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Ancient Hindu Science and the effect on the world – I

Upto 15% of the entire disease in mankind is related to mental illness, according to the WHO. The brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) (the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter) level of the brain is the major contributor to the mental disorders. Disorders like Depression and anxiety disorders are linked to lower GABA levels. As per a recent study at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and McLean Hospital, practising Yoga elevates the GABA levels. When two groups were studied, one doing Yoga for one hour and other reading a book, it was learnt that the former had 27% increase in the GABA levels compared to the other group. This study shows promise of use of Yoga in handling diseases like depression, anxiety and epilepsy.

Yoga is not just a one dimension wonder. It affects the whole body in a comprehensive way that promotes complete well-being. Even if the “spiritual results” may not be one’s aim, the physical benefits are immeasurable and are being discovered daily. In fact recently the National Cancer Institute has provided University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center a grant worth more than $4.5 million “to study the efficacy of incorporating yoga into the treatment program of women with breast cancer”. Here is a compilation of some benefits of Yoga:

Quality of life for Cancer Survivors: (May 2010) Cancer survivors who perform gentle yoga report they sleep better, feel less fatigued and enjoy better quality of life, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, which is presenting the largest study of this kind at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in June.

Yoga effective for Chronic Back Pain: (Nov. 2009) Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center found that yoga may be more effective than standard treatment for reducing chronic low back pain in minority populations. This study appears in the November issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

Yoga reduces cytokine levels, which promote inflammation: (January 2010) Regularly practicing yoga exercises may lower a number of compounds in the blood and reduce the level of inflammation that normally rises because of both normal aging and stress, a new study, done by Ohio State University researchers and just reported in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine has shown. that women who routinely practiced yoga had lower amounts of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in their blood. The women also showed smaller increases in IL-6 after stressful experiences than did women who were the same age and weight but who were not yoga practitioners.

Yoga poses prevent falls among elderly women: (April 2008) Dr. Jinsup Song and researchers at the School of Podiatric Medicine and the College of Health Professions examined the gait and postural stability of 24 elderly females who were enrolled in an Iyengar yoga program specifically designed for those over 65. They found that at the end of the nine-week program, participants had a faster stride, an increased flexibility in the lower extremities, an improved single-leg stance and increased confidence in walking and balance.

Yoga reduces Bullying in School: Boulder students’ self reported a decrease by 60% in their own bulling behavior and a 42% decrease in regard to being bullied by others at school A comprehensive yoga program can greatly reduce violence and bullying, but, the long term lasting effects are still unclear. The results of this intervention acknowledge yoga as an effective method for increasing anger management skills and decreasing physical outbursts of violence for upper elementary school age children during the time of implementation. The study was conducted by Dee Marie, M.A., CYT1, Grace Wyshak, PhD2, George H Wyshak, DMD, PhD3.; American Medical Association Alliance, Boulder, CO.; Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.; and AHIMSA Non-profit Organization, Boulder, CO.

Yoga’s origin lies in Hindu scriptures. The main branches of yoga are Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. These are expounded and explained in different scriptures.

Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.[10] Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

Yoga has a historical legacy that can be traced to Indus Valley Civilization.

The Vedic Samhitas contain references to ascetics, while ascetic practices (tapas) are referenced in the Bra-hman.as (900 to 500 BCE), early commentaries on the Vedas.[18] Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300-1700 B.C.E.) sites in Pakistan depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose, showing “a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga”, according to archaeologist Gregory Possehl.[19] Some type of connection between the Indus Valley seals and later yoga and meditation practices is speculated upon by many scholars, though there is no conclusive evidence.

What is Yoga? According to Yogasutra of Patanjali, Yoga is defined as:

( yogas’ citta-vr.tti-nirodhah. )
– Yoga Sutras 1.2

Which as per Swami Vivekananda means: “Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).”.

I personally disagree with this definition. Citta (pronounced as Chit) comes from the same root in sanskrit as Chetna and, therefore, is not mind. It is not even the “intelligence” of a sentient being or IQ as in how a being can articulate through his body and mind. It is, on the other hand, the intelligence of the consciousness. The primordial consciousness state is the state of Chit. When the primordial state takes on a “form” or creational states, then the consciousness has manifest as Creation as we know it. Sat-Chit-Anand has most often has been referred to that state. Sat (Truth), Chit (Pure and Primordial Intelligence) and Anand (or bliss from cessation of dualities) are the adjectives or characteristics of the primordial consciousness.

