How the Scientists Stole the Vedas
-Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi 5.22 (Purport by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
When it comes to knowledge of the universe we live in, modern scientists are often described as “experts” in the same way a blind man will describe a man with fuzzy vision as expert in seeing. When one such so-called “scientist” stumbles upon a natural law—each of which have their origins in the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna—that scientist will often jump to put his name on the effect. This is the demonic mentality of atheistic science as this essay will prove with due reference to the revealed shastras.
As an example of their mentality let us look to the naming of the very continents of North and South America. Both great land masses were well populated and existed long, long before they were “discovered” by Columbus when the Italian explorer first landed on Watling Island in 1492. These great continents would soon be named for Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Similarly, to this day borrowed “discoveries” are still appropriated in all branches of science. History records many other such instances of mis-appropriations in the names of discovery or science. For example, the electrical measurement or volt is named after Alessandro Umberto Volta who lived in the 19th century. The avogardo constant in the field of elementary particles is named after Amedeo Avogadro. The measure of frequency is called hertz after Heinrich Hertz. The synthetic element nobelium is named after Alfred Nobel. In this way deluded so-called scientists have trademarked, as it were, the energies of Shri Krishna. To the devotee, it stands to reason that a pre-existing reality that is appropriated by a lesser mind is a simple means of artificially attempting to overide the glory of the original creator Shri Krishna.
When we read about so-called scientific genius, it is worth noting that the 19th century is characterized as the peak of scientific discovery. Let us take the example of Charles Darwin who lived during the heyday of the British Raj, from 1809 till 1882. Darwin became the father of the Darwinian theory of evolution much as Amerigo Vespucci is the “father” of America. There is evidence that Darwin requisitioned the concept of evolution from the Vedas. He adapted the Vedic version of transmigration of the soul from lower to higher bodies to the grossly materialistic Western view by propounding his atheistic views of physical evolution. In a word, Darwin’s demonic theory declared that the physical body does not contain an eternal soul and that evolution is based upon some phantasmagorical transformation of matter rather than the evolution of purifed consciousness.
To this Shrila Prabhupada responds (BGAI 8.3, purport), “In material nature [the living entity] may take a body from any of the 8,400,000 species of life, but in spiritual nature he has only one body.”
The history of modern science is deeply linked to Europe’s great geographic expeditions of the 15th and 16th centuries. And, ironically, much of the history of modern science—for all its borrowed glory—sprang from the simple idea of profiting from the exotic spices of the East. Instead of merely creating wealth, merchant ships stumbled upon a parts of the world prior unknown to them that the Europeans now named the “New World”.
Although profit was the bottom line for those risky adventures, the wonders that the early European explorers chanced upon formed the foundations for much modern scientific research. Unknown local traditions in far-off lands were seized upon by intrepid explorers. Once these discoveries were in their hands, instead of honoring the learning and realizations of their new-found teachers, the explorers turned into invaders. They responded by diabolically seizing the lands of less aggressive and unsuspecting peoples while covering their own tracks by labeling these cultures as barbaric. The knowledge of the local folk was ingeniously used to enslave them.
The genocidal decimation of the Native Americans—the so-called red Indians of North and South America where entire languages and cultures were utterly lost—stands as historical recod. Yet no place on earth became subject to Kali Yuga exploitation as it was designed in Europe like India. Thus a once-glorious country was turned into a now-tarnishing jewel in the crown of the British Empire.
The shores of India were beseiged by private companies of different European origins—France, the Netherlands, Portugal and England—in the early 17th century. By the beginning of the 19th century, it was Britain and its East India Company that had gradually succeeded in taking over the country and which now held ninety percent of India’s territory. Not co-incidentally, the greatest strides in science were achieved during those days of glory when Britainnia held India in her iron grip. The factual Vedic version was scrutinized by those Western minds and interpreted according to their limited capacity. As a result, this new-found knowledge of India was suitably altered and adapted in ways that would prove suitable to serve the needs of the Western world. Much of the ancient texts of India were translated into English, German and other languages and carefully kept in the British libraries. Meanwhile the politically-motivated theory of Aryan invasion was promoted as a political ruse to override and minimize the ancient glory of Bharata-varsha. The foreign invaders were free to utilize India’s heritage for their own “scientific discoveries”.
