In some comments on my previous post some people asked whether Rama really existed, and whether there was a 'Pushpak Viman'
This was the question :
Do you believe that someone called Ram really existed ? Do you believe that the anti gravity plane Pushpak existed ?
My answer :
Behind all mythologies there is usually some history. So there was most probably a great king called Rama in ancient times, who did good deeds.
It may be mentioned that in the Sanskrit Ramayana of Valmiki Rama is a great king, but not a god. He became a god later in Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas. So Rama evolved from a man to a god in the course of 2 or 3 thousand years.
Pushpak Viman is just a poet's imagination. Please remember that Ramayana is a mahakavya ( epic poem ). A poet has, what is called, poetic licence. In other words, he can exaggerate. So please don't take things like Pushpak Viman literally. There were no aeroplanes in ancient India. The first aircraft was invented by the Wright Brothers in America in 1903.
We make ourselves a laughing stock before the whole world by claiming that in ancient India there were aeroplanes, atom bombs, and guided missiles.
Recently, some elderly relatives of mine wanted to visit the Akshardham temple in Delhi, so I took them there.
Among other things there, there is a cultural boat ride inside a tunnel , and we went on it. Inside this tunnel are scenes from ancient Indian history. Many of these are truthful, e.g. Sushruta doing surgery, Aryabhat explaining mathematics to students, Panini teaching grammar, etc. But there was one scene which completely put me off. That was a scene showing an aeroplane allegedly built in ancient India.
Afterwards I went to the head priest of the temple, who was very kind and courteous to me, and told him that while the other scenes were truthful and should certainly be shown to people who should know about the great achievements of our ancestors, the scene of an aeroplane in ancient India was false, as there were no aeroplanes in ancient india, and showing such falsehood dilutes the great achievements of our ancestors by mixing truth with falsehood.
Many people, some of whom are even educated people, say that in ancient India we had aeroplanes, atom bombs and guided missiles. In support of this argument they refer to the Ramayan and Mahabharat.
Now It is true that the Ramayan mentions Pushpak Viman, an alleged flying chariot, on which Lord Ram is said to have brought Sita from Lanka to Ayodhya, after defeating Ravan. On this basis it is claimed that there were aeroplanes in ancient India.
My reply to such people is this :
We must first understand what are Ramayan and Mahabharat ? They are epic poems ( mahakavyas). In poetry there is a thing called 'poetic licence', which gives a poet the right to exaggerate. So one must not take all things in the Ramayan or Mahabharat literally. As in much of poetry, many things are imaginative.
Everyone in the world knows that the first aeroplane in the world ( the Kitty Hawk ) was built by the Wright brothers in 1903. Hence we make ourselves a laughing stock before the whole world by claiming that there were aeroplanes in ancient India.
If there were aeroplanes in ancient India then there must have been engines in ancient India ( because an aeroplane requires an engine). In that case soldiers should have fought in tanks instead of in chariots and horses in the Mahabharat.
Similarly, the claim that there were guided missiles and atom bombs in ancient India,( because there is mention of brahmastra, agnyastra, narayanastra, etc in the Mahabharat and Ramayan ) is also nonsense. These were only poetic imaginations.
Such people who talk such nonsense do not know the real great scientific discoveries of our ancestors, e.g. the decimal system in mathematics, plastic surgery in medicine, etc I have mentioned about some of them in my articles ' The Decimal System in Mathematics ', " Panini, ' Nyaya and Vedanta ', and 'Sanskrit as a language of Science' on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in
In the front page of ' Indian Express ' of 4.12.2014 was a news item that a former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and present M.P.said that in ancient India a nuclear test had been conducted, and that in ancient India head transplants could be done. He also quoted the Prime Minister who had earlier claimed that in ancient India we had genetic engineering and head transplants.
I have explained in my article ' A Visit to Akshardham ( which can be seen on facebook and on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in ) that while we had undoubtedly made great achievements in science in the past, by mixing up what was true with what was untrue we dilute the former.
It is true that we were ahead of the whole world in science in ancient India.
Our mathematicians had invented the decimal system, which was one of the greatest and most revolutionary scientific achievements in the world, without which scientific progress in the world would have been considerably retarded ( see my article ' The Decimal System in Mathematics ' on my blog and on my facebook page ). Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Bhaskar, etc made great contributions to the progress of mathematics and astronomy
It is true that Sushruta had invented plastic surgery in ancient India, and had made a great contribution to the development of surgery, as did Charak in medicine.
It is true that Panini and Patanjali made grammar truly scientific
It is true that in the Harappa-Mohenjodaro ( Indus Valley ) Civilization we had developed the concept of town planning ( which exists only on paper in most of our cities today ), an excellent drainage and sewage system ( which has largely collapsed in many cities in India today ), and had created a surprisingly modern port ( at Lothal ).
However, it is not true that we had aeroplanes, atom bombs, guided missiles, and genetic engineering in ancient India. And we certainly did not have head transplants.
In plastic surgery, no plastic is used. In plastic surgery a piece of one's own body is removed and placed in another part of one's body. For instance,in a heart bypass surgery ( which may become necessary because a heart artery has become blocked ), a part of a vein in one's leg is removed and placed in one's own heart. We cannot put a piece of someone else's body in our body because our immune system will reject it. All this was discovered by Sushruta in ancient India, whereas Westerners learnt it only a century or so ago.
However, this does not mean that we can do a head transplant. This is because firstly a lot of our blood while circulating goes to the head ( may be one third of the total ), and therefore a head surgery causes a lot of blood loss, which one's body may not be able to sustain.
Secondly, it must be realized that one is really one's brain. All one's thinking, reasoning, memories, commands to the various parts of the body, recording of sensations, etc are functions of the brain.
If one loses one's leg or hand, an artificial limb can replace it. Also, there can be a heart, kidney or liver transplant. But if one's head is transplanted ( assuming that can be done ), and another person's head is put in its place, it will be that other person living in one's body.
By making such exaggerated and untrue claims we mix up the true with the untrue, and thus make even the former, of which we can be justly proud, questionable in the eyes of foreigners.