Item Code: NAB849
by Keshav Dev VermaHardcover (Edition: 2008)
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers
Size: 9.8 inch X 6.5 inch
Weight of the Book: 655 gms
Price: $40.00 Shipping Free
In this path breaking book, Keshav Dev Verma builds a bridge between modern science and the realm of Vedic Science so that modern scientists can traverse the universe of truth that are enunciated in the Vedas, to the eternal truth they are in search of. To the students and researchers of Vedas, Darshanas and Indian Shastras, this book provides the much needed backdrop of modern science to strikingly see the relevance of Vedic Science today. For the first time, Keshav Dev Verma defines the fundamental building blocks of Vedic model of nature of reality such as ‘Purusha’, ‘Prakriti’, Mahat’, ‘Ahankara’, ‘tanmatras’ and ‘panca Mahabhutas’ based on the great works of Yaska. The author has specifically focused on the elements of creation enumerated by ‘Sankhya’ that presents a complete and consistent structure of Vedic theory of creation of universe as well as its dissolution, the two questions that have so far eluded modern science. The author the not only poses the fundamental questions posed by Stephen Hawking which modern science is unable to answer, but also dares to answer them based on the Vedic Physics introduced by him. This is a bold and brave book that will evoke and provoke both modern scientists as well as researchers of ancient Shastras to test their models in the light of the Vedic model which the author believes is the only valid and irrefutable model of reality.
Although difficult to comprehend in the first reading, both to the people in the east and west trained in the modern methods of learning, this book leaves an undeliable marks and impressions that linger and recycle in the mind suggesting that there is something unique and novel that needs to be pursued. The book lays down an alternative original framework and template for enquiry of human mind. The framework is generic based on the Sankhya philosophy and school of thought. It elaborates on the fundamental notions such as (Prakriti, Nlahat, Ahankar, Rita and Satya, Bramha and Prajapatis, the universe creation, sphota, tanmatras, panch mahabhutas, purush, yagna, kala, pralaya etc) and endeavours sometimes unnecessarily labours to link them to what we butk now in modern physics. In its own right, the framework is sufficiently exciting to be pursued to eventful conclusion. The framework is far more than encompassing the physics alone. Modern physics, as we understand, deals with matter, at all locations, and in all its aspects including its state, composition, characterization, properties such as magnetic, electric etc, energy states levels and forms, evolution and transformation, motion and dynamics interactions and force fields and so on so forth. The basic settings, as assumed and occasionally verified, allow to sometimes build exacting relationships between cause and effect, while for some others the relationships are at best approximate and for yet others the situations could even be paradoxical. Conventional approach understands this as events occur at all possible length and time scales and according as their importance contributes to the net outcome. Integrating the chain of such events together spanning a range of scales as wide as 10-12 to 1012 has always been a problem. The curse of dimensionality and presence of nonlinearity may as well be the creation of our own basic premises and perception.
The question is: Can the alternative approach propounded here pave the way? If so – how does one quantify the causal relation and predictability? Shri. K.D. Verma, the author, has laid down the foundations using an unobstructing and free flowing language. I am sure this will excite the nascent minds to take it further. The type set is free of trivial errors and the book – even, if not understood clearly by all uninitiated person like me, is certainly a pleasure to read. It compels one to continue to think.
