Vedic Science

Vedic Rishis: The ancestors of all Indians

Vedic rishis, the father of all Indians

Some five years ago there was a small news item in a national paper. At that time Jairam Ramesh was the minister of state for environment and forests and he had stated, ”India is losing at least 2000 patents every year on traditional formulations as the knowledge on these has never been documented.”

I wondered whether the politicians, administrators and academics actually knew where their ancient tradition is documented and what it contains. There is a big gap between the English speaking academics and the Vedic pandits. The former tend to think that they are superior and represent India’s intelligentsia. However there is great, often untapped knowledge in the other camp of Sanskrit pandits. Their knowledge might even be more crucial for a harmonious society. Sadly, both groups don’t meet because they don’t understand each other. If they would meet and exchange, India in all likelihood would be a frontrunner in scientific innovation, as well as in philosophy and consciousness research. For example, the statement of the Vedas that Parabrahman desired to transform itself into many, and that Brahman is awareness,  could have let to the discovery that matter is basically energy (or rather awareness), long before Einstein.

Unfortunately the study of India’s tradition was gravely neglected in independent India. It was even demeaned by so called intellectuals whose intellect was obviously challenged or rather brainwashed by British education. With the new government, this pitiable situation might change, and the signals that come from the HRD ministry are encouraging.

Many of the leftist ‘intellectuals’, however, can be expected to shout “saffronisation”. And they usually shout loudly. Sure, everybody has the right to freely express his opinion, but the right to be heard all over the world is reserved for few individuals, and so far, those intellectuals enjoyed this privilege. The Vedic pandits on the other hand, who preserve the traditional knowledge, have been sidelined and even unfairly charged with being the main cause for the backwardness of India.

The bias against the Indian tradition is difficult to understand, except for a lack in self-confidence, because the knowledge that the Rishis uncovered is truly amazing. It is the heritage of all Indians. If any other country had such long history and such great achievements to show, they would stress it on every occasion. Yet in India, this knowledge has been ignored. Instead, academics were ever ready to take up any hypothesis provided it came from the west.

For example, Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Indians don’t realize that westerners have only Darwin or the Church to choose from, and Darwin looks more probable, though not really convincing. Indians have other options: they could consider the possibility that there are cycles from Satya Yuga to Kali Yuga. There is plenty of evidence in Indian scriptures that in ancient times, India was spiritually and technologically highly developed. 

Over the years, a few attempts were made to dig out India’s treasure. For example, in some universities, a course on Indian psychology is now on offer that has been sourced from ancient scriptures and Sri Aurobindo’s deliberations on the topic. This happened only after westerners had added a new stream to western psychology that is based on Vedic insights. Yet the Indian origin of ‘transpersonal psychology’ is not acknowledged.

In regard to psychology and philosophy, ancient India was far ahead of the modern west. Still, even today, Indian psychology students learn the simplistic theories of Pawlov and Skinner, whereas in the west, “consciousness studies” have taken off in many universities and institutes.

Ayurveda is finally appreciated in India again, mainly thanks to the efforts of Swami Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna. Yet here, too, it had made already an impact in the west. The Charaka Samhita, a comprehensive treatise about what constitutes health, how to remain healthy and how to regain health, is about 2500 years old. Shushruta Samhita is another treatise from that time. Many formulations in those treatises have not yet been tested in modern times. Some formulations have been tested and several greatly valued drugs were the result of taking ancient scriptures seriously.

Yet Ayurveda, psychology and of course Yoga are only some aspects of India’s ancient knowledge. There is much more, and so far it was left mainly to foreigners to exploit it for their own benefit.

Important concepts that are uniquely found in the Vedas have meanwhile been proven correct by science. Some other concepts still need to be scrutinized, but never has any concept been proven wrong. Yet most educated Indians are ignorant about their great ancestors and don’t give them the respect they deserve.

