The Vedic Fathers of Geology, Part 3


Mount Meru on Cosmic Plane

Aug 09, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation on Vedic discoveries in Geology, from the book by Narayan Bhavanrao Pavgee.

It would, I think, be convenient for a wide Survey of the subject, to begin with the Upanishads and give a few details, as the zealous Rishis of the period seem to have taken very keen interest in geological researches. From the substance of what has been stated in the Taittiriya Samhita, it appears to have been supposed that at the beginning, all was liquid; which was probably considered to be enveloped in gaseous matter, and that this subsequently became transformed into the Earth. (T.S. VII, 1.5.1)

The researches of the Taittiriya go a step further, and declare that the Earth was at first but a burning globe of gaseous matter - that it subsequently became liquid; and that (after it gradually cooled down, and became condensed and solid by the consolidated particles of granite), it was transformed into the Earth, and then vitality began to make its appearance in the form of lotus (or leaves of moss and weeds, &c.). (T. Br. II. 2.9.1, 2, 3, 4; I 1.3.5)

I venture here to remind the reader, that religion having pervaded everything Hindu, or rather the whole Indo-Aryan life, the geological evolution and configuration of the Earth, the modification of its surface and its external structure, the formation of gneiss or gravels and the appearance of vitality in weeds or lotus, the Palaeozoic vegetation and the fish, the Mesozoic tortoise, and the Tertiary mammalia, were all supposed to be the work of Prajapati the Creator, as the following extracts will show. Here, the Boar represents the Mammalian life-types. [Sanskrit slokas omitted]

The geological progress in the Taittiriya Upanishads is still more remarkable and surprising, as it shows the gradual evolution and vital gradation, with marvellous fertility of mind and astounding correctness of an expert. For, while describing the creation, as also the gradual evolution of Cosmos and the Earth, its cause and effect, the Rishis of the Upanishad period say that from the all-pervading Soul was produced the sky or the endless expanse of space, which in turn had produced the wind, the latter the fire, this the waters, these again the Earth, which (after it had cooled down ) had given rise to vitality or vegetation, and the vital gradation having made its beginnings from simple herbs, plants, or weeds, had evolved more complex forms, ending in the crowning piece of creation, viz. the Man. (T.U. ii. 1)

Now, this description may, in brief, be said to be the geological evolution of Cosmos from the infinite space, which having given rise to atmosphere, the violent currents of wind produced fire. This remained in a state of igneous fusion, until part of the heat having been diffused into the surrounding space, refrigeration proceeded in course of time, which having caused the aqueous vapour in the atmosphere to condense, occasioned the fall of rain, thus giving rise to what is called the first Thermal Ocean. The temperature, however, of this boiling sea was at first, in the very nature of things, very high, and therefore no aquatic beings could inhabit its waters. Consequently, it was devoid of fossils. But, the waters of the Thermal Ocean were highly crystalline, and hence the origin of the primary crystalline strata, gneiss, mica, gravels &c.

Gradually, the granite crust having been partially broken up, land and mountains began to rise above the waters while die torrents of rain caused the sediments to spread over the bottom of the boiling sea. Now, the land and mountains that had appeared above waters having in time cooled down along with the thermal fluid, life naturally became visible therein, first in herbs or seaweeds, and then in others, the vital gradation of life progressed from simpler conceptions to more complex types and highly organised orders, ending in the last and the marvellous creation of Man. [1]

I may here mention -and venture to state- that the aforesaid description of the origin of things and of the Earth in the Taittiriya Upanishad (ii. 1), is but a synoptical view of the gradual evolution of life-types and of geological formations, and corresponds, in the main and essential particulars, though not in so many words, to what the eminent geologists and acknowledged authorities of modern times say as regards the existence and primary conditions of our Planet, the formation of its rocks, its mineral mutations, and its vital gradation and progress. And although the foregoing discussions have been held by some to apply to the evolution of Cosmos in Metaphysics, still, they nonetheless, apply to geological rocks and formations that have made their appearance on Earth, in consecutive sequence. Because, the same can be proved by ample evidence from the Rig-Veda and other sources, as we shall presently show.

As previously observed, we find in the Taittiriya Brahmana allusion made to the creation and its evolution, which in substance only means that the Earth was at first in a chaotic state and enveloped in gaseous matter or was in a state of igneous fusion, which having caused water to flow, after refrigeration and condensation of vapour, there was the Thermal Ocean and this subsequently gave rise to Earth. (Taittiriya Br. II 2.9.1, 3, 4)

After lapse of ages, the Earth gradually began to cool down, evidently by slow and continuous process, the vast effects of "which could only have been realized after period of almost incalculable duration. And weeds and lotuses, trilobites and fishes, reptiles and quadrupeds (Vishnu Purina I 4.7), began to swarm and breed on earth. It was supposed in those stirring intellectual Vedic times, that life was dormant even in the fluid, when the Earth was in a liquid state.