Said al—Andalusi, a noted Arab scholar, stated that "India is the first nation to have cultivated science" and praising Indians for their knowledge further says, "India is known for the wisdom of its people. Over many centuries, all the kings of the past have recognized the ability of the Indians in all branches of knowledge? Referring to theology he writes, "Some of them (Indian people) believe in the creation of the world, while others believe in its eternity...the majority of the Indians believe in the eternity of the world because it is created by the creator of the creators." As regards the cosmology of Indians Andalusi remarks "...(they) say that all the seven planets and their apogees and perigees meet in the head of Aries once every four thousand thousand thousand years and three hundred thousand thousand years and twenty thousand thousand solar years. They call this cycle the ‘period of the universe’ because they believe that when all the planets meet in the head of the Aries everything found on earth will perish, leaving the lower universe in a state of destruction for a very long time until the planets and their apogees and perigees disperse back to their zodiacs (constellations). When this takes place the world returns to its original state. The cycle repeats itself indefinitely." (Book of the Category of Notions by Said al-Andalusi — ed. by Sema an I. Salem and Alok Kumar, University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, 1991)
It appears that some aspects of Indian cosmology, particularly the cyclic nature of the creation and annihilation, had travelled to the Arab scholars and probably through their writings to the European world. But Indians had a much deeper insight and an equally strong system of correlation of cause and effect in interpreting natural phenomena. The scientific perceptions of ancient Indian genius are reflected in concepts regarding the ultimate structure of matter, which were first propounded by the Indians. The evolution of elements which are the building blocks for forming diverse compounds has been discussed in various schools of philosophy in India. Ancient Indians had a fairly good understanding of measuring and mapping, of investigating the course of heavenly bodies, of agricultural techniques and of analyzing the constitution of matter. The sources of various scientific perceptions are traced to Rgveda. One is simply wonderstruck to find in certain hymns a searching enquiry into the creation of the world. The song of creation is described in the 129th Sukta of the 10 “Book of Rgveda which says:
Then was not non—existent nor existent;
There was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
What covered in, and where'? and what gave shelter?
Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
It goes on to say that in the beginning one could not say with surety about the immortality or death, nor could one say about day or night. Whatever existed (or did not exist) was void and formless and so on. Then the hymn raises some fundamental questions:
Who verily knows and who declares it,
whence it was born and whence comes this creation?
The gods are later than this world’s production,
Who knows, then, whence it first came into being?
Thus Rgveda on the one hand raises serious philosophical doubts and on the other has the seeds of a very advanced cosmology. The Vedic cosmos appears to be self-perpetuating and self-sufficient as well. It may thus be recognized that this Vedic hymn does not propose any outside creator. There is no extraneous matter from which ‘God’ created the Universe.
The history of Indian science is closely linked with the origin of the Vedic texts. According to one view, the Veda not only contains some illuminating truths of scientific knowledge but contains even the truths that physical science has discovered in the modern times. This claim may require a good deal of proving, but it can be said that not only ancient Indian civilization but even several other ancient civilizations possessed secrets of science; some of which modern knowledge has recovered, extended and made more rich and precise but others are even now being recovered.
The language of the Veda is symbolic, and the knowledge that it contains in regard to Matter, Life, Mind and Supermind, as also of unity of the universe and the oneness of Ultimate Reality is presented in a language that is not easily intelligible to us. It speaks of Matter and the knowledge of Matter as that of the three earths; it speaks of life- force as the mid-region (amtariksa), and it speaks of mind and the knowledge of the mind as of three heavens. And beyond the triple lower world of Matter, Life and Mind, it speaks of truth—wor1d, the world of the Truth, Right and Vast (satyam rtam brhat) manifested in svar, with its three luminous heavens. The Veda goes still farther, and it expounds the knowledge of the still higher three worlds which in the later tradition of Indian knowledge has been identified with the knowledge of the worlds of the Being, Conscious—Force and Delight. To the Vedic seers all this knowledge was scientific, considering that knowledge is systematic and it is verifiable, repeatable and capable of further expansions in the light of constant enlargement.
In the field of Astronomy the Vedic scholars had scaled amazing heights. The earliest tradition of astronomical observations is perhaps the ancient most as is evidenced by the specific references in the Vedic and Brahamanical literature. Rgveda records the identification of the planet Jupiter (Brahaspati) by Vamadeva. The hymn is also repeated in Atharvaveda.
Wilson translates this as: "Brhaspati when first being born in the highest heaven of supreme light, seven—mouthed, multiform (combined) with sound, and seven—rayed has subdued darkness?
In the Taittiriya Brahmana one finds a reference:
Just as Vamadeva identified the planet Jupiter, the planet Venus (Sukra) was identified by Rsi
Vena, son of Bhrgu. The specific reference to this is found in Rgveda
There are two hymns of twenty verses associated with the name of Vena Bhargava. The planet he identified is named after him. The name Venus appears to have been derived from Vena. The Greek story of Venus as goddess of love also appears as a modification of the Vedic narrative which describes Vena as being loved by an Apsara just as a lady cherishes her paramour.
