisms on earth, including humans, plants and animals. Moon is considered one of the visible forms of God Himself. Moon is called “Oushadhipati” the father of medicines. It is interesting to note that Soma Lata a rare creeper is believed to sprout one leaf every day from new moon to full moon and shed away one leaf from full moon to new moon! Lord Krishna says in Gita.

Gaamavisya cha bhootani dharayamyaham ojasaPushnami cha oushadeehi sarvaaha somo bhootva rasaatmakaha (Gita 15-13) which means “It is I who support all creatures, with my vital power permeating the soil. Becoming the nectar of the moon, I nourish all herbs and medicinal plants”.

Even in developed countries there are people who believe in the magic of moonlight. Richard Chapin of Arizona in the USA, who is no scientist, has reportedly spent four years and about a crore of rupees to set up a roughly 50' x 50' moonlight reflector containing an array of mirrors i n Arizona's Sonoran desert. People who are sick and depressed come to bathe in the ‘gentle blue-white beam' of Chapin's moonlight collector, which is also hoped to cure arthritis and some cancers.

Environment

The importance of Yagjna in creating a safe and better environment for people cannot be exaggerated. Soon after the leakage of mthylisocynite gas from a factory, which killed thousands and maimed hundreds of thousands, one Mr. Kushwala a resident and teacher in Bhopal in India, started performing his usual Agnihotra and in just 20 minutes, symptoms of gas poisoning were gone from his home. This Agnihotra is nothing but a miniature version of the Vedic Homa performed to keep the environment from harmful microorganisms. Unfortunately grotesque perversions have crept into rituals and various practices, of ancient India , like Ganesh immersions involving massive iron frames tons of Plaster of Paris, paints, chemical etc.

The Future

Consciousness' is now being termed as a new dimension in science. We have recognized that the whole world comprising the animate and inanimate objects is full ofconsciousness although of different levels. Microbial intelligence observed in the vast array of microbes is attributed to a lower form of consciousness (Chakradhar Frend, 2007). The art or science of psychometry deals with communicating with inanimate objects.

India with its tremendous Vedic knowledge can be a pioneer in the research of many microbilogical phenomena unknown to the modern world and discarded as superstition. The International Vedic Microbiology Seminar (August 20-21, 2007) organized by the Indian Foundation for Vedic Science founded by Ravi Prakash Arya, is a pioneering effort in highlighting various microbiological phenomena, issues and solutions relating to human, animal and plant life on earth. Research in Vedic microbiology should be undertaken by all National laboratories and Universities for a better dissemination of the Vedic wisdom which is qualitatively the ultimate. To day the world needs, particularly rural areas and developing countries, countless centers of Yoga, Naturopathy and Ayurveda more than super specialty hospitals.

At the end one should not get an impression that reverting to Vedic Sciences is very easy. Present day Vedic scholars may often be found to be unsure, ambiguous, evasive etc due to the fact that Vedic Sciences suffered serious neglect during a thousand years of foreign invasion and three hundred years of industrial revolution. We have to make best use of modern science and technology in understanding the super scientific concepts of Vedic Science to come out with solutions for the nagging problems of the present day society. This will definitely make India a world leader in science.

 
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