Menstruation Taboos in Mythology | The Rig Vedic Slaying of Vrtra
Mathomathis would like to present an article on The Rig Vedic Slaying of Vrtra Menstruation Taboos in Mythology by Janet Chawla. Author worked with the Ankur-Action India women’s health group to collect stories of women from all classes and religious backgrounds about their experiences with menstruation, pregnancy, birth and mothering. From these interviews emerged two conceptual areas which seemed important. One was ritual pollution. Almost every woman spoke of a…
Nasadiya Sukta is one of the renowned suktha in RigVeda:- 129th suukta of the 10th mandala of the Rigveda. Mathomathis would like to present on the Sukta. nāsad āsīn no sad āsīt tadānīṁ nāsīd rajo no vyomā paro yat | kim āvarīvaḥ kuha kasya śarmann ambhaḥ kim āsīd gahanaṁ gabhīram || 1 || Then even nothingness was not, nor existence, There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it. What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed? na mṛtyur āsīd amṛtaṁ na tarhi na rātryā ahna āsīt praketaḥ | ānīd avātaṁ svadhayā tad ekaṁ tasmād dhānyan na paraḥ kiṁ canāsa || 2 || Then there was neither death nor immortality Nor was there then the torch of night and day. The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was that One then, and there was no other. tama āsīt tamasā gūl̥ham agre ‘praketaṁ salilaṁ sarvam ā idam | tucchyenābhv apihitaṁ yad āsīt tapasas tan mahinājāyataikam || 3 || At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness. All this was only unillumined water. That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing, arose at last, born of the power of heat. kāmas tad agre sam avartatādhi manaso retaḥ prathamaṁ yad āsīt | sato bandhum asati nir avindan hṛdi pratīṣyā kavayo manīṣā || 4 || In the beginning desire descended on it. That was the primal seed, born of the mind. The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom know that which is kin to that which is not. tiraścīno vitato raśmir eṣām adhaḥ svid āsīd upari svid āsīt | retodhā āsan mahimāna āsan svadhā avastāt prayatiḥ parastāt || 5 || And they have stretched their cord across the void, and know what was above, and what below. Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces. Below was strength, and over it was impulse. ko addhā veda ka iha pra vocat kuta ājātā kuta iyaṁ visṛṣṭiḥ | arvāg devā asya visarjanenāthā ko veda yata ābab || 6 || But, after all, who knows, and who can say Whence it all came, and how creation happened? The gods themselves are later than creation, so who knows truly whence it has arisen? iyaṁ visṛṣṭir yata ābabhūva yadi vā dadhe yadi vā na | yo asyādhyakṣaḥ parame vyoman so aṅga veda yadi vā na veda || 7 || Whence all creation had its origin, he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, he, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows – or maybe even he does not know.
Mathomathis would like to present an article on Indic Cosmology and Time Keepers by Kosla Vepa – Indic Studies Foundation. The articles would be broken down into various sections. The following article would represent the basics of the Indic Cosmology and its background, followed by explanation of times and its divisions in subsequent articles In order to understand the Indic approach to history, one must understand the cosmology and the calendar of the Hindu. The calendar and the cosmos have always played a large part in the consciousness or weltanschuung of the Hindu and he spent a large portion of his observational powers in deciphering the universe around him. In this he was not alone, as we know now that other ancient civilizations, such as the Babylonian, the Egyptian and the Chinese had similar interests and a curiosity about the heavens. But the answers the Indic came up with were quite prescient for his time and the resulting numbers were far more accurate than the European world realized or knew, even millennia after the Indic discovered these periodicities. The extraordinary allergy that the Occidentals, with a few notable exceptions, have exhibited to the study of the Indic mathematical tradition, and when they have done so, the vehemence with which they have denied the autochthonous origin of the Indic intellectual traditions, is astonishing to say the least. The consistency with which the Occidental denied the Indic contributions is exemplified in the writings of various Indologists such as Whitney, Bentley Moriz Winternitz Albrecht Weber, W W Rouse Ball, G R Kaye, Thibaut and continues on till today in the works of David Pingree . As we have emphasized, there were exceptions such as Brennand, Playfair, Colebrooke, and Bailly. TH RELUCTANCE OF INDOLOGISTS IN THE OCCIDENT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE VEDIC EPISTEME:- The resulting illiteracy on the part of the western scholar on matters pertaining to India was lethal to the understanding of their own history and leaves Occidental historians, the task of explaining why there was no progress in Europe between the time of the Greek contribution to the mathematical sciences and the flowering of the renaissance resulting in the Keplerian paradigm shift, a period exceeding 1600 years. We are compelled to remark that the sudden explosion of knowledge that took place during the renaissance, occurred shortly after the Jesuits sent 70 scholars to Malabar in the 1500’s . When it came to reconciling himself with the obvious depth of knowledge of the ancient indic ,the