For example the credit for the discovery of the earth going around the sun should be given to the Vedic Rishis and not to Copernicus, who lived only a few hundred years ago. Or the credit for the discovery of the solar spectrum of colours and the cosmic rays should be given to them and not to Newton and Hess respectively. Here are a few samples of what a Vedic pandit had translated and written down for me:

  • Earth goes around the sun – Rg Veda 10. 22. 14. and Yajur Veda 3. 6.
  • Sun neither rises nor sets – Atraya Brahman 3’44 and Gopatha Brahman 2’4’10.
  • Sun and whole universe are round – Yajur Veda 20. 23
  • Moon is enlightened by the sun – Yajur Veda 18, 20.
  • There are many suns – Rg Veda 9. 114. 3.
  • Seven colours in the sun – Atharva Veda 7. 107. 1.
  • Electromagnetic field, conversion of mass and energy – Rg 10. 72.

As the ancient Rishis were on target on these issues, their other statements may well also be correct or at least worthy of being taken seriously.

China is not hesitating to extract what it can from its ancient knowledge, and why not? A major part of the money that is worldwide generated through Feng Shui and Acupuncture flows back to China. In contrast, India is getting a measly 2 percent of the money from the huge yoga market in the west, a report stated.

Is it not time that Indians wake up to the treasure hidden in their scriptures which are much older than what western scholars estimated? Those scholars were influenced by the Christian belief that the world was created only some 6000 years back. The Rishis had always thought big and their estimate of the age of (this) universe is collaborated by astronomy. Further, their claim “the world is maya” was ridiculed, but nowadays nobody ridicules it unless he wants to make a fool of himself.

The greatest treasure of India’s wisdom, however, lies in the knowledge of what the human being truly is: he is not a separate person, the Vedas claim. He is one with Brahman. His essence is pure, infinite consciousness. And it is possible to realize this truth by living a dharmic life and doing sadhana. When the mind is stilled by dropping thoughts, the divine dimension of one’s being is accessed. True inspiration and intuition come from this level, and true happiness as well.

And how to drop thoughts? In the Vijnanabhairava, one of the texts of Kashmir Shaivism, 112 methods are described. Maybe they are already patented in the west and come to India in the form of seminars held by foreigners charging hefty fees? The participants from the wealthy elite would not notice.

However, in spite of the lack of traditional knowledge in the English educated classes, Indian tradition is fortunately still alive among many who don’t speak English. They make India still positively stand out among other countries, in spite of the vigorous attempts by media to blacken her image.

These Indians were not brainwashed by the British education against everything “Hindu”. For them, saffron is an auspicious colour signifying that desires and attachment have been burnt in the fire of renunciation. They take the advice of Swamis and Saddhus to live a sattvic life to heart. They don’t need psychological workshops. They still have reverence for their ancestors, though they may not know what their legacy consists of in detail, yet they know the basics like: ‘Ishwar or Brahman is everywhere’ and ‘harming others will harm them in turn’. Many are grateful that especially Brahmins have taken great pains over the millennia and still take pains to preserve the Vedas for posterity by learning an incredibly huge number of shlokas by heart.

If the Indian establishment, too, honours the ancient Vedic rishis and the modern Sanskrit pandits by discovering and spreading their insights, it would not only help character building in a big way, but also would instill pride in Indians to be the offspring of such great ancestors. The Vedic knowledge could again flow out all over, as it has done in earlier times and humanity as a whole would benefit.

~ By Maria Wirth


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  • Excellent. English speaking Indians are also very much interested in our ancient treasures, but they don’t know how to acquire them. Please share some insight into this which can help people like me.

  • i’ve always felt a deep rooted connection to my ancestoral past, and my western education had no explanation to most things, and even if it did. . it never really felt right. learning more about my past has enlighten me and i am in owe of my cultural origins. thank you sanskiti, your collective consciousness has opened mine. thanks

  • Reading this article brings goosebumps all over me.. There are probably close to 2 billion Indians all over the world and yet I guess only a fraction, probably 0.1% (if we say 2 million people) are aware of this and want to make a change.. In many countries Indians are considered illiterate and often ridiculed.. The root nation, India needs to wake up and the time is now!

  • A time will come when Indians will need to go to the West and search for a Guru in the West to learn about themselves.

