Category: ancient cultures

South India Neolithic sites – A training ground for budding astronomers?

A few megalithic sites of South India are enigmatic as they do not fall into the widely accepted idea that they were inhabited by small groups of primitive people living close to a town settlement. They suggest that these primitive people were more than curious about the skies and that they were able to construct observation structures to study the movement of the stars. They used the most rudimentary tools available to them and created view lines to the horizon with the help of stones and menhirs on carefully selected natural slopes. It is as if they understood the importance of sloped celestial viewing angles atmospheric extinctions due to fog and other common obstructions. The careful placement of the taller/larger menhirs at the top of the slope and the smaller ones at the bottom is common place in most of these sites. Archaeologists can not explain the reason for the multiple sight lines to the same astronomical event at some

Continue readingSouth India Neolithic sites – A training ground for budding astronomers?

How the Panchang had to be whacked back into shape…

Spanish, Dutch, French and British Governments in the 16th and the 17th centuries offered huge prize money for anyone who could produce reliable navigational charts. Sailing expeditions in the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries faced severe impediments because of poor nautical maps. A few Jesuits scholars traveled to India to study the Hindu Panchang system which were known to make use of ready made tables based on local “longitudes” to produce accurate calendars for different parts of the subcontinent. Astronomers in Europe were aided by the information which the Jesuits gathered. Famous astronomer Cassini consulted the famous Siam Table while some others used the Krishnapuram and the Thiruvallur tables which were known equally for their accuracy. Thiruvallur is a town close to Channai, India. An interesting Panchang revolution took place two hundred years later close to Thiruvallur. Temple at Thiruvallur By the close of the 19th century native Hindu calendar makers, however, had lost touch with an important principle of predicting the position

Continue readingHow the Panchang had to be whacked back into shape…

Gandharvas, Schumann Resonance and Brain Rhythms

Popular Hindu literature describes Gandharvas as semi-divine beings. It depicts them with musical instruments. Coincidentally, the Upa-Veda (subsidiary Veda) text for the classical Indian music is the Gandharva Veda. In principle, Gandharvas, like the Devatas (divine beings), are not physical entities. A Gandharva is a vibratory energy which is responsible for a certain phenomenon in existence. Specifically, Gandharvas are behind the phenomenon of resonance. The Gandharva principle is behind any peak sensual experience in the human nervous system. Similarly, Gandharvas are known in popular stories as amorous. Stories in the Vedas connect Gandharvas with Soma. Soma is a Devata who is closely associated with exhilaration in the human psyche. Though lacking a physical body, a Gandharva, for example, can enjoy the thrill within the nervous system of stage a performers. Young people aspire for the thrill of being a rock star. Without a doubt, enthralling a large audience is a talent. However, not every talented singer or a performing artist

Continue readingGandharvas, Schumann Resonance and Brain Rhythms

A memory experiment from 4000 years ago

The Chandogya texts of the Vedas contains an interesting dialogue between a teacher and a student. The teacher was explaining the connection between food and the subtle aspects of human life. The body excretes the grossest portions of the food and forms the cells such as our muscles, tissues and bones from the finer aspects. Modern science is in agreement with the teacher’s explanation up to this point. The subtlest aspects of food become the energy of the mind, intellect and memory. The student raised a question as to how food can be considered to be responsible for the mind which is only as abstraction. The teacher asked him to go on a fast for fifteen days. The young student expressed his concern that he may die without food. The teacher asked him to drink water during the fifteen days and assured him that the water will keep him alive. The student returned back to the teacher in fifteen days

Continue readingA memory experiment from 4000 years ago

Did Harappans celebrate the Punjabi festival of Lohri?

Jan 13th 2016 is Lohri, the end of winter festival according to the Punjabi calendar which was introduced in the 1st century BCE. Tradition considers Lohri to be the longest night of the year with the day following it being Winter Solstice. Let us apply some astronomy to guess the time when Lohri was celebrated for the first time.. Most of the Panchang calendars in India, like the Punjabi calendar are calibrated against the monthly full moons and the monthly transitions of Sun from one one constellation to the next. In other words, these calendars contain Lunar months and Solar Months. The first day of the solar month with the name Makara would have coincided with the Winter solstice around the third century CE. The ancient astronomers in India were aware of the astronomical phenomenon called “Precession” and precisely timed Vedic fire rituals to the Winter Solstice. Ancient Indians knew that the winter solstice day slips a day with respect

Continue readingDid Harappans celebrate the Punjabi festival of Lohri?

