Category Archives: History

List of Libraries destroyed by Islamic Invaders in India

Twitter thread by Savitri Mumukshu – सावित्री मुमुक्षु


The news of the Taliban initiating destruction of libraries in Afghanistan comes as no surprise. It is the hallmark of Islamic regimes to destroy libraries & universities especially if they belong to Non-Muslims. No country knows this since ancient times better than Bharat.

Islamic invaders like Bakhtiyar Khilji delivered a death blow to Bharat’s educational system by destroying its best libraries. The loss of millions of invaluable manuscripts was a devastating shock to the heritage of the entire world. This is a shortlist of some of them.

Nalanda University (Bihar) burned for 3 months after destruction by Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193 CE. The Library had 9 Million manuscripts. Spread over 3 multi storied buildings, a 9 storied building housed sacred manuscripts.

Vikramshila University (Bihar) was destroyed by Khilji’s army & mistaken for a fort. The university was spread over 100 acres with 3000 scholars, the huge library complex included a massive pillared hall & a water reservoir to cool buildings which held priceless manuscripts.

Odantapuri University (Bihar) held a large library of millions of Hindu & Buddhist books. It too was destroyed by Khilji and a fortress was raised on the site of the university. The library on site was a 3 storied structure with beautiful courtyards & terracotta decorations.

Somapuri University (Bengal), was established by Dharmapala of Pala dynasty in 8th c. CE in current Bangladesh. Spread over 27 acres of land, it held a gigantic library of Buddhist, Jain & Hindu manuscripts. It was deserted in late 12th c. CE after repeated Islamic invasions.

Jagaddala University (Bengal) was one of the largest centers of Tantric learning. It was renowned for its translation services & had an imposing library of manuscripts – many of which were translated into Tibetan. In 1027 CE the Muslim invaders sacked & destroyed Jagaddala.

Valabhi (Gujarat) constructed by Maitraka kings was a university & temple town with a prosperous Hindu & Buddhist population & 6000 resident scholars. Its monumental library was patronized by royal grants. Arab invasions forced it to cease functioning in 12th c. CE

Bikrampur Vihara (Bengal) discovered on March 23, 2013 was built in 9th c. CE. It had 8000 students – many from China, Tibet, Nepal & Thailand who came for its grand library of rare manuscripts. Islamic invasions led to mass desertion of the site which soon fell into ruin.

These were just some of the most significant libraries of ancient Bharat which were storehouses of knowledge for Hindu, Buddhist & Jain traditions. One can only imagine the extent of irreplaceable manuscripts that were burnt & destroyed. Besides the loss of knowledge in the form of written manuscripts, the most horrific loss was in the form of savage murder of thousands of scholars who had enriched these temples of learning. Bharat was never able to recover fully after this genocidal onslaught.

It is a testament to the immense written knowledge that must have existed in Bharat, that despite such widespread destruction, we still have so many manuscripts left. Learned Brahmins & other scholars tried their best to preserve all they could after this dark period. No other culture would have the remotest chance of surviving such horrors – it is because Hindu culture is so timeless & our knowledge was so vast that even now so many remnants remained. Our oral traditions really helped to tide over such holocausts.

Books about this topic:

The Educational Heritage of Ancient India – Sahana Singh

Universities in Ancient India – DG Apte

Why fall of Hazrat Ali mosque to Taliban so significant

Twitter thread by @BharadwajSpeaks

Taliban has hoisted its flag on Hazrat Ali mosque of Mazar I Sharif.

This mosque is especially venerated by Shia Hazaras of Afghanistan.

This development is of extreme significance in the light of history and has implications on the very definition of Afghanistan

The Afghanistan we see on the map today was created by Afghan King Emir Abdur Rahman in 1900.

Before 1880, the entire central region of Afghanistan constituted a different country that was known by the name Hazaristan or Hazarajat

It was NOT considered a part of Afghanistan

That Afghanistan is nation of Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, etc is just a modern notion created 50 years ago.