The Vedic literature indicates a tradition of scientific observation and there are several references which reveal that such a tradition continued in different disciplines.
It would be, therefore, in the fitness of things that serious studies should be undertaken for identifying the scientific concepts in ancient Indian literature and to see whether a tradition of scientific enquiry was built by them and whether they had developed a logic and a • consistent approach to understand the ever changing physical world or what is generally called as the mystery of the Universe. In such an investigation the intention should not be to match the Vedic concepts with those of the modern sciences.
The present volume on Vedic Physics by Keshav Dev Verma is indeed a unique attempt to interpret the ancient Indian literature by defining various symbols, concepts and the terminology occurring in Vedic hymns and other texts. While accepting Maharsi Dayananda’s view that Vedas are the repository of all true sciences the author does examine this statement with a view to test it on the hard rock of truth. As mentioned earlier, the Vedic hymns contain the seeds of a highly advanced cosmology. Shri Verma has selected Sankhya which according to him ‘presents a wholesome structure of Vedic Physics`.
It is well known that Sankhya-Patanjala system explains the physical world (Universe on the basis of cosmic evolution; the Vaisesika-Nyaya expounds the methodology and elaborates the concepts of physics, chemistry and mechanics. Shri Verma has very systematically tried to interpret the Sankhya aphorisms and concludes that the ultimate ground to which the manifested world can be traced is Prakrti having three attributes——Sattva (existence), energy at rest, Rajas (energy that which is efficient in a phenomenon and is characterised by a tendency to move and overcome any resistance) and Tamas (mass or inertia) which resists the Rajas to do work and also resists Sattva from conscious manifestation.
The ultimate building blocks of the Universe, then according to Sankhya, are (1) Essence, (2) Energy and (3) Matter, mass or inertia. The author concludes, since essence is energy at rest and Rajas is energy in motion and mass is energy quantized, the Prakrti is energy. The question now arises as to how does this unmanifested Prakrti become manifest? The Sankhya answers it and says, by coming in contact with the Purusa — the efficient cause, the inert Prakrti gets activated. The question remains how Purusa comes in contact with Prakrti? Who initiates this process? I s the process mechanical or non— mechanical? Shri Verma has tried to answer this by taking recourse to Maharsi Dayananda’s Introduction to the commentary on Rgveda and other Vedic hymns. I believe this would motivate scholars for further research.
In one sense Sankhya propounded the theory of evolution rather than creation. The universe is not a creation by an extra-terrestrial agency hut the result of the interaction between Prakrti and Purusa. Historically it is the first doctrine expounded anywhere in the world to exhibit an independence of mind and freedom for enquiry. It is indeed laudable that Shri Verma has made a serious attempt to give a new interpretation to several Vedic statements which reveal this spirit of enquiry. It is a different matter whether one agrees with the interpretation or not but it has to be recognised that the present book stimulates serious interest in the subject and offers a new approach.
Shri Vet ma has raised a very important issue regarding the important role of the efficient cause which activates the material cause, i.e., the energy to produce this universe as a self-contained whole system. He tries to resolve it by referring to Svetasvatara Upanisad and defines "It (Efficient Cause) has neither any work to perform nor there are in existence its implements, nor there is anyone its equal, nor is there visible or known to be anyone exceeding It. The excellence of its power is heard or known from various sources and its knowledge, force and dynamism are natural states of its being."
