Discussions are always going on about how advanced science and technology was in our old civilization; there have been references like use of Pushpak Viman by Lord Ram. Honestly, one does not really know how to handle such discussions. Discussions about old civilizations are mainly based on religious dialogues and sentiments. Religion is a matter of faith not knowledge. When you try to marry the two there is confusion. This issue is perhaps there, in every faith. However, the problem is accentuated, when to this mismatch of knowledge and religion, politics is added.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deo made a statement that there was internet during Mahabharata. Mr. Deb is not the first politician to claim that modern day technology existed in mythology. In January, Satyapal Singh, a junior education minister in PM Modi’s cabinet, criticized the theory of evolution, claiming “nobody saw apes turn into human“. In February, he said ‘mantras‘ had codified Newton’s Laws of Motion.
Now this is a topic that is always going to generate heat, and heat it is generating. What is correct and what is wrong is individual choice; this sometimes is blinded by faith, every body has his own justification and thought process. Probably it starts with people who are totally religious and those who are atheist! Two ends of the spectrum. Most will be in between. But the thought process about mythology depends on whether you are scientific minded or not. Those with scientific mind will heat everything in the crucible of thought and analysis. It is possible that for some people who are trained in science still may not want to analyze it scientifically. It is the faith element in those persons which is stronger that the analytical part.
But do we make fun of people who have stronger belief in faith than in thinking logically? Do we say something which we normally don’t say to each other? No way! Let us be fair to each other. You may try and have a dialogue with such people, try to explain to them your point of view if it is different. It is normal way of life, we have difference of opinion on a subject. Why should there be excitement in saying or writing on such issues?
But then another thought comes to my mind. I tend more towards atheism and I am also trained in science side of life and have been working all my life in the same area. So my mind veers towards analyzing everything, including religious things. There have been many inventions that were claimed to exist during times of our old civilization. But I feel that this thought process is made by people who believe in it and is presented to suit and strengthen their arguments. These and many more abstracted truisms are just based on optical and physical observations and concentrated analytical thinking, in olden times. The disadvantage these people had was that they had to study without the help of instruments, now available to the scientists! So, we can claim that we knew about a lot about things terrestrial but I do not think we knew real details! Another thought that always comes to mind is that written records of history are a recent phenomena, compared to the time frame of our civilization. I am really not sure about the authenticity of the records, as there have been no written records. All the knowledge, information was passed on verbally to next generation. Similar was the case of other sciences like medical treatments. The quality of passing of this knowledge depended on the person who passed on the knowledge and the person who received the knowledge. In Marathi, there is saying ध चा मा! A king gave an order to his juniors to arrest someone; one change in the alphabet in that order, indicated by ध चा मा, ended up killing that person instead of being arrested. These small errors could have multiplied as the knowledge was passed on from generation to generation, in absence of written records. This is profoundly reflected in Ayurveda. Ayurveda had an advantage of being around for a long time, compared to other medical pathys. But in absence of such record keeping, many good treaties and treatments may have been lost or got diluted. This of course, is another subject for discussion because Ayurveda fell behind later due to lack of research.
I must write about how people go overboard about things supposedly present during mythological times. Lord Rama started to go to Ayodhya from Sri Lanka, after killing Ravana, on Dussara day. When he reached Ayodhya, people were ready to celebrate the event by putting lights or Diya’s everywhere! Of course, I am talking of Diwali. They said that this is the reason Diwali is celebrated 21 days after Dussera, time taken by Ram to reach Ayodhya from Srilanka. There was a google map in circulation, showing the path followed by Lord Ram to reach in 21 days. It was straight as an arrow passing through jungles and mountains and crossing large rivers. We find it difficult even today, to traverse certain paths with modern roads and vehicles but… Secondly, how were people in Ayodhya ready for the arrival? Internet, cell phone, of course we had them during those days.
Ex Police Commissioner of Mumbai and now a Junior minister, Satyapal Singh says that Darwin’s theory is meaning less because he has never seen apes getting converted into humans. Now when people like an ex commissioner of police of Mumbai and chief minister of the state say such things for political purpose, it is more of an embarrassment and not correct. Of course we can then say that Dhritrashtra was getting all the information from the war zone, sitting in his palace, by live streaming! I am ok with someone who says that my life is better if everyday I go to a mandir! Perfect, nothing wrong in that. It is the faith of that person. If someone claims that his life better as he chants mantras every day, I am ok. He says these things after the event! Someone’s belief in faith is acceptable. But the above mentioned statements by Ministers, are rather difficult to digest, freedom of speech and all count but there has to be some logic behind what one claims.
I met a person recently who was doing some archeological study in interior of our country. After digging deep they found some artifacts which were probably 2000 years old. I asked him what was his conclusion. He said, that they concluded the old civilization definitely had WiFi during those days because they did not find anything like cables etc!