Consider this Afghan idiom of the famous Pashtun poet Khushal Khattak(c. 1613 -1689 CE)

“An Afghan is a Pashtun and a Pashtun is an Afghan. Bεhead him who says otherwise”

Who are Hazaras?

Hazaras are considered by historians to be descendants of Genghis Khan’s army.

This is supported by their Asiatic features.

Although a majority of Hazaras adopted Persian with their own Hazaragi dialect, some still speak a Turkic language known as “Moghul”

An overwhelming majority of Hazaras are Shia by faith, in contrast to their Sunni Pashtun neighbors.

Hazaras are distinct from other Afghans linguistically, culturally and ethnically.

Traditionally, they inhabited the entire central region of Afghanistan from Ghazni to Herat

That Hazaras were distinct nation from Afghans is attested by Abul Fazl (c.16th century)

Abul Fazl says-” Hazaras are the descendants of the army sent by Manku Khan(Grandson of Genghis Khan).

Hazaristan spans from Ghazni to Qandahar and from Maidan to Balkh”

Ain I Akbari I.591

According to US Dept of state, Hazaras today constitute 15% of Afghanistan’s population. However, these figures were disputed by Hazaras themselves who claimed that they were 25%.

The UN Bonn conference (2001) estimated Hazara population at 19%.

Until 1880, Hazaras formed 67% of the population of today’s Afghanistan region.

Except for a few Hazara tribes residing in the vicinity of Kabul & Kandahar who paid annual tribute, the Hazaras were independent and NOT under the control of Pashtun (Barakzai) rulers of Afghanistan

Hazaras subsisted on cattle breeding. Made their living by taxing (& raiding) Silk Route caravans from India to Central Asia passing through Bamiyan.

They were independent & divided into several tribes . An exceptional Hazara chief named Mir Yazdan Baksh(c.1800 CE) united them

The rising Hazara power under Mir Yazdan Baksh could not be tolerated by Afghan king Dost Mohammad Khan.

Khan invited Hazara chief to Kabul under pretext of friendship. He assured safety under Qurαn oath.

In Kabul, the unsuspecting Hazara chief was arrested at first opportunity

Yazdan Hazara had a prudent wife who had cautioned him about treachery of Afghan Khan.

But as hubbie wouldn’t relent,she had also come with him.

Afghan king decided to kiII them. But by taking advantage of king’s avarice & making false promise of tribute,they heroically escaped

This was an early Afghan attempt to subdue Hazaras.

However, Hazaras subjugation was carried to completion by an Afghan king named Abdur Rahman khan in 1888 CE.

He was a Sunni extremist who believed in complete extέrmination of shias & non muzlims through ghastly punishments

In 1888, Abdur Rahman called for his first invasion against Hazara country.

He called for a Jihάd and told the Pashtun tribes “heads will be mine and the property will be yours”.

He jailed Hazara tribal leaders. A few Hazaras revolted but their rebellion was brutally crushed

It was Abdur Rahman Khan who first conquered almost all of the Hazara tribes.

Between 1880-1891, he brought 60% of Hazara tribes under control.

The Afghan conquest of Hazaristan was extremely brutal.

They used to marry Hazara women by force.

Hazaras were forced to utter abuses at Imam Ali(venerated by Shias)

Hazaras were subjected to extremely brutal punishments like burning genitάls with fire.

Exorbitant taxes

Hazaras tolerated everything for a while.

One day, 33 Afghan soldiers rάped the wife of a Hazara in front of him.

The Hazaras, preferring death to dishonor, decided it was enough & kiIIed Afghan soldiers.

Other Hazaras also joined and this snowballed into a major rebellionImage

In response, Afghan king Abdur Rahman assembled Sunni religious leaders and declared a Jihάd on “godless Shias”.

He promised Hazara land, Hazara wealth and children as rewards of war

All Afghan tribes united under the Jihάd

The Hazara revolt was brutally crushed

After the crushing defeat of Hazaras, they were enslaved.

Hazara slaves became so cheap in Kabul that they could be brought for 10 seers of wheat.