Also, the word “Nirodhah” is not restraining, but curing or keeping blemish-free. Yoga is the effort to take a consciousness entangled in Creational forms to its basic primordial state – of Chit. It is a way to “cure” the primordial chit from all the vrittis (forms) it has taken up.

This leads us to the discussion of Chakras – the core of Yoga. Accupuncture and Yoga are two of the health disciplines which do not use the regular physiological basis to work on body. Yet, the claimed benefits have been recorded, studied in detail and confirmed to be true.

While accupuncture works on channels and points where qi and Blood flow, Yoga works on energy channels similar to “Qi” called nadis. The intersections of nadis are known as Chakras. While modern biologists and scientists can see the benefits from Yoga exactly as explained by the Masters, they interestingly pooh-pooh the foundational explanation of why it works according to its orginators as mythical and mystical.

The reaction from the medical fraternity about Yoga’s claims in terms of benefits and its underlying reasoning has been one of superstitious disbelief. For, if someone created something that works exactly as it promises, then the reasoning behind why it works as articulated by the creator of “technology”, despite having no equivalence to anything that modern science has unveiled in the last 400 years, may be true as well.

Just that modern science has not been able to figure out the way to study that mechanism nor its significance in the very working of the body. Though Subjective, the experiences of Yogis, are “reproducible experiences that can be achieved by anyone performing certain introspective practices”.

This superstitious disbelief of the medical fraternity is further exacerbated by the fact this fraternity itself, despite its incredible advancements has not created anything close to the potency, simplicity, and profundity of Yoga despite a crying need for health care for normal people to prevent illnesses.

Reluctantly, yet surely, as evidenced by the $4.5 million grant to MD Anderson, they would rather assimilate Yoga – created on “mythical and mystical science” – into their own health care structure as opposed to create something better based on “concrete Scientific knowledge”.

And this brings one to the most fundamental question – that was best articulated by Hardy when he read Ramanujam’s papers, while others rejected them outright thinking the content to be fantastic and without rigor:

“[theorems] defeated me completely; I had never seen anything in the least like them before.”… and the theorems therefore “must be true, because, if they were not true, no one would have the imagination to invent them.” (emphasis added)

If you think you are the most advanced generation with knowledge in a certain field, yet. And you still cannot create anything remotely close to the significance and benefits of something done, reportedly 4000 years back. And, you are not willing to take the reasoning of the creators of that knowledge seriously, while harping on the primacy of your knowledge. Then surely there is something inherently blinding about your view of exploration of knowledge itself. Such men and women cannot, by any imagination, be the pall-bearers of Scientific method and exploration.

If ideology leads you, if ego dictates your experimentation, if prejudice stops you from even the obvious, then pray, how are you any different from a ideologically blind individual?

The truth is that world of science is infested with such egotist, megalomaniacal men and women masquerading as people of science.

Not all the scientists are in such denial. Some see the obvious flaw of running down esoteric explanations of those who have done remarkable work before them.

Richard W. Maxwell is a private practice clinical neuropsychologist. He became intrigued with the concept of Chakras and looked at it more deeply. His observations and conclusions, though very preliminary do seem to point into a direction where modern science can learn something by deeper exploration of the Hindu Scriptural evidence of Yoga.

He explains the roots of confusion in modern science as it approaches the root of Yoga – the Chakras – as they are defined by different Yogic proponents:

……three aspects of chakras (components in the CNS, components in the ANS, and components in the endocrine system) that are variously intermingled by these authors. When abstract concepts such as “vortices of etheric matter” are also included, the potential for a scientific analysis appears hopeless.

[Central nervous system (CNS) ,Autonomic nervous system (ANS)]

Then Maxwell asks the obvious question:

….if chakras were truly independent of physical structures, why would there be any correspondence with physical locations? This dilemma can be resolved only if there are physical systems at least closely related to chakras through which the physical effects of chakras are manifest.

He argues that the little known “Gap Junctions” are the answers. These Gap junctions play supplementary and complementary role in the body to the physiological channels like blood vessels and neurons.

