Monday, February 22, 2010

Speed of Light

Hi there,

Posting after ages about a quantity that is a source of energy to all living beings on earth : LIGHT.


The most well-known source of light is the Sun, or Surya Dev in Hinduism. Suryadev has been worshiped in India since time immemorial following the traditional way of respecting and worshipping important forms of nature. Suryadev is a part of many festivals, including Pongal or Makar Sankranti, Chattha Puja, etc. The Surya Namaskara is a complete exercise procedure that is part of the daily-morning routine of many Indian homes. Will surely put up a post on this beautiful Yogic exercise soon...

It is a well-known fact that light travels at a phenomenal speed of 3 x 10^8 metres/sec. This value is etched into the memory of students in their early years in school, and is useful is solving umpteen number of problems where the constant 'c' is used to denote the Speed of light.

This value of the Speed of Light was established by the experiment conducted by Michelson and Morley, celebrated American Physicists in the 19th Century.

But did you know that a very close value to the calculated one was determined in the 14th Century AD in India? The below sloka is part of the Rig Veda:


Saint Sayanacharya (c.1300's), after reading the Rig Veda, gave the following comment:


The above translates into:

"It is to be noted that the Light due to the Sun travels 2202 Yojanas in half a Nimesha"


Now for the calculation. Converting the units used in ancient India to those used presently :

1 Yojana = 9 miles

2202 Yojanas = 19818 miles

1 nimesha = 0.21333 seconds

1/2 nimesha = 0.10665 seconds


Speed = distance / time = 19818 / 0.10665 = 185822 miles per second = 299044 kms per second.


The value calculated by Michelson and Morley was approximated to 186000 miles per second, which is used these days along with the more common 3 x 10^8 metres per second.

It must also be noted that Sayanacharya was only commenting on the Rig Vedic text. It is possible that even earlier interpretations and findings existed, but have not stood the tests of time.

Thus, our Ancient Vedic Indians had established the Speed of Light much before scientists in other parts of the world ! This again proves the Scientific knowledge of Ancient India. Very Enlightening, isn't it?


Till next time,

Nikhil Mundra

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6 comments:

Shreya said...

really after a long time..a welcome post good post ... keep up the good work

Nikhil Mundra said...

Thanks Shreya. Will try to be more regular in the future...

Nikhil Mundra
www.gandhistamps.com

jitsuro said...

Yes Guru good one.This is Gr8 research.I feel very proud to be an Indian.
How did you find the value of Nimisha, you must have had to find the seconds equivalent by using back calculations. Because we really don't know how long a Nimisha was.
Time is measured even today by comparison with movement or events. Do you have any such event to compare with? SDas

jitsuro said...

Hi Nikhil,

Have you found something about Nimesha yet.I am also looking and if something can be found, the Sanskrit sloka will have a very very sound base. That is what Hinduism needs today. It definitely is a scientific religion, but WE hindus very often do not have a scientific approach. I wish your endeavours well.

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Anonymous said...

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