occidental had no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the Indic had borrowed everything form Greece. But he is more than reluctant to accept that a massive transfer of knowledge took place from India to Europe, even though the evidence is far more compelling The conventional wisdom in the West was that the Jesuits were sent to convert the Indics to the Christian faith and as a byproduct teach them the finer points of the occidental civilization. In reality it turns out, they were sent to learn a whole host of topics such as navigation, mathematical techniques including trigonometry, and the Indian approach to calendrical astronomy. In short the Jesuits embarked on a systematic study of the Indic episteme, since it was obvious that the Indics had made considerable advances, which the Jesuits were quick to realize were far advance of their own that. We are in the process of chronicling the study of those individuals who in turn studied India or studied subjects in which the Indics had great proficiency, beginning with ancient Babylon to the British, to understand the role that India and the Indic episteme played in the renaissance of Europe. While there is nothing here that can be considered to be morally reprehensible, one wonders why there was the extreme reluctance to admit that they learned from others too. In this one has to concede that the scholar during the heyday of Islam observed a higher degree of ethics than his brethren in the Occident, because he never exhibited the slightest hesitation in attributing to the Indic the episteme that he had learned from him. Author view’s the study of history and philosophy of science as central to the understanding of any civilization and its ethos. And hence we make no apology for the emphasis on science, and especially on Astronomy in our study of history. The Ancient Vedics seemed to have an obsession for precision as well as a fascination for large numbers. They also subscribed to the notion that the planet earth and the solar system were of immense antiquity without a beginning, in contrast to the creationist theories propounded by many in the west till recently. A combination such as this makes an excellent prerequisite for time keeping and for devising a useful and practical calendar. So, they turned to the sky and began to decipher the meaning behind the various cycles and periodicities that they observed, in order to help them plan their activities, such as the planting of their crops Let us see how they went about developing a calendar that would convey a lot of information merely by knowing the day of the month, after constant observation of the sky both during the day and the night over centuries. The result was a highly efficient and accurate calendar. The added bonus of such a system is the usefulness of the recordings of ancient astronomy to decipher the age at which various events took place, and the development of methods now known collectively as Archaeo-astronomy. The basic information they used for purposes of time keeping were the motions of the sun and the moon relative to the earth. So far nothing unusual, as did all the other ancients. The cycles they used including the day, the week, the fortnight and the month are shown in Table 1. 60 ghatikas (or 30 muhurtas or 8 praharas) in a 24-hour period (ahoratra) 15 tithi in a paksha or a fortnight, 15th is Poornima or amavasya The Lunar Month […]
Mathomathis would like to present article on Indian Astronomy | Astronomical Dating of Events | 101 by the author Kosla Vepa Published by Indic Studies Foundation, 948 Happy Valley Rd., Pleasanton, Ca 94566, USA. Their website can be located Indicstudies.us. The studies is also conducted by N.S. Rajaram PhD. Author’s in the volume 1 of thier research start their discussion on a topic called Why are History and the Chronology Important by Kosla Vepa PhD It is taken as largely axiomatic in the study of the History of the Indic peoples, that the civilization that remains extant has been brought into the area by migrating races such as the Aryans, and in fact some would argue, that such a statement holds also for the so called Dravidians of India. According to such a narrative everything that was worth preserving has been handed down to us over the centuries by migrations, within the last 3 1/2 millennia, into the subcontinent, from somewhere else. It is also true that the history that is taught the children of India today is vastly at variance with the puranic accounts handed down to us over several millennia. It is to state it without any embellishments, a revised history that is completely at odds with the traditional history of India. Even so great an effort as the History and Culture of the Indian people edited by RC Majumdar, the most famous of Indian historians at the time of Independence accepts the basic framework, the steel frame, of the History of India as revised by the British colonialists. Fifty years after independence the narrative has not changed and the banner of the colonial version of history is now borne by the Indian left including the Communists and the large part of the Indian political establishment that espouses the Indian version of a political dogma encompassed in the general rubric of Secularism. It is not our contention that History should never be revised, but it should certainly never be done peremptorily at the behest of an invader, simply because the colonial power deems it to be so. Every