The Vedic Fathers of Geology, Part 4
BY: SUN STAFF
Nov 23, 2011 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation on Vedic discoveries in Geology, from the book by Narayan Bhavanrao Pavgee.
Now, it might perhaps be argued that the various theories propounded by the Vedic and Puranic Indians, either in the Puranas and the Mahabharata, the Upanishads and the Rig-Veda, were advanced not with reference to Geology, but for the sole purpose of Cosmology. And to this, a curt reply might with advantage be given, that whatever the purpose, if the results achieved are in the main correct, even from the scientific point of view, the researches made by our hoary ancestors in the dim and distant past, must needs be appreciated.
But, apart from this, we have distinct evidence to show that the Vedic Rishis had wide acquaintance with Geology, and that they had made these statements especially with reference to geological formations and geological, facts. This, however, requires a separate treatment. We shall, therefore, discuss it in the fourth chapter, while investigating the progress of the West in the science, and comparing it with our Vedic Researches in the past, in this very interesting subject of Geology.
In the circumstances, and having had due regard to the great antiquity of the Vedas from the geological point of view, of which I shall endeavour to give some idea to the reader in the ensuing chapter, the above exposition made by the Vedic Rishis of the first geological formations appears simply marvellous, owing not only to its great antiquity, but also to its correct demonstration, even according to and from the standpoint of, the discoveries of modern researches and the accepted opinions of eminent Geologists of the West, who had taken up the subject only over two centuries before. This, therefore, I shall notice in a separate chapter, as the Western Geologists have rendered valuable assistance to the cause of the Science of Geology, and have developed it with untiring zeal, great energy, and commendable perseverance, after giving to the Reader a brief idea about the antiquity of the Vedas from the standpoint of geology, in the next chapter.
The Great Antiquity of the Vedas from the Geological Point of View
In the present chapter, I Intend conveying to the Reader some idea about the antiquity of the Vedas, and especially of the hoary past of the Rig-Veda, to enable him to see how the geological knowledge possessed by the Vedic Rishis very favourably compares with that of the modern Geologists of the West, notwithstanding the vast distance of time and the almost Insuperable difficulties that the Rishis had then to encounter in their geological researches.
From the foregoing pages, the Reader will have at once perceived that ancient Sanskrit Literature abounds in allusions to the various Geological formations, while the Vedas every now and then refer to different rocks and vital gradations in Geological succession and gradual sequence of Evolution.
Of the several Vedas, the Rig-Veda is preeminently the most ancient, and admittedly the oldest document in the world, of which, therefore, we shall speak presently, as it furnishes unquestionable evidence in respect of the geological knowledge of the Vedic Rishis in pre-historic times. But, before we do that, it would, I think, be proper to give here the approximate date of the Upanishads and the Brahmanas which, as we have already observed, are replete with allusions to various rock-formations of considerable importance.
The researches of the Oriental Scholars show that the period of the Upanishads and the Brahmanas was over 2,500 years before A.D., while the period of the Rig-Veda extended even. beyond the Quaternary Era. That is to say, many hymns of the Rig-Veda, if not all, were sung by the Vedic Rishis during the Tertiary Epoch preceding the Great Ice Age, as would appear clear from the evidence offered in the sequel. Besides, the great antiquity of the Vedic period has also been recently acknowledged by acute researchers like Messrs. B. G. Tilak, S. B. Dixit, Y. B. Ketkar, &c. of the East, and critics like Dr. Jocobi of Bonn, Dr. Buhler, Professor Bloomfield, Professor Max-Muller, and others of the West.
Now, as regards the Brahmanas and their ascertained period, Mr. Tilak says, that, "The astronomical statements found in the Vedic Literature supplied us with far more reliable data for correctly ascertaining the ages of the different periods of Vedic Literature," and that these statements "unmistakably pointed out that the vernal equinox was in the constellation of Mriga or Orion (about 4500 B.C.), during the period of the Vedic hymns, and that it had receded to the constellation of the Krittikas, or the Pleiades (about 2500 B.C.) in the days of the Brahmanas."
He further states in his very interesting work, The Arctic Home in the Vedas that, "The subsequent discovery", by his friend the late Mr. S.B. Dixit, "of a passage in the Shatapatha Brahmana, plainly stating that the Krittikas never swerved in those days, from the due East, that is, the Vernal Equinox has served to dispel all lingering doubts regarding the age of the Brahmanas; while another Indian astronomer, Mr. V.B. Ketkar, in a recent number of the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, has mathematically worked out the statement in the Taittiriya Brahmana (III 1, 1, 5)." (Vide Mr. Tilak's Arctic Home in the Vedas, Preface, pp. I, II)
I here give below, the text from the Taittiriya Brahmana, and this purports to mean that, "Brihaspati or the planet Jupitor was first discovered when confronting or nearly occulting the Star Tishya."
Evidently, the observation of the phenomena is a relevant fact, and as it has been proved by the text itself, Mr. Ketkar has endeavoured to establish that this sort of observation of the heavenly bodies was possible only at about 4650 B.C.
But, apart from this, Mr. Tilak, resting on other grounds, which he has very ably discussed in the Orion, has stated to say that "The oldest period in the Aryan Civilization may therefore be called the Aditi or the pre-Orion period, and we may roughly assign 6000-4000 B.C. as its limits." (Vide The Orion, or the Researches into the Antiquity of the Vedas. p. 206, 1893)
However, having had due regard to the matter-of-fact evidence found in the Rig-Veda, which goes to prove the great antiquity of the Rig-Veda, antiquity going so far back as the hoary period of the Tertiary Epoch, of which therefore I shall speak later on, one is likely to ask whether the aforesaid period of 6000-4000 years B.C. is not too modest for the oldest Vedic age. And, here, therefore, I am constrained to think that the aforesaid limit is by no means to be considered as the Ultima Thule of the Vedic antiquity, in as much as the Aryan Civilization and the primitive Vedic life appear to have preceded the Vedic Antiquity by thousands of years. For, the oldest Vedic Rishis themselves speak in the Rig-Veda of their most ancient ancestors and of the by-gone ages, as also of their then modern generation, as will be seen from the following:
[Sanskrit slokas omitted]
"Agni is the God that deserves to be praised by Rishis or Sages, ancient as well as modern."
"Oh Maghavan (Indra), you had listened to the praises of our older ancestors."
"Bow to our older ancestors that led us to good path, and to the Rishis born before the creation" (as explained by the great commentator Sayana).
This being the case, it is no wonder that the trend of thought of western Scholars should also be in the same direction, and it is in the very nature of things that they should have been inclined to admit that the Vedic antiquity must have been preceded by the houry past. For, the facts are self-evident, and they themselves prove the conclusion.
To purchase soft-cover copies of Vedic Fathers of Geology, please contact the author's grand-grandson, Sanjiv Pavgi at or email@example.com.
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