Vedic Physics was intriguing for me both as a student of Physics and as a student of Indian scriptures. Once you start reading Indian Scriptures, you do discover a whole lot of scientific principles and concepts. In fact, most independent researchers who are trying to decipher the science in Indian scriptures come from the discipline of Physics. I guess it is easier to understand the nature of microscopic and as well as an astronomical phenomenon when you understand particle physics at macroscopic levels and at the same time big bang theory. So, I downloaded Vedic Physics as soon as it appeared on my screen.
In the introduction, author Raja Ram Mohan Roy talks about modern science and says it was not comfortable to be in a world without God, a world without meaning and a world without any purpose of existence. Introducing the Vedas and Vedic literature to his reader, he says – Astika is the one who believes in Vedas, and the one who doesn’t is a non-believer or a Nastika. He beautifully introduces not just Vedas but their structure by explaining the sages and chanddas associated with them, which he chooses to call coded information rather than what is apparent to the eye. His biggest claim though is that Rigveda is a book of Cosmology that gives us visibility into the beginning of the universe as we know it.
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He picks up various verses and hymns, primarily from Rigveda, and puts forth a hypothesis. On the way, he also compares the parallel myths that exist in other ancient civilizations, especially Iranian and Greek. He proposes that the Rigveda ideas have spread to these civilizations through later texts based on Rig Veda. I am not too conversant with the myths and legends of these civilizations so at places I skipped these.
Starting with Hiranyagarbha or the golden egg from which are creation stories begin, Roy picks up various terms and explains it extensively in scientific terms. For example, he tells Apa and Salil are not plain water as we know it, but primordial fluid in two different states. He similarly goes on to explain all the major deities mentioned in the Rig Veda like Indra, Rudra, Vishnu, Maruts, or the animals mentioned thereof like horses, cow, goat or sheep.
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Purusha Sukta is one of the major hymns that is explored in the book. I was surprised to know that this hymn is a part of all the four Vedas, I always thought it is only in Rig Veda.
The verses with their numbers are included in English translation, which I assume is the author’s own translation. As someone who understands Sanskrit to some extent, I would have liked Sanskrit verses as well, but then they can be easily accessed on the internet. I appreciate the fact that he always begins his chapters by explaining the etymology of the words or phrases. In Sanskrit, rarely would you find a meaningless name, even when it is given to the characters in a story. A lot of hidden within the meaning of the phrase.
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There is a parallel that he draws with seals from Indus Valley Civilization. I will not divulge what he interprets each term to be, you must read the book for that.
At places, I felt the author assumed that he has made the point, while as a reader it went above my head. For example, at one place he says now that we have proved the universe is egg-shaped, or now we know Sarasvati is not a river. Some explanations stay hanging in the middle. I would treat this book as a book of hypothesis, a new way to look at the Rig Veda and expand our horizon of thinking. If you can blindly take every argument is a choice you need to make.
I have my disagreements like Nishads are not Shudras. Or the fact that the author contradicts himself when he says towards the middle – All we need to do is use logical reasoning without bias, be objective and separate science from mythology, and mythology from history. Can you really do that when reading Indian scriptures? His argument of the 25th December celebration is Christ’s birthday needs examination as this was not the date it was initially celebrated on. I also feel that scriptures carry a fundamental tenet – Yatha Pinde Tatha Brahmande – meaning what is there in the universe is in your body. So what is applicable at the cosmological level is also applicable at our body level and that has kind of been missed.
Overall, Vedic Physics is a very interesting book to read. It can give you a lot of new windows to look at the world of Vedas and the world they contain within them.
Take your call.