Hazaristan became part of Afghanistan

Many refractory Hazara were forcibly deported from Hazaristan.

They were sold as slaves in Kabuli. Today’s Kabuli Hazaras are their descendants.

Hazaras could not bear the oppression. Many tribes migrated to British India(Quetta) where they form a large diaspora even today

Some Hazaras were forced to embrace Sunni faith. Sunni mosques were built in Hazaristan.

To counter Hazara numerical strength, Pashtun tribes were settled in Hazaristan. Hazara land was seized and given to Pashtun settlers. Many Hazaras migrated to Iran to escape persecution

Hazaras were banned from owning houses or weapons. Blo0d tax was imposed on Hazaras.

Arable areas of Hazaristan were depopulated of Hazaras and given over to Pashtun nomads.

More than half of Hazara population was kiIIed or forced out

Hazara women were made sεx slaves. Some women preferred dεath over dishonor.

In one incident in 1893, 47 Hazara women jumped off the cliff to avoid capture at the hands of Sunni Afghan soldiers.

This incident has been in the Hazara memory and these women are honored even today

Hence, in Persian language, there is a saying

“Sag e Afghan kas Dara adam e Hazarah nah”

“Even a d0g of Pashtuns has a protector but a Hazara does not

A bridge in Kabul has the name “Pul e Yak Piasagi”
“The bridge of one paisa”

This was because at this place Hazara slaves were sold at one paisa.

Until 1970, Sunni Pashtun Mullahs declared that kiIIing a Hazara secures Allαh’s favor.

This was not just mere rhetoric. One Latif Ghul rαped and kiIIed 40 Hazaras.

Later he confessed several Mullahs told him that “pious acts” like Hazara kiIIing absolved his previous sins

It is against this background that Taliban offensive against Hazaras has to be understood.

“Hazaras are not Mμslim, they are Shia. They are kuffar”

—Mullah Manan Niazi, Taliban Governor.

No wonder, then, that Hazaras have been a target in Pakistan and Afghanistan even today


-Sir Jadunath Sarkar

“Unite all the people, fill them with one spirit.
Wherever Marathas are, unite them;
extend the spirit of our Maratha ‘dharm’.
Bahut lok milavave, ek vichare bharave.” – Swami Ramdas

“Maharashtra has been my second home, I have paid more than forty visits to it, and travelled to its hamlets and forts far away from rail and bus routes, making friends everywhere. And my study of Maratha history has been second only—if second at all, to my devotion to Mughal history.


The Maratha people stand unique among the races of India in having produced in the historic past close to our days, whole classes who have been masters of the pen and the sword alike. Such a combination of military and literary ability in the same man or same family has been found among the Persians and the Eastern Turks (whom we call Mughals), but no other Indian race has produced such a galaxy of leaders in war and learning as Maratha history records. Is this the root cause of the fact that no other province of India in the closing sixty years of British rule has produced such constructive patriots of the modern civilised type as Maharashtra? I do not refer to the glib eloquence of platform oratory which can excite a contagion of momentary enthusiasm but soon falls flat like a soda water bottle when its frothy effervescence is ended. In that respect several other provinces of India can, I admit, beat the descendants of Shivaji and Ramdas.


Maharashtra’s noblest sons have shown in every field of human endeavour, a marvellous persistency and earnest lifelong devotion to patriotic ideals, and not in political agitation merely. The net achievement of these construc¬tive workers will endure for ages. Let me take two examples only : the Servants of India Society of G. K. Gokhale and the Women’s Home and University of D. K. Karve. Imitations of them were started in some other provinces of India with beat of drum, but where are they now? These two Maharashtrian institutions endure and their usefulness has gone on expanding year after year.