Prakrti is an inert, unconscious entity while Purusa is the conscious activator of Prakrti. In Sankhya scheme the evolution of both inanimate and animate or conscious world is taken into account. The present author has not considered the elements related to the biological development; he has only taken into account the evolution of inanimate matter. But the current trend in science is to enquire into questions like, ‘How does brain behave as an instrument of mental processes'?’ The mind-body relationship is a very fascinating yet a baffling riddle and is a subject matter of modern researches. The none—computational aspects of the universe, however, do not find any place in the modern scientific theories. While discussing the incompleteness of such a scientific world view Roger Penrose says:
"A scientific world—view which does not profoundly come to terms with the problem of conscious minds can have no serious pretensions of completeness. Consciousness is part of our universe, so any physical theory which makes no proper place for it falls fundamentally short of providing a genuine description of the world. I would maintain that there is yet no physical, biological, or computational theory that comes very close to explaining our consciousness and consequent intelligence; but that should not deter us from striving to search for one."
Arguing further, he states:
"In Part I (of the book) I argued (in the particular case of mathematical understanding) that the phenomenon of consciousness can arise only in the presence of some non- computational physical processes taking place in the brain. One must presume, however, that such (putative) non-computational processes would also have to be inherent in the action of the same material, satisfying the same physical laws, as are the inanimate objects of the universe. We must therefore ask two things. First, why is it that the phenomenon of consciousness appears to occur, as far as we know, only in (or in relation to) brains — although we should not rule out the possibility that consciousness might be present also in other appropriate physical systems? Second, we must ask how could it be that such a seemingly important (putative) ingredient as non—computational behaviour, presumed to be inherent- potentially, at least- in the actions of all material things, so far has entirely escaped the notice of physicists‘?" (Shadows of Mind, p. 8, 217, Vintage 1995)
However, the need to incorporate non—computational ingredient in the physical theories, is being increasingly felt. Perhaps the present author or some of his associates would undertake this task of providing this missing link.
In the chapter ‘Mahat’ the author says that according to Sankhya the term Mahat is also interpreted as ‘buddhi-tattva’ or the element of intelligence. Intelligence is not a material product, and according to Verma it reveals the divine wisdom of Purusa. Later on in the chapter on ‘Purusa’ he defines Purusa as the embodiment of Sat- Cit-Anando.
From the epithet Cit—meaning the animating principle of life—is derived the word Cetana—that is consciousness. If we accept that, Purusa completely pervades Prakrti in order to activate it, then intelligence and consciousness become inherent properties of the manifested world. What Roger Penrose is seeking becomes a natural outcome of the Samkhya system.
But the question still remains as to how Purusa activates Prakrti? It may he recognized that there has been a debate among the various commentators of Upanisads and the Samkhya school regarding the ultimate cause of creation. The debate has travelled into modern physics as well. Studies like the present one undertaken by KD. Verma can lie useful in throwing light on this subject by the paradigm suggested by ancient Indian seers and sages.
K.D. Verma’s exposition of various concepts like tanmatra, panca mahabhuta, akasa, vayu, agni, etc., deserves special attention and critical study as also his exposition of Brahma and Prajapatis. He has attempted to build a theory of creation by analyzing various hymns of Vedas and by attributing meaning to various Vedic symbols and cosmological processes which provide a holistic world-view converging to a similar approach propounded by some of the modern physicists. However, Verma has introduced some more concepts like Brahma (not Brahma) as the smallest creative principle termed as ‘Atom’, Prajapatis-ten in number and correlated to various fundamental particles like electron, proton, neutron, pion, etc. Such a correlation is likely to raise a serious debate and requires more research in Vedic philosophico—scientific concepts and terminology and for demystifying the Vedic literature. Verma’s book will serve as a catalyst for further research in developing a consistent theory based on Vedic concepts for explaining the various properties and behaviour of the physical world around us. Vedic scholars should undertake this task seriously.
K.D. Verma has based his model mostly on the basis of Sankhya philosophy. But there are other schools of Hindu thought which hold an atomistic view of the physical world around us. It is now well recognized that the Atomic theory makes an integral part of the Vaisesika, and it is also acknowledged by the Nyaya. Jains have also adopted the atomic theory, as is stated in the Abhidharmakosavyakhya. According to some scholars, although no mention is made of it in the Buddhist Pali canonical books, it is quite different, however, with the Northern Buddhists. The Vaibhasikas and Sautrantikas were adherents of the atomic theory, while the Madhyamikas and Yogacaras opposed it, as they declared the external world not to be real.
