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India's Contribution to Modern Civilization

17th Nov 1998      sudheer birodkar

Extract from the site:

Dear Visitor,

Here goes a Sloka (couplet) from the Atharva Veda 
(one of the 4 Vedas - treatises on knowledge from ancient India) which
embodies the true spirit of humanness expressed, not today, but four
thousand years ago.

We are the birds of the same nest,
We may wear different skins,
We may speak different languages,
We may believe in different religions,
We may belong to different cultures,
Yet we share the same home - OUR EARTH.

It is this spirit of humanness that has been the undercurrent of
existence in a part of the world known by many names like Aryavarta,
Jambudwipa, Bharatvarsha, Hindustan or India. This spirit has also
prevailed  in many other parts of the world where the right thinking
of humankind has prevailed.

 In India, this spirit has found expression in the philosophy of
non-violence, religious tolerance, renunciation - in non-temporal
matters. In temporal matters, which is the subject of this book, it
has found expression in achievements in all areas of science and
technology. Achievements which did not remain limited to India alone,
but were transmitted to many corners of our globe.

These achievements are not just a matter of pride for Indians alone.
They represent the triumph of the human mind and hence are a matter of
pride for the human species irrespective of nationality. 

But over a period of one thousand years of a dark age, 
this spirit of humanness was dormant in India; eclipsed 
as it was under influences which came from the deep recesses of the
malevolence in the human mind. That these influences were embodied in
invaders from other parts of the globe is only incidental. 

This setback could have as well been caused by internal 
upheavals that could have brought about malevolent influences to the
fore as in imaginary cases if the Kauravas had triumphed over the
Pandavas in the Mahabharat war or if Kansa had slayed Krishna at
Mathura. These possibilities are hypothetical but what happened when
the spirit of humanness was trampled under the feet of invaders who
brought in intolerance, persecution, forced conversions of people,
destruction of places of worship, penal taxes, and a general political
tyranny; could have as well taken place in some altered pattern under
domestic malevolent factors embodied in say Duryodhana or Kansa. 

So rather than grieving in the fact that these malevolent influences
came from beyond India’s geographic boundaries, we need to rejoice in
the fact that even in these compelling circumstances, the spirit of
humanness was only dormant but did not become extinct. As Arthur
Basham, the famous Australian Historian says, "The ancient
civilisation of India differs from those of Egypt, Mesopotamia and
Greece, in that its traditions have been preserved without breakdown to 
the present day".  

Today after a gap of one thousand years, the spirit of 
humanness can again breathe freely and it is about time 
that we recollect it and the successes it propelled the 
human mind to achieve. The human mind embodied in the ancient sages,
rishis, munis and sanyasis - scientists in modern parlance.

 We need to remember our past clearly and vividly, lest we forget, our
capability to contribute to the repository of human knowledge, lest we
forget our capability to activate the indomitable human mind residing
within us, lest we forget our humane instincts that gave us a
sagacious and charitable view of life along with progress - economic,
technological and material. All that which goes under the term

The human spirit in Ancient India has given to the world, the values
of non-violence, religious tolerance, renunciation alongwith many
elements of knowledge in fields like production technology, mechanical
engineering, shipbuilding, navigation, architecture, civil
engineering, medical science, physics, chemistry, logic, astronomy,
mathematics and so on.

The following link will take you into the various fields where this
indomitable spirit had exercised itself, in what is geographically
today India, to leave behind a legacy which belongs not to Indians
alone but to all humans. A legacy that can help human beings in all
corners of our globe to rejuvenate our spirit not to conquer one
another, but to conquer oneself; not to destroy, but to build; not to
hate, but to love; not to isolate oneself, but to integrate everyone
into one global society and to achieve much more in the future to
enrich human civilisation to result in:

 "The maximum welfare of the maximum number" 

You can get more info on this topic at the site: