Science and Technology in Ancient Indian Texts

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Item Code: NAC901
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Various Authors
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9788124606322
Pages: 338 (18 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.9 Inch X 5.9 Inch
Weight 610 gm
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Book Description
From the Jacket

Author: Dr. Bal Ram Singh , Dr. Girish Nath Jha, Dr. Umesh Kumar Singh and Diwakar Mishra

The volume comprises seminar presentations by experts from India and abroad involved in the study of development of the natural sciences in ancient India. It offers eighteen papers from the seminar that showcase and project the Vedic literature as a treasure trove of vast knowledge that covers various branches of learning. The papers in particular discuss the ancient developments in science and technology: logic, mechanics in Sanskrit literature, Indian mathematics and its application in the Vedas, besides production technology and mechanical engineering, environmental science and roots, applicative wonders and scientific validation of Ayurveda. They involve a deep study of the Vedic understanding and description of sound and speech as para, pasyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. They also deal with the Indian perspective on the spirit and some mahakavyas of Indian philosophy. They scrutinise various theories on matter, causation, metals, dreams and motion, according to the Vaisesika philosophy and underline the relevance of ancient knowledge to the contemporary world, especially in relation to the Vedic physics, environmental science and Ayurveda. They reiterate in unison the scientific vision of the ancient sages who held the keen eye of a poet-artist even while bringing to light modern and advanced ideas. The papers include references to various commentaries and studies on scientific and mathematical treatises, like Katyayana’s Sulbasutra and Vaimanikasastra of Bharadvaja.

The book will interest Indologists, particularly concerned with the study of ancient science, technology and mathematics, as they evolved in ancient India.


About the Author

Dr. Bal Ram Singh

Dr. Bal Ram Singh is the Director of Center for Indic Studies at UMass — Dartmouth. As a Professor of Biophysical Chemistry and Henry Dreyfus Teacher- Scholar, and the Director of Botulinum Research Center, he has been conducting research since 1990, on botulinum and tetanus neurotoxins, and lately also on yoga, mind, and consciousness. He has published three books and over 200 articles. He is the editor of the journal Light on Ayurveda and International Journal of Indian Culture.

Dr. Girish Nath Jha

Dr. Girish Nath Jha is Associate Professor at the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), specialising in computational linguistics. He has an honorary appointment at the Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA, as Mukesh and Priti Chatter distinguished Professor of History of Science. Dr Jha has studied computational linguistics from JNU and from University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, and has worked as software engineer in USA before joining JNU in 2002. Dr Jha has publications from Springer Verlag, Cambridge Scholar Publishing, Lambert Academic Publishing, among others, and is on the editorial board of a leading journal from Springer.

Dr. Umesh Kumar Singh

Dr. Umesh Kumar Singh obtained his doctorate in Sanskrit from Delhi University and has worked as a research associate for the Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA. His earlier education (M.PH1.) has been from Delhi, Banaras and Allahabad universities. Dr Singh has been awarded JRF from the UCC and has worked as a linguist in a machine translation project sponsored by the Dept. of IT (Govt. of India) at Special Centre of Sanskrit Studies, JNU.

Diwakar Mishra

Diwakar Mishra is a Ph.D. student at the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies in JNU in the area of Sanskrit Computational Linguistics. He is working towards developing a Sanskrit Text to Speech (US) system for his Ph.D. in collaboration with Microsoft Research India where he worked as a research intern. He has also worked as a research associate for the Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, USA. His MA. and M.Phil degrees are in Sanskrit with specialisation in Sanskrit Computational Linguistics from the Sanskrit Centre in JNU.



Indian culture and traditions, derived from a comprehensive philosophy of the Vedas and other texts of ancient times, contain many versatile feats in science and technology. The questions frequently asked are what happened to this knowledge? If these scientific advancements existed then, how did they disappear? How to trace them back? The answers to such questions are complex, yet obtainable. There are historical, political, social, cultural, and economic reasons for non- availability of the records of the ancient knowledge systems. However, given the amount of literature available in India in Sanskrit and other languages, it is not insurmountable to trace ages old scientific and technological knowledge, and weave through the ancient knowledge coherently to not only record the existence of such knowledge but also to build up theories and practices based on such knowledge under the tutelage of modem science and technology. The challenge, really is, to look for the original manuscripts, translate them into English, and translate them scientifically, so that the material becomes comprehensible within the modem scientific paradigm.