The Industrial Revolution spanning from approximately 1750 till 1850 was stimulated by the era of great geographic discoveries that occurred between the late 15th to early 17th centuries. The steam locomotive first began its operations in 1804. Many mechanical devices and machines were invented in the 19th century leading to increased production with a result that populations now began to centralize in the cities. Such sophisticated mechanics are well described in the Vimana Shastra which deals with the science of aerodynamics. Even by today’s standards those who apply Vedic knowledge are much more technologically advanced.
Some unusual discoveries were also made in the 19th century. In 1820 the mission of Fabian Gottlieb Thaddeus von Bellingshausen of Russia discovered Antarctica. Consequently in 1899 Stepan Osipovich Makarov led the first icebreaker on an expedition to the Arctic. With his explorations of Tibet Nikolay Przhevalsky and other Russian pioneers were the first proponents that the Earth may have other dimensions—and in fact may be hollow. See the following quote from Shrila Prabhupda (SB 5.24.8):
“In these seven planetary systems, which are also known as the subterranean heavens [bila-svarga], there are very beautiful houses, gardens and places of sense enjoyment, which are even more opulent than those in the higher planets because the demons have a very high standard of sensual pleasure, wealth and influence. Most of the residents of these planets, who are known as daityas, danavas and nagas, live as householders. Their wives, children, friends and society are all fully engaged in illusory, material happiness. The sense enjoyment of the demigods is sometimes disturbed, but the residents of these planets enjoy life without disturbances. Thus they are understood to be very attached to illusory happiness.”
Many device of modern science are merely gross material manifestations of the subtle powers long known to India’s adepts. For example telepathy, a siddhi known to the yogis, inspired long distance communications like the telegraph which first came about in 1837. Similarly, the first electric motor was built in 1829. Therefore it is evident that the inspiration for many scientific discoveries came from information that already exists in the Vedas.
The Vedas are known as the manual of the Universe. All scientific phenomena are ever present in latent or obvious forms in the vast creations of Shri Krishna. As stated in Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.2.32): “The Lord as Supersoul pervades all things, just as fire permeates wood, and so He appears to be of many varieties, though He is the absolute one without a second.”
In 1869 Dmitri Mendeleev created the Periodic Table of Elements. He was famous for his quote that resounds the wisdom of the Vedas: “Nothing is lost. Matter only transforms from one state to another.” The Vedas are full of classifications, including the elements. See this from Shrila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 1.3.10: “The sum total of the creative elements is twenty-four in all. Each and every one of them is explicitly explained in the system of Sankhya philosophy. Sankhya philosophy is generally called metaphysics by the European scholars. The etymological meaning of sankhya is ‘that which explains very lucidly by analysis of the material elements.’ This was done for the first time by Lord Kapila, who is said herein to be the fifth in the line of incarnations.”
In 1820 the Hungarian Sándor Kőrösi Csoma set out for Tibet to explore the culture of the region. With British assistance Csoma was able to translate many Tibetan works. Thus the first English-Tibetan Dictionary came into existence and the mysticism of Tibet became available to the western world.
Another interesting detail linked to the 19th century is that London doubled its population. The medical science of the day advanced so much that many modern diseases appeared to be overcome. Anesthesia was also used for the first time in 1842. This success is linked to the science of Ayurveda that has solutions for all diseases not excluding even the plague and cancer. The systematic evaluation of body types has been known since time immemorial as recorded in the ancient Vedic texts and different treatments and injunctions according to nature and temperament were individually prescribed.
