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Sushrut in 600 BCE practised plastic surgery and arrived at sure solutions to some of the problems which the Europeans could not solve as late as the 16th century. In that century Copernicus and Galileo proclaimed the truth that the earth is round. The Indian astronomer, Aryabhatta, was already aware of this in 5 BCE.The law of gravity was already known to Bhaskaracharya 500 years before Sir Isaac Newton. How many of us know this astronomical truth? At the university of Takshashila thousands of students studied in 42 faculties. The same situation prevailed at that equally famous seat of learning at Nalanda. It was these universities that gave birth to modern India.The concept of air travel which has become so common nowadays was known to ancient Indians. Hundreds of books were written on the aerial mode of transportation. From these books, a volume written by Bharadwaj called Yantrasarvasvam is available even now. It comprises 68 volumes on aeronautics. How many of us know of them? A part of a second - 34,000th part to be exact - was known as 'krati'. Such was the advanced state of calculation in those far-off days. How brilliant must have been scholars like Vishvamitra, Yagnavalkya, Kanad and Chanakya Pandit Kedarnath Prabhakar of Pune has unearthed many interesting things connected with our achievements and published them in the form of letters. He wrote about the Kutub Minar at Delhi. "How expert were our people in construction and architecture? Kutub Minar provides an example. It can be considered as a memorial column to Varahamihir, because he was one of the nine jewels at the court of king Vikramaditya. He was a famous scientist and the Minar was his creation." But Sultan Kutubuddin Aibek, as was the habit of his ancestors, appropriated the Minar and put his name on it. We do not have a placard around our necks proclaiming the greatness of our culture or traditions. But, we should not forget that we have a glorious heritage and a history of illustrious people who have made significant contributions in all fields of life.The foundation of religion has been laid by holy men, religious texts and mandirs. The arts owe their origin to dharma and sadhus; and sadhus have evolved faith and traditions. There have been several storms and obstacles on our march this far. But in that we, the youths of today, have not shared any burden. We did not bear the torch. We did not raise the sword to defend our tradition against aggressors. We have also not made any sacrifice. That is why we do not have the moral right to speak lightly or disparagingly of our country, its religion or traditions. A rich man's son once lost a gold chain at the Swaminarayan mandir in Junagadh. The founder returned the chain to Swami Gunatitanand. When the boy came to the mandir to claim the chain, Swamishri asked, "Who is the owner of the chain? Your father or someone else?" "It belongs to my father." "Then don't you have a sense of responsibility? You had lost it." Yes, traditions and customs are like gold. Gold, itself, has no sense of responsibility. However, we must have responsibility for the gold. So we must preserve it. If we earn the gold, we will know its value. Those who utilise traditions in their lives know their value.

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