Gap junctions are hydrophilic passages between the cytoplasm of two adjacent cells created by a hexagonal array of connexin proteins, and probably a newly discovered family of pannexin proteins (Söhl, Maxeiner, and Willecke 2005) (see Figure 1). Approximately twenty different connexin related genes have been identified on the human and mouse genomes (Evans and Martin 2002). Gap junctions composed of different connexins have different conductance and gating properties associated with exchange of small molecules and ions capable of creating electrical conductance (Bukauskas and Verselis 2004). Gap junctions play an important role in synchronizing endocrine secretion (Berthoud et al. 2000; Røttingen and Iversen 2000; Funabashi et al. 2001; Meda 2003), in the function of the heart (Verheule et al. 1997; Dhein 1998), in the synchronized firing of neurons (Colwell 2000; Bou-Flores and Berger 2001; Solomon, Chon, and Rodriguez 2003; Hewitt et al. 2004), in interactions between neurons and glial cells (Cotrina and Nedegaard 2000; Kirchhoff, Dringen, and Giaume 2001), and in coordinating activity in many embryological processes.

The Gap junctions are most dense during the embryological development and play a significant role. The process of gap junctions have been found to affect the entire development process of the body and also playing a significant role in many situations and disorders in physiology. Such as:

  • left-right patterning (Levin and Mercola 1998)
  • development of limb buds (Makarenkova et al. 1997; Law et al. 2002)
  • migration and survival of neural crest cells (Huang et al. 1998; Bannerman et al. 2000; Cai et al. 2004)
  • heart development (Ewart et al. 1997)
  • development of the nervous system (Dermietzel et al. 1989; Menichella et al. 2003; Montoro and Yuste 2004; Tang et al. 2006)
  • control of tumor growth (Naus 2002)
Also read:  Of Mysteries, History Channel and Vivekananda on the Vedas!

Embryological development is deeply affected by the gap junctions role in cell management – proliferation, boundary creation etc. Also, significantly, electrical coupling of neurons through gap junctions precedes the chemical synaptic activity in early development. The gap junctions are highly concentrated in the neural folds along the spinal cord and in the brain – areas where the Chakras are supposed to be.

The practice of meditation and yoga may be affecting and accentuating the electrical circuits along the neural pathways, which in certain circumstances play a more important role than Chemical Synaptic Systems. Maxwell argues:

As a yoga practitioner becomes more adept, subtler systems using gap junctions could be activated, changing energetic states in groups of cells, including opening connections between different compartments within the glial syncytium. Yogic practices could also stimulate increases in the number of gap junction connections.

If Chakras are the “Gap Junctions”, then what is Sushumna Nadi?

The subtlest component of the sushumna (brahma-nadi) (Feuerstein 1997, 63) is expressed through a column of cells remaining in the region where the edges of the neural plate joined to form the neural tube.

Maxwell might be taking the first steps into the “How” of the Yoga. These steps, nevertheless, are not going to answer the question of “Why”, something that Yogis had ably grappled with to come up with their creation.

As “mythical and mystical” as the ancient Hindu Sciences and their approaches are made to be, it is worth exploring if indeed, those men and women had no sense of logical exploration? From the admissions of inspiration the pioneers of QM to the success and profundity of Yoga and Yogic experiences, one has seen the conclusions of the highest wisdom, without being able to “trace the steps”. But was the creation of Yoga done on a mere hunch? Did the conclusions of Vedantic rishis just mere story telling which happens to inspire the leading lights of Quantum and Unified Field Physicists even today?

If one could see a level of sophistication in enquiry of more mundane sciences, then one could with a reasonable sense conjecture that there was after all a “Method to the Madness”.

Mathematics and Astronomy

Daivajna Vara-hamihira, who served in Gupta king Vikramaditya’s court, compiled Pancasiddhantika – which comprised: Surya Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and Paitamaha Siddhanta. One of these, Surya Siddhanta had the following calculations:

  • sidereal year = 365.2563795 days only 1.4 seconds longer than the modern value of 365.2563627 days.
  • tropical year = 365.2421756 days only 2 seconds shorter than the modern value of 365.2421988 days.

Surya Siddhanta not only had the above calculations but also the trigonometric functions. It not only introduced Sine (Jya), Cosine (Kojya) and Inverse sine (Otkram jya); but also had used Tangent and Secant functions in their early times.

The antiquity and the authorship of Surya Siddanta is not known. The concepts had been passed through many generations and come from Vedic scriptures.

