International day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

A nuclear war looms large, as tensions grow between the major world powers. There is also the danger of the nuclear weapons falling in the hands of terrorists. Will third world war be a nuclear conflict? Do we even understand the adverse consequences that a nuclear war would bring? The fallout of the fallout!

International Day for Nuclear Disarmament

After a high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament on 26th September 2013, the UN General Assembly’s designated 26th September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This Day provides an opportunity to highlight the need to eliminate nuclear weapons and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them.

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Logo of International Day for Nuclear Disarmament

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II, are the nuclear bomb drops, we have encountered in the modern world till date. Until then, descriptions of such bombs and their destruction were unheard of and would have been passed off as a figment of imagination.

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Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Photos courtesy: US National Archives and Records Administration

Did the ancient world and India have the nuclear capability? Were there a nuclear wars in ancient time? Were nuclear arsenal used during the war?

The knowledge about any such war from ancient times will help understand the universal holocaust that a nuclear conflict could bring, and thereby make us more serious about disarmament of these destructive weapons.

Dr. Robert J. Oppenheimer and the Bhagavad Gita

Dr. Robert J. Oppenheimer, the nuclear physicist of America, responsible for the development of the first Atomic Bomb in the modern world, while witnessing the first nuclear test explosion in 1945, in New Mexico Desert quoted from the verse 11.32 of the Bhagavad Gita

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Dr. Robert J Oppenheimer

Photos courtesy US National Archives and Record Administration

“I am become death, destroyer of the worlds”.

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“The Supreme Lord said: I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world, out to

destroy. Even without your participation all the warriors standing arrayed in

the opposing armies shall cease to exist.”

(Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 11 verse 32)

The Upadesa. – Bhagavad Gita, got the Kurukshetra war of Mahabharata underway and this particular phrase which Dr. Oppenheimer quoted, speaks of the power to destroy.

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project, learned Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad Gita in the original. He has cited it as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life.

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Manhattan Trinity Project – The Explosive Gadget

Photo courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratories

The quoting of the Bhagavad Gita verse 11.32 by Dr. Oppenheimer does not seem to be a one off statement. There are pointers that make one wonder whether Dr. Oppenheimer was quoting the Gita at the moment of the first nuclear test explosion of the modern world, from a philosophical perspective or whether he was perhaps quoting it to imply some other connection or similarity.

Was he of the opinion that the Kurukshetra war of the Mahabharata, which brought forth the Bhagavad Gita, too had nuclear arsenal in it and was he aware of the same?

Dr. Oppenheimer conveys a plausible connection, when he articulates his view on the nuclear capability of an ancient civilization.

Shortly after the first nuclear test explosion, called the Manhattan Project, Dr. Oppenheimer, addressed the students of the Rochester University. Here one of the students asked him a pointed question, if his experiment was the first nuclear explosion of the world. He responded thoughtfully as “Well …. Yes, in modern times ofcourse …”.

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University of Rochester

This cautious, measured, response of Dr. Oppenheimer, which has been recorded for posterity, makes one wonder if Dr. Oppenheimer believed that in an earlier civilization, there could have been nuclear capability. By earlier quoting the Bhagavad Gita during the test explosion, was he perhaps pointing to the Indian civilization as having had that capability?

In Mahabharata

This thought is further substantiated by the Indian text Mahabharata and the adjunct text Purana, which give a vivid description of the Asthra or missiles and their capabilities.

The description of the special manner in which these Asthra were invoked, the number, colour, shape and the rapid speed of individual discharges from each Asthra, the extent of destruction they had caused and the awe in which they were held as compared to the regular bow and arrow, make them appear to be special weapons of mass destruction, beyond our comprehension today.

Were they based on nuclear technology or something even beyond?

It is to be noted from the account in the texts, that not everyone who took part in the war had the Asthra. The common soldier used only Shasthra. Very few persons seemed to have had Asthra.

Notable amongst them, on the Pandava side, Arjuna had such asthra and on the Kaurava side, Karna had them.

Both Arjuna and Karna are described in the text as level headed warriors with great will power, patience, tolerance and sagacity. They had obtained these asthra weapons, only after great penance and austerities.

Is there any ground proof of an atomic war in the past?

Ground Proof

All pointers so far, make us ponder if really a limited nuclear war was fought at the Kurukshetra battle. Many have commented for and against on this aspect.

But all studies seem to have halted at a superficial level, leaving this as a still unanswered question.

