Belief and OpinionsThe Fascinating Influence of Indian Mythology on Science Fiction

The Fascinating Influence of Indian Mythology on Science Fiction

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Indian mythology, the untold relation between Indian religion and mythology, also connects to science and science fiction. How? We will see that as we proceed further.

A Brief Knowledge Of Indian Mythology

Indian mythology and religion are inextricably linked and cannot be truly separated. Additionally, both are so wide and muddled that generalizations risk being oversimplified. The Vedas, a collection of religious poems praising the Aryan gods who embodied natural forces like the sun, storm, fire, soma, and others, are the earliest known texts in India.

The Vedic religion was materialistic and focused on ritual and sacrifice to gain control, wealth, health, and other rewards. Hindu texts include Vedic literature, epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Puranas, and regional literature like the Tamil Periya Puranam and Divya Prabandham, and the Bengali Mangal Kavya.

The body of literature and legends attributed to and espoused by proponents of the Hindu religion is Indian mythology.  Indian mythology can also be found in popular literature widely translated, such as Southeast Asian writings and the stories of the Panchatantra and the Hitopadesha.

Indian mythology has always influenced a person’s religious, cultural, social, and political life. Because the human mind constantly thinks about archetypes buried deep in the collective unconsciousness, it tremendously affects human thought. These archetypes are reflected in myths.

It is an effort on the part of man to bring order out of chaos and make sense of the vast diversity in the world.

How Is Indian Mythology Connected With Modern Science?

There is modern technology; there is no such thing as modern science. Hinduism is a science of the mind, body, and soul rather than a religion.

The generations came after the great scholars who turned it into a subject for the gods and caused the next generations to blindly adhere to specific rituals and practices without understanding Hinduism.

Let’s look at a few of Indian Mythology’s scientific notions, most of which serve as the foundation for contemporary science.

Indian Mythology
Photograph by: Raimond Klavins/Unsplash

Vaisesika Philosophy – The Traditional Quantum Physics

The Vaisesika system is a rational, logical, and factual world philosophy. It attempts to distinguish between several types of ultimate things and classifies all objects into five categories – Bootha Pancha maha:

  1. Prithvi, the Earth (lithosphere)
  2. Jal – Water (hydrosphere)
  3. Vayu – Air (atmosphere)
  4. Agni, the God of fire, and
  5. Ether is a substance that exists in the forms of Atoms (paramanu), Time, Space (theyu), Minds, and Self.

A sage named Maharishi Kanad (500 BC) stated that everything is made up of microscopic particles called paramanu that unite to make padarth. The Greeks referred to this as the Atoms (paramanu) and Molecules (padarth). 

When the atoms of these five elements start to mix, the world begins; when they disintegrate, the world ends. Vaisesika thus proposes a dualism of matter and soul and argues that redemption is contingent on completely grasping the atomic character of the universe and its distinction from the soul.

Samkhya Philosophy – Biology

The Samkhya is the earliest of the Six Philosophical Systems. It explains the existence of twenty-four basic principles (tattva), which we will discuss further in this part. Prakriti, or “stuff,” is the first of the twenty-five tattvas.

The Samkhya theory holds that the universe’s evolution is due to the Prakriti’s inherent nature rather than God’s. All things like air, water, ether (akasa), intelligence (buddhi), self-consciousness, sight, touch, hearing, speech, and so on develop from Prakriti. Purusa, the “soul,” is a crucial tattva in all of this.

As in Jainism, Samkhya believes in an unlimited number of souls, that Purusa is not dependent on Prakriti, and that Prakriti is not reliant on Purusa. Nonetheless, Purusa is involved in the Prakriti in some capacity. Therefore, recognizing their uniqueness is crucial to their survival.

The notion of three qualities is a crucial aspect of Samkhya (guna). These are:

  1. Sattva (virtue) denotes truth, wisdom, beauty, and goodness.
  2. Passion (Rajas) represents ferocity, activity, aggressiveness, energy, and zeal.
  3. Darkness, stupidity, gloominess, and unhappiness are dull (Tamas).

It is stated that these three Gunas are present in all beings in equilibrium at first, but as they evolve, one of these three Gunas comes to dominate.

However, the divide between the Purusa (soul) and Prakriti (matter) was modified in later Tantricism. Purusa came to represent “man” in Tantrism, whereas Prakriti came to mean “woman.”

Indian Mythology
Photograph by: Raimond Klavins/Unsplash

Sthula Sarira, the Physiology of Humans

The following categories are used to group the 24 fundamental ideas.

  • A Pancha Kosa – The Body’s Internal Systems
  • Annamay Kosh (Food Sheath)
  • The Pancha Koshas’ furthest reaches (Digestive system)
  • Prithvi Kosh (Vital Air Sheath or the life force) breathing apparatus
  • Kosh, Manomay (mind as distinctly different from intelligence – Sheath) Neurological system
  • The Vigyanmay Kosh (Intellect Sheath)
  • Kosh, Aanandmay (Bliss Sheath – or ceaseless joy not connected with body or mind) – The Pancha Kosh’s interior
  • Pancha karmendriyas – the Organs of Action
    • Pada (feet) — for locomotion
    • Pani (hands) — for dexterity
    • Payu (rectum) — for excretion
    • Upastha (genitals) — for reproduction
    • Vak (mouth) — for speech.
  • Pancha jnanendriyas – the Sense organs
    • Shotra — ears
    • Chakshu — eyes
    • Grahna — nose
    • Jivha — tongue
    • Tvak — skin
    • Pancha Maha Bootha – Prithvi, Appu, Vayu, Agni, Theyu
    • 3 gunas – Tamas, Rajas, Sattva
    • Prakriti or Matter

     

  • The Purush is created when the first 23 elements, or Vasthu, come together with matter (Prakrit). We refer to it as asthma in this context.

Relativity Theory and the Idea of the Universe

All 700 of the Bhagavad Gita’s slokas were explained by Lord Krishna by stopping time. But did he pause time? Yes, but how? What does that mean?

Indian mythology is a fantastic collection of sciences; it contains a ton of ethical principles and just as many scientific theories. But, of course, it depends on the individual whether they have a religious or scientific worldview.

Some of the most outstanding scientists ever include Sushruta (a physician), Brahmagupta (a mathematician), Aryabhatta (an astronomer), Bodhidharma (a geneticist), and many more.

Indian Mythology does not worship idols; instead, it defines God as follows:

  • Sathya – truth
  • Jeet – valor
  • Anand – Bliss, Joy, Happiness

The accurate representation of Paramatma is Sachidanand (sath + jith + anand).

Science and Indian Mythology are related, and certain modern technologies are rooted in Hinduism. For instance, the Krishna Sudharshana chakra served as the inspiration for the reusable launch vehicle.

How Does Indian Mythology Inspire Science Fiction?

Indian mythology indeed speaks of the advanced level of science at the period. But calling it “sci-fi” or science fiction is wholly illogical. Hindu Puranas explain that technology cannot simply be called mythology because calling something mythology implies that all the events, way of life, and technology described are nothing more than myths.

However, reaching the Hindu Puranas a myth is entirely false because they provide in-depth descriptions of even the most minor details. There were 14 main Puranas in the Hindu religion, including four Vedas.

Weaponry Technology Developed by Astra Technology

Almost all mahapuranas describe Astra’s advanced technology.

Astras were the most lethal weapons ever devised by the gods. They were the most potent weapons in terms of both ranges of destruction and efficiency. It could kill millions of people at once. They were guided by unique mantras given by God, who bestows blessings on the Astra.

Astras were not easy to gain; they could only be obtained via the austerity of a specific god for their weapon. Typically, astras were only used once. However, some divine weapons, like Sudarshan chakra and Indra’s Vajra, can be utilized multiple times.

Some astras are mentioned below:

Pashupatastra: As implied by its name, Pashupatastra is the Astra bestowed by Pashupatinath or Lord Shiva. Besides his Trishul, it is one of Lord Shiva’s most potent weapons. Pashupatastra can kill anyone at any time and location, regardless of whether the person is in front of it.

Vishnuastra: Vishnuastra is Lord Vishnu’s second most potent Astra. Vishnuastra, like Pashupatastra, is capable of destroying enemies in any location and at any time.

Brahmshirastra: Produced by Lord Brahma. It is referred to as the most potent Astra ever synthesized. Capable of both mass destruction and the demolition of a single being.

Brahmastra: Lord Brahma’s second most powerful weapon. Appropriator uses it to cause mass damage. They are used during massive confrontations with a large number of foes. It is capable of destroying the entire world.

