“There cannot be an awakened Future without a Present which recognizes respects, learns from and takes pride in its glorious Past”
India is a civilization which is much more ancient then the profundity of the word ‘ancient’ itself. A civilization which has survived the test of time but never lost its spiritual depth….until recently. In the context of a civilization which is believed to be over 8,000 – 10,000 years old, the phrase ‘until recently’ means a few hundred years.
Since ancient times, a lot has been explored, discovered and attained in this great country, in almost all spheres of life, and in ways that we can’t even imagine. For instance, our civilization had developed techniques of advanced engineering, sophisticated urban planning, architecture, water harvesting, drainage, astronomy, medicine, surgery, education models, rules of governance, justice systems, metallurgy etc. thousands of years ago (and this list can go on). But primarily India has been land of sages, seers, scholars and scientists who laid down the foundational systems on how to lead an evolutionary human life. They showed the ways to live which take cares, nourishes and help evolve the collective human consciousness with the principle of co-existence with all life forms in nature.
"India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”
"We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
"If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.”
"If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.”
"India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings.”
Historian and Writer
"It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in history, the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way.”
"Gravitation was known to the Hindus (Indians) before the birth of Newton. The system of blood circulation was discovered by them centuries before Harvey was heard of.”
"After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense."
"The surgery of the ancient Indian physicians was bold and skillful. A special branch of surgery was dedicated to rhinoplasty or operations for improving deformed ears, noses and forming new ones, which European surgeons have now borrowed."
The reason I have shared these quotes by these legendary western authors, philosophers and scientists is because many of us in India do not realize the pinnacle of wisdom which our ancient seers, yogis, scientists and philosophers had reached and passed on through the generations.
Researchers in the West are very prompt in uncovering, learning and themselves sharing wisdom from any part of the world but we, the natural descendants of this great wisdom, have either forgotten about our heritage or have shunned it aside thinking it was all in the past, irrelevant, orthodox and not contemporary anymore. Of course, a lot of damage to this ancient wisdom was done by many invaders who drained this country and more so the last invaders, the British empire who ruled us for almost 200 years and destroyed our culture, religion, education models and our wisdom traditions systematically.
“Wisdom once acquired can never be destroyed”
The vested interests of outsiders and some of our own people divided us and deluded us; they tried to break down the fundamental ethics on which our society was based, and destroy our culture, but the way life is, “Wisdom once acquired can never be destroyed”. This wisdom becomes your DNA, it becomes part of your cell memory. Yes, the fabric is torn, soiled, stained but the threads remain and with the right intention, collective effort and mindfulness the threads can be weaved again to create a great fabric. A fabric which is rooted in the vision of ancient sages and seers, a fabric which works towards allowing and inspiring each human being to touch the highest possible wisdom of the Self and attain the state of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth-Consciousness-Bliss).
But before this can happen, we, the current descendants, need to develop enough trust, faith and pride in our past. Only that can fuel and inspire us to rebuild a glorious awakened future for us, for our future generations and for the whole of humanity.
Let me remind you of some aspects of our glorious past...
Choose any field and do a little bit of internet research, and you will be surprised to see that Indians in ancient times had touched the heights of exploration in that field already. Thanks to technology all of this information is available freely to anybody who wants dig a little deeper.
Before the world knew that the Earth was round, ancient Indian astronomers knew not only this; they also knew every possible detail of our galaxy, planets, their distance from each other and their effects on life on Earth. This was the depth of ancient Indian astronomy, mathematics, cosmology. Even the finest details of quantum physics were all known and worked out.
Medicine and medical surgery, our ancient Charaka & a little later, Sushruta had established advanced practices and they were treating people, curing diseases and even training a large number of students on the science of medicine, treatments, invasive surgery and even plastic surgery almost around 6th or 7th century BCE. The world’s first cataract surgery was also invented and performed in India by Sushruta.
India gave the system of counting/numerals to the world, along with the advanced systems of mathematics.
Wootz Steel was India’s pioneering development in metallurgy. The highest quality of steel making was invented in India which astonished western civilizations, and even today it is the basis for modern steel production.
Vedas are considered to be world’s oldest spiritual text which has been guiding spiritual seekers across the world; a great gift from India to the rest of the world for its collective evolution.
Hundreds of years before the Christian era, cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill, and their use spread to the Mediterranean countries.” The Columbia Encyclopedia
We are the Oldest Democracy in the World.
“India was the mother of village communities of self-government and democracy.” - Will Durant, American Historian and Philosopher
More than 5,000 years ago, we had designed an intricate network of canals and irrigation systems. Our sewerage system was designed to self-clear blockages in the system and to take care of odour and hygiene. We designed the world’s first flush toilet some 3,000 years ago during the Indus valley civilization.
See what a great French barrister and author wrote “India of the Vedas entertained a respect for women amounting to worship. Here is a civilization, which places the woman on a level with the man and gives her an equal place in the family and in society.” - Louis Jaccoliot, French Author
Spiritual Realization of Nothingness
India gave the most revolutionary mathematical ‘zero’ to the world which also has the philosophical understanding and spiritual realization of “nothingness” built into it.
I can go on and on… But I would like to highlight that ancient Indians did not just keep these discoveries secret, they shared it with the whole world for the benefit of all humanity.
In my heart I feel, blessed are those who have chosen to take birth in this great country, who have roots here and who feel a deep connection and reverence to this land.
But the question is; are we interested in knowing about our vast and profound heritage? Are we proud of the ancient wisdom that our great ancestors had acquired for the well-being of all life forms?
Or are we contented in living in a make believe world, which is driven by the vested interests of those that wish to make us into dependent consumers of things that we don’t need. And by manipulating our choices they become even more powerful. Are we becoming slaves again? Slaves of material comforts, desires, laziness and purposelessness. Puppets of this make believe materialistic world, where every moment our attention is on acquiring things outside of us.
Our modern day masters seem to be the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Swiggy, Google and other gaming and social media platforms.
Have we totally forgotten our real purpose of life? And what it means to be human?
I’m not against entertainment, modern technology or social networking but I’m against all forms of slavery; physical, habitual, mental, emotional, financial, social or even spiritual.
In India, we have always given utmost emphasis to the attainment of liberation, liberation from all kinds of external slavery (induced by the outside world) and internal slavery (induced by the illusions of our own un-enlightened minds). This is the glorious attainment for a human being which our ancient spiritual traditions figured out and taught us. With this liberation, one begins to experience abundant love, peace, bliss and oneness with all life forms.
We, who I feel are the descendants of this great ancient wisdom are failing at keeping and furthering our spiritual evolution and it pains my heart to see all of us suffering despite this enormously great heritage. Yes, wisdom cannot be contained in any boundary, it doesn’t belong to any particular race, society or nation, the whole world must have access to it, must learn and grow with it, and it is for the highest well-being of all. But why are we Indians are losing connection with our roots? Why are we not continuing this great heritage and choosing to suffer in ignorance?
Consciousness and matter can never be separated, but human beings have the choice to pay attention to matter only and not to consciousness, which makes the matter appear what it is. If we forget the ancient past and only look at recent history (which is twisted and framed in such a way that makes us doubt the existence of this great, glorious past), then we lose all pride and inspiration to move ahead towards conscious evolution. Then we just become beings of limited perception, blocking our possibilities, stuck to the outer shell of perceptive matter and never tasting the divine nectar of inherent consciousness in it.
“The past is vital in helping to guide our way into the future but for that to happen the present must be lived and explored in the most intelligent and conscious way.”
I would like to share one more proud example of the past here, which is very close to my heart.
It was in India, in the state of Bihar and it was called Nalanda University.
It was established in the 5thcentury! And residential students came from far and wide such as Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey to studying there. The library of Nalanda University had a collection of 9 million books, including copies of ancient original manuscripts too. And do you know the largest library in India today? It is National library of India at Kolkata and even today it has only about 2.2 million books. Nalanda University was the highest seat of learning of Vedic wisdom, Samkhya, Logic, Philosophy, Astronomy, Medicine, Sanskrit, Grammar, Mahayana Buddhism and much more. When Nalanda University was destroyed and its library was set on fire, it kept burning for 3 straight months; such was the volume of books at the library. To date, we have not been able to recreate any similar institution, a seat for higher learning and wisdom in India.
