25. Machine Science Of India

Indian seers had extensively described utility of machines and its limits too. Machines were called as "Yantras" in Sanskrit. Yantra in Sanskrit means, "that which controls". The word Yantra is a very broad term, its scope in Indian context is just not limited to mere mechanical device. The term had wide usage in various fields of Indian sciences like Ayurveda (medicine), Rasasastra (Chemistry), Khogola (Astronomy), Jyotish (Science of Light popularly called as Astrology), Yuddhashastra (warfare), and in rituals of worship like Tantrashastra.

In Balakanda of the Ramayana, while describing Ayodhya, Sage Valmiki refers to the separate zone within the city, where machines and weapons were kept; something like secured Industrial Estates of today. In Ayodhya Kanda, Rama advises Bharata on techniques of Governance. In that context Rama asks bharata about the safety of machines that are placed in various forts.

In the Mahabharata, Arjuna hitting the "Matsya yantra" and marrying Draupadi is a well-known fact to most of the Indians. The description of Matsya yantra reveals to us that it was an automated marine device and often compared with today's marine compass.

GR Joyser in his book "Diamonds, mechanisms, weapons of war and Yoga sutras", describes various machines that were used by ancient Indians by using fuel as power. Some of the machines described therein resemble "Artificial Elephant Machine" similar to the one described in famous Sanskrit historical drama "Swapna Vasavadatta" written by Basa.

Almost one thousand years before Newton's Laws of Motion, India's Mechanical knowledge flourished. It remains a mystery, why Indian mechanical devices and the knowledge related to its withered away. Perhaps seers of wisdom understood the dangerous effects of industrialization on human life.


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