- Religion and Philosophy
From the technology in the Vedas to the Veda of Technology
I define “Technoveda” as a technological meta-knowledge philosophy beyond science and religion. The underlying epistemological idea is that mental knowledge a priori can only be speculative and in order to really know that our knowledge is valid, we must be able to reduce it to practice in the form of a technological application.
You may wonder why I introduce the word “Veda” which refers to the Vedic scriptures. What do the ancient Indian Vedas have to do with epistemology?
The reasons are manifold: Previously I have proposed an architecture for the internet as aware network (the Awwwarenet). I based this on stratifications derived from the Indian philosophy of Vedanta in order to design an artificial, functional mimic of consciousness, which I called quasi-consciousness. Writing this book, by investigating nature’s fundamental primacy of consciousness I arrived at the hypothesis of a panpsychic theory of everything.
But my ideas continued to evolve on this topic: I deepened my T.O.E by adding a pancomputational dimension. As a corollary I became interested in the topic of epistemology: What can we really know for sure and how can we be so sure that what we know is “true”. Since my philosophy was extending into the very core of epistemology and my conclusion was that true knowledge can only be confirmed by a technological application thereof, it was apt to use a terminology that combined both technology and knowledge. But I already had proposed a terminology that was fit for that concept, namely “Technoveda”.
The Sanskrit word “Veda” means “knowledge” as come from the root “Vid” to know. As Sanskrit is an Indo-European language, it will be no surprise that we find back this root in other Indo-European languages: In the Germanic languages Norwegian and Swedish to know is “vet”, in Dutch it is “weten”. In Slavic languages such as Slovakian it is “vediet”, in Slovenian “vedeti” and in Belarusian “viedac”.
It is important to realise that with the word Veda the Indians did not only mean the different scriptures called the Vedas, but rather the totality of all knowledge, including transcendent knowledge, which is the root of consciousness: Consciousness can only become aware of itself by knowing. At that moment when the knower realises that the only thing he can know is the content and the process of his own consciousness, knower, known and knowing merge into a oneness. In other words in a transcendent sense Veda or knower-knowing-known is a kind of synonym for consciousness.
Veda as synonym for consciousness fits my quest into the ultimate nature of being perfectly.
But there is more to the story; Veda is also understood as the cosmic knowledge, which is more fundamental than the physical world. In fact the Indian philosophy of the written Vedas (or Vedanta as the larger body of Vedic scriptures encompassing more than the traditional four Vedas only) is a form of Idealism: what we call reality is fundamentally mental or at least immaterial. It is not consciousness that emerges from matter as in materialism, but matter that is born out of consciousness in an attempt to know itself.
I will come back to this topic further on in this essay. At this point however, I would like to add a short overview of technologies mentioned in the Vedantic body of scriptures. It is not that I am particularly interested in the ancient technology in the Vedas; it is more to appease those readers who were thinking that they would find a complete comprehensive exposition of the technology in the Vedas and who have been disappointed by the finding out that my previous articles were none of that kind. I can declare that “everything is incorporated herein by reference”, with which statement I try to hedge myself against claims that I would not have delivered what I promised. But there is more to the story of “everything is incorporated herein by reference”: Not only is by reference the complete knowledge of mankind, cosmic knowledge and transcendental knowledge rendered physical and hence incorporated, it is the very activity of “self-referencing”, which is the root of consciousness (citta) and knowledge or Veda and which results in the physicality and hence embodiment or incorporation.
But I will give you more than an implicit disclosure in the sense of “incorporated by reference” alone: I will actually briefly summarise some of the technology found in Vedic scriptures and, more importantly, indicate which Vedic technological notions are in line with my panpsychic pancomputational paradigm.
The internet is full of websites with all kinds of claims of advanced Vedic technology of the ancient Indians, but we should not take those claims to literally. Some claims correspond with present day findings, some claims are verifiably wrong.
The most useful heritage from Vedic tradition is the Vedic mathematics: The base10 (decimal) calculation system and the concept of zero (shunya). It is interesting to know that the Indians were aware of accurate distances from the earth to the moon and to the sun: The distance from the Earth to the Moon has been indicated in Vedic scriptures as 108 times the diameter of the Moon and the distance from the Earth to the Sun 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The diameter of the sun is indicated as 108 times the diameter of Earth. Although as far as we can measure with current technology there is a bit of deviation from the exact figure of 108, the deviation is between 0.5-1.8% for these figures, which means the ancients made quite a good estimate.
Vedic scriptures also reveal the value of Pi with six decimals in 499 AD.
