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सुभाष काक. Author, scientist. General Articles and Essays:
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14 Jun 20
Here's the direct link to my conversation with Dr Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39 ) on the meaning of the Vedas, origins of science, Ayurveda, and a host of other things at his Gyan Ganga Show.

For those who were surprised by the story of Vivekananda and Tesla, here is where to find further information:…
And those interested in the Golden Mean, Fibonacci (and how he merely translated that was known in India centuries earlier), Pingala, and other topics, see:…
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30 Apr 20
Vishnu Purāna 2.8, prior to 5th century, says Sun is associated with two “axles”: the first one is 15.7 × 10^6 yojanas long and the second one is 45,500 yojanas long.

I would like views on what the axles mean from a history of science perspective.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have thought about this passage and have some answers, but not all.

Specifically, I'd need insights on what the second "axle" might mean.

Here's my own take on it:…
sārdhakoṭis tathā sapta niyutāny adhikāni vai
yojanānāṃ tu tasyākṣas tatra cakraṃ pratiṣṭhitam 2,8.3
trinābhimati pañcāre ṣaṇṇeminy akṣayātmake
saṃvatsaramaye kṛtsnaṃ kālacakraṃ pratiṣṭhitam
catvāriṃśat sahasrāṇi dvitīyo 'kṣo vivasvataḥ
pañcānyāni tu sārdhāni.
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29 Apr 20
Sorry, we had technical issues with Samskrita Bharati Live Show today.

But here are some constructive ideas to take #Sanskrit's mission forward:

1. Add to Vyavahara Sahasri to create a much larger database (x n) that can be helpful in developing a Automatic Translator.

from English and Indian languages into/from Sarala Sanskrit.

2. Take 100 popular books from world literature at school level and translate abridged versions into Sarala Sanskrit. (As points of comparison, there are books in Simplified Chinese and even Simplified English.)

3. Have Indian universities introduce one or two courses on History of Indian science. This should not be a matter of controversy.

4. Consciousnesss is now center-stage in science & Sanskrit is the greatest resource for atma-vidya, it will be more important than ever.

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24 Feb 20
Why husbands in India gave salary to wife?

The wife is responsible for spending wealth, maintaining the household, religious obligations and preparing food. (Manu 9;11.)

According to Vedic law the wife is responsible for the bank account and running the household economy.
अर्थस्य सङ्ग्रहे चैनां व्यये चैव नियोजयेत् ।
शौचे धर्मेऽन्नपक्त्यां च पारिणाह्यस्य वेक्षणे ॥ ११ ॥

arthasya saṅgrahe caināṃ vyaye caiva niyojayet |
śauce dharme'nnapaktyāṃ ca pāriṇāhyasya vekṣaṇe || 11 ||
Since the wife controlled the finances, she gave a daily allowance to the husband for his needs.

The amount was negotiated.
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14 Feb 20
The great Sātavāhana dynasty ruled Western, Central & South India for nearly 500 years.

Their capital was Paiṭhaṇ (Pratiṣṭhāna, प्रतिष्ठान), 50 km from Khaḍkī खडकी which was renamed Aurangabad by Aurangzeb.

Gautamīputra Śatakarṇi of this dynasty was a great conqueror.
Even closer to Aurangabad than Paiṭhaṇ was Devagiri देवगिरि, which was the capital of the great Yadava dynasty that also ruled for about 500 years.

Muhammad Tughluq of the Delhi Sultanate (14th century) renamed Devagiri as Daulatabad.
I believe Shiv Sena Party wishes to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar.

Perhaps going back to Devagiri or Pratishthan will be less contentious.
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7 Feb 20
I heard from well-read friends saying they had never heard of Śrīvatsa symbol.

It is ancient from Sindhu-Sarasvati Period (3rd millennium BCE; see A.L. Srivastava, The Śrīvatsa Symbol in Indian Art, 1974) & valued by Hindu, Buddhists, Jains alike.

As sacred as Svastika.

The endless knot drawn on the three bindus of Kāmakalā of Śrī Yantra goes to a triple endless loop.

Also, if you have not noticed the 43 triangles of Śrī Yantra have a parallel in the 43 sūktas of Maṇḍala 2 of Ṛgveda. A coincidence? Will discuss that in a future post.

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6 Feb 20
The eight अष्टमङ्गल Aṣṭamaṅgala for auspiciousness:

1 श्रीवत्स Auspicious Śrīvatsa
2 सुवर्णमत्स्य Golden fishes, happiness, fertility, conjugal unity and fidelity.
3 कलश kalaśa, pot with three jewels in its opening. The sacred vase is filled with amṛta.

