Thursday, March 18, 2010

So called science of Gayatri Mantra

Update: There is a much better version of this post at the Nirmukta forums

There is an email floating around which is supposed to demonstrate the scientific meaning of Gayatri Mantra. Here it is in its full glory (the dissection is towards the end):

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Subject: Scientific Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri mantra has been bestowed the greatest importance in Vedic dharma.This mantra has also been termed as Savitri and Ved-Mata, the mother of the Vedas.
Ombhur bhuvah swah
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dheemahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
The literal meaning of the mantra is:
O God! You are Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Almighty. You are all Light. You are all Knowledge and Bliss. You are Destroyer of fear, You are Creator of this Universe, You are the Greatest of all. We bow and meditate upon Your light. You guide our intellect in the right direction.

The mantra, however, has a great scientific importance too, which somehow got lost in the literary tradition. The modern astrophysics and astronomy tell us that our Galaxy called Milky Way or Akash-Ganga contains approximately 100,000 million of stars. Each star is like our sun having its own planet system.

We know that the moon moves around the earth and the earth moves around the sun along with the moon. All planets around the sun. Each of the above bodies revolve around at its own axis as well. Our sun along with its family takes one round of the galactic center in 22.5 crore years. All galaxies including ours are moving away at a terrific velocity of 20,000 mile s per second..

And now the alternative scientific meaning of the mantra step by step:

Bhur the earth, bhuvah the planets (solar family), swah the Galaxy. We observe that when an ordinary fan with a speed of 900 RPM (rotations Per minute) moves, it makes noise. Then, one can imagine, what great noise would be created when the galaxies move with a speed of 20,000 miles per second. This is what this portion of the mantra explains that the sound produced due to the fast-moving earth, planets and galaxies is "OM"

The sound was heard during meditation by Rishi Vishvamitra, who mentioned it to other colleagues. All of them, then unanimously decided to call this sound Om the name of God, because this sound is available in all the three periods of time, hence it is set (permanent). Therefore, it was the first ever revolutionary idea to identify formless God with a specific title (form) called upadhi. Until that time, everybody recognized God as formless and nobody was prepared to accept this new idea. In the Gita also, it is said, "Omiti ekaksharam brahma", meaning that the name of the Supreme is Om, which contains only one syllable (8/12).

This sound Om heard during samadhi was called by all the seers nada-brahma a very great noise), but not a noise that is normally heard beyond a specific amplitude and limits of decibels suited to human hearing. Hence the rishis called this sound Udgith musical sound of the above, i.e., heaven. They also noticed that the infinite mass of galaxies moving with a velocity of 20,000 miles/second was generating a kinetic energy = 1/2 MV2 and this was balancing the total energy consumption of the cosmos. Hence they named it Pranavah, which means the body (vapu) or store house of energy (prana).

B. TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM: Tat that (God), savitur the sun (star), varenyam worthy of bowing or respect. Once the form of a person along with the name is known to us, we may locate the specific person.Hence the two titles (upadhi) provide the solid ground to identify the formless God, Vishvamitra suggested. He told us that we could know (realise) the unknowable formless God through the known factors, viz., sound Om and light of suns (stars).

A mathematician can solve an equation x2+y2=4; if x=2; then y can be known and so on. An engineer can measure the width of a river even by standing at the riverbank just by drawing a triangle. So was the scientific method suggested by Vishvamitra in the mantra in the next portion as under:-

Bhargo the light, devasya of the deity, dheemahi we should meditate. The rishi instructs us to meditate upon the available form (light of suns) to discover the formless Creator (God). Also he wants us to do japa of the word Om (this is understood in the Mantra).. This is how the sage wants us to proceed, but there is a great problem to realize it, as the human mind is so shaky and restless that without the grace of the Supreme (Brahma) it cannot be controlled.

