"Scientific Contributions[or glories] of Ancient Tamils"/Part:01


"Scientific Contributions[or glories] of Ancient Tamils"/Part:01:"Introduction"]:---[The six parts Tamil article published in theebam.com on "பண்டைய தமிழ் பாடல்களில் விஞ்ஞானம்"[Science in the Ancient Tamil Poetries ] is the based for this English article "Scientific Contributions[or glories] of Ancient Tamils",but with substantial improvements,For Tamil articles refer :http://www.ttamil.com/theebam.com ] November /December 2016 ]

"Even the wealth of the wide sea will be diminished,if the cloud that has drawn (its waters) up gives them not back again (in rain)/நெடுங்கடலும் தன்நீர்மை குன்றும் தடிந்தெழிலி தான்நல்கா தாகி விடின்"-Thirukkural 17--This is a very basic scientific fact,told 2000 years ago!---There are literary, archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic sources of ancient Tamil history. The foremost among these sources is the "Sangam Literature", generally dated to the seventh centuries BC to third centuries AD. The poems in Sangam literature contain vivid descriptions of the different aspects of life and society in Tamil Land during this period;It consists of 2,381 known poems, with a total of over 50,000 lines, written by 473 poets.It gives us a glimpse of  the intellectual heights/scientific knowledge of the Tamils who lived during this period .The evidence for many of the scientific ideas mentioned in the poems or Traditions may appear to some of us as hypothetical, and based on wild imagination and faith.But imagination and faith are amongst the strongest forces of nature capable of doing many miracles in life.A vast number of statements and materials presented in the ancient Tamil literature can be shown to agree with modern scientific findings and they also reveal a highly developed scientific content in these literature. The great cultural wealth of this knowledge is highly relevant in the modern world. 

When we read “Thiruvilayadal” episode, We come across a "a scientific query":“Do women’s hair smell good[like flowers] due to natural causes or due to the application of perfumes ? Dharmi conveyed the message as a poem. As the answer was wrong, the other person opposed that. Here they needed a valid reason to prove that.That is the one what we are calling now as "science".

"Beautiful-winged bee
whose life is passed in search of honey
don't speak to me of desire
but tell me what you really saw:
Could even the flowers that you know
be as full of fragrance
as the hair of the woman
with the even set of teeth and the peacock nature,
to whom long affection binds me?"
"கொங்கு தேர் வாழ்க்கை அஞ்சிறைத் தும்பி! 
காமம் செப்பாது, கண்டது மொழிமோ: 
பயிலியது கெழீஇய நட்பின், மயில் இயல், 
செறி எயிற்று, அரிவை கூந்தலின் 
நறியவும் உளவோ நீ அறியும் பூவே."
[Kurunthogai 2 ]


  

So, Ancient Tamils were also speaking about science with out knowing that.Our ancient Tamil people didn't see science as a separate one. Science is a part of their day to day life. So they didn't have separate division for science in poetries as "Love" and "War".They combined science with all. When you see a set of poems, some lines tell about some "science or Nature".Generally,Our ancestors did most of the thing for a particular reason, all verified and proved. If they tell it as science then our ancient people will not follow. they combined everything with "sprituality or morality" to make us get bound to nature.For example, Vinayagar loves arugampull [அருகம்புல் /"Bermuda Grass"] so now a days we can see bundle of it sold and being wasted in the temple. But it was told for a good cause that, if we have arugampull in any form it will act as a coolant to our body and reduces the heat. Hence our ancestors symbolised that by wearing arugampull over the big belly of vinayagar. But we leave the reason and cause but get hold of the action alone and get dragged into superstitious beliefs.Same goes well with Thulasi [துளசி/holy basil] also.Tulsi is considered to be the most sacred plant. It has medicinal properties and is antibacterial and germicidal. To preserve this precious plant, our ancestors attached spiritual and religious significance with it. A few years ago, you would rarely find any house without a tulsi plant.Tulasi Theertham (துளசி தீர்த்தம்/பெருமாள் கோவில் தீர்த்தம்/Water mixed with Holy Basil Leaves) will be given to devotees as prashad [Prasadam/பிரசாதம்] in temples.The holy basil leaves used in theertham act as a tonic which fights against fever, cold, cough, sore throat, respiratory disorders, kidney stones, heart disorders, stress, mouth infections, insect bites, headaches, skin and tooth disorders. It also acts as nerve tonic to sharpen the memory. A number of things which are now a days being carried out in terms of blind faith have some "scientific or logical" basis behind it.

