Electricity in the Atharva Veda
For centuries, the history of India and in particular Hindu culture has been presented
in the most distorted and falsified fashion. Most recently, Western historians and Indian historians influenced by the West,
have constantly portrayed it in an absolutely erroneous manner. The most significant example of this type is the aberrant
analysis has been applied to the greatest and most profound Hindu literature of all time, namely the Vedas.
For Hindus, the Vedas are of completely divine origin. We believe that the Vedas are
words of divine wisdom from the eternal source of Supreme Consciousness itself. Over many centuries, men of supremely exalted
wisdom called "Rishis" compiled these eternal spiritual and natural laws into several volumes, which are called "Vedas". However,
according to self styled analysts like Max Mueller and thousands of Western as well as pseudo secular Indian historians, the
Vedas are nothing but a bunch of ritualistic hymns connected with nothing more spiritual than charms and incantations. These
people would have us believe that the profound heights of spiritual philosophy that are expressed in the Vedas, are nothing
short of tribal superstitions upheld by a primitive people.
Of all the Vedas, none has been more maligned than the Atharva Veda. Many historians
have even gone on to say that it is nothing but "a manual of black and white magic". Such exceptionally ignorant statements
make it clear that sacred Hindu literature is being treated in the most demeaning and prejudiced way. Take for example such
statements as "Above all the principal aim of the Atharva Veda is to appease the demons, to bless friends and to curse" by
V.M. Apte, an Indian writer of modern times, or " There are then numerous verses in the Atharveda, which according to their
character and often also in their contents, differ just as little from the magic formulas of American Indian medicine-men
and Tarter Shamans.." by Winternitz. These type of views clearly demonstrate the prejudices and biased approach that Western-educated
historians bring to their analysis. Not only that, but it also shows that their views are conditioned by Western outlooks
and ideals, bundled with the misgivings that the Christian viewpoint displays in dealing with anything mystical and alien
to their own perception of "spiritual strictures of morality"
While reading the Vedas, one must keep certain facts in mind:
- The Vedas are NOT historical accounts. They are not biographies
of great kings and the battles they fought with demons, nor are they mythical legends about emperors and intrigues that existed
- The Vedas date MUCH further back than any Indus Valley Civilization.
Long before the Harappans existed, these spiritual, scientific and natural laws had been collected by numerous brilliant Rishis
and compiled into several unified compositions, all of which were given the general descriptive label of "Vedas".
- The Vedas ARE compilations of the eternal laws governing human
existence. Moreover each of the four Vedas was a treatise on particular subjects, specific only to itself. The word
"Veda" itself means "sacred or pure knowledge" , having come from the root "Vid" meaning "to know".
Of these, the Atharvaveda consisted of nine branches or sakhas, according to sage Patanjali.
Of these nine, we know of only two, namely Saunaka and Paippalada branches. Even in
this incomplete form, the Atharvaveda was the source of development for such immense philosophical systems as Tantra and practical
systems like Ayurveda. Often, Hindu scriptures have been criticised, as being too vague and full of profoundly difficult philosophical
flights and abstract concepts, that are impossible for the common reader to grasp. In fact, the Atharvaveda is a prime example
of how the majority of Hindu scriptures DO delve into practical and material matters that affect everyday human life. The
Vedas are a wealth of information, not only about philosophical and spiritual ideals, but also invaluable reference manuals
that clearly explain the laws governing scientific phenomenon, practical applications, and the methods for utilization of
awesome natural resources. Scientists, mathematicians, manufacturers, computer programmers and many others can greatly benefit
from this vast repertoire of information and knowledge.
Although most people today concentrate on significant aspects of the Atharvaveda such
as medicinal plants and healing practices, many other fascinating subjects such as marriage rites, the healing properties
of water, atomic and solar energy, electricity, and the states of the Supreme Consciousness are also discussed. (I will expound
more on these subjects in future articles)
One of the most exciting topics covered in the Atharvaveda is electricity and specifically,
the detailed description of valuable applications that harness and utilize this immense source of energy. Some of the applications
described, include important specifications for a control system that harnesses the intense power of electricity for use as
a deadly weapon, utilization of hydroelectric power for manufacturing and the fission properties of electricity. These are
only some of these amazing instances that clearly demonstrate how the most advanced scientific laws and phenomenons are described
in the Atharvaveda.