Various sources claim that the Rg Veda would have disclosed the speed of light, but in the passage of the Rg Veda 1.50 no quantities are mentioned. It is the interpretation of this passage by a 14th century Indian minister at the court of king Bukka in south India, who wrote: “It is remembered here that Sun (i.e. light) traverses 2,202 yojanas in half a nimisha”, which gives us the speed of light. Recalculated in miles per second this gives: 189547 miles per second, which deviates 1,7% from our present day measured value of 186281 miles per second. That is a pretty accurate estimation for a 14th century scholar, especially if we realise that the first estimate in Europe was not made until 1676 by the Dane Olaus Roemer (186000 miles per second).
Vedic scriptures came up with a qualitative concept of gravity before Newton and also disclosed an atomic theory before Democritus.
In Delhi there is an iron pillar which has not rusted for over 1600 years due to the exquisite technology of a layer of crystalline iron hydrogen phosphate which has formed on the iron of high phosphorus content.
In the more mythological scriptures such as the Shrimad Bhagavatam one can find aircraft (Vimanas; certain contemporary writers even claim these to be spaceships) and advanced weapons (Brahmastra, Narayan jvara, Shiva jvara), which are claimed to be nuclear weapons in certain interpretations. But the Shrimad Bhagavatam is a source not to be taken to literally: It claims that embryos defecate in the amnion and that the size of our solar system (the Brahmanda) is 4 billion miles. The average radius between the sun and Neptune today is currently estimated at approximately 2,8 billion miles (so the diameter is 5,6 billion miles), the Kuiper belt is at approximately 15 billion miles (100 astronomical units) from the Sun, and the van Oort cloud at approximately 1500 billion miles from the Sun. Furthermore the concept of the Brahmanda (the cosmic egg) was quite naive; the system was inside some kind of shell and geocentric, sometimes even interpreted with a flat Earth. It can also be argued that the Shrimad Bhagavatam, which is a “Purana” is normally not counted among the Vedic scriptures. Other Vedic texts however do disclose a heliocentric solar system.
Some concepts of the Vedas are of particular relevance with regard to certain notions that have been suggested in contemporary physics:
The Vedic notion that reality is a simulation (Maya) very well fits the hypothesis that we may be living in a computer simulation (digital physics). This neatly fits my pancomputationalism hypothesis.
The notion that there is a multiverse rather than a single universe: According to Vedic Cosmology countless universes are considered to be clustered together like foam (quantum foam?) on the surface of the Causal Ocean. This is in line with Everett’s “Many Worlds Theory”.
Bohr and Schrödinger claimed that quantum physics was in line with what they had read in Vedic texts. Schrödinger described how the unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. Schrödinger’s explained in an essay on determinism and free will that consciousness is a unity and claimed that this insight was not new but known from the Upanishads.
Quantum mechanics entanglement experiments show the profound interconnectedness of everything in line with the Vedantic lore. The influence of consciousness on wave collapse and in the double-slit experiments show that consciousness and matter at least share a common medium, if not that matter is intrinsically a manifestation of consciousness: Each particle being endowed with a minute consciousness or intelligence, in line with both my panpsychic hypothesis as well as the notions from Advaita (non-dualistic) Vedanta.
Another scientist who provided a great deal of technology based on his insights deriving from the Vedic concept of Akasha (ether) was Nikola Tesla, who was a friend and tutee of the Indian Vedantic monk Vivekananda.
The medicinal technology of Ayurveda is still teaching present day science pharmaceutical compositions the active compounds of which turn out to be great medicaments.
Furthermore there is the technology of yoga. This may sound surprising to you, as yoga is prima facie not carried out with a material contraption it would seem. Yet there is a material instrument being used in yoga: It is your very body! In line therewith Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a modern contemporary mystic calls the body “the greatest gadget”. Some call the chakras (Sanskrit word for “wheel”:) transformators: These energy centres in the body, which are said to rotate as wheels, function as transformators to bring energy levels up or down during the practice of yoga.
The eightfold yoga as described by Patanjali is a clear recipe or an algorithm if you wish, the implementation of which if carried out properly inexorably leads to the physical and transcendental results described in the yoga sutras of this author.
In conjunction with yoga and meditation are the instruments of Yantra (the visual instrument) and Mantra (the sonic instrument), both tools of the common denominator of Tantra which is in the same way as yoga also a technological framework to investigate the subjective world.
The sonic technique of mantra encompasses the recitation of sacred sounds, such as the primordial sound AUM (most often known by western people as Om). It is said in the Vedas that the whole universe was born from the sound (or word) AUM.