  • I really enjoyed reading this article from my heart and soul, I liked prem chandran’s reply too we need more and more people to read all the articles from sanskriti and become enlightened and to discover a vedic world. Thank you sanskriti, I would like to know more from you.

  • So much knowledge and wisdom in the ancient civilisations are hidden through ignorance and ineffective communication. It is so sad that indigenious people originating from these very civilisations are seeking outwards when so much is in store within waiting to be discovered.

  • Thank you for your wonderful magazine! I am a westerner with a deep respect for your Vedantic philosophy. It pains me to see the erosion of Sanatana Dharma in Bharat. You must keep these values alive because it is the only hope for our entire planet! When all righteousness dies in the world we will have to live in calamities. I can see the effects of adharmic living in the west; loss of meaning, depression, addiction, materialism and suicide! Use your innate Indian intelligence to see where western values will ruin India just as they are corrupting the whole world. Even the things you crave that are shown in the western media are not real, we are not glamorous educated sexy people like the media shows. Come to the west and you will see loneliness despair and terrible poverty as well! Hollywood is a propaganda machine for the west and does not show the truth. The truth is a society that is ruled by greed and lust and is consuming all its treasures to become an ugly place of sterile parking lots and megastores. We go to India to find relief from the depression and ugliness here. In India people are still alive while in the west we are slowly becoming vegetables in front of our electronic devices. Hold on to your values and have faith that India’s value is in its values!!

    • Respected Rose Kerekes, As an Indian born but living abroad I completely agree with your views and hats off for your analasys about the westren and Indian life. And your support to Sanatana Indian Culture and Dharma. I would like to thank you a lot. May God bless you and people like you. Om Tat Sat!

  • Thank you very much for the great wisdom you have shared. It is not a wonder that most Indians do not know the traditional knowledge. We were not having a system of training our kids about such knowledge. The huge gathering infront of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mata Amruthanandamayi, Sri Ramdev etc shows that people are very much interested in learning and practising our knowledge if people of high integrity explains or teaches them. During our childhood time we were taught absolutely wrongly about our traditions and religion by our parents, teachers and religious people or any old people who were supposed to know all such knowledge. We should find out a mechanism to teach such knowledge to our people from the childhood time onwards.

  • It would be great if people who have the knowledge of the ancient scriptures translate and publish them in English. And, when attested by equally competent people, it would serve to further the cause of deriving further insights. More so, the rights to such knowledge would be truly accredited to these ancients. Or, are these already published and accessible?

  • Have always been thankful to discover Yoga, even but late in life, the loss of which by my daughter led me there. I have always appreciated that it is probably the most untainted form of ancient wisdom handed down by the generations. This view still holds but is further embellished by the common origin of western civilisation development in the written histories of the protoSumerians who established the Indus Valley Civilisation. Just love India and have always felt like coming home on the too few visits managed.

  • My comment might appear to be racist for some…., Science says that Indian populace has 2 distinct gene pool.Which had intermixed resulting current variation. And for lower castes, there is nothing like “Rishi Ancestor” for them. Correct me if I am wrong.

    • According to my knowledge all the races and castes have their ancestral Rishis. That is what I read some time back regarding this matter. Now a days they do not know their ancestral Rishiss because they neglected to give sequence to their ancestrals names and customs considering as those are absolutely unnecessory and blind belief perhaps .

  • India has to claim back its authority from the west about the history of civilization thru the authority of vedic scriptures. It need an english translation by competent scholars like AC Bhaktivedanta swami who has influenced millions of westerner all over the world thru his authoritative translation of Bhagavad Gita as it is, Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures. He has said ” the west is like a body with no head”, it maybe “competent” in material science but are lacking in spiritual science.

  • The problem here is lack of awareness. Most of us were brought up on stories of Mahabharata and various other puranas. When the fact is if we apply our analytical abilities we could unlock a thousand possibilities. It takes no genius to contemplate such thing. All you need is a thought “What if?”. If only we apply rationalism and not consider them godly or religious and should not be questioned, we can usher a new era of consciousness (not religion). Food for thought !