The maximum one is able to trace, is upto the work by two European researchers David Davenport and Ettore Vincenti, who seem to have done some ground work in and around MohenjoDaro. Not many details can be found of their work or its acceptance, but their findings seem to be very interesting and plausible, warranting further attention.

In one of their excavation sites, they claim to have found evidences that suggest that the ancient town may have been ruined by a powerful blast.

Ruined town

They found big stratums of clay and green glass crystallised, fused or melted at its identified epicentre and bricks around this epicentre were melted on one side, characteristic of an explosion.

It is obvious that not much ground research has been done to validate these statements of the Mahabharata text or that of these 2 research scholars.

There are over 2600 archaeological sites around the Kurukshetra region.

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Hardly a handful of them have been excavated and worked on by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Need to check for remnant signs

Just as Archaeo-Astronomy is bringing about a new revolution in history, we need a revolution in our ground Archaeology as well. The services of IAEA (Indian Atomic Energy Agency), the National Physical Laboratory and similar such research institutions with expertise in nuclear sciences and other intra disciplinary subjects, may also have to be enlisted to check for remnant signs of any nuclear explosion in the Kurukshetra war theatre area.

In parallel, if the texts are studied seriously, it can yield a wealth of information on the weaponry, army formations and other details of the Kurukshetra war to give us better insights into this war and the fallout of the war.

A short in the arm to disarm

If it does turn out to be a major war fought with all those advanced technologies, then it is indeed a wake up call for all of us, in this age of nuclear armaments to study and understand this war and draw lessons from it.

It will be a shot in the arm for the nuclear disarmament and global peace program. This is especially because the current generation seems to be slowly forgetting the long lasting impact and sufferings of the people post the bomb droppings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, having not seen it firsthand.

More on this in our book, “Triple Eclipse”, which can be read online at www.bharathgyan.com

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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

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One of the key figures for Renaissance in Bengal was Ishwar Chandra. Due to his contribution as a thought Leader, he came to be known as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Charan Bandopadhyay was born on 26 September 1820 in Paschim, Mednapur, West Bengal. He grew up to be a philosopher, academician, reformer, and philanthropist and received the title Vidyasagar, from the Calcutta Samskrit College, from where he had graduated. Vidya stands for knowledge and Sagar for ocean. He was given the title Vidyasagar, ocean of knowledge, in recognition of his yeoman services to the field of education. He thus came to be called popularly as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

He rationalized and simplified the Bengali alphabet script called abugida. It has been used since his times as the type set of the Bengal script.

Vidyasagar threw open the doors of Samskrit College in Calcutta for students from all castes. He took initiative to push through the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856.

An interesting incident happened in Bengal when Sri Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and his few friends were busy collecting donations to start Calcutta University.

One day Vidyasagar stopped at the door of the palace of the Nawab of Ayodhya. The Nawab was not exactly known to be a generous person and many people tried to dissuade Vidyasagar from taking up this mission. Vidyasagar however met the Nawab and presented his cause. On hearing Vidyasagar’s plea, Nawab got up, pulled off one of his shoes and dropped it in Vidyasagar’s bag as donation.

Next day Vidyasagar organized an auction of the Nawab’s shoe in front of his palace. Many of Nawab’s knights, Jahagirdars, court members, who wanted to impress the Nawab started bidding. By mid-afternoon the shoe had been sold for Rs 1000. The Nawab, happy to hear that his shoe had fetched Rs 1000, matched the auction money. He added his own Rs.1000 as donation.

Ishwar Chandr rose above his personal feelings and ego when the shoe was dropped by the Nawab in his bag and exploited the situation creatively, converting it into the biggest donation for the university then.

The Vidyasagar Setu, second largest bridge across the Hoogly River in West Bengal, was named after this Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, in recognition of the thought leadership he had provided.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a social leader, who gave the modern script for the Bengali literature, worked for a casteless society and empowered the hapless women. He developed Calcutta University and gave impetus to usage of Samskrit as a scientific language. He was a true leader of his times. A Prajapathi.

India’s March to Mars

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission entered Mars Orbit on 24th September in the year 2014.

Mangal

Planet Mars is known as Mangala in Samskrt and Indian languages. Hence, the name Mangalyan for this mission, Ayana meaning “travel to”.

In Indian thought, Mars is referred to as Mangal, meaning “auspicious”.

Mars lies beyond earth from the sun at the center of the Solar System.

