Bharat’s contribution to the world in various fields is well established and duly recognized. There are different contributions of different cultures, civilizations, peoples and nations to the humanity at large.
Bharat being one of the oldest civilizations of the world has a lot of benefaction towards the global society. Its philosophical world view of “Vasudhaiv-Kutumbakam”-that the whole world is a one family- is reflective in its subscription and offerings to the world.
There are fields of great interest in Bharat that have given to the world a plethora of classics, knowledge and information about the universal facts and figures. But the most amazing and unique areas have been the 4Ms, i.e. Medicine, Music, Mathematics and Meditation.
The human life has four major faculties which require a consistent and continuous nourishment, care and control. In order to take care of all the four faculties, Bharatiya masters invented four fields of activity for a human being. Since Bharat’s philosophy and way of life take inspiration and guidance from realisation aspect, thus the aspect of imagination and belief has a lower role to play, practically.
While Medicine takes care of our physique and physical priorities, Music caters to the demand of mind. Likewise Mathematics nurtures our intellect while Meditation looks after the prerequisites and essentials of the soul. Physique, Mind, Intellect and Soul are the main four faculties that a human being is concerned of once he or she takes birth as a human body in this world, that he or she has ultimately to relinquish, one day.
In a life period, in order to be successful in our ventures and pursuits, we tend to be sincere to all these four faculties. But the hard fact is that it is very tough to be really sincere to the resolve to cater to all the four faculties all the time. Therefore, the invention of four fields of life activity is purely a scientific preposition that Bharatiya way of life has developed over the last thousands of years.
Ten thousand years of research, study, experiments, successes, failures, observations and conclusions are thus based upon realisation of secrets of nature for which hundreds of thousands of souls worked relentlessly for whole of their life over a period of more than ten thousand years. They ultimately produced a fourfold treasure of knowledge, understanding and wisdom that got recognised as Bharat’s 4Ms contribution to the world and the humanity.
The Shad-Darshan, six schools of Bharatiya philosophy like, Vedanta, Mimansa, Samnkhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika, is the beauty of Bharatiya way of life and thinking. In addition to this, there are other philosophies and schools of thought as well, i.e. Jain, Bhuddist, Charvak’s, Ajivika and Ajinana.
However, the four fields of activity pertaining to Medicine, Music Mathematics and Meditation are an outstanding and remarkable productions of Bharat’s mind and wisdom based upon pure understanding and realisation of the secrets of nature.
Medical science can be called the caretaker of the human body. Ayurveda means the science of life, literally. It is established that the fundamental and applied principles of Ayurveda got organized and enunciated around 1500-2000 BC. Atharvaveda, the last of the four great bodies of knowledge- known as Vedas, which forms the backbone of Bharatiya civilization, contains 114 hymns related to formulations for the treatment of different diseases.
From the knowledge gathered and nurtured over centuries, two major schools and eight specializations got evolved. One was the school of physicians called as ‘Dhanvantri Sampradaya’ and the second school of surgeons referred in literature as ‘Atreya Sampradaya’. These schools had their respective representative compilations- Charaka-Samhita for the school of Medicine and Sushruta-Samhita for the school of Surgery. The former contains several chapters dealing with different aspects of medicine and related subjects. Around more than five hundred drugs of plant, animal and mineral origin have been mentioned in this treatise.
Sushruta-Samhita primarily deals with different aspects of fundamental principles and theory of surgery. More than one hundred kinds of surgical instruments including scalpels, scissors, forceps, specula etc. are described along with their use in this document. Dissection and operative procedures are explained making use of vegetables and dead animals. It contains description of about six hundred fifty drugs and discusses different aspects related to other surgery related topics such as anatomy, embryology, toxicology and therapeutics.
Vagabhata’s ‘Astanga-Hridaya’ is considered as another major treatise of Ayurveda. The above three documents are popularly known as ‘Brihat trayees’ (the big or major three).
In addition to these three scholarly and authoritative treatises a vast body of literature exists in the form of compilations covering a period of more than one thousand and five hundred years. India was known as the hub of medicines throughout its history.
Even today, Bharat produces largest number of medical professionals including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. Bharat is also one of the largest producers of medicines and medical equipments in the world and came to the rescue of the world in a big way during the Covid pandemic period for the last two years.