change that the colonial power has wrought and most of these as can be seen from the table below was introduced by the erstwhile colonial power should be examined for motive and authenticity. Table below describes the inconsistencies in the current narrative of Indian history The inherent contradictions of the Aryan Invasion Theory by the mythic and yet to be identified Aryan race The insistence on clinging to a racial terminology even when it is widely discredited and abandoned elsewhere The insistence that Indic astronomy , geometry and mathematics was not autochthonous to India but was borrowed from the Greek or the Babylonians, without any evidence The origin of the Brahmi script becomes a victim of the ‘anywhere but India’ syndrome Devaluation and denigration of the extent of the ancient Indic contribution to Mathematics and Astronomy Dating of the Mahabharata Dating of the Satapatha Brahmana Dating of the Veda Dating of the Vedanga Jyotish Dating of the Sulva sutras Beginning of the Vikrama era Dating of the Buddha Dating of the Arthasastra Dating of Chandragupta Maurya Dating of Panini’s Ashtadhyayi and consequentially the dating of Panini himself Dating of Aryabhata There are resulting inconsistencies in the chronology of the Indic historical narrative, which is now horribly mangled to fit the straightjacket of British assumptions A substantial percentage of Indians now feel they have a stake in the preservation of this false history and when confronted with the reality of their acquiescence to a false and revised history of their own land by a very recent arrival on the scene, react with irrelevant responses such as “why blame the British” (the issue is not one of blame, and the issue is not about Britain or the British, for after all we are in great admiration of the British for the extraordinary sagacity they displayed in prolonging their imperial rule by every artifice imaginable). We have also dealt with the systematic approach that the British used to remake the weltanschuung of the Indic and to create an international image of the Indic that is much at variance with reality, and the success they achieved in the resulting internalization of these views by the Indic himself in our essay titled The South Asia File. Author’s objective in this seminar is not to recite a litany of grievances against the Occidental (rhymes with oriental) but to give a philosophical underpinning to the long and steady evolution of the Indic civilization it breadth and what is indeed remarkable its staying power. The other great civilizations have either altered significantly or been driven extinct. There is very little left of the Greek civilization (although the west fancies itself the successor to the Greco Roman civilization. The ancient Greeks would be considered Pagans by the established churches today, and hardly any of their life style remains. It is also important to remember that most of the Greek savants were natives of Asia Minor and their life style was more akin to that of Persia than that of France or England, neither of which were pretty far along the Civilization curve, in any event, during that period of history. Importance of Chronology The Indic civilization is for all intents and purposes the only one, amongst the ancients, surviving virtually intact. The Gayatri mantra and the invoking of Savitur are at least 7000 years old. It already asks for enlightenment and not for bread, because they had mastered agriculture and had no problem with adequate food. People (west of the Urals) wonder what happened to the Indus Valley civilization. Nothing dramatic happened they just moved on and their descendants became the Gujaratis, Maharashtrians and other residents of modern India. It is this unbroken continuity that rankles with the Occidental, because he is all too conscious that his own history is replete with wars (e.g. the hundred year’s war between England and France), extinct civilizations, and destruction. Hence, his […]
Mathomathis would like to continue on Upanishads and Quantum Philosophy Compared , 102. Readers can find the previous article by navigating to the link Upanishads and Quantum Philosophy Compared | 101 Chandogya Upanishad refers to the origin of world from akasha, the space-time continuum. Thus the Upanishad says: Where from do all these worlds come? They came from akasha and into akasha they return. akasha is indeed their beginning and akasha is the final end. Taittiriya Upanishad refers to akasha or space as the first evolute. The field of modern science can be compared to this akasha . The Upanishads speaks of apah, prana and akasha in decreasing order of subtlety. Here akasha is said to have come from prana. These three are active and things are produced from them and into them they return. This is the similar to the concept of the particles appearing from nowhere which again is the field. Thus apah, prana and akasha can together be compared to the field of the quantum thinkers. Manifestation of the world begins with its first step, the appearance of the space time continuum. Consciousness draws the picture of the manifested world in the canvas of space-time continuum. An object is only a pattern in the field of consciousness. The field is enveloped by space time, the first fictitious creation of the consciousness force. In the state of pralaya the space-time is engulfed into the Absolute consciousness. Thus says the lore of India: From atman-Brahman in the beginning