Plastic Surgery of Ganesh was done but not by Shiva

Plastic surgery of Ganesh was done but not by Shiva:Testimony of our glorious past

In recent past, we had political leaders raking up our ancient sciences. Modi commented on Ganesh maybe a handiwork of plastic surgery. Maybe correct, only am doubtful whether Shiva did it. In the treatise of Sushruta Samhita,for instance, Sushruta writes about grafting a piece of skin from the cheek to the nose around 600 BCE. He also lays out instructions for how to reconstruct a nose with a flap of living skin carved from the cheek, treating it with liquorice and sandalwood. Europeans did not perfect rhinoplasty until the 19th century.

Shalihotra, perhaps the world’s first recorded veterinarian, wrote a long treatise on the care of horses some thousand years before that. He not only recommended what medicines to give horses when they were ill, but also detailed surgical procedures such as eye operations and bloodletting.

The Conch clearly exhibits the Fibonacci pattern, or the ‘golden rations’. And clearly, it is that symmetry which causes the Conch to produce such amazing sound vibrations. Newton, Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo had been beaten to their famous “discoveries” by an unknown and unsung Indian centuries earlier with reference to Pythagoras theorem. The Sulba Sutras, composed between 800 and 500 B.C., demonstrate that India had Pythagoras’ theorem before the great Greek was born, and a way of getting the square root of 2 correct to five decimal places. (Vedic Indians solved square roots in order to build sacrificial altars of the proper size). In fact if one goes through the verses of Kurushetra war, some of the formations were a complex geometric pattern. The Kerala mathematician Nilakantha wrote sophisticated explanations of the irrationality of “pi” before the West had heard of the concept.

The Rig Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together 24 centuries before the apple fell on Newton’s head. The Siddhantas are amongst the world’s earliest texts on astronomy and mathematics; the Surya Siddhanta, written about 400 A.D., includes a method for finding the times of planetary ascensions and eclipses. Lost Discoveries, by Dick Teresi, a comprehensive study of the ancient non-Western foundations of modern science, mentions clearly: “Two hundred years before Pythagoras,” writes Teresi, “philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its centre.”

Aryabhata, in 499 A.D., explained that the daily rotation of the earth on its axis is what accounted for the daily rising and setting of the sun (his ideas were so far in advance of his time that many later editors of his “Aryabhatiya” altered the text to save his reputation from what they thought were serious errors). Aryabhata conceived of the elliptical orbits of the planets a thousand years before Kepler, in the West, came to the same conclusion. He even estimated the value of the year at 365 days, six hours, 12 minutes and 30 seconds; in this he was only a few minutes off (the correct figure is just under 365 days and six hours). The translation of the Aryabhatiya into Latin in the 13th Century gained him lot of European followers.

By the Fifth Century A.D., Indians had calculated that the age of the earth was 4.3 billion years; as late as the 19th Century, English scientists believed the earth was a hundred million years old, and it is only in the late 20th Century that Western scientists have come to estimate the earth to be about 4.6 billion years old. India invented modern numerals (known to the world as “Arabic” numerals because the West got them from the Arabs, who learnt them from us!). An Indian who first conceived of the zero, shunya; the concept of nothingness, shunyata, integral to Hindu and Buddhist thinking, simply did not exist in the West. Modern mathematics would have impossible without the zero and the decimal system. Just read a string of Roman numbers to understand this. Indian mathematicians invented negative numbers as well. The concept of infinite sets of rational numbers was understood by Jain thinkers in the Sixth Century B.C. The “Bakhshali manuscript”, 70 leaves of bark dating back to the early centuries of the Christian era, reveals fractions, simultaneous equations, quadratic equations, geometric progressions and even calculations of profit and loss, with interest. Indian numbers probably arrived in the Arab world in 773 A.D. with the emissaries sent by the Hindu ruler of Sind to the court of the Caliph al-Mansur. This gave rise to the famous arithmetical text of al-Khwarizmi, written around 820 A.D., which contains a detailed exposition of Indian mathematics, in particular the usefulness of the zero. It was al-Khwarizmi who is credited with the invention of algebra, though he properly credits Indians for it himself.

We need to use the past as a springboard, not as a battlefield, a phrase that I borrowed from Dr Tharoor. Request all not to do partisan politics with our history.

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