Sacred Spots – Hindu worship sites before the popularity of temples

Ramanuja, a Vaishnava master from the fourteenth century was an expert in Pancharatra books . These books discuss worship procedures which are prevalent for millennia in the Indian subcontinent.  Worship practices in temples in Tamil Nadu had deteriorated into confusion. Consequently, Ramanuja took up the study of Pancharatra texts  with a view to bring structure in temple practices.  Psychologists understand now that human can relate more easily with the world of forms than the world of pure abstractions. Centuries earlier, Pancharatra texts recognized this basic tenet of human psychology. Ultimately, any form of worship is related to the supreme divine who is formless.  However, the center piece of any temple worship is a representation of this formless divine. Pancharatra texts suggest five distinct representations., or modes of invoking the powers of the formless into relatable structures. The first mode is the “Sthandila“. This refers to a small piece of land which is worthy of holding the divine presence, momentarily. Per this rule, Vedic priest construct

Continue readingSacred Spots – Hindu worship sites before the popularity of temples

Commerce friendly or Cosmic? What is an Ideal Calendar?

Two economists from Johns Hopkins University proposed a revision to our current calendar system in 2012. They wanted to address the problem of the inconsistent number of working days in the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar does not allow the new year to start on the same day of the week. This is an annoyance to commerce sites which calculate interest based on week boundaries. It also creates a nuisance to school teachers and college professors who are unable to reuse their lecture schedules from the previous year in a new year. In Hank and Henry’s calendar system, the year would start with the same day of the week and anyone’s birthday would fall on the same day of the week also. Henry and Hank proposed a scheme of two 30 day months followed by one 31 day month in a year. They proposed a leap year week once every 4-5 years. They knew that an earlier overhaul proposal by

Continue readingCommerce friendly or Cosmic? What is an Ideal Calendar?

Rishi Saunaka more important than Veda Vyasa to Max Muller?

Only a few people know the value of the commentaries of a 13th century scholar by the name Sayana or Sayanacharya. Earlier western translators could not have made any progress without them. However Max Muller, the reputed translator of the Vedas, hardly credits Sayana. What was the reason? Secondly, Max Muller is the original proponent of the, now discredited, Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). Did Sayana’s 13th century work provide any clues about this theory to Max Muller? Certainly not! However, the work provides a list of key literary figures from an earlier millennia whose reputation had to be shaken to bring credibility to AIT. One among them is Saunaka. Saunaka was a contemporary of Veda Vyasa. He compiled an exhaustive index or Anukramani to the Vedas. He indexed every line and every verse in the Vedas. In addition he indexed them three ways, namely, by (i) Chhandas (Poetic Meter), (ii) Devata, and (iii) Rishi (Vedic seer). Europeans discovered Vedic manuscripts

Continue readingRishi Saunaka more important than Veda Vyasa to Max Muller?

References to Yoga in the Rig Veda

Aitareya Brahmana verse 1.7 The word “breath” occurs 379 times in Rig Veda’s Aitareya Brahmana. Pranayama and Yoga terms “Samana”, “Udana” and “Prana” together occur 147 times. Aitareya Brahmana is attributed to the sage Mahidasa who documented procedural notes related to the well known Soma, Agnistoma and Jyotistoma Yagyas. In fact Mahidasa uses the above Yoga terminology to explain the sequence of offerings made in the fire rituals. Yagya procedures are mysterious. It would not make any sense to explain them with reference to an unknown analogy. This suggests strongly that Pranayama and Yoga concepts were established by the time of Mahidasa. The date accepted by the academic community for the Aitareya Brahmana is ~2000 BCE. However, the academic community has given a date of around 200 BCE for sage Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras. Six approaches or Darshanas, were taught in higher institutions such as the Nalanda and Taxasila Universities in the past to comprehend reality and

Continue readingReferences to Yoga in the Rig Veda

A cambodian clue to the 1000 Shivalingas in Sirsi !

Sirsi, a town in Karnataka state hosts Sahasra (1000) lingas in the flowing waters of the river Shalmali. Historians feel that king Sadashiva Raya had these constructed in the 15th century. Enigmatically, the Kannada script on few of the Shivalingas belong to a far earlier century. The local lore is that the shiva lingas were installed here because this area was an important energy center. Not much else is known about the reason for creating so many Shiva lingas in the flowing waters. The figures on the rocks here resemble those in the Madhukeshwara temple in Banavasi, the nearby town, the first capital of the state of Karnataka. Banavasi is mentioned in such diverse sources as the Mahabharata, by Ptolemy (1 century CE) and in the Ashokan edicts. The Indian subcontinent was divided into federations or Janapadas around the time of Ashoka. Shatavahana kings controlled the territory around Banavasi. The Shatavahanas ruled from their capital in Kotilingalu (crore lingas) in

Continue readingA cambodian clue to the 1000 Shivalingas in Sirsi !

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial