Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In Pursuit of Ancient Wisdom

From childhood, I have often had this thought. What would happen if one fine day every single amenity and technology disappeared from our lives? Or just got destroyed? Maybe in a cataclysmic event like a nuclear war? Can anyone of us survive such an event?

Perhaps the only ones who will survive are the tribal people, the hunter-gatherers. These people would then have tales to tell about this one magnificent set of human beings who could travel via air, water and even travel to other planets. The ones among us who survive would try their best to preserve what they had learned so that our future generations could benefit from it.

I think such an event has happened some time in earth’s history already. Do you wonder what makes me think so?

 I am a civil engineer and I am awed by the structures constructed by the Pharaohs, the Greeks, and the ancient Indians. We find so many mysterious, enormous and magnificent megalithic structures spread all over the world that baffle modern architects.

If we dive through the archives of ancient knowledge, we find so many statements which were considered as superstitions. Modern science is now accepting many of them as truths.

In every religion around the world, we have flood myths. About a devastating flood which destroyed the world as it was from which only a handful survived. That these people conserved whatever they could manage and gave birth to a new civilization.

Our epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata talk about interplanetary travel, wars fought in the skies and advanced medical skills like immortality and plastic surgery. Plato talks about the Atlantis which was struck down by the Gods because it was defying the rules of God by playing around with his creation. The Atlantis was submerged in the ocean. So was Dwaraka.

Are these really the products of a highly imaginative writer or a story teller?

I don’t think so.

Have we lost an entire civilization, which was technologically advanced, to some cataclysmic event?

The idea for this post was triggered by many things. The first was a visit to Belur-Halebidu temples which are amazing creations by the ancients.

Belur Chennakesava Temple (Image Source)

 Built in the 12th century, the beauty and intricacy of the carvings done on rock are unbelievable. Even today, with the latest technologies, it would be nearly impossible to achieve such perfection. They are not as ancient compared to many other structures elsewhere in the world, but somewhere in the stories scribbled in those statues, a lost legacy pleads for attention.
The second was Vedic mathematics. Mathematics always fascinated me, but I was never good at mental mathematics. I rely heavily on my calculator. Recently I came to know about Vedic mathematics. The many tips and tricks make calculations easy-peasy.

The third was Ayurveda. Miracle cures done using Ayurveda baffles modern science. Again, something which has roots somewhere in the Vedic period.

Many historians believe the Vedic period had a scientifically, culturally and medically advanced civilization. What happened to those technological advancements?

The flood myths answer all that and more.  

Maybe instead of dismissing our scriptures and epics as products of a highly imaginative mind or just as belonging to a specific religion, we should dive through them searching for lost knowledge.

The fourth and most impactful one was Graham Hancock, whose documentaries search for lost civilizations of the past. They make me believe that some cataclysmic event in the past of earth’s history, forced man to start everything from scratch.

Graham Hancock believes an advanced human civilization existed all over the earth some eleven thousand years ago. A meteor crashing onto the north American ice-plates caused the ocean water levels to increase and plunged the world into an icy darkness.  Some of the brilliant minds that survived that horrific event tried to preserve knowledge in whatever way they could, yet most of it got lost somewhere in the race to just survive in a suddenly wild and untamed earth.

Recent archeological discoveries proving that such a civilization did exist. In Turkey a huge ancient temple, Gobekli Tepe has been discovered which is 11600 years old. In Gunung Padang in Indonesia a 22000 year old pyramid has been discovered. We all know the ruins of the ancient city of Dwaraka has been found submerged in the ocean.

Can we now really be so arrogant to ignore archaeological marvels, ancient knowledge from the past and wait for science to prove our scriptures true?

Or should we start believing in what our Vedas and other ancient books of wisdom preach?

What is your take on this?

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  1. Amazing post.I think as in the movie Avatar we have made many mistakes .The previous civilizations perished due to whatever reasons We need to save the planet now .Wonderful deep post.

    1. Yes. We need to take steps to preserve the planet. This is our only home.
      Thanks for reading.

  2. Very nice Write up Preethi. Why can't it be possible? We never know

    1. Yes! But we might know very soon. Recent archeological discoveries proving that such a civilization did exist. In Turkey a huge ancient temple has been discovered which is 11600 years old. In Gunung Padang in Indonesia a 22000 year old pyramid has been discovered!

  3. I always had similar thoughts!! Loved your post. I even had fantasies that we would have our version of Da Vinci Code or the likes!!

    1. We might! Someone will tell us very soon that our epics are telling true stories.

  4. Exciting premise, Preethi. Much to wonder at!

  5. Wonderful post Preethi. We can't be that arrogant and ignore the ancient knowledge.

  6. The other day we were watching something on the pyramids on the History channel and they had the same thing to say - that it would have taken more than a decade with thousands of workers to get those structures up. And all the tools they had were copper chisels. It is amazing to think that all this happened thousands of years ago.There absolutely had to have been an advanced civilisation flourishing back then.

    1. Yes! Absolutely. We might discover the truths sooner than later I think. Discoveries are happening all over the world proving this right.

  7. Amazing insight. There is a lot of wisdom in the ancient practices. Charaka and Susruta practised advanced levels of Medicine, and Ayurveda is not really ancient anymore- it is very much contemporary and relevant now.
    The degree of detail found in South Indian temples is amazing. If you think of the Rock Temple and Shiva's Penance at Mahabalipuram, which I was fortunate enough to see, it is simply amazing how so much detail could be carved into stone. Many such examples abound.
    Ancient wisdom is making its way back now, probably because in our "modern" pursuits, we have made a fair mess of things.

    1. Yes! We have messed up many things. Modern knowledge is not enough, we need to look back to the past to survive better.