Shrila Prabhupada says, ‘‘A person is born in one of three categories, known as deva-gana, manushya-gana and rakshasa-gana. In different parts of the universe there are demigods and demons, and in human society also some people resemble demigods whereas others resemble demons.” (SB 9.18.23, purport)
By the 19th century personal hygiene was now held in great esteem, contrary to the Middle Ages when people seldom bathed, if at all. This practice was prolonged even in the Renaissance when clone perfumes were invented in France to cover the foul odors of the privileged and royal classes. Hygiene was and is deeply imbedded in the culture of India. There the brahmanas were accustomed to bathing thrice daily in order to maintain the high standard of cleanliness required for the performance of sacred ceremonies. The British imported these elevated standards of hygiene first and other nations followed. Some of the first advocates of hygiene like Philipp Semmelweis came from the hospitals. He “discovered” that the liklihood of disease is drastically reduced when a person is clean.
“The three transcendental qualifications—cleanliness, austerity and mercy—are the qualifications of the twice-born and the demigods. Those who are not situated in the quality of goodness cannot accept these three principles of spiritual culture.” (SB 3.16.22, purport
Another social change grew from the translation of Kama Sutra by the British explorer and attaché Richard Francis Burton. Contrary to current belief, the actual purpose of kama shastra is one of self-control. For example Kama Sutra begins with the admonishment that sexual relations are proscribed in three of four ashrams: brahmacahary, vanaprastha and sannyasa. Therefore the purpose of kama shastra is not to propogate illicit sex, but to control physical urges for procreation in the grihasta ashram. However, the Western mind imposed its own misunderstanding upon the Kama Sutra and painted India’s culture as one of unrestrained sense gratification. Misunderstood, the book inspired free exploitation of sexual activities that lead to many social changes not only in uncontrolled sexual partnerships but also indirectly gave birth to the feministic movements.
The new doctrines of the 19th century were tremendously influenced by the teachings of the East. Georg Friedrich Hegel, a German philosopher, explored the relationship of the mind and nature. Allan Kardec founded Spiritism which stated that the soul does not die with the so-called “death” of the body. Friedrich Nietzsche, the master of the “school of suspicion”, proved by his own example that over-intelligence leads to denial of God. Arthur Schopenhauer explored the nature of desires, and stated that desires cannot be satisfied unless one turns to a more renounced lifestyle. Vladimir Solovyov and Master Peter Dunov took some of the elements that they found in the Vedas and implemented them into Christianity. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society intending to discover the Ultimate Truth through the help of Eastern philosophy. Sigmund Freud also used ideas found in the Vedas wherein it is clearly explained that the sexual urge is the underlying principle of material existence. Carl Jung developed the analytical philosophy and published his finding on the archetype or the Supersoul.
Science expanded its views in the area of observation as well. Thomas Edison developed the light bulb and the motion picture. The idea that light defines or makes our universe visible can be found in the Vedic texts as explained by Shrila Prabhupada in his purport to SB 2.9.4 “In the darkness one cannot see the sun, nor himself, nor the world. But in the sunlight one can see the sun, himself and the world around him.”
Alexander von Humboldt saw that the continents once were a joined land. Could his inspiration have originated from the story of King Priyavrata who divided the world into seven continents by his chariot?