4 शङ्ख (दक्षिणावर्त) śaṅkha, femininity and the world.
5 पद्म padma, lotus for purity and non-attachment.
6 चक्र chakra, wheel of dharma.
7 छत्त्र chattra, parasol for protection against defilements.
8 ध्वज dhvaja, banner.

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1 Feb 20
Coronavirus Contains "HIV Insertions", Stoking Fears Over Artificially Created Bioweapon | Zero Hedge…
The research mentioned in this article is from BiorXiv:…
But I just came across a tweet by a domain expert who says that the strands that are similar are so short that the similarity can be taken to be by chance.
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16 Jan 20
Almost all you will read in academic textbooks about ancient India is either superficial, banal, half-truth or plain wrong.

Worse, Indology a racist enterprise in which the stated objective is to teach Indians what their books mean.…
Western Indologists use the lens of race & culture to argue why Indians are unable to understand their own texts.

But Indians do quite well at everything as the latest US Census figures on income show (and this doesn't even include the Spelling & Other Bees!). Why not the texts? Image
The Editor of Macmillan Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics (2005) could not find a "reasonable" scholar to write the essay on Hindu Perspectives on Ethics.

So I got the call.

Here it is:…
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31 Dec 19
Gandhari Syndrome:

India is probably the only civilization where at school Indian contributions to science are either not given or written in an oversimplistic or incorrect manner.

Fair representation of Indian history of science is good from a pedagogical perspective.
Indian contributions should be listed at the appropriate introductory sections on various topics such as math, geometry, medicine, calculus, physics, physiology, and so on.

Can be done in middle or high school.…?
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27 Dec 19
BBC News - Bhoot Vidya: India university to teach doctors Ghost Studies.

Sorry BBC, Bhuta Vidya भूत विद्या in आयुर्वेद means "Psychotherapy" and not "Ghost Studies".

Is UK so financially strapped that BBC can't even hire competent journalists?…
Āyurvedic has eight branches: kāyāchikitsā (internal medicine), shalyachikitsā (surgery, anatomy), shālākyachikitsā (ENT diseases), kaumārabhritya (pediatrics), bhūtavidyā (psychiatry), agada tantra (toxicology), rasāyana (science of rejuvenation), and vājīkarana (fertility).

Charaka (Vi, 7.11), Sushruta (Utta, 54.19-20) and Vagbhata (Ni, 14.51) state that the pathogens growing in the blood are invisible.

Certainly the most advanced medicine of its times! And it has stuff related to mind-body that remains relevant for our times.
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28 Oct 19
The unending allure of Ellora.

A whole temple carved out of one rock. How was it visualized by the architects?

With James Fergusson's 19th-century sketch of the Kailasa temple
The Kailasa temple at Ellora (Elapura) is attributed to Krishna I (c. 757–783 CE).

Karkaraja II inscription, 812 CE:

"The architect builder of which was himself suddenly struck with astonishment, saying "Oh, how was it that I built it!""
Enduring Allure of Ellora.

The Mahabharata and Ramayana stories. In parallel friezes on the lower exterior walls of the सभा-मण्डप
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18 Aug 19
No word for "caste" in any Indian language. Caste not same as jati.

The British Supdt. of 1921 Census: “We pigeon-holed everyone by caste and if we had no true caste for them, labelled them with the hereditary occupation.. We are largely responsible for the system we deplore.”
"In the 19th century bands of missionaries, phrenologists, ethnologists, anthropologists, orientalists and eugenicists, set about identifying and classifying Indians like zoological specimens into different castes. They used head measurements, skin color, physique, occupation."
Risley, the Chief Commissioner of India's 1901 Census came with the definitive identifying marker of an Indian's caste. "The social status of a particular group varies in inverse ratio to the mean relative width of their nose!"


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15 May 19
Said al-Andalusi wrote Ṭabaqāt al-ʼUmam (Categories of Nations) in Muslim Spain in 1068.

It is a fascinating text that assesses the sciences of different nations.

He says that the sciences are most advanced in India (calling it the first nation in science).

Other nations with sciences are Persians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Arabs, Jews.

He says remaining nations do not have sciences.

He gives a summary of main contributions.

Translation (by S.I. Salem and Alok Kumar) published Univ of Texas Pr., Austin, 1991.

King of China is "king of humans" for the Chinese people are obedient to authority.

King of India is "king of wisdom" for Indians love the sciences (ulum) and are advanced in all forms of knowledge.

King of Turks is "king of lions" because of courage & ferocity of Turks.

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27 Apr 19
For amusement.