Hence Vishvamitra suggests the way to pray to HIM as under:
Dhiyo (intellect), yo (who), nah (we all), prachodayat (guide to right Direction). O God! Deploy our intellect on the right path. Full scientific interpretation of the Mantra: The earth (bhur), the planets (bhuvah), and the galaxies (swah) are moving at a very great velocity, the sound produced is Om, (the name of formless God.) That God (tat), who manifests Himself in the form of light of suns (savitur) is worthy of bowing/respect (varenyam). We all, therefore, should meditate (dheemahi) upon the light (bhargo) of that deity (devasya) and also do chanting of Om. May He (yo) guide us in the right direction (prachodayat) our(nah) intellect dhiyo. So we notice that the important points hinted in the mantra are:-

1) The total kinetic energy generated by the movement of galaxies acts as an umbrella and balances the total energy consumption of the cosmos. Hence it was named as the Pranavah (body of energy). This is equal to 1/2 mv2 (Mass of galaxies x velocity2).

2) Realizing the great importance of the syllable OM, the other later date religions adopted this word with a slight change in accent, viz., AMEN and AMEEN!

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The "science" in it basically boils down to these two points:

1. Galaxies rotate. Rotating objects make sound. The sound that Milky Way galaxy makes is OM.
2. Galaxies have infinite mass. Moving galaxies have kinetic energy. That energy balances the energy consumption of the cosmos.

If you thought "WTF?", read no further. It means you have a basic understanding of physics and could see the colossal stupidity of the two premises. If you didn't, read on.

Now take the first premise. Sound needs a medium to propagate. Galaxies have a hell lot of stars, but they are at least a few light years apart and guess what is there in between that space? Vacuum. Does vacuum conduct sound? Not in this Universe. So the first argument is a truck load of crap.

Coming to the second premise, it says galaxies have infinite mass. Again, in this Universe galaxies have finite mass. Then it talks about "Energy consumption of cosmos", an extremely vague statement. How does it consume the energy? Why does that consumption need "balancing"?

So there it is. The scientific explanation of Gayatri Mantra is nothing but an utter lack of understanding of elementary physics.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Absurdity of timelines given by hindu cosmology

Some hindus love bragging about how the ancient scriptures of full of science and how modern science is just re-discovering those ancient truths. One of the most frequently cited "proofs" for this ancient knowledge is the time of one day of Brahma which is equal to 4.32 billion years. That is close to the age of Earth (around 4.54 billion years) and those proud hindus wildly thump their chests with "You see! It matches with the value given by science. Hinduism has all the truths!"

Let us take a closer look at hindu cosmology. (The timelines are from Wikipedia)

One day of Brahma (4.32 billion years ) consists of 1000 mahayugas. Each mahayuga has 4 yugas. In the current Brahma's day, 27 mahayugas have elasped. 28th is in progress with the present yuga being Kaliyuga. So around 120 million years (1 mahayuga = 4.32 million years. 27*4.32 + (4.32 - 0.43) = 120.096) have elapsed out of the 4.32 billion years of the current Brahma's day. So according to hindu cosmology, the age of the current cosmos is just around 120 million years.

Also at the end of a mahayuga, Kalki appears and cleans up the Earth of sin. This usually involves some sort of catastrophe. According to hindu cosmology, 27 such cleansings should have taken place at 4.32 million years apart. But modern science has no record of such cleansings.

According to science humans evolved around 400,000 - 250,000 years ago. But as per hindu cosomology humans have always existed, so in the current cycle they have been around for 120 million years. Even if we consider only the current mahayuga, at least 3.88 million years have elapsed and humans were there in all of that time. Again science has no evidence of humans dating back to 3.88 million years ago.

Even if we extend the creation/destruction cycle of the cosmos to 100 years of Brahma and not to one day of Brahma, and given that 50 years of Brahma have elapsed, it would give the current age of the cosmos to around 155 trillion years. Again science doesn't agree with that number.

So out of all the numbers spouted by the hindu texts for the age of cosmos, just one number comes close to a scientific value. But that is enough proof for the hindus who think their scriptures are the ultimate science. It doesn't matter most numbers don't match with the observed Universe.