It will be fully apparent from the following verses that Electrical Energy and its
properties were fully understood by Vedic sages. It was definitely used in everyday technological applications as much (if
not more), as it is for us today. It is also clear that Vedic scientists knew far more about the properties of electricity
than us. It was not till very recently, that modern day scientists discovered and began research on the potential usage of
electrical energy in military science and related areas.
What these verses clearly demonstrate to us is the fact that Vedic Society was at an
extremely advanced state of technological advancement and fully utilized Electricity in innumerable productive applications
I have followed a standard format to make identification of the verses easy. All of
the verses have been taken from Kanda (Book) XX of the Atharvaveda translated by Devi Chand. The Sanskrit verses are
highlighted in maroon where as their translations are highlighted in Blue. Each verse can be referenced directly in the order
of Chapter (Anuvaka), Hymn (Sukta) and Verse number.
NON-MILITARY APPLICATIONS OF ELECTRICITY:
According to the descriptions found in Atharvaveda, electrical energy can be utilized
in many useful applications such as creation of powerful engines, illumination, agricultural machinery, hydroelectric power
plants, manufacturing plants, biomedical engineering, extraction of medicines, etc. and thus serve to greatly enhance the
daily life of people.
Chapter 1: Hymn VII
Verse 2: Nav Yo Navati Puro bibhed bahvotjasaa
Electricity , which breaks, by the energy of its arms
the 99 cities, destroys the cloud, which covers the rays of the sun, the source of all energy and power.
This initial description describes the inherent properties of of electrical energy.
Here the "arms of electricity" refers to positive and negative currents. The 99 cities refers to the 99 elements, as known
to modern day scientists. In Vedic terminology, these essential elements were known as "Bhogas".
Verse 3: Sa na Indrah Shivah sakhashwavad gomadvavama
That very electric power may be our peaceful friend, providing
us with the horse-power to drive our machines, light to light up our houses, and power to produce grains in the fields. Let
it bring on prosperity and well-being for us by flowing into numerous currents.
These verses clearly refer to the various useful applications of electricity. The mention
of horse powered driving machines is a direct reference to electronically powered vehicles like automobiles, aircraft, etc.
In our times, even prototypes of electric cars are a very recent development. In the present era, Electric car prototypes
were created due to the dawning realization that gasoline fuel is a perishable resource as well as polluting to the environment.
It looks like thousands of years ago, our Rishis were already aware of these dangers and used electric engines in their vehicles,
as one of their primary modes of transport as well as for motors, etc. for other types of machinery. This verse also clearly
mentions that electricity was used to light up buildings, just as we do today. In addition there is a reference to electrically
powered agricultural machines, which helped in the manufacture and processing of crops from the fields.
Verse 4: Indra Kratuvidang sutang somang harya purushtut
Let electricity, so highly spoken of by many learned people,
help extract the essence of medicines, thus produced by those, who are well-versed in manufacturing things. Let it keep safe
and shower, on us the rain, satisfying all.
In modern times, we have discovered that certain electronic devices such as centrifuges,
deep refrigeration, etc. are extremely helpful in deriving medicinal extracts. Apparently our ancient scientists were well
aware of these methods and perhaps even more advanced than us in their knowledge. The last sentence refers reverentially to
the role of electricity, which in the form of lightning is instrumental in creating life giving rain for the entire planet.
The picture that emerges from these verses is that of an extremely advanced culture, that utilized superlative technology
and yet maintained an enormous respect and reverence for the ecosystem and the natural environment. The proponents of Vedic
culture saw spirituality everywhere, and held sacred the power of all divine forces, from water, to electricity. Not only
this, but they had analysed the properties and laws of all these natural energies and thus comprehended perfectly the best
way to utilize them.
Chapter 3 :Hymn XXXI
Verse 1: Taa Vajrinam Mandinam Stomyam mad indram rathe
vahato haryataa haree
Purunyasmay savanaani haryata indraaya somaa harayo dadhanwire
Those two speedily moving forces of attraction and repulsion
propel the electric current, powerful like the thunderbolt, pleasant and praiseworthy, in this pleasant plane or car. Manifold
are the generating powers for the refulgent electricity borne by speedy moving Somas – various kinds of liquid fuels.
Verse 2: Arang Kaamaay Haryo dadhanwire sthiraay hinvanharayo
Arvadbhiyor Haribhijorshameeyate so asya kaamam harivantamaanashe
The above mentioned speedy forces of two kinds set in
motion strong currents, capable of maintaining steady progress in the attainment of one’s objective in plenty. Whatever
complex is attained by these fast moving horsepowers, is enough to achieve the beautiful objective of his, the manufacturer.