Indra’s Vajra: This weapon is wielded by Indradev, the deity king. Vajra cannot be bestowed onto anybody other than Indra. The Vajra is the most lethal weapon because Sudarshan and Trishul can only stop it.

Kaumodgi Gada is a bludgeon, also known as Gada in Sanskrit. It is Lord Vishnu’s primary weapon and is also utilized by his incarnate, Lord Krishna. It is neither a Vajra nor a Teer or an Arrow.

Sudarshan: Only seen in the hands of Lord Krishna, Sudarshan is essentially a chakra-shaped weapon. Sudarshan can be employed repeatedly, as Shri Krishna demonstrated during the time of the Mahabharat.

Shiva’s Trishul: The tremendous Trishul’s power is unquestionably unmatched. Any other weapon cannot destroy Trishul, nor can it be controlled in its destruction. Therefore, devas and Asuras couldn’t withstand the stroke of this heavenly weapon. Consequently, Sudarshan, Vishnuastra, Vajra, or the Kaumodgi Gada can’t exact revenge for resistance.

Indian Mythology
Photograph by: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Technology From Vimana

Contrary to armament technology, modern aerospace technology has not yet advanced to the point where it could be compared to the Ramayana or the Mahabharat. Gods and demigods used numerous Vimanas during the Ramayana to get from one area to another.

For instance, “Pushpak Vimana of Ravan,” a brief treatise on the ancient Vimanas. In the Vimana Shastra, penned by sage Bhardwaj, the technology employed and the growth of knowledge through mantra, yantra, and tantra power are briefly explored.

Amritva: Biological Invincibility

Biological immortality is a near-impossible concept in today’s world. However, physical immortality, or Amritva, was feasible around 8000 to 5000 years ago during the Ramayana and Mahabharat periods. There were eight immortals mentioned in the Vedas and Puranas:

Lord Krishna cursed Ashwatthama, one of the finest warriors in the Mahabharata and the son of Dronacharya, with immortality.

Lord Vishnu bestowed immortality as a boon on the demon ruler of Bali.

Sage Veda Vyaas is credited with writing the epic Mahabharat.

Lord Shiva took the form of Hanuman, who received the boon of immortality from Lord Rama.

For upholding and guarding dharma in Sri Lanka, Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, received the benefit of immortality from Lord Rama. Vibhishana was a dharmik or upright person.

Lord Krishna bestowed the benefit of immortality upon Kripachariya by impressing upon him the truth, laws, ethics, standards, and his unbiased character.

Lord Vishnu’s sixth descendent, Parshuram, was born immortal.

Rishi Markandeya is descended from one of the Saptrishi and is Lord Shiva’s greatest devotee; hence the Lord bestowed the benefit of immortality onto him.

Test Tube Babies in the Olden Days

In Mahabharat, the Kauravas were born due to Lord Shiva’s favor to Gandhari, the mother of Kauravas and the devotee of Lord Shiva. Gandhari did not give birth to a kid after 10-12 months of pregnancy, but she did give birth to a piece of meat a few days later. Gandhari was filled with disappointment and fury, so she resolved to seek help from Bhagwaan Ved Vyaas.

Through his wisdom and supernatural abilities, Ved Vyaas assisted him. He separated the piece of flesh into 100 parts and kept them in various kunds with specific liquids and herbs. And as a result of this unique method, the Kauravas were born.

Some Indian Mythological Books Are As Thrilling as Sci-Fi.

Recently, writers in India have been influenced by a literary movement that originated in the west when writers experimented with merging facts and mythology with fiction, which became known as mythological fiction.

Our authors have done such an excellent job with this genre that none of their works can be put down. While some have explored Indian mythology’s unrevealed segment, others have chosen to discuss taboos, and some have even exalted the villain.

Some recommendations are:

Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy

The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattanaik

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Palace of Illusions

The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

Anand Neelakantan’s Asura: Tale of the Vanquished 

Indian Mythology
Photograph by: Mohnish Landge/Unsplash

Conclusion

Indian mythology has been deeply engraved into us, which is somehow seen in our work. This thing cannot be taken away from us; in fact, it has inspired us in many to be more creative and productive. So whether the person is a scientist or a writer, their work will have some connection to Indian mythology. 

If you liked this, check out this article for more information: How Are Mythology and Sci-fi Related? Let’s Explore the Fascinating Connections!

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