Aryabhatta knew about gravity before Newton: Ex-ISRO chief Nair

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2015 15:57 IST

One of the country's leading scientists and former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair on Saturday propounded the theory that some shlokas in the Vedas mentioned about presence of water on the moon and astronomy experts like Aryabhatta knew about gravitational force much before Issac Newton.

The 71-year-old Padma Vibhushan awardee said the Indian vedas and ancient scriptures also had information on metallurgy, algebra, astronomy, maths, architecture and astrology way before the western world knew about them.

Speaking at an international conference on Vedas, he, however, added that the information in vedas was in a "condensed format" which made it difficult for the modern science to accept it.

"Some sholkas in one of the Vedas say that there is water on the moon but no one believed it. Through our Chandrayaan mission, we could establish that and we were the first ones to find that out," Nair said, adding that everything in Vedas could not be understood as they were in chaste Sanskrit.

He also talked very highly about fifth century astronomer- mathematician Aryabhatta saying, "We are really proud that Aryabhatta and Bhaskara have done extensive work on planetary work and exploration of outer planets. It was one of the challenging fields.

"Even for Chandrayaan, the equation of Aryabhatta was used. Even the (knowledge of) gravitational field... Newton found it some 1500 years later... the knowledge existing (in our scriptures)," he said.

Nair, who was ISRO chairman from 2003–09, also claimed geometry was used to make calculations for building cities during the Harappan civilisation and the Pythagorean theorem also existed since the vedic period.

The comments by Nair came in the backdrop of many BJP leaders talking about ancient Indian scriptures having scientific information including on plastic surgery as well as aero-dynamics.

Nair said, "The Vedas had a lot of information in the field of space and atomic energy. We were fine until 600 BC. Then came the time of invasions till the independence. Since then we are growing. We deciphered the atoms for peaceful use."

In ISRO, Nair had made significant contribution to the development of multi-stage satellite launch vehicles.

"As a scientist I would say that the computations evolved those days were really fantastic. The Vedanga Jyotisa (one of the earliest books on astronomy) is one of the texts, which is evolved in 1400 BC...this is all recorded.

"These are the fundamental findings which the western world did not have any knowledge of. The only drawback was this information was condensed to bullet form and the modern science does not accept this. And to read the Vedas one must
also know Sanskrit," Nair said.

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