Another characteristic of Maratha patriotism is significant ; their institutions for the service of the people have been built up and kept alive entirely by private donation and not by grants from the public exchequer. In other provinces, our patriots throw the burden of their pet schemes on the Government or Municipal Corporations at the earliest opportunity, or else they die of starvation. The honourable spirit of true public service is not extinct in Maharashtra. Such disinterested devotion to the people’s welfare in every field is still being shown by the sons of Maharashtra. Without meaning to ignore others, I shall cite one example only, because it has been personally known to me from its foundation in 1926. I refer to the Talegaon Charitable General Hospital and especially its eye-clinic and the attached T.B. Convalescent Homes which attract sufferers from all parts of India. Here, physicians of the first standing in Bombay and Poona attend regularly giving their services for absolutely no gain and some even bear their own travelling expenses. Where else in India can we find its parallel on the same scale?


What is the fountain-head of this pure water of life that is now regenerating Maharashtra? My reflections lead me to only one conclusion : it is the spirit of plain living and high thinking which animates the entire educated and middle classes of that land, and the priceless experience in managing local affairs in mutual co-operation which the common people of Maharashtra have acquired by twenty centuries or more of life in “village communities”. These village communities have been rightly described by Elphinstone as “little republics, having nearly everything they can want within themselves.” Every such village had in pre-British days its own set of hereditary officers and menials, paid by allotments of plots of land round the village, and settling their disputes by a Grand Jury of all classes of the local people …. Such village communities were crushed out in Northern India long ago by the ruthless advance of foreign conquerors and the formation of centralised despotic monarchies of vastnesses possible only in the boundless plains of the Gangetic valley.


I have travelled extensively through the Sahyadri Hill range and river valleys, and everywhere noticed with surprise the free self-reliant character of the commonest people, peasants and day-labourers, such as can never be seen among the helpless ryots of big zamindars in Hindustan, or the police-ruled population of indigo-growing areas, the vassals of feudal jagirdars in Rajputana and Malwa. There is a wonderful “diffused sense of democratic equality and self-respect” among the Marathas which can make them the best nationals of Free India.


We talk of the heroism of Shivaji and Baji Rao I, Lakshmi Bai and Tara Bai, but how many of us remember that the same race has produced some of the finest scholars in India? The only Senior Wrangler(1) among the Asiatics is a Maratha Brahman; and the most learned and correct editions of the Sanskrit classics are produced in Maharashtra, at the Nirnaya Sagar Press of Bombay, the Anand Ashram of Poona, and the Bhandarkar Institute of Research, the last of which has the unique distinction of bringing out the world-recognised edition of the Mahabharat.


Maratha women have enjoyed from the earliest times high honour and perfect freedom of movement and activity. What other Hindu community in India has produced queens like Ahalya Bai and Tara Bai, female warriors like Lakshmi Bai (of Jhansi) and Rai Baghini (the wife of Udiram of Malegaon), besides social workers like Rama Bai and the female Karves (to mention a few only)? Was not Shivaji’s mother Jija Bai, the patron saint and effective administrator of her son’s kingdom and people during Shivaji’s visit to Aurangzeb and captivity in Agra?

There is record of a significant dialogue held during the first Anglo-Maratha War. The Rana of Gohad was scornfully asked by Col. Camac and other English allies in their camp at Sesai (south of Gwalior):

“What has your Mahadji Sindhia done that you praise him so highly?”

The Rana (who was then fighting against Sindhia) replied, “Mahadji is no ordinary man ; he has restored the Emperor to his throne in Delhi, and his wife rides out to battle.”

Camac asked, “Do not your wives ride out?” The Jat chief replied, “No. We are Kshatriyas, we observe parda.” [Bodleian Library, Persian manuscript.]

After Tukoji Holkar’s camp had been beaten up by Mahadji Sindhia’s Generals at Suraoli (1792), Ahalya Bai Holkar wrote to her Generals, “If you delay in going out to renew the war and avenge this defeat, I shall myself take horse and command my household troops personally in battle”. And yet she was better known as a pious and charitable lady and a religious devotee. Such is Maratha womanhood.