For, it appears from the Taittiriya Aranyaka, (I 23-3/4), that the fluid became a tortoise moving amid the waters and that when Prajapati or the Creator said to him, "Thou hast sprung from my skin and flesh," the tortoise had then replied to say, "No. I was here even before." This, therefore, evidently indicates that life was supposed to be dormant even in the fluid of the deep.

Proceeding further, and going back to the very root of things and the foundation of all, we come to the Rig-Veda, which is admittedly the oldest document [2] in the world, and which claims civilization the most ancient. Here, then, reading between the lines the Taittiriya Brahmana, (ante p. 14), we find it indicated by Vedic Rishis of the hoary past, that the Earth, having been at first in a cloudy, vapoury, or gaseous state (igneous fusion), was reduced to the molten condition of water, and that it (the Earth) having been thus in a liquid condition, and found trembling or rolling like water, and the mountains also moving to and fro like waves, having evidently been molten state, Indra makes them firm. (R.V. II 17) Thus, we find that he made the Earth solid, and the mountains firm. The verses from the Rig-Veda being very important, I give them here below for ready reference: [Sanskrit slokas omitted]

This may be freely rendered into English as follows: "Indra made the Earth solid. It was trembling (having been at first in a molten state or condition of watery vapour). He also made the mountains firm that were rolling (B.Y. II 12.2), "He made the waters flow from the vapoury clouds, thus reducing by its might the gaseous state of Earth to the molten condition, and rendered the mountains firm (R.V. II 17.5).

In fact, the verses when read along with T. Br. II 2.9. 1.; I 1.3.5, p 14, mean, although not distinctly expressed in so many words, that the Earth was at first in a gaseous state of igneous fusion that subsequently, part of the heat thereof having been diffused in the surrounding space, refrigeration had gradually proceeded; that this naturally caused the aqueous vapour in the atmosphere to condense, occasioning thereby the fall of rain, and thus creating the Thermal Ocean; and that then, the granite crust having been formed and afterwards partially broken, the land and mountains began to appear in time, (Vide ante pp. 15-16).

In another place also, mention is made again of the Earth having been made solid by Indra. (Rig-Veda X. 121.5)

But more than this, and as if to crown the whole, we find a most important statement made in the Rig-Veda, from the distinct standpoint of Geology, that vegetable life had commenced some three epochs before the Mammalian life-types of the Tertiary Era, or rather before the advent of Man and the superhuman Gods, and that in the Primary or Paleozoic Era, vitality had first come into being after the Azoic Epoch. That is to say, from the chaotic deep or the Thermal Ocean, where nothing was favourable to the sustenance of life, there was the manifestation of vitality, after the boiling waters had cooled down. In other words, it was then that life had come into play and existence become manifest from unmanifested nothing.

I give below the original in extenso with the translation, as rendered into English by Griffith:

    (Rig-Veda X 97.1)
    (Rig-Veda X 72.2)
    [Sanskrit slokas omitted]

    "Herbs that sprang up in time of old, three ages earlier than the Gods." (Rig-Veda X 97.1)

    "Existence, in an earlier age of Gods, from non-existence sprang." (Rig-Veda X 72.2)

This certainly very favourably compares with the keen investigations of the modern and reputed geologists of the West, as they affirm that vitality had first commenced with the herbs (the Algae, or sea-weeds) in the Primary or Palaeozoic Epoch, followed next by the Secondary or Mesozoic Period or the Age of Reptiles, the latter having in turn been succeeded by the Tertiary Era, that is, Cainozoic or the Age of Mammals and of Man, of which, however. I shall give details in Chapter IV.


[1] In respect of this, Professor Dana, the American geologist, says as fallows: "It is not known that new species of plants or animals have appeared on the Earth since the creation of Man." (Manual of Geology, p. 586, Edn. 1863)

[2] In respect of this, Mr. B. G. Tilak says, " The Vedas themselves… admittedly form the oldest records of the Aryan race." (The Arctic Home In the Vedas, p 5).

Professor Weber writes, "We are fully justified in regarding the Literature of India as the most ancient literature, of which written records on an extensive scale have been handed down to us." (History of Indian Literature, 1882, p. 5)

In the same way, Professor Max Muller contends and declares the Rig-Veda and the other Vedas to be the most ancient literary documents." (What can India teach us?, p. 116, Ed. 1883)

He also observes that, "The Vedic Poets are primitive, the Vedic language is primitive, the Vedic religion is primitive, and taken as a whole, more primitive than anything else that we are ever likely to recover in the whole History of our race." (What can India teach us?, p. 124, Ed. 1883)

To purchase soft-cover copies of Vedic Fathers of Geology, please contact the author's grand-grandson, Sanjiv Pavgi at or


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