Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vedas and Motion of Planets

  Vedas and Planetary Motion

Vedas, the first texts of humanity, contain seeds of all forms of knowledge – spiritual or material. And hence it is obvious that there is no possibility of contradiction between claims of Vedas and deductions of science. Unlike other so-called holy texts Vedas do not demand blind belief on unobservable. So there is no blind insistence on belief in any avatar, prophet, god, son of god, mythology or historical claims to avoid some hell-like place and seek some heaven-like holiday spot. On contrary, the Vedic principle is to explore higher levels of truth in most unbiased manner and be honest to the results of this exploration. Science and Vedas go hand in hand.

Thus the approach of Vedas is way different from rest of the religious products with whom Vedas are often wrongly clustered. Vedas do not spoon-feed. They don’t expect you to find truths of nature and world by memorizing certain verses. On contrary, Vedas urge humans to put efforts, conduct experiments, reflect upon those experiments and discover wisdom by making best use of this laboratory called life. And in the journey towards more and more advanced experiments you conduct, Vedas stand with you as a trusted guide, coach and mentor. Vedas don’t answer the questions on your behalf in the examination, like what happens in many corrupt institutions. They help you seek the answers from within yourself in most honest manner.
Being a student of science for major part of my life, the mysteries of universe have always fascinated me.

And I have always had great respect and admiration for scientists like Kepler, Newton, Faraday and Einstein whose pursued the unraveling of these mysteries. They are the modern Rishis of their fields who discovered the wisdom within themselves by following the Vedic methods of exploration and gave us the opportunity to be even greater Rishis. And when I dwell into the Vedas, I find them to be my trusted mentors who reinforce the same fundamental truths that were discovered by these wise men. That leads to conclusion that scientific spirit of these legends combined with proactive inspiration from Vedas could be such a powerful combination that could transform the civilization in most wonderful manner – giving methods, direction, efficiency and purpose to all we do and seek to do as humans. 

Here I bring you two interesting Mantras from Rigveda that explain the planetary motion. Swami Dayanand quoted one of them very briefly in his amazing text Rigvedadibhashyabhumika or Introduction to Vedas (available in Downloads section of more than 130 years ago.  The mantras can have various meanings, as is the case with most Vedic mantras. But I shall explore the straightforward meaning in context of motion of planets.

The first one is Rigveda 10.149.1.
This is one of the several Mantras in Vedas that assert that planets move around sun. It says:
“The sun has tied Earth and other planets through attraction and moves them around itself as if a trainer moves newly trained horses around itself holding their reins.”

In this mantra,
Savita = Sun
Yantraih = through reins
Prithiveem = Earth
Aramnaat = Ties
Dyaam Andahat = Other planets in sky as well
Atoorte = Unbreakable
Baddham = Holds
Ashwam Iv Adhukshat = Like horses
Very clearly, the mantra explains that sun is center of solar system and planets (including earth) move in a closed-loop path around it.

The second one Rigveda 8.12.28 details this motion of planet

“All planets remain stable because as they come closer to sun due to attraction, their speed of coming closer increases proportionately.”

In this Mantra,
Yada Te = When they
Haryataa = Come closer through attraction
Hari = Closeness
Vaavridhate = Increases proportionately
Divedive = continuously
Vishwa Bhuvani = planets of the world
Aditte = eventually
Yemire = remain stable
(The reference to sun comes from rest of the Mantras in this Sukta before and after this mantra)

The mantra clearly states that:

1. Motion of planets around the sun is not circular, even though sun is the central force causing planets to move (Refer previous mantra 10.149.1)

2. The motion of planets is such that Velocity of planets is in inverse relation with the distance between planet and sun.

It can be easily shown with the help of Newton’s Second Law that, for a planet revolving around sun in an elliptical orbit, having distance ‘r’ with sun and angle ‘θ’ made between length ‘r’ and any fixed axis, at any instant, following holds true

From the above, it can be easily shown that derivative of the product of square of distance between sun and planet and rate of change of angle θ, with respect to time, is zero. And thus following relation is obtained (with h as a constant)

Interestingly, the above relation is nothing but the conservation of angular momentum, observed in cases involving Central Forces! If you replace angular velocity with linear velocity, it leads exactly to the same principle that the Vedic mantra 8.12.28 asserts – that velocity of planets is inversely related to distance from sun!

What laws of mechanics and motion can be derived from these principles is something that each of you studying science can explore and be excited about!

But what is wonderful is that the principles are in perfect sync with Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and Newton’s law of gravitation. In fact, if these Vedic principles were known, deriving Kepler and Newton’s laws and hence law of conservation of angular momentum becomes the next easy logical step for an analytical mind!

This is the beauty of Vedas. Vedas and Science are never in contradiction. In fact the foundation of Vedic religion lies in the principle that “True Science and True Religion can never contradict.

Please note that we no way imply that mere analysis of Vedic mantras could lead to any scientific discovery. Because Vedas themselves suggest that without experiments and research in real-world, truth cannot be discovered (Refer Atharvaveda 12.5.1, Yajurveda 1.5 and 19.30). But we do want to imply that Vedas form a wonderful guru who would always stand besides you as a reliable guide. Nothing in Vedas would contradict your rational discoveries. And as you discover more and more, Vedas would make you realize how magnificent that Supreme Power is who is managing this entire universe through such perfect unchangeable laws! Thus Vedas strengthen you from core.

What we presented was just 2 mantras that we chanced to discover with whatever limited intellect we have. But that does seem to indicate that Vedas do merit a more detailed and institutionalized research. We do hope that such researches become reality of tomorrow so that humanity could rise above schism between science and religion, and fights among various blind cults for claiming the title of only true religion. Vedas are the most credible and viable hope for a religion that is in sync with science and excludes any notion of blind belief. This would be the next level of evolution of human civilization.

May we all embrace wisdom and destroy roots of all blindness! May we all evolve!

About the Author

Yet another biochemical reaction attempting to prove that there is more to life than what was destined in first moment of big bang. In other words, am trying to find meaning in life and world despite the meaninglessness that the Hawkings and Dawkins would want us to believe in! I am an alumnus of IIT-IIM and hence try to find my humble ways to repay for the most wonderful educational experience that my nation gifted me with.


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