Solar System

Mangalvar

Among the weekdays, Tuesday is referred to as Mangalvar in Samskrt, after the planet Mars. It is significant to note that the Mangalayan Mission was launched on Mangalvar, a Tuesday.

March Mars Connect

The month of March is connected with Mars and derives its name from the planet. The name March comes from the Latin word “Martius”, the first month of the Roman calendar. It was named after Mars.

The month Maritus was the beginning of the season for farming in Rome.  For, the sun on its northward journey brought warmth for agriculture to happen in Europe, after the harsh winter. It was the month of the festival in honour of Mars, the God of agriculture.

Mars – The Greek God of War

In Greek astronomy, Mars is referred to as “the planet of war”, “the God of war”, because of its red nature.

Greek God of War Greek God of Wars

Roman God of Agriculture

In the Roman civilization, Mars was looked upon as a God of Agriculture. This has been brought forth in legends, paintings and coins.

 Roman god of agri

Mars, The Roman God of agriculture

Other Names of Mars

The Iron Link

Planet Mangala is also referred to as Lohitang in Samskrt, meaning “that which is rich in iron deposits”, loha.

Blood in Ayurveda is also described as lohini, meaning “that which is rich in iron”.

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Mars rich in iron deposits

In Greek legends too, blood is called “Haima” from which comes the word “Haemoglobin” which denotes the iron content in blood. Haem / Heme is the form of iron found in animal sources.

Hemoglobin

We thus see an intrinsic connect between Lohitang, Mars and Lohini, iron and blood, a connect that has been brought out in various legends and the practice of venerating Mars as the divinity for surgeries, wars and other such professions involving use of iron / steel equipment.

Mars is also known as Angaraka, meaning “that which is red in colour”.

 Mars

Mars – The Red Planet

Son of Earth

In some context, it is referred to as Bhumi Putra, meaning “Son of Bhumi”. For this, there is a legend on how Mars took form from Earth and was nurtured and brought up by Bhumi, Mother Earth.

These terms are available in astronomical texts of the land.

The other Names of Mars

Names

Meaning

Bhauma

Made of earth

Angaraka

Heated Charcoal

DharaNisuta

Dhara =  dry

Nisuta = Laid out, thrown into, DharaNisuta = dried up surface

Kshitija

Earth born

Krura

Cruel

Dharāputra

Dhara = Dry, Putra = Son

Lohitānga

Red powdered, Iron Dust

Kona

Corner

Vakra

Curved, hostile

Kārtikeya

Ara

 

A Dry Planet

There are speculations and postulates in the scientific community that there was water once upon a time on Mars but that it has dried up. This tallies with the ancient Indian names for Mars which mean dried up surface.

Mars and Antares

The star Antares in the Scorpio constellation gets its name because it was called Anti Mars, the rival to Mars as from the earth, it visually looked similar to Mars in brightness and colour for ancient European astronomers. Whereas in Indian astronomy, Antares is called as Jyeshtha, the big brother, for, it is the largest star in our Milky Way Galaxy.

 Mars - Antares

Antares in Scorpio Constellation by the side of Mars as it was transiting through Scorpio

Comparison – Similarity

Mangala in Music

Muthuswamy Dikshitar was one among the trinity of Carnatic musicians who formed the basis of the music system of this land.

 Shama Shastry

Muthuswamy Dikshitar

 Carnatic trinity

Trinity of Carnatic Music

He lived about 200 years ago. Among his compositions, is the famous, “Navagraha Keerthana”. In this, he speaks of various qualities, characteristics, gunas of Mars. The lyrics are not from an astrological perspective, but are to be viewed from the perspective of the qualities that this planet exhibits.

Imagery of Mars

Vahana, Vehicle

The Vahana, vehicle of Mangala is Ram, the male goat. It is interesting to note that a similar Ram is shown for Aries, the first zodiac constellation. There is an Indian astronomical connect between Aries & Mars.

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Vahana of Mangala, Mars – A Ram

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Ram, a Zodiac symbol of Aries

Shula and Trishula, Difference

The implement of Mangala is a Shula. Shula is something akin to a spear. When the same Shula has 3 pointed heads, it is called Trishula, the weapon of Shiva. In the case of Mangala, it is Shula, a spear.

 Trishula shula

Trishula and Shula

 Mangala’s Consort

In Indian legends when one is expressed as a consort, it is certainly not for a limited understanding of a wife, spouse. The term has certain qualities, characteristics that the notion of consort brings in.