Wisdom has been passed by "word of mouth" for Common people even before writing systems evolved – The easiest way to remember these were through verses/poems.The Tamil Sangam poems are ancient –over  2,000 years old and yet very contemporary since they deal with love for the most part. More than 75% of the literature is love literature – love before marriage, love in marriage, love in infidelity and love in reunion. The rest about war, kings, poets and other subjects.Please also bear in mind that tons of Tamil literature is thought to have been lost.There are many scientific correlations/ parallel which have been used to emphasize ethical virtues rather than scientific vision.Tamil poets tried to strengthen ethical values of society by comparing natural scientific happenings with relationship with one another. For example, Water drops doesn't stick to Lotus Leaf. This is compared with a fragile friendship between two persons. They didn't try to find out the reason(non sticky water drop on the leaf)behind it. Again, There are many ancient Tamil literature on Science which people are unaware of them. This is a song from an ancient Tamil cosmological script called "Anda Kola Vilasam" (அண்ட கோள விலாசம்/18th century AD):"குக்குடக் குடம்பை போலக் கூறுவாங் கீழ்மே லாக நிற்குமே நூறு கோடி நிகழ்ந்திடுங் கீழ் மேற் றீர்க்கந் தக்கது நூறு கோடி சாற்றுதென் வடல்வி சால மிக்கது நூறு கோடி விளம்பும்யோ சனையைச் சொல்வாம்" It claims that the Earth and the Universe are oval (Egg shaped) !!!But the reasons for the above happenings were not analysed. But they know all minute facts. The main stress is on moral values only. In Tiruppavai even during Margazhi, the coolest month, one should get up early in order to have good health. That is the moral.There is a mistaken impression in some quarters that science and scientific knowledge are the prerogatives of only the past few centuries of history. It is not so. From time immemorial some knowledge in Tamil had been scientific. When I use the word scientific, please do not think only in terms of modern laboratories where they experiment, enquire, hypothise, make further experiments and arrive at theoretical conclusions, only to be reconfirmed and revalidated by further experiment and enquiry.It is the scientific Ideas that is the important factor here.I am writing this with my very limited knowledge.If anything wrong you may correct me.

Frederick Soddy (1877 - 1956)/scientist once told that:“Can we not read into them some justification for the belief that some former forgotten race of men attained not only to the knowledge we have so recently won, but also to the power that is not yet ours?”Similarly,In 1909 when academics were first beginning to grasp the awesome power of the atom,He wrote in his Interpretation of Radium,that:"I believe that there have been civilisations in the past that were familiar with atomic energy, and that by misusing it they were totally destroyed."Several popular ancient epics describes flying machines including tamil epics Seevaga Sinthamani [சீவக சிந்தாமணி] that are generally called Vimanas and their use in warfare with fantastic weapons. Depending on one's point of view, either it contains some of the earliest known science fiction, or it records conflict between beings with weapons as powerful and advanced as anything used today.For example ,the Mahabharata the ancient text of India,describe nuclear warfare with flying machines And I quote, directly from the manuscripts themselves:Using flying machines called Vimanas that were used to launch powerful weapons of destruction, the Mahabharata records that someone brought death to the people...

"The Earth shook, scorched by the  terrible violent heat of this weapon. Elephants burst into flames and ran to and fro in a frenzy, seeking a protection from terror. Over a vast area other animals crumpled to the ground and died. The waters boiled, and the creatures residing therein also died. From all points of the compass the arrows of the flame rained continuously! "This destruction was caused by Gurkha,flying a swift and powerful vimana (may be a fast aircraft),who hurled ...a single projectile(may be a rocket) Charged with all the power of the Universe(may be a nuclear device)!.Also,Elsewhere we read, " An incandescent column of smoke and fire, as brilliant as ten thousand suns rose in all its splendour[From Section 34 of the Karna Parva]. ..it was an unknown weapon,An iron(Iron-59 is known to be radioactive) thunderbolt, A gigantic messenger of death, Which reduced to ashes The entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas[From Section 1 of Mausala Parva.].!"Continuing  on, "The corpses were so burnt that they were no longer recognisable. Hair and nails fell out. Pottery broke without apparent cause. Birds, disturbed, circled in the air and were turned white.After a few hours All foodstuffs were infected... ...to escape from this fire The soldiers threw themselves in streams To wash themselves and their equipment[water is a natural shield to Nuclear radiations].!".Does this sound suspiciously like nuclear weapons to you?

On August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45), an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima and Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki.Now I read same poem/Shloka below,What do you understand and If so,whether you can determine what is being described?Some time knowledge & true interpretation was a long time in coming, but,I believed, it did arrive now,After seeing with my own eyes the devastation wreaked upon Hiroshima & Nagasaki,when I visited there on August 6,1977 &  August 9,1977 respectively!

 "The American flying in his swift and powerful B-29, hurled against the cities of Hiroshima and  Nagasaki
.....a single projectile charged with all the power of the universe. An incandescent 
     column of smoke and fire, as brilliant as ten thousand suns, rose in all its splendor. It was the 
     secret weapon, the iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes the 
     entire population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
     The corpses were so burnt they were no longer recognizable. Hair and finger nails fell out, 
     Pottery broke without cause. ... Foodstuffs were poisoned. To escape, the soldiers threw 
     themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment."  

[Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]


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