In nobility of aims and heroic persistence of endeavour, the Maratha people have an advantage which no other race in India possesses. They, alone among the Hindus, had beaten back the tide of Muslim conquest and defended the independence of their country against all the resources of the mighty Emperor Aurangzib and at a time when their King was almost a prisoner in the far off Madras coast. And later, under the Peshwas, they gained a still higher experience in politics in the best sense of that term. I here quote my own words used elsewhere:

“The Marathas have a historic advantage of unique importance in the India of today. Their near ancestors had faced death in a hundred battlefields, had led armies and debated in the chamber of diplomacy, had managed the finances of kingdoms and grappled with the problems of empire; they had helped to make Indian history in the immediate and not yet forgotten past. The memory of these things is a priceless asset to their race”.


Over all this “great realm” Maharashtra, there has spread the benign and yet manly influence of the saints and preachers in the vernacular, elevating, fortifying, and yet mollifying the character of the people from the rulers down to the meanest tiller of the soil.


This legitimate pride in their real and immediate past, has prompted the Marathas to preserve, collect, edit and publish their historical records in a voluminous size and a high level of successful attainment, not one-tenth of which can be seen in any other Indian province, not even in the imperial cities of the Mughals or the antique capitals of the Rajput princes. To this success many learned men of unsurpassed industry and self-abnegation have contributed. Among the dead I shall mention only Kashinath Narayan Sane, Vishwanath K. Rajwade, and V. V. Khare. No other race in India has produced their equal.

Finally, the Indian army will one day need to raise a corps of Commando troops. I cannot imagine better material for such a select body than the Marathas. This is no reflection on other “martial” races of India, but the special aptitude required for such a corps d’elite is not so prominent among others.


At the end, it is the impartial historian’s duty not to conceal the defects of the Maratha racial character. They have been strong, they have been free, but they have not been united. Like the Afghan tribes or the clans of the Scottish Highlands, Maratha family has fought Maratha family, clan has fought clan, in selfish personal feuds. The result has been disastrous to the interests of the nation as a whole. That perfect type of Maratha cavalry leader and organiser of tactics, Santaji Ghorpare, was killed not by a Muslim but by another Maratha Nimbalkar, whose brother this Santa had killed in an earlier internecine battle!

Even today caste-squabbles are not dead in Maharashtra, though the newspapers carefully exclude information on this unsavoury subject. Brahman-Prabhu wrangles about religious claims arc still boiling up; even the Brahmans are not a happy family in all their branches. Are Karhada Brahmans totally at ease about Chitpavan hostility, say in Ratnagiri? Let those who know the facts ponder on the consequences.

After all, there cannot be a truer message to the Maratha people even today than the advice given by Ramdas Swami nearly three centuries ago: —

Unite all the people, fill them with one spirit.
Wherever Marathas are, unite them;
extend the spirit of our Maratha ‘dharm’.
Bahut lok milavave, ek vichare bharave.”


(1) Top mathematics undergraduate at Cambridge University in England

SOURCE: Sarkar Jadunath (1955) House of Shivaji, 3rd Edn., M.C. Sarkar & Sons Ltd. Calcutta, pp 334-339

Pope denies St. Thomas evangelised South India – Ishwar Sharan

Pope Benedict XVI’s statement on September 27, 2006 during a public audience, that the apostle St. Thomas only reached as far as North-West India—today’s Pakistan—was factually correct and reflected the statements of the Early Church Fathers and the geography of the Acts of Thomas. That the Pope’s minders changed his statement the next day on the Vatican website, to include South India in Thomas’s travels, is no surprise to us. Telling lies for Jesus and his Vicar in Rome are also very much part of Catholic Church tradition and history. – Ishwar Sharan

On 27 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI made a speech in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City in which he recalled an ancient St. Thomas tradition. He said that “Thomas first evangelised Syria and Persia and then penetrated as far as western India, from where Christianity also reached South India”.[1] This statement greatly upset the Indian bishops in Kerala, and as it was perceived to be a direct violation of the beliefs of many Indian Christians, it was brought to the attention of the Pope’s editors and amended the next day on the Vatican’s website to read that St. Thomas himself had reached South India. G. Ananthakrishnan’s article “Thomas’s visit under doubt” in the Times of India, 26 December 2006, reads:

His reluctance to believe what fellow disciples said about Jesus Christ’s resurrection earned him the name Doubting Thomas. Centuries later, St Thomas—believed to be the man who brought Christianity to India—finds himself in the shadow of ‘doubt’ with none other than the Pope contradicting his evangelical trek in the country, only to modify it a few days later. But far from dousing the fire, the Pope has rekindled a debate and given critics an issue on the platter.