In this case of Mangala, the consort is Jwalini, jwala meaning “fire”, and here as Jwalini, a female form of fire is brought forth.

 Consort

Mangala with his consort Jwalini

“What this could mean astronomically is the case of Mars?” is something for us to dwell more into in our study of the scientific aspects that Mangala and Jwalini stand for.

Advantage

India launched Mangalyan to probe Mars physically.

As the world is preparing to march to Mars, we have the advantage of our ancients’ thoughts to probe into and leap frog into a deeper understanding of Mars and the skies.

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India’s Mars Mission Mangalyaan

Mangalyaan – Interesting Facts

India is the first country in the world to have succeeded on its first attempt. It took only 3 years to build the orbiter and send it on its mission.

10 times less than NASA

NASA spent Rs. 4500 crores, ISRO did it in just Rs. 450 crores.

Faster than NASA

When NASA took 5 years to reach Mars, ISRO took only 18 months to reach the Red Planet.

Trip to Mars costs less than our auto richshaw

Total travelling distance to Mars is 68 crore kilometers and the total cost is 454 crore rupees. That makes it Rs. 6.67, cost per km which is less than the average auto rickshaw charge per km in India.

Contribution of every Indian: 4 Rs

In real terms, this value, when distributed over the Indian population of 1.2 billion people, every Indian has contributed Rs.4 per towards this Mangalyaan mission.

Cheaper than bridge

The Mangalyaan mission cost India $73 million (~Rs.450 crores) which is even cheaper than an eight lane bridge in Mumbai which cost $340 million. Convert to Rupees!

Lighter than SUV sports utility

The Mangalyaan orbiter weighs 1,350-kg, which is even less than the weight of an SUV Sports Utility Vehicle.

Hearty congratulations to our ISRO Scientists for this great achievement!!

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ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan with the model of Mangalyaan at Tirupati Temple

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ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan after placing Mangalyaan model at the feet of Lord Balaji at Tirumala, Tirupathi – Faith in Divine, Relying on Science

Poona Pact

The Poona Pact was an agreement between Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar that was signed on September 24th, 1932 at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune.

In the 1932, the British decided to allow Self-Rule for native Indians under a constitution.

In order to frame a constitution, the British invited top Indian leaders. Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar and Jawahar Lal Nehru attended the conferences organized by the British to draft the constitution.

At one of the conferences, there were differences between Gandhi and Ambedkar.

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The Second Conference where there were differences between Gandhi and Ambedkar

Ambedkar wanted separate electorate status for the ‘lower caste’ in the lines of those for Muslims and Christians.

Gandhiji was vehemently against such status as he felt this would disunite the Indians, particularly the Hindu community. He started an indefinite fast at Yerwada Central Jail from September 20th.

An agreement was reached between the two leaders on September 24th at Pune which has been termed the ‘Poona Pact’.

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Ganapati Bappa Morya

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When Lord Ganesha’s idols are immersed in various water bodies on the 10th day after Ganesh Chaturthi, many chants of Ganapati Bappa Morya fill the air.

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Significance of Bappa Morya

“What is the significance of the word Morya in “Ganapati Bappa Morya”?

Devotees chant Ganapati Bappa Morya all the time to sing the praises of Lord Ganesha. But how many of us know what the word Morya signify?

Morya, a devotee of Ganesha

The word Morya refers to a famous devotee of Lord Ganesha in the fourteenth century called Morya Gosavi, originally from village called Saligram in Karnataka, where his devotion was looked upon as madness!! He later travelled and settled in Chinchvad, near Pune and invoked the Lord with severe penance.

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Saligram, Karnataka

He attained siddhi (special powers and blessings) at Shree Chintamani and his son built the temple to commemorate the event.

It is said that Moryaji also performed penances at Siddhi Vinayak temple in Ahmedabad and in Moreshwar/Mayureshwar at Moregoan where he also built the temple. Overwhelmed by the devotion of Moryaji, he was blessed by Lord Ganesha to fullfill any of his wish. Morya asked to be remembered forever on this earth whenever anyone remembers his Lord, as his ‘Param Bhakt’. Thus this depicts the inseparable relationship between God and his devotee.”

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Bappa as mark of respect

The word Bappa meaning father, is added as a mark of respect.

Always remember this when you say ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’.

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Equinox

When Sun is over Equator

The equinox is when the Sun is exactly over the equator. The sun is constantly transiting northwards and southwards, alternating every six months between the 2 hemispheres of this earth. In this path, it transits the equator twice, once when going southwards and the other time when it goes up northwards.

