The Vedic Fathers of Geology, Part 15
BY: SUN STAFF
Matsya-avatar in the Great Deluge
Dec 04, 2011 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation on Vedic discoveries in Geology, from the book by Narayan Bhavanrao Pavgee.
Having said so much as regards the Azoic Period, we shall turn our attention to the Paleozoic Epoch, where the comparison becomes still more tempting, and yields results of great moment. The Azoic Epoch, as aforesaid, was a period void of life, as parts of the liquid and solid Earth were yet too hot to sustain vitality. But, as these gradually cooled down, the chaotic condition began to vanish, and life, after lapse of ages, made its appearance therein, in the form of herbs and weeds (Taitt. Up. II, 1), some three Epochs before the advent of Man, the crowning piece of creation. (R.V. X, 97.1, vide ante pp. 112, 113)
I may here state, however, the creative energy appears to have had only simple conceptions; and gradually, it seems to have progressed from simple organic structures to highly organised bodies and more complex orders; since, the study of Paleontology favours the doctrine of development, or at least of the successive appearance on the earth of beings more and more highly organized. For, we have first the lowly weeds (Taitt. Up. II, 1), and then the microscopic fish or trilobite, prior to the mammalian life-types… according to the Vedic and Puranic geologists. (T.B. I, 1.3.6; V.P. I, 4)
And here, bye the bye, I may be allowed to observe that the oldest known fossil-fish, older than the Bone-bed of the upper Ludlow formations, was found in 1859 by J. E. Lee, F.G.S, at Church Hill, in Shropshire, with fossil-shell of the Lower Ludlow or Upper- Silurian group. Moreover, in the Laurentian rocks also, was found an organic body in 1859, by Sir W. Logan. This was examined by Dr. Dawson of Montreal in 1864 by means of microscope, and he detected in it a distinct structure of Rhizopod, which was supposed to be the oldest of the known organic remains, and therefore said to be of great antiquity. (Vide Lyell's Elements of Geology, p. 579, Sixth Edition; David Page's Text-Book of Geology, p. 279, Ed. 1856).
If, however, as remarked by Lapworth, the organic structure called Eozoon or the Dawn animal of Canada is discredited by most geologists, and the preponderance of scientific opinion has long been in favour of regarding it as a peculiar mineral structure imitative of the organic (vide Lapworth's Text-Book of Geology, p. 182, Edition 1899), then the Pre-Cambrian fossils of North-West India, observed by Dr. Koetling, may be noted with advantage. (Vide ante pp. 102, 103) …
An Episode of the Glacial Period & the Subsequent Quaternary Era
The preceding chapters will bring into prominent relief, and give the reader some idea of the fact that our Vedic fore-fathers had knowledge of, and were acquainted with, the elements of Geology and the principal rock formations. Of course, it has to be admitted, and the fact cannot be gainsaid, that no systematic works nor any treatises appear to have been written on the subject. At any rate, not even one is found at the present day. Yet, there appear side-lights and the scattered rays of truth in the Vedic Literature, which amply prove the copious resources of our Vedic fathers in Geology, while their stray utterances in the matter, when duly connected, give us but a harmonious whole, and present their marvellous fertility of mind in unusual bright colours…
In the last chapter, we noticed in brief, and gave a few details of, the Azoic, Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and the Cainozoic or the Tertiary Epoch. And it now seems necessary to make a rapid survey of the Glacial Period, and of the Quaternary Era which followed it. Now viewing in the descending order the geologic formations, we find the Tertiary Era followed by the Glacial Epoch, which is remarkable no less for the thick sheets of ice covering the higher latitudes of Asia, Europe, and America, than for depopulating the immense tracts of the three continents, that before enjoyed genial climate and were teeming with population.
The causes of the Ice Age have not yet been ascertained, and many theories, therefore, in respect thereof, appear to have been in the field. Some hold that the intense Arctic conditions had arisen, owing to Geographical causes; that is to say, owing to somewhat different distribution of land and sea-areas in Glacial times; or to the general depression of land on one side, its elevation on the other, the indrift of Glacial currents, and the consequent formation of Ice-sheets; or owing to a change in the position of the Poles.
