Tag Archives: Vedas

Searching the elusive River Saraswati !!!!!

We have been taught in our school about Indus Valley civilization and how it was replaced by arrival of the people from west which have been called Aryans. That the Indus Valley civilization was spread between Indus  and Yamuna rivers. Excavation at many locations established many huge settlements like Harrapa in Pakistan side Punjab and Mohenjodaro in Sind district. But it is not the end. So many new sites have been established belonging to this civilization throughout North India beginning from plains of Punjab and Haryana to as far south as Dholavira in the Kutch coastal area of Gujarat.

This civilization thus was spread into the fertile flat plains served by many rivers like five rivers of Punjab, Indus River, Yamuna river and so many of their tributaries. These are perennial rivers with the origin in the glaciers of Himalayas. They bring about huge supply of water as well as rich alluvial soil. Thus the area is suitable for agriculture.

The civilization is said to highly advanced as is evident from the town and urban planning, sanitary system, baths, water harvesting and trade with many countries in the west. But even then it is said that these people did not develop any language or whatever symbols are there still have not being interpreted.

Then it is also said that one fine day this civilization disappeared. There are many theories like inundations due to changing course of the rivers which cannot happen short time. Another very strong reason is the invasion of these areas by fair colored people from the west. These are said to be pastoral people rearing cattle and riding chariots driven by horses. These were the people who are called Aryans and since they vanquished the native dark colored people who were pushed south wards or those remained were obliged to be inferior to their conquerors.

It is also said that the Vedas are their creation. How the pastoral people can create such profound literature? In these Vedas, another river figures prominently or rather dominates. It is river Saraswati. This river is said to have been responsible for the developments of the civilization along its banks. It is said to be flowing between Satluj and Yamuna and going all the way down towards Sind after merging with Ghaggar river and then Hakra river combined called Ghaggar-Hakra river system.

But many like Doctor R.C.Thakran, professor of history at university of Delhi  who has done research on the geological and soil aspects of areas along the Ghaggar river contest the existence of river as being responsible for giving rise to such a big civilization. It is too small a river with its catchment area in the lower Shivalik. Thus at the most , this must have been a season river. The variation in the moisture content of the soil in the dry beds decline sharply with the distance traveled indicating that flow was not large enough so as to saturate the subsoil equally all along. Sediments are identical to those of Shivalik hills in composition indicating the source in the Shivalik. Anyway the present reality is that river is not visible anywhere.

But government in Haryana is bent on its revival. Based on the scriptures, it will excavate the river said path to revive the past Aryan glory with which we North Indian identify ourselves. There are plans to pump the water from underground through tube wells into the excavated river.

According to the report the work is already begun. As reported in the times of India newspaper reproduced below.

As part of its attempt to revive Saraswati river, Haryana government on Tuesday initiated excavation work at Rolaheri village in Yamunanagar district.

Inaugurating the work, Haryana assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal said the project would once again take the culture and heritage of India to the golden period. Officials say that south Indian scholar Dr Ratnakar has shown interest in initiating the work on the project.”
Let us hope to be positive. But the conclusions based on the facts not the sentiments.


Clarified Butter or Ghee

In India, clarified butter is the most eminent of all foods. It is mentioned in the Vedas as one of the most important ingredients along with honey for holy rituals. Aryans who entered into Punjab from the West were village dwellers and reared the cattle. This was in contrast to the stable city life the people of the Indus valley civilization lived before them. As the cattle herds required pastures for grazing, these people were always on the move and spread into whole of Punjab and then towards Ganges valley. Many stories and epics revolve around the possession of more cattle which were symbols of wealth. Many groups fought for the possession and even took away the cattle by force or other means.