I travel across the world meet hundreds of people, and it is heartening to see that most of the people who are on some sort of spiritual quest anywhere in the world, still look at India with great hope and expectation. Many come to me with tears in their eyes to express their deep desire and hope that someday they will come to India. They feel they will find true liberation and salvation on this great land. I also meet many of our fellow countrymen but rarely do I find anyone who has this deep trust, longing and gratitude for the spiritual heritage of India. Most of us take it for granted. Our idea of growth and modernism is quite twisted. Many of us feel ashamed being Indian as we still feel we are a third world country. I meet a lot of people here and many are westward looking. For such friends, I will just share three more examples before I finish this piece.
Rural Model of Justice
Around 1970 a team of law professors from Harvard law school came to India to study the model of justice from villages in rural India. They were surprised to see how easily disputes were resolved by the Panchayat system here, because our rural model of justice is based on “amicable compromising” unlike in the West where the rate of suing each other is extremely high and where justice system is about proving one party guilty and the other innocent, it is binary, it is punishment driven.
Science of Fasting
Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2016 for his research on how cells recycle and renew themselves. He basically found that fasting on certain days is extremely helpful to rebuild human cells and fight disease and gain longevity of life. In some of the articles I read, he was basically talking about “Ekadashi Nirjal Upawas” which our ancient Rishis and Yogis have talked about for thousands of years. “Ekadashi” is the 11th day of the waxing and waning moon and “Nirjal Upawas” means fasting without even taking water which has huge benefits on human well-being.
A culture based of scientific facts
A recent scientific study on soil micro biome has proved that our earlier method of washing hands with soil in India was a much more healthy practice then washing it with soap. As soil has some very helpful microbiomes which helps the colonies of microbiomes in our gut to keep healthy. And here we are thinking that washing hands with soil is unhygienic and is sign of being illiterate, backward and poor!
Having mentioned some of these examples, I would like to share that I
decided to write this article
To remind you about the glorious past of this great nation.
I want to ignite a sense of pride in all of us about our spiritual heritage.
I want all of us to be awakened to our responsibility and possibility to create India again into a glorious world leader at the forefront of spiritual evolution. A world leader which has the wisdom to unite, which has the strength to lead all towards their highest conscious evolution, which has courage to allow, accept and work with different world views, which has the patience to persist, which has love and compassion for all life forms and which has deep faith in the goodness of each human being.
As I see, it is time for India’s re-emergence as a spiritual powerhouse. India shall lead the world once again, as a spiritual guru, who leads disciples on the path of unity and oneness, who shows the light of wisdom to all and takes every being on the path of truth. India is an important geographic location for this work, but India is also its people, its citizens and its leaders, and it is time that all of them wake up to this reality and responsibility. No more outward growth and expansion towards the matter alone, it’s time to recognize that it is consciousness which is working through the matter. It is time to learn from our past, time to get rid of systems and practices forced on us by our earlier invaders that no longer serve us.
I will end this piece with 3 great lessons from the Vedas to conduct our life the way it is meant to be.
Yoga chitta Vritti Nirodhah
Yoga (which basically is all life) is about stilling the fluctuations of the mind. This shall lead to eternal truth, happiness and peace
This whole world is one family
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all the beings, in all planes of existence, attain to their highest Sukha (spiritual well-being)
A note to the readers: I’m not a historian, scholar or researcher but a student of this great culture and I’m deeply convinced of our individual and collective potential. Together we need to break this long slumber and reclaim our lost heritage, and that will be India’s real contribution to collective human consciousness.
"Every nation has a certain 'brand identity', something for which it is known, something that is at the core of that nation. And India's brand identity has always been Spiritual Wisdom. This is our real treasure, which must be mined because humanity needs it much more today than any other time in human history."
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"Purity of the heart can not only move mountains, it also becomes the seat of the divine."
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