Ancient Indian Knowledge In Sanskrit Traveled The World And Returned As Western Discoveries: ISRO Chief

Swarajya Staff

May 26, 2023, 09:02 AM | Updated 09:02 AM IST

ISRO chairman S Somanath (File Photo)
ISRO chairman S Somanath (File Photo)

India was a knowledge society since Vedic times with subjects including Maths, medicine, metaphysics, and astronomy, written in Sanskrit but all such knowledge came back to the country thousands of years later as discoveries by Western Scientists, according to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman S Somanath.

Somnath highlighted Sanskrit's antiquity and versatile nature in his speech at the Maharishi Panini Sanskrit and Vedic University's fourth convocation ceremony in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

The ISRO chief said that Sanskrit was one of the most ancient languages of the world and encompasses a broad range of subjects, such as poetry, logic, philosophy, science, technology, and mathematics, among others.

He mentioned that the Surya Sidhanta, the first Sanskrit book he encountered, delves into his area of expertise.

"Surya Sidhanta, the very first book I came across in Sanskrit talks about the domain I am familiar with. This book specifically talks about solar system, how planets move around the sun, periodicity of this movement, timescales etc," he said.

"All this knowledge travelled from here, reached the Arabs, then went to Europe and thousands of years later came back to us as discoveries of great Western scientists. However, all this knowledge was written here in this language Sanskrit," Somanath said, reports The Hindu.

The ISRO chief highlighted that the impact of scientists, expressed in Sanskrit over the years in various fields such as astronomy, atmospheric sciences, medicine, physics, and aeronautics, was evident in India's cultural journey.

According to him, this ancient knowledge hasn't been fully explored or researched yet.

He suggested that inviting experts like him to talk on science and Sanskrit can help organisers showcase the potential of Sanskrit in making scientific concepts easier to understand.

Ancient sages discovered concepts like 'shunya' and infinity, while Algebra and the Pythagoras Theorem were expressed precisely and poetically in Sanskrit, he said.

He added that many other concepts like that of vimana, architecture, the concept of time, the structure of the universe, how it evolved and grew, metallurgy, chemical technologies, medicine treatment, languages, the structure of grammar, shastras like Nyaya, sangeet, spirituality, Yoga have been expressed beautifully in Sanskrit.

Scientists of that era struggled because Sanskrit relied more on 'shruti' rather than written words. Despite this, the language's auditory appeal surpassed that of other languages, as per Somnath.

"That's why it survived. Today you don't need that shruti structure, which is the beauty of this language as it is a formula based and logical based language. We scientists love this kind of language, which is rule based, syntax based, something which suits the computer language," he said.

The ISRO chief further stated that those in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning have a fondness for Sanskrit, and are researching its applications for computing and natural language processing.

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