Myth is a commonly held belief that is untrue. Mythology refers to stories of ancient legends and heroes and the study of such stories. Mythologies are expected to have veiled meanings.
The Sanskrit equivalent of myth is Purana, which interestingly means that which was old and is relevant now. (Pura + Navam)
There are many examples in Hindu mythology which contain very interesting science in and Cosmology and Evolution. However, unfortunately, such sciences had been unearthed and recognized in the ancient texts only after the rediscovery in the modern west.
Mythological stories contain a series of assertions, some of which have now been discovered as science. As yet, the unverified truth could be postulated for future research and validation, which would go beyond merely establishing the superior wisdom of the civilization.
Age of Brahma
Kasthah pancadasakhyata nimesa munisattama I
Kasthastrimsat kala tastu trirnsanmauhurtiko vidhih II
Tavatsankhyairahoratrarn muhurtairmanusarn srnrtam I
Ahoratrani tavanti masah paksadvayatmakah II
Taid sadbhirayanarn varsarn dvayeSyane daksinottare I
Divyairvarsasahasraistu krtatretadisarnjfutam II
Caturyugarn dvadasabhistadvibhagarn nibodha me I
Divyabdanarn sahasrani yugesvahu puravidah II
Krtarn treta dvapararn ca kaliscaiva caturyugam
Procyate tat sahasranca brahrnano divasarn mune II
Translated as –
15 twinkles of the eye = 1 kashta
30 kashta = 1 kala
30 kalas = 1 muhurta
30 muhurtas = 1 day and night
30 day and nights = 1 month
6 months = 1 ayana
2 ayanas = 1 year
12,000 divine years = 4 yugas – krita, treta, dvapara and kali = 1 day of Brahma.
Visnu-purana, Book 1, Chapter 3, Slokah 8-11 & 15, Vyasa (Post-Vedic period)
1 divine year = 360 human years =>12,000 divine years = 43, 20,000 human years = 1 day of Brahma, the creator of this Universe.
The big bang is the biggest budget universe ever, with mind-boggling numbers to dazzle us – a technique pioneered by 5th century AD Indian cosmologists, the first to estimate the age of the earth at more than 4 billion years.
Tasrnadva etasmadatmana akasah sambhutah I
Akasadvayuh I Vayoragnih I Agnerapah
Adbhyah prthivi I Prthivya osadhayah I
Osadhibhyo.Snnam I Annat purusah II
Translated as – From that Atman (Supreme soul) space came into being, from space wind, from wind fire, from fire water, from water earth, from earth plants, from plants food, from food man (came into being).
Yajur-veda, Taittirlyopanisad, Brahmananda-valli, Anuvakah 1 (Vedic period).
- The above hierarchy is well appreciated when one takes into consideration the nature of the 5 elements, each inheriting the characteristics of its parent-element, as illustrated below:
Elements and Attributes
1. Space sound
2. Wind sound + touch
3. Fire sound + touch + form
4. Water sound + touch + form + taste
5. Earth sound + touch + form + taste + smell
2. The commonality of fundamental thoughts across disciplines is well defined in the Indian Knowledge System. For instance, there is a clear-cut classification of creatures as living and moving. At primary level, any being which possesses the five senses as brought out beautifully in a conversation between Bhardwaja and Bhrigu, as mentioned in the Hindu Puranas.
- Lost Discoveries, Dick Teresi, page 158.
Matsyah kiirmo varahasca nrsimho Stha
Ramo ramasca ramasca krsnah kalkI ca te
Translated as – The ten (Avataras of Lord Vishnu) are Matsya (the fish), Kurma (the tortoise), Varaha (the boar), Narasimha (the man-lion), Vamana (the dwarf), Parashurama (the axe- wielder), Rama (the king Rama) , Balarama (the plough-wielder), Krishna (the flute- player) and Kalki (the evil-destroyer).
Inscription, Sankaranarayana temple, Mahabalipuram (5th century AD)
The first 6 incarnations represent physical evolution on to the human form
- Fish à Water dwelling
- Tortoise à Amphibian
- Boar à Animal Land
- Narasimha à Man – Animal
- Vamana à Dwarf
- Parashurama à Fully grown man
The 7th to 9th avatars deal with the social and cultural evolution of man. The evolution is evidenced by the weapons that these incarnations carry even without reference to the story.
6th – Parashurama—–Axe
Though having evolved physically, Parashurama through his life was seized by an uncontrolled anger (at the death of his mother) and his life was spent in persecuting kings. Only physically the form has become human.
Rama was the quintessential evolved human-being, who had completely overcome animal-like passions.
8th – Balarama——Plough—àAgriculture
The plough implies the completion of progress from being hunter gatherers to settled agriculture, with cultivated produce meeting most or all food needs.
9th – Krishna—–Flute—àFine Art
Fine Arts come about and flourish when there is peace and from settled agriculture and trade.
The 10th – Kalki is a warning about the destruction the human race is capable of bringing upon itself.
Notes on Cosmology
Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole, its history and origin. It is usually (but not always) based on astronomy, along with religious and social beliefs. Because it is so intertwined with general societal beliefs and attitudes, cosmology is a clue to the collective psychology of a civilization.
Time – the Indian Paradigm
The defining differentiation in the Indian thinking in regard to time and cosmology is that universe/life is in cycles and is not linear.