When Days and Nights are Equal

As the earth keeps going around the sun, there are certain points in the orbit, when due to the angle of the earth’s tilt, the days and nights become equal. These days are called Equinox. This occurs due to the tilt of the earth’s axis by 23 ½ degree.

Equinox 1

Equal, Equator, Equinox, Ecuador

Equinox

Equinox is the term used to refer to the days being split into two halves.

Ecuador

Ecuador is a country in South America, located on the equator and due to which it has equal day and night through the year. Infact, the country derives its name, Ecuador, for being located on the equator.

Same Root

Interestingly, the Words Equal, Equator, Equinox and Ecuador have the same root Equa, meaning ‘two halves’.

Visvadrutta Rekha 

The Indian word for equator is Visvadrutta Rekha meaning ‘that which splits the world into 2 halves’.

Vernal and Autumnal Equinox

These 2 points of transit of the sun on the equator of the earth, are called equinoxes, the vernal or spring equinox and autumnal equinox. Vernal Equinox happens every year on March 21st during the Sun’s Northward and Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd during Southward journey.

Alignments bring Equilibrium

Alignments bring in a sense of settlement and equilibrium in the cosmos, in Nature, in people and in civilizations. That is why, in various civilizations of the world, anything new, especially the New Year starts from the position of an equilibrium, the vernal equinox.

New Year across civilizations

All civilizations of the world had this vernal equinox of the sun moving north from the southern hemisphere as the equilibrium point for the start of the New Year in their calendars. Be it the various Indian calendars, the traditional South East Asian calendars of Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka etc., the ancient Persian Calendar – Navroze and the ancient Julian Calendar of ancient Europe, they all started their New Year in early April or end March.

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New Year Celebrations across the world around Equinox

This was because all these civilizations were in sync with Nature and the movement of the sun and had aligned themselves with the cycles in Nature.

Swami Vedanta Desika #750thBirthday #JanmaNakshatra

Swami Vedanta Desika is a popular philosopher and a poet, who belonged to the Vishista Advaita tradition of Sri Ramanuja.

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Swami Vedanta Desika

Birth

He was born in 1268 CE, 750 years ago, on Vijayadasami day, in a locality called Thupul, which is part of the ancient temple city of Kanchipuram, in South India.

This day corresponds to the year Vibhava, in the month of Purattaasi on the Dasami Day of Sukla Paksha, a Wednesday, in the Shravanam constellation.

His original name was Venkatanatha, and belonged to the Vishvamitra Gotra.

Ghanta of Venkateshwara Perumal

He is reverentially looked up to as an Avatar of Ghanta, the bell of Sri Venkateshwara Perumal Temple of Tirumala, Tirupati.

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Bell of Lord Venkateshwara

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Tirumala Tirupati

Big Bang, Omkara and Bell

This theory of Big Bang and the universe emanating from the Cosmic Egg has been beautifully, graphically, scientifically explained in the Rig Veda and the associated ancient texts of India as the concept of Hiranyagarbha or the golden womb or egg, which when breaks open with a bang, spews out the Universe. The resonance of this Big Bang is OM, which is also known by the term Nada Brahaman. The Bell also represents the highly evolved state of metallurgy or Bharthiyo, in ancient India.

This concept of OM, which has been exemplified by the ancients, as the resonance of the bell and is known in Indian texts as Omkara, in discussed in detail in our book and film, Creation – Srishti Vignana.

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Also, check out our short film – Om, The Echo of  Big Bang: https://goo.gl/pnd6nf

Bell in Bharath Gyan logo

Incidentally this concept of Om has been shown as the overall bell shape in the Bharath Gyan logo.

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Kavitargigah Simhaya

Swami Vedanta Desika is popularly known as Kavitargigah Simhaya, meaning “Lion among poets”. His erudition was par excellence. He was a polyglot, meaning he was erudite in many languages, among them being Manipravalam, a literary language used in ancient and medieval India which was a mixture of Tamil and Samskrt. He was proficient in 8 languages, including Samskrt, Tamil, Manipravalam, Prakrt, and Pali. He authored more than 120 works, during the course of his life.

His works being,

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He brought out the very essence of the Veda in these works.

Paduka Sahasram composed in one night

The work Paduka Sahasram, consisting of 1008 verses on the sandals, paduka of Lord Vishnu, was composed by Swami Vedanta Desika in just one night.

