Speed of light in Vedas...can you prove it wrong??
#37
kpbolumbu01,

This thread was started by someone with the claim that speed of light can be found in Vedas based on a couplet in a hymn that roughly goes "Sun travel 2000 Yojanas in half nimesha". From this couplet Hindutwadi apologist like some on the forum and Subhash Kak have concluded that speed of light was known to Indians during Vedic times.

There are several problems with the claim and the conclusion. These are listed (already covered in various posts on this thread) below.

1) The hymn is about the Sun and not about the light.

2) The way Yojana and Nimesha are related to standard units like mile and second through intermediates "units" such as duration of a blink of an eye, width of human hair, height of man, travel distance of bullock. All of these have so much variability in them that by the time you make the connection between the non-standard Yojana and Nimesha to mile and second there will be huge error stack up.

3) The experimental set up and instruments used to arrive at the speed of light in Vedas is not presented anywhere.

Even if we are charitable enough to overlook concerns 1) and 2) what can not be overlooked is concern 3).

You (kpbolumbu01) however have not addressed even one of these concerns. If you think Subhash Kak's paper addresses these concerns then please present your case against these concerns based on what you learnt from his paper and convince the freethinkers of your position. If you can not do that no one here is going to buy what you are selling.
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#38
(28-Apr-2013, 01:39 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: Science is not the topic of the thread either.

Kindly go through the forum rules and the thread again. Because this statement is just plain ridiculous.

(28-Apr-2013, 01:39 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: By blocking somebody's viewpoint you are not doing justice to atheism either. I am not a man of atheism but I have heard that atheism allows free thought.

I have requested before and I will request again. Do read up on Scientific Method. Because its not a matter of "view point" just like distance between Earth and Sun is not.

(28-Apr-2013, 01:39 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: Hence I consider it as a personal attack if somebody wants to actually prove it.It's Morality which matters here.Here is what Albert Einstein says about Morality.

Albert Einstein: Morality is Purely a Human Matter
The religious feeling engendered by experiencing the logical comprehensibility of profound interrelations is of a somewhat different sort from the feeling that one usually calls religious. It is more a feeling of awe at the scheme that is manifested in the material universe. It does not lead us to take the step of fashioning a god-like being in our own image - a personage who makes demands of us and who takes an interest in us as individuals. There is in this neither a will nor a goal, nor a must, but only sheer being. For this reason, people of our type see in morality a purely human matter, albeit the most important in the human sphere.
- Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman

This part is irrelevant. In the future do not digress from the original thread.
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#39
(28-Apr-2013, 07:19 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: 2) The way Yojana and Nimesha are related to standard units like mile and second through intermediates "units" such as duration of a blink of an eye, width of human hair, height of man, travel distance of bullock. All of these have so much variability in them that by the time you make the connection between the non-standard Yojana and Nimesha to mile and second there will be huge error stack up.

Concern no.2: I think you may have to think in the reverse. It is highly difficult to fix a unit. At this point of time wherein SI units seem to be ubiquitous, one may not think that it so difficult to fix a unit but the fact is otherwise. It is not as easy as we mock about it today. Nimesha literally means the eyeblink and here it is taken as the unit of time. The duration of eyeblink is not fixed but the unit is fixed. Then it is named a nimesha. The height of man varies but one particular height is taken as a standard and it is named accordingly and so on.
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#40
(28-Apr-2013, 07:19 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: 3) The experimental set up and instruments used to arrive at the speed of light in Vedas is not presented anywhere.

Concern no.3: "The experimental set up and instruments used to arrive at the speed of light in Vedas is not presented anywhere." First of all, it is in Sayana's commentary on RigVeda that we find this verse. It is clear in the original post of this thread also. 14th century AD is not "Vedic times". (Only 300 years before Roemer.)

-As Sayana's was not an astronomical text as is the case with Aryabhata, he didn't have to write about the quantifiable measures in finding the speed of light.

Once again - I am not here to win any argument or debate, my intention is to present the facts as I have understood.
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#41
(29-Apr-2013, 06:11 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote:
(28-Apr-2013, 07:19 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: 3) The experimental set up and instruments used to arrive at the speed of light in Vedas is not presented anywhere.

Concern no.3: "The experimental set up and instruments used to arrive at the speed of light in Vedas is not presented anywhere." First of all, it is in Sayana's commentary on RigVeda that we find this verse. It is clear in the original post of this thread also. 14th century AD is not "Vedic times". (Only 300 years before Roemer.)


Please check the title of the thread. It is " Speed of light in Vedas...can you prove it wrong??"