came akahsa. From akasha came air, from air the fire, from fire the water. From water came solid earth. From earth came living plants. From plants food and seed; and from seed and food came a living being, man. This is akin to quantum inter-connectedness which Wheeler refers to as quantum foam. Thus writes John Gribbin: Quantum fluctuations in the geometry of space are completely negligible at the scale of atoms, or even elementary particles, but at this very fundamental level space itself can be thought of as a foam of quantum fluctuations – John Wheeler, who developed this idea, makes the comparison between an ocean that seems flat to an aviator flying high above it, but that seems anything but to the occupants of a lifeboat tossing about it on its stormy, ever-changing surface. Sir James Jeans, the British psychologist points to the relative nature of space and time which according to him do not have separate existence in nature. He opines, …nature knows as nothing of space and time separately, being concerned only with the four dimensional continuum in which space and time are inseparably welded together into the product we may designate as “space-time.” Our human spectacles divide this into space and time, and introduce a spurious differentiation between them; just as an astigmatic pair of spectacles divides the field of vision of a normal man into horizontal and vertical, and introduces a spurious differentiation between these directions. With astigmatic spectacles on, we incline our head and see the scene in front of us rearrange itself. Yet we know that nothing spectacles is subjective. Einstein’s world view which he formulated before his death is worth quoting. “Space has devoured ether and time; it seems to be on the point of swallowing up also the field and the corpuscles, so that it alone remains as the vehicle of reality”. Scientists studying space and field have ruled out the pluralistic picture of the universe since they accept the space or field as a single continuous entity which is the basis of the pluralistic manifestation of the world. The new generation quantum thinkers realized the role of space in the creation and dissolution of particles. Particles come from and vanish into space. Space, time, and motion (matter) are the three principles in the world of ordinary experience. Like space matter also has a relative appearance, both scientists as well as upanishadic seers opine. The study of the microscopic world by the quantum physicists has proved the bizarre nature of matter. Determinacy and causality upheld by the classical physics gave way to the theories of indeterminacy and complementarity. Objective reality became an illusion or something subjective. The behavior of an atom or sub-atomic particle was found to be ghost-like. Marcus Chown’s humorous illustration of the ‘red Ferrari’ cited earlier in this work brings out the process of tunneling by particles. Being a wave and a particle, an atom is said to be present everywhere and would materialize when the consciousness desires to observe it. The ‘double slit experiment’ of Young is an excellent demonstration of uncertainty and tunneling of particles. The waves are in superposition. This is no theoretical fantasy. Experiments describe it possible to observe the presence of an atom at two places simultaneously just like a fairy tale character appearing simultaneously at many places. But this was not a matter of fancy to the ancient Seers according to whom ‘it’ moves, ‘it’ moves not, ‘it’ is far, ‘it’ is near, ‘it’ is within all this, and ‘it’ is outside of all this. (Isho upanishad). Individual consciousness is identical with the Universal or Absolute consciousness. The ultimate consciousness in its becoming decohered binds itself with ignorance or illusion and chooses for it one out of the innumerable possibilities. It thus becomes a part of the world of imperfection and limitation and forgets the unity it is the part of. While scientists call this collapse of consciousness, a Seer like Sri. Aurobindo calls it the involution of consciousness. Universal Consciousness is thus everywhere, become any thing with its bizarre nature. Aitareya Upanishad describes atman as got entangled in all cosmic phenomena. (He) whereby one sees, or whereby one hears, or whereby one smells odours, or whereby one articulates speech, or whereby one discriminates the sweet and the unsweet; that which is heart(hrdaya) and mind (manas) – that is consciousness (samjnana) perception (ajnana), discrimination (vijnana), intelligence (prajnana), wisdom (medha), insight (drishti), steadfastness (dhrti), thought (mati), thoughtfulness (manisha), impulse (juti), memory (smriti), conception (samkalpa), purpose […]