Pope Benedict XVI made the statement at the Vatican on September 27, 2006. Addressing the faithful during the Wednesday catechises, he recalled that St. Thomas first evangelised Syria and Persia, and went on to western India from where Christianity reached Southern India. The import of the statement was that St. Thomas never travelled to south India, but rather evangelised the western front, mostly comprising today’s Pakistan.

Knowingly or unknowingly, he had in one stroke challenged the basis of Christianity in India and demolished long-held views of the Church here that St Thomas landed in Kerala, where he spread the gospel among Hindus. The comments were especially a letdown for the Syrian Christians of Kerala, who proudly trace their ancestry to upper-caste Hindus said to have been evangelized by St Thomas upon his arrival in 52 AD.

The comments went unnoticed until Sathya-Deepam, the official mouthpiece of the Syro-Malabar church, picked it up. Writing in it, George Nedungat, a member of the Oriental Pontifical Institute of Rome, conveyed the community’s anguish and claimed that previous popes had recognised St. Thomas’s work in south India.

The Pope’s original statement given out at St. Peter’s, before it was amended on the Vatican website, was factually correct and reflected the geography of the Acts of Thomas, i.e. Syria, Parthia (Persia/Iran) and Gandhara (Afghanistan, North-West Pakistan). There is no historical evidence to support the tradition that St. Thomas came to South India, and on 13 November 1952 Vatican officials sent a message to Kerala Christians stating that the landing of St. Thomas at Muziris (Cranganore now Kodungallur) on 21 November 52 AD was “unverified”. When this writer sought confirmation of the 1952 Vatican statement in 1996, the Vatican’s reply was disingenuous and non-committal. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints said that he needed more information and that the life of St. Thomas was the object of historical research and not within his congregation’s competence.[2]

Earlier, in 1729, the Bishop of Madras-Mylapore had doubted whether the tomb in San Thome Cathedral was that of St. Thomas and wrote to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in Rome for clarification. Rome’s reply was never published and we may assume it was a negative reply. Again, in 1871 the Roman Catholic authorities at Madras were “strong in disparagement of the special sanctity of the localities [viz. San Thome, Little Mount, and Big Mount identified by the Portuguese after 1517] and the whole story connecting St. Thomas with Mailapur.” However, in 1886 Pope Leo XIII stated in an apostolic letter that St. Thomas “travelled to Ethiopia, Persia, Hyrcania and finally to the Peninsula beyond the Indus”, and in 1923 Pope Pius XI quoted Pope Leo’s letter and identified St. Thomas with “India”. These papal statements also reflect the geography of the Acts of Thomas, as does Pope Benedict’s statement, and make no reference to South India. In fact, the India they refer to is now Pakistan.

Pope John Paul II visited India twice in 1986 and 1999 and prayed at the alleged tomb of St. Thomas in San Thome Cathedral, but, like St. Francis Xavier before him, he had nothing to say about St. Thomas’s visit to South India or Mylapore in the first century. This is a curious omission on the Pope’s part in that he was an ardent missionary who openly promoted the evangelising of India and Asia, and a statement from him confirming a visit by St. Thomas to South India would have certainly supported his agenda and that of his Indian bishops.

1. As quoted in Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, of 23 November 2006, under the title “Pope angers Christians in Kerala”.