But let me cut you some slack.

Now, is your claim the following?

"Speed of light was know to people living in Indian subcontinent some time between Vedic times and Sayana's time."

Please confirm. Is that your claim?

(29-Apr-2013, 06:11 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: -As Sayana's was not an astronomical text as is the case with Aryabhata, he didn't have to write about the quantifiable measures in finding the speed of light.


So you do not have any evidence (phenomena that was investigated, experimental set up, procedure,and instruments used to measure the speed of light) that really addresses concern 3, be it in Vedic times or Sayana's time or anytime in between.

Do you concede that point. Please confirm.

(29-Apr-2013, 06:11 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: Once again - I am not here to win any argument or debate, my intention is to present the facts as I have understood.

What did you hope to achieve by presenting the facts as per your understanding? Is it not to convince us that speed of light was known to Sayana?

Please try to be clear and honest about your intentions.
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#42
(29-Apr-2013, 05:56 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: Concern no.2: I think you may have to think in the reverse. It is highly difficult to fix a unit. At this point of time wherein SI units seem to be ubiquitous, one may not think that it so difficult to fix a unit but the fact is otherwise. It is not as easy as we mock about it today. Nimesha literally means the eyeblink and here it is taken as the unit of time. The duration of eyeblink is not fixed but the unit is fixed. Then it is named a nimesha. The height of man varies but one particular height is taken as a standard and it is named accordingly and so on.

Can you please re-read what you have written. Because it sounds ridiculous. Fixing a unit is a very standard process. This is not about conversion between two different units. If 'eyeblink' was unit of time, how did they keep time? Have a person keep blinking absolutely uniformly throughout the experiment? Thats humanely impossible I would say. If height of man was unit of distance, whose height? And did that person not grow/shrink with age? Or roam around wherever any measurement was to be done?

Point is human actions/attributes can never become good units.

Also please save the talk about "not here to win an argument". I don't think anybody is interested in that in a freethinker's forum. Everyone here is for presenting good reasons and evidences for claims.
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#43
(29-Apr-2013, 05:56 PM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote:
(28-Apr-2013, 07:19 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: 2) The way Yojana and Nimesha are related to standard units like mile and second through intermediates "units" such as duration of a blink of an eye, width of human hair, height of man, travel distance of bullock. All of these have so much variability in them that by the time you make the connection between the non-standard Yojana and Nimesha to mile and second there will be huge error stack up.

Concern no.2: I think you may have to think in the reverse. It is highly difficult to fix a unit. At this point of time wherein SI units seem to be ubiquitous, one may not think that it so difficult to fix a unit but the fact is otherwise. It is not as easy as we mock about it today. Nimesha literally means the eyeblink and here it is taken as the unit of time. The duration of eyeblink is not fixed but the unit is fixed. Then it is named a nimesha. The height of man varies but one particular height is taken as a standard and it is named accordingly and so on.

Thanks for acknowledging that if Nimesha was just a blink of an eye there will be huge variability. But as you claim if Nimesha as a unit was fixed what was it fixed to?

According to the Hindutwadi apologist who started this thread this is what is Nimesha.

(28-Sep-2011, 10:20 AM)aryaveer Wrote: 1 nimesa = 0.2112 seconds (This is a recursive decimal! Wink of an eye=.2112 seconds!)

So what was the standard Nimesha (= 0.2112 seconds) set to? It seems unlikely that there were instruments during the time period between Vedic times to Sayana’s time that could measure time durations as small as 0.2112 seconds. Anyway we are digressing.

Getting back to the claim itself, the questions for which we really need answers are the following. What phenomenon (eg. observed change in the orbital periods of a moon of Jupiter as in the case of Romers, light reflections between a rotating and stationary mirror as in the case of Foucault) was investigated to measure the speed of light? What kinds of distances and time intervals were involved in the study? Did Indians from those days have measurement devices that had enough precision to measure those distances and time intervals? Finally why isn’t such an important measurement not reported in a research treatise but is supposedly mentioned (not really, it is really about the Sun) in a couplet in a hymn.
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#44
(29-Apr-2013, 08:58 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: Now, is your claim the following?

"Speed of light was know to people living in Indian subcontinent some time between Vedic times and Sayana's time."

Please confirm. Is that your claim?

No, that is not my 'intention'. Who is talking about the people living in the whole Indian subcontinent? The moderator may want to edit the title

of the thread.

There are two possibilities.
1. Sayana knew the speed of light.
2. Sayana didn't know the speed of light.