"While others, led probably by Dr. Croll, maintain, that the Glacial conditions were due to certain Astronomical causes, viz. the elongated ellipse... For, at the present day, the ellipse formed by the Earth's orbit is approximately circular in form, but, as supposed by Dr. Croll, it was greatly elongated in the Pleistocene Period. This, it is argued, brings about the alternate glacial and genial periods, and explains the occurrence of warm inter-glacial Epochs, at long intervals, since, every 10,500 years, the physical conditions of the two hemispheres must have been gradually reversed, owing to the precession of the equinoxes. There is yet a third theory promulgated, and according to this, it is believed that, "even if the glacial conditions were due to astronomical causes, there were in reality no relatively warm inter-glacial periods, but merely local advances and retreats of the great Ice-sheet, owing to accidental, local, or annual variations in temperature, snow-fall, and the like". (Vide Lapworth's Text Book of Geology, p. 386, Ed. 1899)
Be that as it may, the last Glacial Epoch, known as the Great Ice Age, lasted for a considerable period (vide ante pp. 84, 85), and was followed by the Quaternary Era or the Recent period, when Ice-floods having subsided, order began to be restored. And such of the Aryans as had left Aryavarta, their Home, and colonised the Arctic regions, but were compelled to abandon those genial tracts owing to the advent of the Great Ice Age, commenced returning Home to Aryavarta, or began selecting new settlements according to their choices and the surrounding circumstances.
I need hardly state, that our Vedic Fathers were aware of the Ice Age. But, this appears to have been designated, in our Vedic Works, as the Deluge. For, the oldest of these accounts has been incorporated in the Shatapatha Brahmana (I, 8.1, 1-10),  and this only speaks of the Deluge. I have already made a passing reference to the Deluge which destroyed our magnificent and extensive colonies in the Arctic regions (pp. 61 @ 64, 72 @ 78, 82), and I would here only narrate the Fish-legend, in view of enabling the Reader to understand its origin and its connection with the Great Ice Age. I would first quote a few extracts from the original text in Sanskrit, for convenience and easy reference, and then give its translation as rendered into English by Muir:
[Sanskrit sloka omitted]
"In the morning, they brought to Manu water for washing ...... As he was thus washing, a fish came into his hands, (which spoke to him) 'preserve me; I should save thee. ' (Manu enquired), "From what wilt thou save me ?" (The fish replied), 'A flood shall sweep away all these creatures; from it I will rescue thee.' (Manu asked), 'How (shall) thy preservation (be effected)?' The fish said, 'So long as we are small, we are in great peril. For, fish swallows fish.' Therefore, thou shalt preserve me first in a jar. When I grow too large for the jar, then thou shalt dig a trench and preserve me in that. When I grow too large for the trench, then thou shalt carry me away to the ocean. I shall then be beyond the reach of danger.'
Straitway, he became a large fish; for, he waxes to the utmost. (He said), 'Now, in such and such year, (which, however, was not definitely specified), the flood will come. Thou shalt, therefore construct a ship, and resort to me. When the flood rises, thou shalt embark in the ship, and I shall deliver thee from it.' Having thus preserved the fish, Manu, carried him away to the sea. Then, in the same year, which the fish had enjoined, he constructed a ship and resorted to him.
When the flood rose, Manu embarked in the ship. The fish swam towards him. He fastened the cable of the ship to the horn of the fish. By this means, he hastened (and got) to this Northern Mountain." (Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I, pp. 182-3, Second Edition)
Now, the Northern Mountain in the above narrative evidently refers to the Snow-clad- Himalayas; and by the expression [Sanskrit word omitted], the commentator also understands the Himavat, or the Himalaya, to be the Mountain to the North of Aryavarta and Bharata-Khanda, or India. Besides, the phrase [word omitted] shows but the past reminiscence of a very vivid recollection of the great snowy mountain, which in the hoary days of the Tertiary Period, was observed by our oldest ancestors to the North of the region of the renowned Seven Rivers, which was the Aryan cradle and the Birth place of the Primitive ancestors of our Rig-Vedic Fore-Fathers, from where we had extended our conquests in all directions, and colonised the vast Arctic Regions in the Tertiary and Inter-Glacial Epochs; but which, on account of the advent of the Great Ice Age, having become uninhabitable in the Pleistocene Period, we were compelled to return home, bag and baggage, by way of that everlasting snowy Peak of the highest mountain in the world, the Himalaya, which has been the Northern Boundary of Aryavarta, whose Majesty was ever all in all to us.
This Himalaya Mountain, before we colonised the Arctic and other regions, we used to behold in the North, while yet we were lying in our cradle of the Seven Rivers; and this had saved us and given us shelter, when we were at the point of being buried beneath the thick sheets of Ice and Snow, that covered the Arctic tracts and the higher Northern latitudes in the Glacial Period.
 In regard to the antiquity of this composition, Mr. Bal Gagadhar Tilak, the author of the Orien and the Arctic Home in the Vedas says, "The story of the Deluge is found in such an ancient book as the Shatapatha Brahmana, the date of which has now been ascertained to be not later than 2500 B.C., from the fact that it expressly assigns to the Krittikas, or the Pleiades, a position in the due East. It is evident, therefore, that the story of the Deluge is Aryan in origin and in that case, the Avestic and the Vedic account of the deluge must be traced to the same source." (Arctic Home in the Vedas, p. 387)
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