Sanskrit with English equivalents:

सीमन् seam
मन् mind
महू magnify
मा measure
मिल् meet
युज् unite
लुल् roll
लोक् look
वम् vomit
वेप् vibrate
वे weave
सिव sew
स्था stay
स्फाय swell
स्मि smile
स्वन sound
स्विद sweat
हिक्क hiccups
गृभ grab

For those surprised by लुल् = roll, remember that there is intersubstitution of l by r in the first phoneme in Sanskrit as in rekha and lekha, raghu and laghu, and so on.
मर्त mortal
मर्मर murmur
कूज coo
कृ create
कृत cut
गम् go
उद्गम् utgång ("outgo" saw it at airport in Stockholm)
चर्च church in the sense of discussion
दम tame
पद foot
पर्द fart
पुत fold
पू purify
प्री please
बन्ध bind
भिक्ष beg
भी fear
भू be
द्वार door
बर्बर barbaric

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22 Apr 19
Greetings on Earth Day.

अर्ध, ardha (region) — erde (German)
धरा, dharā — terra (Italian)
क्षमा, kṣamā — ziemia (Polish), zeme (Czech)
गो, go, gauh — gaia (Greek)

Earth is the Divine Cow गो, Gaia, or γῆ (gê, “earth”), origin of words like geology, geography.
The list of these synonyms for Earth, and others for water, house, and mountain are from my essay on the vocabulary diversity of Sanskrit:…
गोमाता, Mother Gaia, Divine Cow

In Niruka (8th cent BCE), Earth is the first meaning of गो, with cow as net meaning.

Homeric Hymn XXX to Gaea:
"To Gaia (Gaea, Earth) the Mother of All. I will sing of well-founded Gaia (Earth), mother of all, eldest of all beings.
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12 Apr 19

अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवं ऋत्विजं |
होतारं रत्नधातमम् ||

I venerate Agni, the priest [purohita] who is the light {devam] and invoker [ṛtvij] of the sacrifice, the one who chants [hotṛ] and bestows treasure. (ṚV. 1.1.1)
Agni is the embryo of the waters.

Agni and Vāc are two manifestations of the same deeper reality. Vāc and Agni both hide in trees (wood) and waters.

Three functions of Agni are: witness (Jātavedas), protector of the house, and the slayer of foes. Why do we need to invoke Agni? Because it is normally hidden.

The fish, the horse, and the parrot (suśloka or śuka) in the Vedas find the hidden Agni.

The frog, the elephant, and the parrot do the same in other places.

Each of these covers two realms.

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27 Mar 19
President of Mexico demands apology from Spain and the Pope:

"There were massacres... The so-called conquest was done with the sword and the cross. They raised churches on top of temples."…
A most horrific episode of the conquest of Mexico was that ALL their books were destroyed (just 3 or 4 survived)

"Aztec codices were burned by the Spaniards for their pagan religious content, and by Aztec kings in an effort to rewrite their history."…
Bishop de Landa "was determined to wipe out all knowledge of the Mayan religion, and saw the Mayan language and hieroglyphs as a key.

"In 1699, Spanish soldiers burned a town that had the last school of scribes. By 1720, not a single person could read."…
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20 Feb 19
Here's the classic on what happened to Bishambar Nath Sapru in 1947 when he got caught on the Paksitani side of the conflict.…
This account is so gripping that it could be

(i) enlarged into a much longer narrative


(ii) made into a movie.
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2 Dec 18
The greatest scientists have been inspired by Vedanta classics. This is because the Veda puts the subject smack in the middle of the scientific question.

The world is not merely dead particles swirling around; consciousness is the central mystery.

André Weil (1906 – 1998) famous for number theory & algebraic geometry claimed to have read the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit by age 16. Here’s his famous quote on discovery in mathematics:

"Nothing is more fruitful—all mathematicians know it—than those obscure analogies, ...

..."those disturbing reflections of one theory on another; those furtive caresses, those inexplicable discords; nothing also gives more pleasure to the researcher. The day comes when this illusion dissolves: the presentiment turns into certainty; .."

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30 Nov 18
Jagadis Chandra Bose developed wireless communication, discovered millimeter length electromagnetic waves and was a pioneer in the field of biophysics.

The receiver that Marconi used to send the first transatlantic wireless signal was invented by Bose.
I trust that it's well known that JC Bose is also considered the father of semiconductors.

Nevill Mott (Nobel Prize 1977): "J.C. Bose was at least 60 years ahead of his time. In fact, he had anticipated the existence of P-type and N-type semiconductors."…
Most significantly, JC Bose attempted the creation of science based on Vedantic principles.

This fact is not widely known, and look here for details (personally I think this approach will be of value in current science as well):…
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