In their teachings of the relation between form (rupa) and sound (mantra) the Indians understood as no other that sonic vibrations, sonic waves have a three dimensional form and that matter organises itself to obey the laws of resonance imposed by the soundwave. This notion is also known as rtambhara pragya, which finds also its application in yoga and tantra: if you align yourself to the cosmic principles by uttering these sacred mantras this not has a profound effect on your body and mind; your start to become a recipient of cosmic knowledge.
The ultimate insight of Vedanta that everything is in fact a giant vibration, from the smallest subatomic particle to the biggest star, including pure delocalised energy, perfectly fits the findings of quantum mechanics.
It is now becoming clear that the very way the solar system is organised in terms of the orbitals and sizes of the planets de facto constitutes a music of the spheres (as Pythagoras suggested) and I would not be surprised if sound has actually been used by the creators/programmers of our solar system.
This notion that the whole of physical existence develops from the uttering of a sound, a word can in a certain way also be found in other religions: In Christianity it is said that in the beginning there was the Word. Likewise in Islam the entire Qu’ran is said to be enfolded in the dot of the Bab.
This notion that the material world comes from words, from information, joins the Vedic lore of idealism and also the panpsychic pancomputationalism paradigm: Like Wheeler’s “It from Bit” the material world is a reflection from a deeper level of pure information. Similarly Chris Langan describes reality as the product of a Self-configuring, Self-processing Language (SCSPL), which embodies a dual aspect monism called “infocognition” guided by the “Telic principle” (a principle seeking a purpose).
In line with Langan’s Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU: a reality theory) reality is a self-contained form of language. If there were something outside of reality that were real enough to affect or influence reality it would be inside reality.
Langan's analytical tool to come to his theory, is the so-called syndiffeonesis: Reality is a syndiffeonic (“difference-in-sameness”) relation just as any other relation: Stating that two things are different in fact means that they are reductively the same: their difference can be described in quantities of the same qualities they have in common, from which a relation map can be made.
Thus all phenomena have relations and these relations can be expressed in how they differ from each other. These differences can be written in a common language to both, which quantifies the differences of the linguistically common qualities. If you do this recursively, meaning you determine the differences between differences of relations and so on eventually you arrive at the notion of a sameness of all things which together form reality.
This is perfectly in line with Vedanta. And what is this sameness we find at the foundation of everything, which not be reduced any further? It is the feedback infocognitive process called consciousness in that state where knower, known and knowing become one. The knower realises that everything he experiences (the known) is in fact his own infocognitive processing. Since the so-called “outer material world” influences the content of this infocognitive processing (we can sense the “outer world”) at their most foundational level matter and consciousness must be the same. It has already been shown scientifically that matter and energy are equivalent. It has also turned out that information is a configuration of energies, which depending on its complexity and relations, has a certain energetic content. All material manifestations at their basic levels can sense the presence of other material manifestations in proximity at the same level: Electrons react to the proximity of other electrons, wave packages interact and create interference patterns etc.
Not surprisingly in latent semantic analysis meaning is generated by Bayesian proximity co-occurrence!
Meaning can only ontologically be generated if two concepts are regularly found within a certain distance from each other in a text. This is called a didensity. This adds to the strong presumption that the material world indeed behaves like a body of information, a language and that the underlying reality indeed is infocognitive processing.
As every material manifestation is nothing more than a configuration of energy forms with a certain informative content, with which they can inform and sense other energy forms, it is a small step to conclude that everything that exists is merely information processing, which is sensed and observed by feedback to itself. It is this process of self-referral by feedback which we call consciousness. In other words, every fundamental particle is a kind of quantum of consciousness groping to get to know itself.
This is beautifully illustrated by the Gnostic symbol of the Ouroboros: A snake chasing and biting its own tail, thereby forming a circle. As the snake is under the illusion that he is chasing something outside of itself, it is trying to become aware of himself and its surroundings. Once it bites itself, it becomes aware that there was no other, that there was only the process of getting to know itself. The morphological “zero” of the tail biting snake and the morphological “one” of the snake, once it has released its tail, directly showing us the digital nature of reality as a panpsychic pancomputational information processing. All is knowledge (knower, knowing and known) and the technology to get to that knowledge was the purpose of the ancient Vedas as well as of my contemporary philosophy of Technoveda. Thus we have completed our journey from the technology in the Vedas to the Veda of Technology: Technoveda.
Knower-knowing and known have become one, which realisation is the ultimate wisdom and goal of the Vedantic lore: Tat Tvam Asi: You are That. You are Technoveda, the infocognitive conjunction of knower and known, you are consciousness, you are all, all is one and one is all, which is no-thing at all (shunya, zero) and yet not.