Arithmetic operations (Ganit) such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, squares, cubes and roots are enumerated in the Narad Vishnu Purana attributed to Ved Vyas (pre-1000 BC). Examples of geometric knowledge (rekha-ganit) are to be found in the Sulva-Sutras of Baudhayana (800 BC) and Apasthmaba (600 BC) which describe techniques for the construction of ritual altars in use during the Vedic era. It is likely that these texts tapped geometric knowledge that may have been acquired much earlier, possibly in the Harappan period. Baudhayana’s Sutra displays an understanding of basic geometric shapes and techniques of converting one geometric shape (such as a rectangle) to another of equivalent (or multiple, or fractional) area (such as a square). While some of the formulations are approximations, others are accurate and reveal a certain degree of practical ingenuity as well as some theoretical understanding of basic geometric principles. Modern methods of multiplication and addition probably emerged from the techniques described in the Sulva-Sutras.

Linguistics and Sanskrit

Panini was not just a mathematician, but one who set the rules of Sanskrit grammar called Ashtadhyayi:

He is known for his Sanskrit grammar, particularly for his formulation of the 3,959 rules[2] of Sanskrit morphology in the grammar known as Ashtadhyayi (As.t.a-dhya-yi-, meaning “eight chapters”), the foundational text of the grammatical branch of the Vedanga, the auxiliary scholarly disciplines of Vedic religion.

Panini-Backus form, which forms the foundation of Functional programming (FP), is basically a morphed form of Panini’s rules of describing the Sanaskrit language grammar.

Ferdinand de Saussure, professor of Sanskrit, also known as father of modern structural linguistics was greatly influenced by Panini’s Sanskrit rules for grammar as he mentioned in his works including De l’emploi du genitif absolu en sanscrit (1881), a monograph on the genitive absolute. Even on American structuralists, Leonard Bloomfield and Naom Chomsky, his influence has been obvious and profound.

It is remarkable that someone from 4th BCE has had such a profound effect on the world of grammar and computing 2500 years after his seminal work of Ashtadhyayi.

Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology

It is often argued that study of Astrology lies in the realm of superstition. When an ex-minister of Indian Government suggested Ancient Indian Astrology to be one of the courses of study for higher college education, many critics emerged. They depended more on rhetoric – borne out of simplistic, dogmatic and prejudicial impression of how the history of any discipline ought to be studied rather than a scholastic understanding. I wanted to look at this topic in a more detailed manner.

I argue that there is a very strong link between how the need for astrology created the market for advancement in the knowledge of mathematics and geometry on one hand as also astronomy on the other. It is imperative to understand how the greatest inventions – often credited to European scholars due to the colonial orientation of history writers – from India indeed influenced the world of mathematics and astronomy as we know it today.

While the direction that the science and mathematics of today may have taken may be different than what Hindu Scientific mind took, but the roots and influence on today’s works is unmistakable.

The one treatise which strongly links the three – Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology is Vedanga Jyotisa. It dates back to at least 1200 BC.

Vedanga Jyotisa actually is a recension of Rig Vedic and Yajurvedic verses. That dates the original knowledge to around 2000 BC, as per established modern dates, although vedic traditions depended more on oral traditions.

The astronomical treatise contains details astronomical calculations, calendrical studies, and establishes rules for empirical observation. Its antiquity and relation to the most fundamental Vedic scriptures, makes this treatise as the foundational one for the understanding of Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrological progress in Ancient India.

Note: If mathematics of Aryabhat and the various mathematicians have to be celebrated, you have to understand the applied knowledge that made all that possible. The reason why the ancient Indians delved into Astronomy, geometry and mathematics was to help them understand the constellations so predictions could be made. Any time is good for anything, they knew as much, but they had the pragmatism to realize that it helps to do something at a time when the nature is aiding you as well. Whether astrology is spiritually, morally, or even statistically correct or workable is not the question. The question is does it help? To the Ancient Indians, it was important enough to fuel their need to discover the heights of mathematics and geometry that served the world rather well. You cannot understand the origins of Indian mathematics without having any respect or understanding of the foundations and basics of Indian astrology.

How important was India’s contribution to world of mathematics? Let’s listen to someone who has made seminal contribution to the modern mathematics. After all, its better to listen to a qualified and celebrated doctor than a quack who makes his/her living writing critiques full of rhetoric sans any hard evidence. Therefore, if I need to understand the centrality of India’s contribution in Modern mathematics, it would serve me best to listen to the best in history.