Music, as the best healer of mind, is as old as the human civilization. Its origins date back to sacred Vedic scriptures over six thousand years ago where chants developed a system of musical notes and rhythmic cycles. The principal sources on the music of Bharat are textual and iconographical; specifically, some theoretical treatises in Sanskrit survive, there are brief mentions in general literature and many sculptures of ancient Bharatiya musicians and their instruments exist.
Ancient Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrat literature frequently contains musical references, from the Vedas to the works of Kalidasa and the Adigal’s epic Silappatikaram. Despite this, little is known on the actual musical practices of ancient Bharat and the information available forces a somewhat homogeneous perspective on the music of the time, even though evidence indicates that in reality it was far more diverse.
The monumental arts treatise Natya Shastra is among the earliest and main sources for ancient Indian music; the music portions alone are likely from the Gupta period (4th century to 6th century CE). The ancient text Rigveda has elements of present Bharatiya music, with a musical notation to denote the metre and the mode of chanting.
Kashmir has also a great contribution in the field of Natya Shastra and music. Ancient art and architecture also denotes varieties of ancient and modern musical instruments.
Mathematics is the principle guiding machine of the intellect. It has a vast framework to train the intellect to solve the most difficult questions and problems of the world and the life. By giving us the concept of zero, Bharatiya mathematicians made seminal contributions to the study of trigonometry, algebra, arithmetic and negative numbers among other areas.
Perhaps most significantly, the decimal system that we still employ worldwide today was first seen in Bharat.
Bharatiya mathematics emerged in Bharat from 1200 BC until the end of the 18th century. In the classical period of Bharatiya mathematics, important contributions were made by scholars like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Bhaskara II and Varahmihira.
The decimal number system in use today was first recorded in Bharatiya mathematics. Bharatiya mathematicians made early contributions to the study of the concept of zero as a number, negative numbers, arithmetic and algebra.
In addition, trigonometry was further advanced in Bharat, and, in particular, the modern definitions of sine and cosine were developed there. In the field of astronomy, the mathematical formulas created magicical influences in Bharat. These mathematical concepts were transmitted to the Middle East, China, and Europe and led to further developments that now form the foundations of many areas of mathematics.
Meditation (Dhyana) is the warden of spirit and soul of human being. There are numerous references of yoga and meditation found in ancient Bharatiya scriptures such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad defines meditation as “having become calm and concentrated, one perceives the self (atman) within oneself”.
It takes the ultimate care of soul and spirit which is recognised as ‘antar-atma’ and guides one to self-purification leading to self-realisation and thus the final salvation termed as ‘Mukti’ in a broader perspective.
Bharatiyas have been the great believers of practice all along and meditation is considered to be the way forward to the destinations beyond. It is the biggest means of communication with the self. A large number of Bharat based institutions and masters of this science are guiding the world about this huge source of knowledge and self-realisation for the last many centuries in the modern context. It is considered as the most charming and profound gift of Bharatiya civilization and culture to the humanity at large.
Irrespective of religious beliefs, people have been following this science of spirit and soul throughout the world. It remains the biggest source of peace within and outside that the human beings have been found craving for always and ever; and thus making Bharat the central focus of the world attention for peace and harmony.
Gupta sculptures mirror the artistic talent that was predominant in the Gupta Dynasty. India witnessed the beginning of another era in the form of the Gupta Empire in the 4th century A.D and with the beginning of the Gupta period, the country was ushered into the classical form of sculpture. The Gupta Empire in India developed its own idiom for constructing sculptures and monuments. These features of Gupta sculptures were followed religiously by the then contemporary artisans. The Elephanta Cave temples and the structural temples at Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu are the enduring legacy of Gupta rulers.
Sushruta Samhita is one of the oldest books in Ayurveda that was written by Sushruta, the legendary Ayurvedic Physician of ancient India. The Sushruta Samhita is the complete book that deals with the practical problems of surgery and midwifery or obstetrics. In India the practice of surgery is very ancient that dates back to around 800 BC. Surgery was termed as ‘Sastrakarma’ and was one of the eight branches of Ayurveda, which is the ancient Indian system of medicine.
Excellent and must read article.