The World’s Oldest Civilization?
Did you know that by 6000 B.C. Bharat (India) already had advanced townships with villages of mud-brick houses? By 3000 B.C. scientifically planned towns and buildings were part of the landscape. By that time a highly sophisticated urban civilization known as the Harappan flourished in the Indus Valley. About 300 settlements in a belt extending 1520 km from North to South covering a million square kilometers have been discovered, of which Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Kalibangan, and Lothal are important sites. The towns were designed with citadels and defensive walls and the streets and lanes had drains. Individual bathrooms and lavatories were impressively drained into a larger system. Well-developed docks and store houses as well as bullock carts for transportation were very popular. Thus, advanced technology, economic and defense systems, as well as public health were part of the Hindu culture.
What is the Oldest Book?
Did you know that the oldest book in the library of humans is the Rig Veda?
The existence of the Vedas go beyond recorded history and are said to be passed down from the Gods to the great seers of Bharat. For many human generations the Vedas were passed on through word of mouth, until finally documented by the great Rishis and Swamis.
World's First University
Did you know that as early as 700 B.C., there existed a giant University at Takshashila, located in the northwest region of Bharat (India)?
Not only Indians, but students from as far as Babylonia, Greece, Syria, Arabia and China came to study at Takshashila University. On the curriculum was 68 different subject matters including language, philosophy, medicine, politics, astronomy, astrology, commerce, music, dance, etc. The minimum entrance age was 16 and the student enrollment was 10,500. Thus, the concept of a full-fledged university was developed in Bharat.
Famous Nalanda University
Did you know that the University at Nalanda functioned from 500 to 1300 AD until destroyed by invaders?
During the 800 years that the university was operational, it attained great fame. Its campus was one mile in length and a half-mile in width. It also had 300 lecture halls with stone benches for sitting; laboratories and other facilities were also available. For example, the university had a towering observatory called the Ambudharaavlehi for astronomical research. It has boasted a massive library called Dharma Gunj or Mountain of Knowledege that was set up in three buildings named Ratna Sagar, Ratnodavi and Ratnayanjak. The entrance examination was very difficult and the pass rate was 3 out of every 10 students. Despite this hurdle, the Chinese traveler, Hien Tsang wrote in his diary that 10,000 students and 200 professors were at Nalanda University.
Invention of Zero
Did you know that Hindus invented zero? The concept of zero is referred to as Shunya in the early Samskrit texts and it is also explained in the Pingala’s Chandah Sutra of the second century. In the Brahma Phuta Siddhanta of Brahmagupta (7th century AD), the zero is lucidly explained. The Hindu genius Bhaskaracharya proved that x divided by 0 = 4 (infinity) and that infinity however divided remains infinity. This concept was recognized in Hindu theology millennia earlier. The earliest recorded date for an inscription of zero (inscribed on a copper plate) was found in Gujarat (585 – 586 AD). Can you imagine today’s computers without the invention of zero?
Did you know that Hindus gave us the method of expressing numbers by means of a decimal system?
The highest prefix used for raising 10 to a power in today’s math is D for 1030 (from Greek Deca). However, as early as 100 BC Hindu Mathematicians had exact names for figures up to 1053 (Tallakshana).
Invention of Geometry and Trigonometry
Did you know that Hindus invented Geometry and Trigonometry?
The word geometry emerged from the Samskrit word Giamiti which means measuring the earth. The word trigonometry emerged from the Samskrit word Trikonamiti meaning measuring triangular forms. The concept of geometry emerged around 1000 BC in Bharat from the practice of making fire altars in geometric shapes. The treatise of Surya Siddhanta (4th century AD) describe in amazing detail the science of trigonometry. Trigonometry was introduced in Europe 1200 years later in the 16th century.
The Value of Pi
Did you know that the ratio of the circumference and the diameter of a circle known as Pi (a value of 3.141592657932…) was first calculated by Hindus? The Samskrit text, by the famous Hindu mathematician, Baudhayana in his Baudhayana Sutra of the 6th century BC mentions this ratio as approximately equal to 3. The Hindu mathematician, Aryabhatta, in 499 AD worked out the value of Pi to the fourth decimal place.
Bhaskaracharya’s Law of Gravity, Not Issac Newton
Did you know that the famous Hindu astronomer, Bhaskaracharya in his Surya Siddhanta wrote: "Objects fall on the earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction." It was not until 1687, 1200 years later did Issac Newton rediscover the Law of Gravity.