It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by the means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position, as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit, but its very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions, and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest minds produced by antiquity. – French mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace (1749-1827) on significance of the development of the positional number system

We begin our story with the journey of one of greatest Sages of Europe, often totally sidelined (and of whom some consider to be so similar in life to Jesus Christ, that they allege Vatican authorities have burned and wiped out books of and on him in an attempt to save a non-existent Jesus Christ).

Also read:  Bhagat Singh-Sukhdev-Rajguru were Terrorists: Indian History Book!

Apollonius’ Tryst with India

Apollonius of Tyana lived in Turkey in the 1st CE. He was a physician. He was the follower of Pythagoras. Apollonius was born in 4 BCE to wealthy parents. In his teens, he had seeked company of great philosophers of the temple of Asklepios. At age 16, under the influence of the teachings of Pythagoras, he became a vegetarian (regarding only productions of earth as pure), stopped drinking wine, walked barefoot and let his hair long while wearing only linen. Pythagoran teachings included reincarnation, vegetarianism, and keeping silent for number of years as part of a spiritual practice. These found strong echoes with the fundamental components of Hinduism.. There is a strong belief amongst many that Pythagoras himself was infuenced by Indian religious and spiritual tradition:

The Greek philosopher Pythagoras (c. 580-c. 500 bce) may have obtained his doctrine of metempsychosis (transmigration, or passage of the soul from one body to another; see reincarnation) from India, mediated by Achaemenian (6th-4th century bce) Persia, but similar ideas were known in Egypt and were certainly present in Greece before the time of Pythagoras. The Pythagorean doctrine of a cyclic universe may also be derived from India (Encyclopedia Brittanica

His spirituality was clearly influenced by the Vedic spirituality.

” It is more likely that Pythagoras was influenced by India than by Egypt. Almost all the theories, religions, philosophical and mathematical taught by the Pythagoreans, were known in India in the sixth century B.C., and the Pythagoreans, like the Jains and the Buddhists, refrained from the destruction of life and eating meat and regarded certain vegetables such as beans as taboo” The Legacy of India By G. T. Garratt – [Note from Desh: the only issue with this past of the book is that while Pythagoras lived from 580 BC to 500 BC, Gautama Buddha lived from 563 BCE to 483 BCE, so at best they were contemporaries. It is doubtful that one would have been influenced by the other in real time. Buddha attained Enlightenment at the age of 35.]

Apollonius went to East in India and came in touch with the Sage named Iarchas. Iarchas was known to do miracles – like touch a cripple and heal him, or give sight to the blind or cure a paralytic. The popular story of their meeting suggests that Iarchas knew his name, to which Apollonius asked “How can you know all these things?”. To which Iarchas replied, “We begin by knowing ourselves”. Apollonius then learned under Iarchas the secrets of Hindu spiritual practices including pujas, yantras, mantras. Yantras consecrated by Apollonius were popular in Europe many years after his death.

Apollonius said of the Sages of India:

“I saw Indian Brahmans living upon the Earth and yet not on it, and fortified without fortifications, and possessing nothing, yet having the riches of all men.” . . . [Damis] said he saw them levitating themselves two cubits high from the ground, not for the sake of miraculous display, for they disdain any such ambition; but they regard any rites they perform, in thus quitting earth and walking with the Sun, as acts of homage acceptable to the God. Moreover, they neither burn upon an altar nor keep in stoves the fire which they extract from the sun’s rays, although it is a material fire; but like the rays of sunlight when they are refracted in water, so this fire is seen raised aloft in the air and dancing in the ether. — Philostratus, bk 3, pp. 257, 259 (Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius, trans. F. C. Conybeare, bk 1, p. 51)

Also, the concept of high numbers to the level of a trillion is very amply articulated in the Vedas:

By the time of the last Veda, the Yajurvedasam.hita- (1200-900 BCE), numbers as high as 1012 were being included in the texts.[20] For example, the mantra (sacrificial formula) at the end of the annahoma (“food-oblation rite”) performed during the as’vamedha (“horse sacrifice”), and uttered just before-, during-, and just after sunrise, invokes powers of ten from a hundred to a trillion.[20] The Satapatha Brahmana (9th century BCE) contains rules for ritual geometric constructions that are similar to the Sulba Sutras.

The availability of Pythagorean theorems much before his birth, and the fact that learned man himself was influenced heavily by the scriptures and philosophy of India, it is not without basis, that one would wonder if the Pythagorus theorem in geometry was indeed his own? There is a strong impact that Hindu Spiritual and Material Sciences – including mathematics and astronomy had on contemporary discoverers.

Let us now move to some other evidence of scientific methodical thinking that surrounded the everyday living and works.

Cartography and Architectural History

The history of cartography or town planning – in very detailed manner – reminiscent of current science and method.

Based on archaeological and textual evidence, Joseph E. Schwartzberg (2008)—a University of Minnesota professor emeritus of geography—traces the origins of Indian cartography to the Indus Valley Civilization (ca. 2500–1900 BCE).[12] The use of large scale constructional plans, cosmological drawings, and cartographic material was known in India with some regularity since the Vedic period (1 millennium BCE).[12] Climatic conditions were responsible for the destruction of most of the evidence, however, a number of excavated surveying instruments and measuring rods have yielded convincing evidence of early cartographic activity.[13] Schwartzberg (2008)—on the subject of surviving maps—further holds that: ‘Though not numerous, a number of map-like graffiti appear among the thousands of Stone Age Indian cave paintings; and at least one complex Mesolithic diagram is believed to be a representation of the cosmos.’

Medicine and Surgery

Perhaps the earliest surgeries in India were done on teeth for the earliest drilling of teeth have been found as far back as 7000 BC. People of the Indus Valley Civilization from the early Harappan times had knowledge of medicine and dentistry.

The earliest name of a surgeon is of Dhanavantri. Although modern historical accounts place him as a student in the Sushruta school, Dhanavantri in Hindu scriptures happens to be a Divine character.

In any case, Sushruta taught and practiced surgery near Benares in 600 BC. Details of his work are given in Sushruta Samhita.
It is remarkable in that it provides details on the “examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments, as well as procedures on performing various forms of plastic surgery, such as cosmetic surgery and rhinoplasty.”

Egypt and India

Now let us move to the other civilization that is often considered to be the only contemporary of the Indian Vedic Civilization. Some often say that Egypt was as advanced as India was at that time. However, there are indications that India may have had profound impact on Egypt as well at that time.

Discovery of Nile by John Hanning Speke

John Hanning discovered the source of Nile and wrote about it in an essay in 1859. Intriguingly, he didn’t get the hint of its source from Egyptians, who had little idea of it. Instead, he claims to have found his clues from the Hindu Puranas:

Colonel Rigby now gave me a most interesting paper, with a map attached to it, about the Nile and the Mountains of the Moon. It was written by Lieutenant Wilford, from the “Purans” of the Ancient Hindus. As it exemplifies, to a certain extent, the supposition I formerly arrived at concerning the Mountains of the Moon being associated with the country of the Moon, I would fain draw the attention of the reader of my travels to the volume of the “Asiatic Researches” in which it was published. (5) It is remarkable that the Hindus have christened the source of the Nile Amara, which is the name of a country at the north-east corner of the Victoria N’yanza. This, I think, shows clearly, that the ancient Hindus must have had some kind of communication with both the northern and southern ends of the Victoria N’yanza.

The main essay he was referring to was the On Egypt from the Ancient Book of the Hindus (Asiatic Researchers Vol. III, 1792), which was written by Lt. Colonel Wilford where he provided rich evidence showing that ancient Indians had come to and settled in Egypt. Given that Speke also found Puranic evidence shows that there was a “back and forth” communication.

Indologist and Sanskritist Sir William Jones also wrote in Asiatic Researches, Volume I: “Of the cursory observations on the Hindus, which it would require volumes to expand and illustrate, this is the result, that they had an immemorial affinity with the old Persians, Ethiopians and Egyptians, the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Tuscans, the Scythians, or Goths, and Celts, the Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvians.”

Reference Links:

Yoga and elevated brain GABA levels
Study: Yoga Improves Sleep, Quality of Life for Cancer Survivors
Researchers find yoga may be effective for chronic low back pain
Yoga reduces cytokine levels known to promote inflammation
4.5 million grant for study of yoga and cancer
Poses can prevent falls
Yoga Prevents Bullying in School
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 2, Part 2 By James Hastings
Apollonius of Tyana — An Adept to Remember
A study of the similarities between Hinduism and Ancient Egyptian Religion
The Discover of the Source of the Nile
History of Indian science and technology
History of Surgery
Susruta of India, an unrecognized contributor to the history of exercise physiology

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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