“Maharaja Priyavrata lived with his wife and family for many thousands of years. The impressions from the rims of Maharaja Priyavrata’s chariot wheels created seven oceans and seven islands. Of the ten sons of Priyavrata, three sons named Kavi, Mahavira and Savana accepted sannyasa, the fourth order of life, and the remaining seven sons became the rulers of the seven islands.” (SB 5.1, Summary)
Nikolai Lobachevsky worked on the curving of space: a fact which occurs due to our limited sense organs, namely, the roundness of our eyes. His so-called “discoveries” bear his name to this day: Lobachevskian geometry. Bernhard Riemann put the basic for the theory of relativity in which everything can become relative depending of one’s point of observation:
Factually, (the Lord’s) appearance and disappearance are like the sun’s rising, moving before us, and then disappearing from our eyesight. When the sun is out of sight, we think that the sun is set, and when the sun is before our eyes, we think that the sun is on the horizon. Actually, the sun is always in its fixed position, but owing to our defective, insufficient senses, we calculate the appearance and disappearance of the sun in the sky. And, because His appearance and disappearance are completely different from that of any ordinary, common living entity, it is evident that He is eternal, blissful knowledge by His internal potency-and He is never contaminated by material nature. BG 4.6( Purport)
Léon Foucault worked on measuring the speed of light or other big masses like earth and space. These ideas to measure space and time are also taken from the Vedas:
Each and every planet within the universe travels at a very high speed. From a statement in Shrimad Bhagavatam it is understood that even the sun travels sixteen thousand miles in a second, and from Brahma-samhita we understand from the shloka, yach-chakshur esha savita sakala-graham that the sun is considered to be the eye of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, and it also has a specific orbit within which it circles. SB 4.12.39 Purport
Nikola Tesla has gained popularity today through his exploration in the studies of frequencies or the power of sound which was well known in the Vedas. As we devotees well know, the appropriate construction of sounds that are used for particular purposes is called mantras.
We can clearly see that the Vedic texts were translated not only in English but into many other languages in the 19th century. The translations did not credit the original writers like Shrila Vyasadeva, Narada Muni or even Lord Shri Krishna. Anyone possessed of a curious mind could find and read these translations and share these “new” ideas. In the 19th century—before TV, internet surfing, computer games and other time-robbing exploits we are heir to nowadays—societies for discussing novel philosophies, discoveries and ideas were popular. Usually, the progressive minds (including scientists, artists, musicians and philosophers) constituted the members of such clubs. The ideas were floating in the air and many took advantage of them. Some of them have admitted the great impact India, the keeper of the Vedas, had on them:
Albert Einstein stated, “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
Mark Twain admitted, “India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most constructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”
The French scholar Romain Rolland wrote, “If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.”But the basic history of scientific discovery can be summarized like that: Lord Buddha denied the Vedas, yet He also established the Vedas by His own example. Science did the reverse action. The scientists exploited the truths of the Vedas but also denied the Vedas by labeling themselves the founders of the pre-existing factual expositions found in the Vedas. Thus atheistic speculators who dubbed themselves as scientists installed in the minds of the population a new god of their own making called Science. They want us to believe that everything in the world of science seems to be congenial and progressive. By the grace of scientific advancement, life is delightful while the world is filled with promise. The son of science is technological advancement that brings in its wake the illusory promise of carefree sense gratification. Thus the reason to be behind all scientific explorations—as seen from the first voyages of European adventurers—is simple. The stimulus for the Great Geographic Discoveries were the exotic spices. And so it is that the promise of sense gratification lies at the basis for the natural enfoldment of the history of modern scientific discoveries.
But Shri Krishna has another plan, one that is not so obvious and is filled with mystery (to the gross materialist). Despite of the obvious damage that science had done to the Vedic literature by it mis-appropriation of Vedic knowledge for sense gratification, the world has become open. The royal pathways from the East to the West—rather then from West to the East—became the highways for spreading Krishna Consciousness. England took over India (and the United Stated grew into the main extension and muscle of the British Empire). His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Shrila Prabhupada used the English language and wealth of the West to popularize worldwide the ripened fruits of all Vedic literature, Shrimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Once he popularized the sankirtan movement in the United States of America, the the chanting of Hare Krishna mahamantra spread throughout the entire world.
Today with clear vision it is easy to recognize that the true light of the Absolute Truth has indirectly shone upon many walks of modern life. From ecology to filmmaking, culinery habits to so called New Age philosophical views, from yoga-inspired healthy habits to the very language we speak, the influence of India today is omnipresent. But this is just the beginning and we devotees in the line from Shrila Prabhupda should not rest upon those credits. Much work remains to be done before the essential truths found in the Vedas, culminating in Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtan movement as the yuga dharma, receive worldwide implementation. And that is something that depends on every single devotee of Shri Krishna living today on the surface of mother Earth.