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"All modern science is already in our scriptures!" || Acharya Prashant, at BITS Goa (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Questioner (Q): Many of the leading Hindu media outlets of today claim that a lot of what science has proven in recent times has been there in the Vedas, in our scriptures and the ancient texts, since thousands of years. For example, they claim that the distance between the Earth and the Sun was written in the Hanuman Chalisa . There are many claims like these and they have been disproven again and again, but they are still in circulation because of confirmation bias. The problem I see with this is that all this nonsense undermines the real contributions made by people Aryabhata, Pāṇini, Pathani Samanta, and all of these legends who have made groundbreaking contributions to arts, music, science, philosophy, etc. So, how can we teach all this to the average Hindu?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Education, nothing else. You want to be proud of your past, right?

Q: Yes.

AP: That’s okay.

Q: For the right reasons.

AP: Yeah, but be proud of the right things and the right people and the right works and the right reasons, obviously. It’s alright to try to look at the past and search for reason and meaning and dignity and highness there; it’s okay. You want to love something that is worth loving, which is very much okay.

But if you, you know, have a friend and he is, let’s say, 5' 7", and you go to a couple of strangers and you introduce your friend as 6' 2", what have you communicated to your friend? You are ashamed of his height. Is that not what you are communicating? Please, tell me.

Your wife earns, let’s say, something thirty thousand a month. She is just a beginner; let’s say, thirty thousand a month. You introduce her to your friends saying she earns a lakh rupees a month. What does that mean?

Q: I am ashamed of her.

AP: You are not quite proud of her. When you are needlessly and foolishly exaggerating things from your past, that simply means that you are ashamed of your past. And that is even more foolish because there is genuine stuff in your past that you can reasonably, genuinely, sincerely be proud of. But you are not proud of those things because you don’t know of those things. That’s why I said, education.

He talked of Aryabhata, he talked of Pāṇini; people don’t know of them. They haven’t heard of Sushruta. So, they started saying, “Well, you know, all the secrets, the entire cosmology is contained in the Vedas.” Now, interestingly these are people who not only do not know Sushruta and Aryabhata, they also do not know the Vedas. All they know is their hollow, vain pride. This is an insult not only to the great scientists and mathematicians that we have had; this is also an insult to the Vedas. If I say certain things are there in the Vedic literature which are not there at all, am I respecting the Vedic literature?

You are ashamed of it. The thing is, you need not be ashamed of it. The beauty, the glory of the Vedas lies not in the fact that they contain all the secrets of the material universe; their glory lies in Vedanta. And the Vedas are de facto immortal because what Vedanta is talking of is stuff that is applicable to all times, all people, all ages. The stuff that I have spoken to you of over the last two hours is nothing but Vedanta. So, Vedanta is very much relevant even today, and it will continue to be relevant five hundred years from today, a thousand years from today.

I am speaking to a very young audience, and I am speaking to an elite audience, and Vedanta is very meaningful to you; and that’s what should make you proud of the Vedas. Instead of that you are saying, “You know, Vedas contain secrets about nuclear energy.” Well, there is nothing in them about nuclear energy. The thing is, you have never touched the Vedas. And why have you not read the Vedas? The reason is simple. When you were in class tenth, you barely managed to clear your boards. I am speaking to the people who spread this kind of nonsense; they are all half-educated, semi-literate people. They could barely clear their boards. Why? Because they could not even read their basic textbooks.

Now, these are the same people, and the Rigveda has ten thousand verses—actually ten thousand verses. This fellow could not read a hundred-page textbook in class tenth. Do you think he is going to really read the Rigveda ? No, he will not read the Rigveda . But he is interested in blabbering, in propagating all kinds of nonsense just to establish that his community is great and superior to all other communities. So, he will say, “You know, this is written in the Vedas.” You ask him, “Which maṇḍala ? Which verse? Tell me the prakaraṇa , the adhyāya . Tell me, please. Coming from the saṃhitā ? Coming from āraṇyaka ? Where is this coming from?”

There is a lot in India that is worthy of not just your pride, but it actually deserves your worship; nonsense is not that. Truth is to be worshiped; nonsense is to be discarded. Just as I say there are great things in your past, equally there is a lot in your past that deserves to be discarded. What must be discarded has to be discarded. What must be respected must be respected. Keep a clear distinction between the two. Simple.

And make it a rule for yourself to not say anything without having researched reasonably into it. Don’t accept anything as factual if you have not done your own research. And you will be surprised, a lot of things that thousands of people, millions of people believe in are actually just hot air, fluff; there is nothing in that. This is the information age, right? Basic kind of research is very easy. Do that.

BITS Goa, 2023

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