2. Our letter to the Prefect, Sacred Congregation of Rites, Vatican City, dated 26 August 1996, read: “I am doing research on St. Thomas in India and have learned that your office issued a letter on November 13, 1952 which stated that the landing of St. Thomas at Cranganore in 53 AD is unverified. I would like to know if in fact the said letter was issued and, if that is not the case, whether you can confirm that St. Thomas was martyred and buried in Madras. I would be most grateful if you could direct me to any authentic evidence supporting the story of St. Thomas in India.” The reply from the Prefect, Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Rome, dated 11 September 1996, read: “This Congregation for the Causes of Saints has received your letter of 26th August last in which you have asked for information regarding Saint Thomas’ presence in India. We have not found in our Archives the letter supposedly written by this Congregation on 13th November 1952, of which you speak, because of a lack of more precise data (Diocese, destination, etc.). Nor do we have other data regarding Saint Thomas since this Archive was begun in 1588. His life is the object of the research of historians which is not the particular competence of this Congregation.” This reply was a brush off. The Prefect knew what we were asking for and could have located the 1952 Vatican letter in a few minutes if he wished to.


For more details read this book…

Rathasapthami and Surya Bhagwan

I was reading the Adityahrudayam, from the Ramayana (Yuddha kanda, canto 107) and came across this verse that describes the water cycle.

नाशयत्येष वै भूतं तदेव सृजति प्रभुः।

  पायत्येष तपत्येष वर्षत्येष गभस्तिभिः॥ 23

“Salutaions to the Sun God, who destroys everything”


14th Dec 2019 Tweet

That was and creates them all again and whom, by his rays, consumes the waters, heats them up (into water vapor) and brings them down again as rain.” Naturally I went looking for Vedic references to the hydrological cycle and came across this book which is a veritable gold mine.

14th Dec 2019

The Ṛg Veda, Atharva Veda, Linga Purana, Matsya Purana, Mahabharata, Kishkinda Kanda of Ramayana, etc all contain scientific explanations and elaborate descriptions of the water cycle. For example, here is what the Vayu Purana has to say:

the water evaporated by sun ascends to atmosphere through the capillarity of air, and there gets cooled and condensed. After formation of clouds it rains by the force of air. Thus, water is not lost in all these processes but gets converted from one form to other continuously”

(51. 14-15-16). Similar descriptions of surface and groundwater, hot and cold springs, origins of perennial vs seasonal rivers, weather phenomena, etc. are all described, and Varahamihira’s Vraht Samhita (550 AD) has three chapters devoted to Hydrometeorology.

It is not news that credit to scientific discovery is highjacked by the west. But despite all the ancient evidence stacked against them, guess who is credited? Frenchman Bernard Palissy is often credited as the “discoverer” of the modern theory of the water cycle, the “pioneer” of hydrology, published Discours admirables, de la nature des eaux et fontaines, tant naturelles qu’artificielles, des metaux, des sels et salines, des pierres, des terres, du feu et des maux (Paris, 1580). Prior to him, Aristotle (384-300BC) is known to have speculated the nature of the water cycle but struggled with explaining how rivers flowed in the absence of rainfall. His predecessors, Anaxagoras and Plato both maintained that the source was fluvial water was a giant cavern within the earth, but Aristotle was the first to reject this notion.

Palissy was also one of the first Europeans who maintained that fossils were once living organisms, and contested the prevailing view that they had been produced by the biblical flood/astrological influence. (note: Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, Garuda Purana etc all state that Salagrama stones, which are Ammonoid/mollusc fossils of the Devonian-Cretaceous period from 400-66 million years ago, are to be worshipped as Lord Vishnu himself, each representing an avatar of Vishnu. it is implied that they have organic origin but not sure if explicitly stated)

Palissy was a Protestant, imprisoned for his beliefs and sentenced to death. He died in a Bastille dungeon during the French Wars of Religion which was a prolonged period of war between the Catholics and Protestants/Calvinists.

Lastly, Newton in 1666 is credited with proving the compostite nature of white light but the Ṛg Veda (II, 12.12), at least 3000 years prior (a conservative estimate) describes sun light containing seven colors of rays. We know pythogoras theorem wasn’t his original work either

-Credit to Sai Priya ji (@priya_27_)