It appears that the Jains worked out their system from the most primitive notions about matter. According to some commentators the Jains maintain that everything in this world, except souls and mere space, is produced from matter (pudgala), and that all matter consists of atoms (parammanu). Each atom occupies one point (pradesa) of space.
Vaisesika mainly deals with physics and Nyaya with metaphysics and dialectics. The physical side of the atomic theory was deliberated more by the Vaisesikas, and the metaphysical by the Naiyayikas. In fact, Badarayana regards the atomic theory as the cardinal principle of the Vaisesika system. The Nyaya Vartika states that atom is invisible because it is not composed of material parts.
The metaphysical questions, however, relating to atoms are fully discussed by Gautama, and further explained by Vatsyayana. The Naiyayikas maintain that the whole is not merely a combination of its parts but something more than its parts; it is a different thing (arthantara), not separated from its parts, but rather something in addition to them. In the Buddhist thought the Vaibhasikas admitted that an atom had six sides, but they maintained that they made but one, or what comes to the same, that the space within an atom could not be divided.
The Sautrantikas seem to have regarded the aggregate of seven atoms as the smallest compound (aha). Their opinion seems to have been that the (globular) atoms did not touch one another completely, but that there was an interval between them. All agreed that atom is indivisible, though some admitted that it might be regarded as having parts, viz., six or eight sides. Both Vaibhasikas and Sautrantikas declare that atoms are not hollow, and cannot penetrate one another.
The latest improvement of the atomic theory consists in the assumption of dvyanukas, etc. It was first thought by Prasastapada and is plainly referred to by Udyotakara; it was received as a tenet in all later works of what may be called the combined Nyaya—Vaisesika.
It is assumed that two atoms (paramanu) form one binary (dvyanuka), and that three or more dvyanuka-s form one tryanuka, which is ‘great’ and perceptible by the eye. From tryanukas are produced all things. Modern writers further assume caturanukas, formed of four tryanukas, etc. Thus the molecular structure of matter is well recognized by the followers of the Nyaya—Vaisesika system.
The idea of the infinitesimal in this sense seems to have already been current in the time of the Upanisads, where we frequently meet with the statement that Brahman is subtler than the subtle, and larger than the largest and that the self (atman) is small (arm). In order to arrive at the conception of the atom, the idea of the infinitesimal had not only to be applied to matter, but it had, at the same time, to be joined to the idea of its indestructibility. On the other hand the Buddhist view was not of eternal atoms, for they considered Samsara as continual springing into existence and annihilation and hence the whole physical world was nothing but an aggregate of non-eternal atoms.
Thus one finds that, there were several schools in the ancient Indian physics and metaphysics where the nature and properties of gross matter were interpreted in terms of the atomist view of nature. However, Shri Verma has proposed an entirely different picture of atom and other fundamental particles. He has identified atom with the ‘Brahma’ of the Vedic text. Once again this would inspire serious research in the Indian tradition of scientific perceptions—particularly in physics. Before concluding, I would like to make some remarks about the chapter on kala (Time). The author has established that the Vedic seers on the one hand describe the smallest unit of time as one millionth of the second and on the other, talk about the vast span of time extending to billions and billions of years. The cyclic nature of creation and dissolution does not agree with the linear arrow of time. Further, the issue of the ‘beginning’ of time and its nature remains an enigma even today. The author has raised this question by asking what happens to time when dissolution occurs? Does time also get dissolved? The Samkhya has not enumerated ‘time’ in its list of 25 categories and is silent regarding the role of time in initiating the process.
|Dedicated to the Memory & Mission of Maharsi Dayananda Sarasvati||vii|
|Devanagari Letters and Their Indo-Romantic Equivalents||ix|
|Foreword by Dr. M.M. Joshi||xv|
|Founder Editor’s Exordium||xxix|
|1.||Prakrti – The Material Cause||1|
|6.||Brahma & Prajapatis||39|
|7.||A Universe is Born||49|
|16.||Purusa- The Efficient Cause||127|
|18.||Supreme Master of Science||163|