Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Speed of Light" in the Rigveda...

[ This post aims to dwell on yet another evidence for the brilliance of the ancient Indian Astronomers. ]

It was not until early 17th century that man had a clear-cut idea about the behaviour of Light. Many models to study light were then proposed, however, owing to the non-trivial behaviour of light, none of them survived for long. Isaac Beeckman, Galileo Galilei failed in their onerous experiments to measure the speed of light accurately. Their findings nevertheless zeroed down most of the myths about light. Finally in the year 1879, Michelson with his experiment using mirrors, obtained an estimate of the speed of light, which is accurate enough to be considered for all astronomical or otherwise calculations.

But what astounds me is that there exists a shloka in the Rigveda which says,

" तरणि: विश्व दर्शतो ज्योतिश्कुदसि सूर्य |
विश्वमाभासी रोचनम "

"The sun quickly pervades the whole world."

Sayanacharya (a celebrated saint) comments on the above text thus,

"तथा च स्मर्यते योजनानां सहस्रं द्वे द्वे शते द्वे च योजने एकेन निमिशार्धेन क्रममाण नमोऽस्तु ते इति"

"It is to be remembered that the sunlight travels 2,202 yojanas in half a nimisha"

On converting the various units to our modern units, we get the speed of light to be 1,85,016.169 mile/s which is very close to the modern value of 1,86,000 mile/s ( now which of these is more accurate is again a debateable question ).

It is to be noted that the composal of the Rigveda dates back to 1700 BC, long long before Modern-Science even knew what light was.

Acknowledgement: The shlokas and translations penned down in this post are a more-or-less reproduction of the "Speed of Light" article in the "Science in Sanskrit" book published by "Samskrita Bharati". Readers are hence requested to check out the original book here.


Anonymous said...

Of course, the Vedas also spoke about Wi-Fi, iPhones and String Theory...I hope you cover these in your future posts

ajaypaip said...

Yes, sure...if you have any specific shlokas or other evidence kindly post them here or mail them to ajaypaip[at]gmail[dot]com
I will publish them in my future posts with due credit..

Anonymous said...

The Speed of Light and Puranic Cosmology
Authors: Subhash Kak (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge)
(Submitted on 18 Apr 1998 (v1), last revised 15 Jan 2001 (this version, v3))

ajaypaip said...

Thank you very much for the information...shall surely wirte about it in future posts....