The following article on Cosmo Graphical Mapping by JOSEPH E. SCHWARTZBERG is a continuation from the Previous article Cosmo Graphical Mapping | Cosmographies In Hindu Tradition | 103. Apart from painted cosmographies, a half-dozen cosmographic globes (bhugolas), all based largely on Puranic texts, are known to exist. These are of types described by Hindu astronomers, as far back as Aryabhata (b. A.D. 476). Two of these five globes are found today at the British Museum in London, and one each are at the Victoria and Albert Museum, also in London; the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford; and the Bharat Kala Bhavan in Varanasi. Author tries to refer to them as BM(A), BM(B), VA, Oxford, and BKB globes. The sixth globe was reported to Gole by N. P. Joshi of the Archaeological Survey of India, who saw it in an Indian village (location unknown). The simplest of the five globes studied, the VA globe, is a solid wooden sphere, about nineteen centimetres in diameter (shown in previous articles – Figure 5). This globe is believed to have been made in Orissa in the early to mid-nineteenth century. On it land is colored mainly in yellow, mountain ranges in a lighter peach tone, rivers in white, oceans in several colors, among which gray is most common, and text in red. The northern hemisphere of this globe shows Jambudvipa according to the four-continent earth conception (catur-dvipa vasumati). It is depicted by a lotus with four petals whose tips virtually reach the equator. East-west mountain ranges extend across each petal: there are three ranges on each of two petals (those that appear to be centered on 0° and 180° longitude) and only one on each of the others (those that appear to be centered on 90° east and west longitude). The northernmost and southernmost of the former set of ranges are shown as forested. Near what would be the northern pole, a circle within a square denotes Mount Meru, and that appears within a larger square just north of the northernmost mountain ranges. From near Mount Meru, originating within the larger square, rivers flow southward through the middle of each continent. Painted in the four inlets of ocean that separate the northern hemisphere continents are aquatic animals, boats, and four white palaces signifying the cities of Lanka, Romaka, Siddhapura, and Yamakoti, described by astronomers as occupying cardinal points on the equator. The southern hemisphere differs completely from the northern. With its six ring continents and intervening oceans, it is essentially like that of the four globes still to be discussed. Interestingly, three of the southern ring oceans are in colors other than the prevailing gray-tan, pink, and turquoise. Substantial text, written in a rather tiny Devanagari script, appears on the globe, but neither transliterations nor translations are available at present. Finally, there are unnumbered black tick marks at five-degree intervals South Asian Cartography along the prime meridian, along another meridian approximately 150 degrees to the west (in the northern hemisphere only), and around the equator. Much older and more interesting than the preceding globe is a not-quite-spherical thin brass container on which is inscribed not only a hybrid cosmography, but also a wealth of minute pictorial detail and text in Devanagari script. This artifact (plate 26), held by the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford, has been the object of detailed scholarly scrutiny by Simon Digby, who considers it not only from the perspective of traditional Indian cosmology, but also as an art historian. Supplementing Digby’s observations are a pair of diagrams kept within the sphere that provide a complete inventory of the regional features it portrays. Many of these features are also found on the BKB globe (Figure: 6, from the previous article), to which Digby’s observations also are largely applicable. Rather exceptionally, the creator of the bhugola at Oxford, one Ksemakarna, undoubtedly a Brahman, inscribed on it both his own name and the date of his work, Saka 1493 (A.D. 1571). The area of provenance, however, is not known. Digby presents evidence for several possibilities but seems to favor the view that the globe was fashioned for a wealthy patron from Saurashtra. He also suggests that the globe’s function was primarily utilitarian, probably for storing food or condiments, and that “the depiction of the regions of the earth upon it was an elegant conceit suggested by its shape.” The mean equatorial diameter of the bhugola is about 26 centimetres, and its height 22 centimetres. Joined by a hinge at the equator, both hemispheres are slightly flattened, but the northern one, though essentially round, comes to a rather gently sloping polar peak. Tick marks at one-degree intervals are inscribed around the equator and small circles are etched in at ninety-degree intervals. The bhugola’s cosmography draws primarily on Puranic sources but modifies their content in light of knowledge derived from post-Ptolemaic Sanskrit astronomers, reconciling the two “in an unscriptural but rational manner.” The upper half of the container represents the continent of Jambudvipa, and the subequatorial remainder, except for the anomalously positioned islands of Lanka and Palanka (= ?), is given over to the other six ring-shaped continents and their intervening oceans in concentric latitudinal bands. These continents necessarily diminish in size toward the southern pole, “in contrast to the common Puranic account in which they increase in size by geometrical progression (2, 4, 8 … ). As on the bhugola the largest ring of land is the closest to the Equator, they also in fact enclose one another in inverse order to that prescribed in the Puranas.” Digby notes that “theoretical distances” are inscribed in yojanas at the equator, but not below it; but he neglects to indicate which features those distances apply to. Meru-over which, astronomers reasoned, Dhruva (the Pole Star) was situated-is positioned at the northern pole rather than at the center of the four quarters of the world, which was the usual Puranic view. This placement meant that if the southernmost Puranic continent, Bharatavarsa […]