Analysis
1. Kautilya's Arthasastra was not a mathematical text in essence but it mentions in 2-20 about Yojana, which is in line with traditional

understanding of it. Aryabhata rejects the traditional understanding of Yojana and his Yojana is 0.84 times the previous value. But Sayana's

understanding of Yojana seems to be in line with the traditional understanding of it.

2. That Sayana did not know the speed of light has not been proved anywhere. Astronomical instruments used during Sayana's time are well

known, on which SR Sarma has carried out extensive research. Some of these instruments are preserved at Institut für die Geschichte der

Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften, Frankfurt, Germany.

-Indian Astronomical Instruments in German Collections, SR Sarma, XXX. Deutscher Orientalistentag Freiburg, 24.-28. September 2007

3. What kind of an evidence do we have to prove that Sayana was not aware of all these? Sayana's brother Madhava Vidyaranya has written

two books on astronomy (not Madhava of Kerala school of astronomy).

I am not here to win an argument as I will have to show the skills of Articulation of Manipulation which I don't have. I am here only to express

my views about the defamation of Subhash Kak. Subhash Kak did not claim that he has proved anything about it. "What do you think?" is the

question he has asked at end of the article being hypelinked in the post#7 of this thread.


(29-Apr-2013, 08:58 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: So you do not have any evidence (phenomena that was investigated, experimental set up, procedure,and instruments used to measure the speed of light) that really addresses concern 3, be it in Vedic times or Sayana's time or anytime in between.
About the measurement of time
Hermann von Schlagintweit-Sakünlünski, who undertook a scientific expedition to northern India between 1855 and 1857, brought back many artefacts from India. In 1871 he sent a communication to the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences at Munich on the water clocks he had acquired in India. The water clock described by the baron is of the sinking bowl type, called Ghati-or Ghatika-yantra in Sanskrit. It consists of a hemispherical copper bowl with a small perforation at the bottom. When the bowl is placed on the surface of the water in a larger vessel, water enters the bowl through the hole, fills the bowl gradually and causes it to sink to the bottom of the basin. The hole is so made that the bowl fills up and sinks in a specific interval of time, usually 24 minutes, called ghat?i or ghat?ika in Sanskrit. This period is the sixtieth part of a nychthemeron (ahoratra), and was the standard unit of time measurement in India.

1. Hermann von Schlagintweit-Sakünlünski, “Eine Wasseruhr und eine metallene Klangscheibe alter indischer Construction,” Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-physikalischen Classe der k. b. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München, 1 (1887) 128-139.

2. SREERAMULA RAJESWARA SARMA “The Bowl that Sinks and Tells Time,” India Magazine, of her People and Culture, 14.9
(September 1994), pp. 31-36; idem, “Setting Up the Water Clock for Telling the Time of the Wedding,”
in: Charles Burnett et al (ed), Studies in the History of the Exact Sciences in Honour of David Pingree,
Brill, Leiden 2004, pp. 302-330.

The instrument was described by Aryabhata towards the close of the fifth century and by several other astronomers later on. From the fifth century onwards, institutions for time keeping are attested at Buddhist monasteries, royal palaces, town squares etc., where time was measured regularly with this water clock and the passage of each ghati was announced by drum beats or strokes on a gong. It was used throughout South Asia and South-East Asia until the beginning of the twentieth century.

A bowl that sinks in 3 ghatikas is in fact mentioned in the middle of the fifth century by Buddhagosa in his commentary Papamcasudani on the Majjhimanikaya.

Professor Oskar von Hinüber “Probleme der Technikgeschichte im alten Indien,” Saeculum, 29.3 (1978) 215-230; see also idem,
“Some Problems of the History of Technology in Ancient India,” Max Mueller Bhavan Yearbook 1978, New Delhi 1978, pp. 36-51.
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#45
(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: 2. That Sayana did not know the speed of light has not been proved anywhere.

I said this a while back in this thread:

Quote:So for how many more years are Hindu apologists going to play this stupid game? At what point can they say "Okay. There is no evidence, so this can't be true"? I'd bet a lot that the answer is never. There will always be the excuse of "missing texts", any number of "maybes" prefixed on Deepak Chopra-esque absurdities like " consciousness reflecting on itself can obtain such quantitative information", and countless arguments from ignorance.


It didn't take that long for you to come up with a text book example of an argument from ignorance. Some knowledge of astronomy does not equal to knowing speed of light. All you and Kak can do is to weasel like an average politician. Have the intellectual integrity to firmly assert a point, and then back it up with evidence. If there is no evidence, accept that the point is invalid. That's what a decent scientist would do.
[+] 2 users Like Lije's post
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#46
About to make a series of post addressing Kpbolumbu01 for one last time. I apologize in advance to the other forumites for taking up unnecessary bandwidth.

