India has made multiple contributions to the world in areas of Maths, Science, Health and Philosophy. While these are evident today, Indian Mythology suggests that our subcontinent was far advanced than what we deem possible today. The talks of Mahabharata being a nuclear war are rampant in the society but with little factual backing. However, some ideas discussed in the mythology cannot be ignored either.
What is Mythology?
Before we get into it, let us clarify what is mythology? A word which thrown around loosely in our colloquial language.
One good definition comes from the American Heritage Dictionary, in which it is “a fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology.” Another good dictionary defines myth as “a story presented as historical, dealing with traditions specific to a culture or a group of people.”
When one thinks of Mahabharata or Ramayana, there is a clear divide between people who treat it as fictitious and those who revere it as history of the world. When people say that these stories are just fables to learn from, remains of the Ram setu bridge and the submerged remains of the ancient city of Dwarka indicate otherwise.
6 ideas which indicate Indian Mythology is not that age old after all
In the same vein, here is a look at the top 6 ideas discussed in epics which can (to an extent) be compared to technologies being discussed in the current world.
- Testube babies: It is said the Gandhari who was promised 100 children by a Sage, could not go into labour for over 2 years after conceiving. In frustration she beat her womb till it delivered a massive ball of mass. Distraught, she sought help of Sage Vyasya, who cut the ball of flesh into 100 parts and fermented them in jars. Thus were born the Kauravas. This method can be compared to IVF where the sperm and ovum are fertilized in an external container to conceive a baby, although in Mahabharata, the babies remain in it as opposed to being moved to a womb.
- Pushpak Viman- Helicopter or Aeroplane?: A reference popular with Ravana in Ramayana (a book about Indian god, Ram) from Indian Mythology when he abducted Sita, mentions of such transport arrangement is also prevalent in Mahabharata when Arjun journeys to the Himalayas. The description of the viman differs as per various renditions. While some say it was a flying chariot pulled by horses other versions liken it to a horse-less chariot zooming in the sky (like a helicopter).
- Building a bridge over sea: Ramasethu is an engineering masterpiece. While conservative retellings attribute the construction of the bridge to the vanaras faith in Ram, scientific point of view suggests that technology exists to make stones float on water. Nal and Neel were two architects instrumental in building a bridge from India to Sri Lanka within 5 days with the help of dedicated work force of million Vanaras. Valmiki Ramayana discusses the concept of civil engineering in building this bridge in his original work.
- Organ Transplants? When Hindu god Shiva beheaded Ganesha unaware that he is Parvati’s son, he managed to revive him by placing an elephant’s head on his thus rectifying his mistake. It can be dismissed as folklore or a story from Indian mythology but it brings to light the highest level of organ transplant, that of a brain.
- Cloning: It is said that when Luv was born to Sita in the forest, she misplaced him in the forest. Sage Valmiki then cloned Kush out of a grass blade to pacify her anguish. When Luv returned, she raised them both as twins. Sita’s father Janaka was also cloned from King Nimi’s dead body.
- Live Telecast of War: When blind King Dritharashtra desired to know the outcome of the war, his charioteer, Sanjay was bestowed with ‘divine vision’ so that he could narrate it to him real time. Books such as Palace of Illusion suggest that even Draupadi was gifted with a similar power by Krishna.
Those are our top 6! Some are fantastic, some believable and some a mere coincidence. However, they leave us with an important question, that if these technologies really existed, how in the world did we forget them?