In the Rigveda, there is mention of King Purukutasa, son of King Mandhata, and an ancestor of King Rama. Purukutsa, according to the Vedas, performed an Ashvamedha and got a son named Trasadasyu. Ashvamedha is an ancient ritual performed by Kings and is described in detail in Yajurveda and Shatapath Brahmana. Apart from Vedas, we find mention of the ritual in Ramayana as well as Mahabharata, among other ancient books.
The Baudhayana Theorem
But how does all this relate to the Pythagoras mentioned in heading? Well, for Ashvamedha, you require the fire altar of different shapes. Your regular square fire altar would not be sufficient for that yajna. The largest of such altars, for the King, has to be in the shape of a Garuda (the divine eagle) according to scriptures, including Ramayana. Now, construction of this altar is not an easy task. Described as Shyena Chiti in the Shulba Sutras of Baudhayana, the construction requires at least 6 types of bricks arranged in mutiple layers (the altar is anywhere from 1.5 to 6 feet high), and a knowledge of complex geometry including of “Pythagoras’ theorem“. However, Pythagoras was born a few centuries after Baudhayana, even according to western Indologists!
The inference is not hard to make, at least for persons not having an agenda and an IQ slightly above that of a 5-year-old. So when NEP Task Force formed by Karnataka government was asked to submit a paper on the New Education Policy by NCERT, it said that Pythagoras’ theorem is actually a Bharatiya discovery. However, certain “journalists” and Congress members, MLAs and some other “liberals” would have none of it. Sample a few comments made on Twitter on this matter in the pictures below.
It is possibly due to their education in humanities and other non-scientific subjects, many journalists and political commentators are ignorant of a scientific subject like mathematics. Perhaps due to the current deficient education system in Bharat, even their science education does not prepare them to research before writing nonsense. In any case, they should have resisted from commenting before acquiring knowledge of the issue.
If only the propagandists and partisans of Congress party, who are condemning or ridiculing the Karnataka panel, had heeded to advice of Shri Madan Gopal and googled the name Baudhayana, they would have seen laudatory comments by mathematicians from reputed universities on the work of that ancient sage-scientist. They would have seen distinguished professors of Mathematics (Fields Medal is widely considered the Nobel Prize of Mathematics) saying essentially the same thing as the Karnataka panel. But, that takes journalistic rigour and personal integrity. It is interesting to note that the Chinese call the theorem ‘Gougu Rule’, named after a Chinese mathematician who first gave proof of it in China.
In Bharata, we have a class of people, who would rather be slaves of western countries than have pride in the accomplishments of own countrymen. Chinese have no such colonial baggage and promote their heritage with pride. Hence, today even the New Zealand Ministry of Education site states that the Pythagoras Theorem is also known as Gougu Rule!
The philosophy of Pythagoras
That Pythagoras was influenced by Bharatiya scientists and spiritual currents will be made clear by an account of his philosophy. Pythagoras started one of the most influential schools of Pagan philosophy, named after him as Pythagorean school. This school survived for nearly 700 years, and even after that it profoundly influenced the Christian and Islamic philosophy in middle ages.
It has been recorded by philosophers of this school that Pythagoras was a great traveller and had visited Bharata during his wandering. There, he learnt the philosophy, mathematics, and other sciences from Brahmins. All of his biographies mention this fact. In fact, Pythagoreans continued to visit Bharata for learning from Brahmins in following centuries. An example of that is Apollonius of Tyana, who visited Bharat in the first century AD, a good 500 years after Pythagoras was dead. Apollonius has been ascribed many miracles, which rival the siddhis of Yogis of Bharata.
It is thus natural that the influence of Indic philosophy is seen in the philosophy of Pythagoras. Pythagoras has been one of the few western philosophers who believed in transmigration of soul and its eternal existence. This is clearly an influence from Bharata, where surviving ancient religions like Hindu Dharma and Jainism also believe in this. This is also made clear by various Pythagorean works, where it is clearly written that Pythagoras learnt this doctrine in Bharata and Egyptians also learnt this from Bharatiya philosophers.
In ancient Greece and other places with Hellenistic influence, if a person was vegetarian, it was understood that he was also a Pythagorean. The Pythagoreans, following example of Pythagoras, also refrained from drinking wine and preferred a simple diet of bread and water. This is clearly an influence of Hindu philosophy on Pythagoras.
Pythagoras also founded a school, also sometimes described as a monastery, where students lived and continued their studies. This was a system similar as one can see in ancient Bharatiya Gurukuls and universities like Takshshila. They always dressed in white clothes, believed in the heliocentric model of universe and also in mysticism associated with numbers and music.
All the above facts can be ascertained from any respectable book on the subject. A moderately observant person with average intelligence can conclude that not only the mathematics of Pythagoras, but also his philosophy, had Bharatiya roots. But, will the pretend intellectuals of today’s Bharata accept?
(Featured image : “Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise” by Fyodor Bronnikov)