This challenge was thrown to the Center for Indic Studies at UMass, Dartmouth, by a prominent Indian American, Mukesh Chatter, whose BVM Foundation provided the initial seed funds to explore this project. Resources were in part used to recruit a Mukesh and Priti Chatter Distinguished Professor of History of Science. Girish Nath Jha, a computational linguist, from the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University GNU) was appointed as the first Mukesh and Priti Distinguished Professor.

The centre under the leadership of Dr. Jha organised a one-day seminar on “Science and Technology in Ancient Indian Texts (Satiait)” on 18 June 2009 at Dev Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar, inviting several experts in the field of scientific exploration of the Indian traditions and practices. That group recommended an open national seminar to seek inputs from various fields — Sanskrit, philosophy, history, computer, physics, chemistry, engineering, etc. The seminar was organised on 9-10 January 2010 at JNU, which attracted several prominent scientists, engineers, mathematicians, Sanskrit experts, and philosophers.

There are certain elements of observations made by several authors, which are quite encouraging for an eventual formulation of a historical perspective and practical ideas based on the ancient knowledge. While the larger challenge of creating more comprehensive collection of testable science and technology in ancient India remains to be addressed, the proceedings of the first national seminar on Satiait present a robust beginning which should invariably become a foundation for future progress.

In addition to our heart-felt gratitude to Mukesh and Priti Chatter, we would like to thank colleagues at the JNU, especially those from the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies and Centre for Philosophy, whose association was critical for this programme, and who continue to be involved in this initiative. Girish Jha, Umesh Kumar Singh, and Diwakar Mishra deserve special mention not only for their leadership in organising the seminar, but also for their great contribution in the editing process of this volume. Finally, we acknowledge the Center for Indic Studies at UMass, Dartmouth, for its continued support to this project.




  Introduction   v
  Part I: Conceptual      
1. Scientifying the Science: The Art of Making Everything a Science Bal Ram Singh 3
2. Spirituality, Logic and Science in India: A Philosophical Perspective R.P. Singh 14
  Part II: Physical Sciences      
3. Vaiesika Insights into Science Shashiprabha Kumar 25
4. Fourfold Description of Sound: A Vedic View M.G. Prasad 45
5. Relevance of Vedic Physics in the Contemporary Society Sadasiva Biswal 56
6. Concept of Agni in the Rgveda in the Light of the Physical Sciences Soma Basu and R.K. Saha 69
7. Mechanics in Hindu Literature P. Priyadarshi 88
  Part III: Mathematical Sciences      
8. Numbers and Zero in Vedic Suktas Some Applications and China Contacts Bhu Dev Sharma 105
9. An Unpublished Commentary of the Katyayana Sulbasutra Nabanaragan Bandyopadhyay 127
  Part IV: Chemical Sciences, Environment and Metallurgy      
10. Rasaala, the Ancient Indian A Study on its Construction of Rasasala, List of Required and Kosthiyantras) Dillip Kumar Kar 141
11. High Technology in Ancient Sanskrit Manuscripts C.S.R. Prabhu 162
12. Environmental Science: Vedic Perspective Shashi Tiwari 175
13. Contribution of Ancient India in Production Technology and Mechanical Engineering Chandrabhan Prajapati 195
  Part V: Yoga and Ayurveda      
14. Personality Traits of People Born in Different Sathvatsaras and their Comparison with Modem Psychological Personality Traits: A Study Melukote K. Sridhar 207
15. The Applicative Wonders of Ayurveda: The Mother of All Life Sciences Vaidyaratnam R. Raghavan 228
16. Ayurvedic Medicines: Ancient Roots and Scientific Validation Yamini Bhushan Tripathi 235
  Part VI: Text and Information Encoding in Human Brain and Computer      
17. Unicode Standard for Vaidika Sanskrit: Efforts and Status Swain Swarn Lata, Manoj Jain 257
18. Sanskrit, Whole Brain Learning: And its Importance in the Super Accelerated Learning Theory (Salt) Pandit Ramadheen Ramsamooj 271
    Contributors 287
    Index 297


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