(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote:
(29-Apr-2013, 08:58 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: Now, is your claim the following?
"Speed of light was know to people living in Indian subcontinent some time between Vedic times and Sayana's time."
Please confirm. Is that your claim?
No, that is not my 'intention'. Who is talking about the people living in the whole Indian subcontinent? The moderator may want to edit the title of the thread.

Do you even understand English? I am making you a huge concession here. I have modified the claim “Speed of light in Vedas” made in the original post by your fellow Hindutwa apologist to a softer version of “Speed of light was known to people living in Indian subcontinent some time between Vedic times and Sayana's time.” in response to your objection. But I am willing to let it go so that I do not have to debate this trivial issue with you.

Moving on to the rest of your post….

--- see next post for continuation
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#47
(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: There are two possibilities.
1. Sayana knew the speed of light.
2. Sayana didn't know the speed of light.

And what is your claim here? Is it “Sayana knew the speed of light.”? If so then all you have to do is answer the following questions (asked many times in several of my posts to you) to back up that claim.

Quote:Getting back to the claim itself, the questions for which we really need answers are the following. What phenomenon (eg. observed change in the orbital periods of a moon of Jupiter as in the case of Romers, light reflections between a rotating and stationary mirror as in the case of Foucault) was investigated to measure the speed of light? What kinds of distances and time intervals were involved in the study? Did Indians from those days have measurement devices that had enough precision to measure those distances and time intervals? Finally why isn’t such an important measurement not reported in a research treatise but is supposedly mentioned (not really, it is really about the Sun) in a couplet in a hymn.

If you cannot answer these questions then be honest enough to concede that you cannot do so.
If on the other hand your claim is not “Sayana knew the speed of light.” then be honest enough to make that explicitly clear as well.

--- see next post for continuation
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#48
(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: Analysis
1. Kautilya's Arthasastra was not a mathematical text in essence but it mentions in 2-20 about Yojana, which is in line with traditional understanding of it. Aryabhata rejects the traditional understanding of Yojana and his Yojana is 0.84 times the previous value. But Sayana's understanding of Yojana seems to be in line with the traditional understanding of it.

Totally irrelevant to the questions (marked in red above) that needs to be answered to back up the claim that “Sayana knew the speed of light.”.

(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: 2. That Sayana did not know the speed of light has not been proved anywhere.

Please familiarize yourself with the negative proof fallacy (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Negative_proof ) . If you do not understand this fallacy then brooding over the following might help.

Quote:Subhash Kak does not sexually molest children has not been proved anywhere by anyone.

(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: Astronomical instruments used during Sayana's time are well
known, on which SR Sarma has carried out extensive research. Some of these instruments are preserved at Institut für die Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften, Frankfurt, Germany.
-Indian Astronomical Instruments in German Collections, SR Sarma, XXX. Deutscher Orientalistentag Freiburg, 24.-28. September 2007
3. What kind of an evidence do we have to prove that Sayana was not aware of all these? Sayana's brother Madhava Vidyaranya has written two books on astronomy (not Madhava of Kerala school of astronomy).

Again totally irrelevant to the questions (marked in red above) that needs to be answered to back up the claim that “Sayana knew the speed of light.”.

(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: I am not here to win an argument as I will have to show the skills of Articulation of Manipulation which I don't have.

You do not need any skills in articulation or manipulation. All you need here is a bit of honesty.

(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote: I am here only to express my views about the defamation of Subhash Kak. Subhash Kak did not claim that he has proved anything about it. "What do you think?" is the question he has asked at end of the article being hypelinked in the post#7 of this thread.

Subhash Kak has already defamed himself with drivel like "consciousness reflecting on itself can obtain such quantitative information". There is no need for anyone here to defame him further.

(30-Apr-2013, 11:12 AM)kpbolumbu01 Wrote:
(29-Apr-2013, 08:58 PM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: So you do not have any evidence (phenomena that was investigated, experimental set up, procedure,and instruments used to measure the speed of light) that really addresses concern 3, be it in Vedic times or Sayana's time or anytime in between.
About the measurement of time
Hermann von Schlagintweit-Sakünlünski, ……
…., 29.3 (1978) 215-230; see also idem, “Some Problems of the History of Technology in Ancient India,” Max Mueller Bhavan Yearbook 1978, New Delhi 1978, pp. 36-51.

Again you have not answered any of the questions (marked in red above) raised by me.

--- post concluded
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