Of late, social media has been buzzing with posts & tweets about ancient India and Vedas, especially after an allegedly “controversial” statement made by Rajnath Singh regarding Heisenberg’s theory and its roots in the Vedas.
Although I do not claim to be an authority on the subject of Vedas, nor do I tend to believe what politicians say (I am of the opinion that they tend to exaggerate), the very fact that there has been such a widespread uproar from liberals & progressives evoked my curiosity in this topic. When I consulted with some of my friends, I was surprised to hear their opinions which were not only in affirmation with what Rajnath Singh had said but they even went on to say that several scientists in the western world were actually inspired by the Vedas and some of the most advanced theories they built in the 20th centuries were already described in the Vedas!!
I was taken aback and hence for the next few days, I tried to delve deeper into this subject by going through several books written by eminent scientists & authors from India as well as abroad. While I still do not want to come to any conclusions, I would like to share few snippets from the books I referred in this article.
As one would expect, Encyclopedias are usually the first level of references and since this is about ancient sciences, I referred “Encyclopedia of History of Science” (published by “Springer Science & Business Media”), in which page 204 says Schrodinger, the co-creator of quantum theory, was inspired by the Vedic texts and he along with Heisenberg built theories which were consistent with Vedantic concepts.
Page 204 of this book:
As I began to wonder how these scientists became aware of Vendanta, the book “Vedanta: Heart of Hinduism” written by Hans Torwesten provided insights into how Swamis of Ramakrishna Mission including Swami Vivekananda had spread the teachings of Vedanta in the western world during late 19th century among elevated intellectual circles which included thinkers like Salinger, Miller, Bohr, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Oppenheimer, Tesla and several others.
Page 214 of this book:
For a more detailed explanation of how Heisenberg’s theory of uncertainty is consistent with the teachings of Rig Veda, the book titled “The Hindu Mind” by Bansi Pandit provides more insights with simple illustrations and parallels at page 334.
Page 334 of this book:
A biography on Schrodinger (by William Taussig Scott) shows how he was inspired by the concept of “Brahman” in the Upanishads.
Page 141 of this book:
For insights into the Vedic interpretation of Quantum theory by Bohr-Heisenberg, the book “Unified Theories” written by RL Amoroso is recommended. (You can click on the following image excerpt to enlarge it)
Page 75 of this book:
Bohr’s fascination & inspiration from Upanishads is also well documented.
Page 168 of this book:
Moving beyond Quantum theories, Vedas had inspired scientists in nuclear sciences as well. For example, Oppenheimer (the father of atomic bomb) had publicly stated that access to the Vedas were the greatest privilege of the century.
Page 23 of this book:
Carl Sagan (a renowned Astrophysicist) was deeply inspired by Vedas and had stated that the Vedic cosmology corresponds to the modern scientific cosmology.
Page 25 of this book:
During his visit to USA, Swami Vivekananda had inspired Tesla (popularly called father of electricity) to look into Vedic Sciences to overcome the challenges imposed by conventional sciences, which in turn helped Tesla build theories which were later used by scientists for research on quantum physics & relativity.
Although it might not be necessary to come to any blanket conclusions, the above references can be used to suggest that some of the Western Scientists were indeed influenced & some of their theories were inspired by Vedas & Upanishads.