Ahara Niyamanam

One of the works is called Ahara Niyamanam, that deals with food, Ahara, what should be eaten and how?

Swami Vedanta Desika and Chess

Chess is a game that India gave to the world. It was called Chaturanga in India because it comprised of 4 arms of the army – the infantry represented by the Pawn, the horse cavalry represented by the Knight, the elephant represented by the Rook and the chariot represented by the Bishop.

One among the skills of Swami Vedanta Desika, was the composition of Samskrt poems which were ciphers based on geometric patterns.

He composed two verses, with each verse consisting of 32 Aksharas.

Chess board as a base on which 64 aksharas (letters) were laid one each on each square, was one such type of his composition. The cipher was the movement of the chess pieces.

For example, in a cipher based on the movement of the horse, each time a horse moved on the chess board in its unique pattern, those aksharas resulted in the birth of a new poem, with a new meaning.

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One of the ciphers, encoded using Chess board and the moves of a horse but making a valid well meaning sentence

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The encoded verse, placed on the chess board

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The moves of the horse applied for decoding the verse

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The decoded verse containing the same letters but in a different sentence with a different meaning

This sort of poetry writing is known as Chithra Bhandhana. It requires a high degree of felicity in a poet to be able to arrange letters thus on a 64 square board.

That the poet Swami Vedantha Desika had used the chess board as a frame for his poem and the unique L shaped movement of the horse, also valid as per the rules of present day chess game.

Today, this is a mathematical problem known as #KnightsTour, solved by the German Mathematician Von Warsdorf in 1823 for Europe.

However, Swami Vedanta Desika had the solution to this problem 500 years prior to Von Warsdorf of Europe, itself. Using these moves of the horse, he gave us this poem..

This poem is available in his work, Paduka Sahasram.

He was a mathematician, a poet and a genius.

More on this in our book, Brand Bharat – Roots In India.

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Acharya

At the age of 27, Vedanta Desika rose to the stature of an Acharya, and he was conferred the title Sarva Tantra Swatantra, meaning the one with originality in any field of knowledge.

He stayed in Tiruvehindipuram near Cuddalore near Pondichery.

Respected by Other Philosophers

While he espoused the Vishishta Advaita philosophy of Sri Ramanuja, his preceptor, who was born 250 years before him, the scholarship of Swami Vedanta Desika was respected and accepted by other philosophers of other philosophies too.

Judge in a Debate

In a debate on the meaning of the concept of Tat Tvam Asi, between the two great philosophers of that time, Sri Akshobhaya Tirthar, who was a proponent of the Dwaita philosophy, and Sri Vidyaranya Tirthar of Sringeri, of Advaita philosophy, they chose Swami Vedanta Desika as their judge for the debate.

The verdict of Swami Desika post the debate, has been etched in a pillar at Moola Begalu Temple in Karnataka.

Close friend of Appaya Dikshitar

The other great scholar of the time of Advaita philosophy was Appaya Dikshitar, was close friend of Swami Vedanta Desika. This only goes to show how much he was venerated and accepted across viewpoints.

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Appaya Dikshitar

Civil Engineering Skills

Swami Vedanta Desika in the Swami Vardaraja Swamy Pradakshina area built a well in one night. With this he showcased his skill in civil engineering and hydraulics engineering. After 700 years also, this well is functional, and the water is taken only from this well for Sri Vardaraja Perumal for His abhisheka.

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Swamy Vardaraja Perumal

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A Well built by Vedanta Desika

Challenge

The challenge Swami Vedanta Desika faced was that he was given uneven bricks to construct the well. He managed to surmount this problem through his civil engineering skills. This shows that Swami Vedanta Desika was not only a poet, but also was well versed in “Kupa Shastra”, meaning the scientific manual for constructing wells.

Oddan

This field of constructing wells was the specialty of the respected jathi of people, known as Oddan. More on the term Oddan, Jathi of Oddan and their hydraulic engineering skills, and the meaning of the word Edugha in our book Breaking The Myths – About Society.

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750th Birthday

Vedanta Desika attained Mukti  in 1369, after spending 101 fruitful years on this planet. Even to this day , in the daily prayers in every vaishnava temple in south India, people sing the praise of the service of Swami Vedanta Desika, and beseech him to live for another 100 more years, which in Tamil is stated as Innum ora nutra anda irum.

This year, 2018, we will be celebrating, his 750th birthday, as Swami Vedanta Desika continues to live in the hearts of the people.