Baudhayana’s Theorem, Not Pythagoras
Did you know that the so-called Pythagoras Theorem that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle equals to the sum of the square of the other two sides was documented by the famed Hindu mathematician Baudhayana in his 6th century BC treatise called Baudhayana Sulba Sutra? Baudhayana states: "The area produced by the diagonal of a rectangle is equal to the sum of area produced by it on two sides."
Did you know that the ancient Hindus had the most advanced system of Algebra? Encylopedias describe the algebra of Hindu mathematicians like Bhaskaracharya, Shridharacharya, Brahmagupta, and Aryabhatta as far more advanced than any during their times.
Earth is Round and Revolves Around the Sun
Did you know that one thousand years before Copernicus (1543) published his theory of the revolution of the earth, the famous Hindu mathematician, Aryabhatta in the 5th century clearly stated this fact: "Just as persons traveling on a boat feel that the trees on a bank are moving, people on earth feel that the sun is moving." In Aryabhatta’s treatise (Aryabhateean) on this subject matter he clearly states that the earth is round; it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space. Aryabhatta, in his treatise also explained that lunar and solar eclipses occur by the interplay of the shadows of the sun, the moon and the earth.
Time Taken for Earth to Orbit Sun
Did you know that the famous Hindu mathematician, Bhaskaracharya, in his treatise Surya Siddhanta, calculated the time taken for the earth to orbit the sun to nine decimal places (365.258756484 days)? Today’s accepted measurement is 365.2564 days. Therefore, assuming that today’s figures are correct, it means that Bhaskaracharya was off by only 0.0002%.
Medicine and Surgery
Did you know that the Atharva Veda contains sections devoted to the science of medicine? The Atharva Veda gave birth to Ayur Veda, the traditional system of Hindu medicine and it was developed around 5000 years ago. This system of medicine is still widely used today in Bharat under the term Ayur Vedic Medicine.
Charaka – World’s First Physician
Did you know that a Hindu was the world’s first physician? The west is fond of proclaiming Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC) as the father of medicine, but way before him in 500 BC Maharishi Charaka wrote the famous Charaka Samhita or Physicians’ Handbook. The Charaka Samhita went into great detail to describe human anatomy, pathology, diagnostic procedures, and treatment for various diseases. Charaka defined eight major medical disciplines of Ayur Veda: Shailya Chikitsa (surgery), Shaalakya Chikitsa (head, eye, nose, throat), Kaaya Chikitsa (mental health), Kaumarbhrutya Chikitsa (pediatrics), Agada Tantra (toxicology), Rasaayana Tantra (Pharmacology), Vaajeekarna Tantra (reproductive medicine). Charaka also described the functions of the heart and the circulatory system in great detail. The Charaka Samhita was widely translated in various languages and Charaka was a respected medical authority in both the Arab and Roman empires.
Shushruta – World’s First Plastic Surgeon
Did you know that a Hindu was the world’s first plastic surgeon? Sushruta as early as 600 BC used cheek skin to perform plastic surgery to restore and reshape human nose, ears, and lips with incredible results. In his treatise, Shushruta Samhita, he classified surgery into eight types: aaharya (extracting solid bodies), bhedya (excision), eshya (probing), lekhya (sarification), vedhya (puncturing), visravya (extracting fluids), and sivya (suturing). Sushruta worked with 125 kinds of surgical instruments including scalpels, lancets, needles, catheters, etc. Such a genius was Sushruta that he even devised non-invasive surgical treatments with the aid of light rays and heat.
Did you know that Samskrit is the world’s oldest systematic language? According to Forbes Magazine (1987), "Samskrit is the most convenient language for computer software programming."
Oldest Living Music
Did you know that the Hindu musical system of ragas codified in the Sama Veda is the oldest living music in the world? The slokas (hymns) of the Vedas are codified in meters and are recited with rich lyricism. Originating from the Sama Veda the different forms of Hindustani and Carnatic music are still immensely popular today.
First Poetry of the World
Did you know that the Ramayana is the first poetry of the world? It is a glorious Samskrit epic written by the Sage Valmiki. The Ramayana begins with the author, Sage Valmiki, asking Narada: "O Venerable Rishi, please tell me, is there a perfect man in this world who is virtuous, brave, dutiful, truthful, noble, kind to all beings, and adored by all?" Narada replies: "Rama." The Ramayana has 24,000 Samkskrit verses. It later translated by Kamban and Tulsi Das.
Longest Poetry of the World
Did you know that the Mahabarata is the longest poetry ever written? Its 100,000 verses encompass all facets of Dharma or human way of life. It narrates the story about the great Mahabarat War between the noble Pandavas and their evil cousins the Kauravas.