The credit for almost all the great inventions and discoveries so far has always rested with the Western world. We have read about them in schoolbooks, heard about them on television or in movies and talked about it tirelessly. Sadly, it’s the knowledge and teaching of our ancient science that has taken a beating. Just because their achievements were well-documented, it doesn’t mean that they were the first ones to do that. Here are 10 facts, as found in our written and oral literature, about the supremely advanced ancient Indian science that you were never taught in school.
1) Sushruta Samhita, The Oldest Medical And Surgical Encyclopedia Known To Mankind
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Written during the 6th century BC, the Sushruta Samhita contains 184 chapters with descriptions of 1,120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources. Its author Sushruta is also considered to be the first ever human to perform medical surgeries on humans. The book also has vast details on embryology, human anatomy, along with instructions for venesection, the positioning of the patient for each vein, and the protection of vital structures (marma). The oldest documented evidence (9000 years) for the drilling of human teeth of a living person was found in Mehrgarh along with the evidences of orthopedic surgeries.
2) The First Ones To Acknowledge The Existence Of The Solar System
While history credits Copernicus for proposing the heliocentric model of our solar system, it was the Rig Veda that first noted the central placement of the sun and other planets orbiting it in the solar system.
Rig Veda 1.164.13
“Sun moves in its orbit which itself is moving. Earth and other bodies move around sun due to force of attraction, because sun is heavier than them.”
Rig Veda 1.35.9
“The sun moves in its own orbit but holding earth and other heavenly bodies in a manner that they do not collide with each other through force of attraction.”
3) Mahabharata Mentions The Concept Of Cloning, Test Tube Babies, And Surrogate Mothers
The fact that in the Mahabharata, Gandhari had 100 sons is pretty well known. But what’s unknown is the scientific explanation behind her giving birth to a 100 kids. Each ‘Kaurava’ was created by splitting the single embryo into 100 parts and growing each part in a separate kund (container). This is identical to the cloning process today. The birth of Karan, who was ‘born from the “characteristics adopted from men of her choice” also has striking resemblance to the present-day test tube baby concept.
4) ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ Precisely Calculates The Distance Between Earth And Sun
“Yug sahasra yojana par bhanu,
leelyo taahi madhura phal jaanu”
The above excerpt is from the Hanuman Chalisa and translates to: ‘[When] Hanuman travelled thousands of kilometers to swallow it thinking of it as a fruit’. The word-to-word translation of the same excerpt reveals the distance that Hanuman travelled.
1 Yuga = 12000 years. 1 Sahsra Yuga = 12000000 years. Also, 1 Yojan = 8 miles.
Hence, “Yug Sahsra Yojana”, the first 3 words mean 12000*12000000*8 = 96000000 miles or 153,600,000 kilometers. Interestingly, the actual distance from earth to sun is 152,000,000 kms. Bafflingly, there’s error of just around 1%.
5) Indian Vedas Figured Out Gravity Before The West Did
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Yet again, way before Isaac Newton explained gravity, ancient Indian scholars had already figured out how it worked.
Rig Veda 10.22.14
“This earth is devoid of hands and legs, yet it moves ahead. All the objects over the earth also move with it. It moves around the sun.”
6) We Already Knew About The Speed Of Light
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Sayana, a vedic scholar from the 14th century once said, “With deep respect, I bow to the sun, who travels 2,202 yojanas in half a nimesha.” A yojana is 9 miles; a nimesha is 16/75 of a second. Therefore, 2,202 yojanas x 9 miles x 75/8 nimeshas = 185,794 miles per second or 2,99,000 kilometers per second. That’s astonishingly close to the real ‘scientifically-proven’ 3,00,000 kilometers per second figure. It’s often believed that his source was none other than the Vedas.
7) Vedas Explained The Science Behind The Rather ‘Feared’ Eclipses
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While the world feared the eclipses and associated all types of paranormal occurrences with the phenomenon, Vedas already had a very proper and scientific explanation. The below excerpt is also proof that they knew that the moon wasn’t self illuminated.
Rig Veda 5.40.5
“O Sun! When you are blocked by the one whom you gifted your own light (moon), then earth gets scared by sudden darkness.”
8) They Knew The Exact Length Of A Year
Ancient Indians used 4 ways to measure the length of a year namely ‘Nakshatra’, ‘Savana’, ‘Lunar’ and ‘Saura’. Saura was one method based on the tropical zodiac that defines the seasons: equinoxes, solstices, year-halves, and months in relation to the (six) seasons. As unbelievable as it sounds, Saura estimates the length of a year to be exactly 365 days, 6 hours 12 mins and 30 seconds.
9) Aryabhatta’s Deduction Of The Value Of Pi
According to documented history, the irrationality of pi was proved in Europe only in 1761 by Lambert. The great Indian mathematician Aryabhata worked on the approximation of the value of pi ( ), and concluded that is irrational and its value is approximately 3.1416. He did this in 499 Common Era at the age of 23.
10) First Ones To Measure The Circumference Of Earth
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Sadly, the Greeks enjoy the credit for this discovery while it was actually Aryabhata, who deduced a formulation proving that the Earth is rotating on an axis. Then, by estimating the value of pi to be 3.1416, he concluded that the circumference of Earth was approximately 39736 kilometers. The actual circumference of Earth, as deduced by scientists today, is 40,075 kilometers. How freaking cool is that!