In addition to being used as an ingredient and frying oil, the fuel of holy lamps and funeral pyres, it is an emblem of purity, an ancient offering to the gods. Ghee (from the Sanskrit for “bright”) was born of necessity. Due to the hot weather, ordinary butter spoils in only ten days in much of the country, while the clarified fat keeps six to eight months. Traditionally, ghee has been made from whole cow or buffalo milk that is soured by lactic acid bacteria into yogurt-like dahi then churned to obtain butter, cream. Today, industrial manufacturers usually start with cream.

The preliminary souring improves both the quantity of butter obtained and its flavor; ghee made from sweet cream is said to taste flat. The butter is heated to 190ºF/90ºC to evaporate its water then the temperature is raised to 250ºF/120ºC to brown the milk solids, which flavors the ghee and generates antioxidant compounds that delay the onset of rancidity. The brown residue is then filtered off (and mixed with sugar to make sweets) leaving the clear liquid ghee.

Devi Saraswati

Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert

Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She is the wife of Brahma and considered as the patron of arts, music and letters. As often in Indian mythology, She is also associated with the river of the same name which once flowed through modern Haryana of North India and is mentioned repeatedly in Vedic literature. The river is now non-existent of thought of as flowing invisibly. It meets the two other great rivers Ganges and Yamuna at Prayag or Allahabad.

According to PTI news of May 9, 2006, ONGC the largest of Petroleum Exploration and Production Company of India decided to launch the digging of wells for producing water from the underground source of river Saraswati in Rajasthan and help solve the water scarcity problems and also to discover the route of the river.

Under the project, ONGC in collaboration with government agency Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) would dig many wells in Jaisalmar, Barmer and Bikaner districts that will aid its search for water of the river, believed to have originated in the Thar desert and disappeared into present day Pakistan.

The Goddess is depicted as a beautiful fair young woman, often with a Veena or Indian lute and book in her hand and attended by a Swan.Traditionally considered as the inventor of Sanskrit language. She is much revered by students, musicians and writers.

Artificial Leaf

Nature is so grand that the structure of leaf which is a basic unit for converting absorbed CO2 and H2O into glucose is beyond full comprehension. The human beings break down every phenomena in nature into smaller manageable parts and understand it and then integrate the results. This is due to the evolution of our brain in a way that left hemisphere dominates. This hemisphere is the logical unit of the brain and analyses the problems by breaking them into modules. It is unable to see the things in the holistic manner. Only the artists use the right brain more and they see the scene as one single entity.

What do the plants do for the food? They use glucose to run the various processes in their lives. The inputs for making glucose include the CO2 and H2O and sunlight with the help of a special pigment called chlorophyll. It is this chemical which gives the leaves their green color. When the glucose is formed, the sunlight is stored in it in the form of chemical energy. Human beings take up the glucose as food. The enzyme which is called alpha amylase breaks down the starch (higher form of glucose) into CO2 and H2O again and releases the stored energy which is utilized by our bodies. This cycle goes on and on this cycle depends the existence of animals and plants. The end products of one’s actions are the starting materials for the other. This shows that we owe our existence to the Sun. Without the Sun life is impossible on the earth. Hindus and Zoroastrian people worship the Sun. When the Vedas and Zend Avesta was written, they may not be knowing the chemistry but even then intuitively they chose the Sun for worship.

The news has broken out from MIT about a professor who has been able to make a synthetic leaf. It does not synthesize the glucose but it breaks down the water into its individual components namely hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen so generated is a fuel, the cleanest of the fuels because when it is burned, it again forms the water vapors and releases energy. So the leaf can be more appropriately called a fuel cell. The water as such is a very stable molecule and it requires energy to break it into its components. Conventionally, electrolysis is used to break down the water and this requires energy. The professor must have used the metals which acts as catalysts and makes the reactions possible and lowers cost. He says that his leaf is 10 times more prolific then the natural leaf. But its working life is about 45 minutes.

Let us hope that energy problems are solved and our dependence on the exhaustible natural energy sources like fossil fuels decreases and these isolated inventions do not remain confined to the laboratory but become commercially viable. To read more about the leaf click this link.