Here the principles of electromagnetic force discussed are being used to generate motion.
In addition, the reference to a liquid fuel propellant, informs us that a combination of high-speed and intense electrical
power was used to produce a number of favourable results like exceptionally fast vehicular modes of transportation, as well
as efficient manufacturing processes. For example, extremely fast centrifugal force is used to separate genetic materials
in Biomedical labs today. The combination of speed and power is certainly desirable to increase the efficiency of manufacturing
Chapter 2: Hymn XV
Verse 2: Adha te vishwamanu haasadishtaya aapo nimneva
Yatparvate na samasheeta haryata indrasya vajrah shnathita hiranyayah
Just as all productive works of the manufacturer depend
upon waters flowing down with speed, so do all the desired objects of him depend upon you (Electricity), as its powerful striking
force cannot be obstructed by any cloud, or mountain in the way. It smashes all impediments, with its radiant energy.
This verse acknowledges the immense power of electricity and proves the Vedic community’s
understanding of its intensity. Electricity does have the power of striking through any element. The portion about productive
works depending on waters flowing with speed is an obvious reference to harnessing hydroelectric power. It is obvious from
this verse that Vedic society was well aware of methods that harnessed the power of electricity through systems like hydroelectric
power plants. Once harnessed, they incorporated the force to implement manufacturing concerns and power machinery.
Verse 3: Asmay Bheemaaya namasaa samadhwara
usho na shubhra aa bharaa paneeyase
Yasya dhaam shravase naamendriyam jyotirkaari harito naayase
O well-versed engineer make use of this terrible electric
power fit to be utilized for useful purposes by controlling it, for non-violent, brilliant light like the dawn. It has the
potentiality to help hearing, control energy and spread light in all quarters.
This confirms the fact that electricity was a topic that was researched and explored
in great detail. Skilled electrical engineers used to devise specific utilities and controls for electric power. Illumination
was certainly one of its widely used applications. From the last line, we can also glean the information that electronic devices
were used as hearing aids and sound magnifiers. Sophisticated systems for controlling electricity and measuring electricity
were in place, and electronic panels that aided in controlling other forms of energy were also used.
MILITARY USAGE OF ELECTRICITY:
Now let's turn to the truly amazing descriptions of electricity being utilized as a
weapon in military combat. Up until very recently, modern day scientists were not even aware of this potentially devastating
aspect of electricity being utilized as a weapon. It is only in the past decade or so, that scientific research has begun
concentrating on the potential use of Electricity as a deadly weapon. Electrical bombs can be utilised to destroy all sorts
of vital equipment and inflict massive damage. Topics like the EMP effect and the consequent possibilities of using electrical
weapons, were rudimentary information to Vedic people, wheras we have barely begun our explorations on this topic.
The ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP) effect was first observed during the early testing
of high altitude airburst nuclear weapons. The effect is characterised by the production of a very short (hundreds of nanoseconds)
but intense electromagnetic pulse, which propagates away from its source with ever diminishing intensity, governed by the
theory of electromagnetism. The ElectroMagnetic Pulse is in effect an electromagnetic shock wave.
This pulse of energy produces a powerful electromagnetic field, particularly within
the vicinity of the weapon burst. The field can be sufficiently strong to produce short lived transient voltages of thousands
of Volts (ie kiloVolts) on exposed electrical conductors, such as wires, or conductive tracks on printed circuit boards, where
It is this aspect of the EMP effect which is of tremendous military significance, as
it can result in irreversible damage to a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment, particularly computers and radio
or radar receivers. Subject to the electromagnetic hardness of the electronics, a measure of the equipment's resilience to
this effect, and the intensity of the field produced by the weapon, the equipment can be irreversibly damaged or in effect
destroyed. The damage inflicted would be the same as that of striking the equipment with huge bolts of lightning.
Computers used in data processing systems, communications systems, displays, industrial
control applications, including road and rail signalling, and those embedded in military equipment, such as signal processors,
electronic flight controls and digital engine control systems, are especially vulnerable to the EMP effect.
What amazes one is the fact that Vedic Rishis clearly KNEW about the EMP effect
and have composed vivid descriptions of the usage of electric weapons as the verses below will demonstrate:
Chapter 2: Hymn XV
Verse 6: Twam tamindra parvatam mahaamurum vajrena vajrinparvshashchakartitha
nivritaah satarvaa apah satraa vishwam dadhishe kevalam sahah
Just as the thundering electricity reduces the vast cloud
to nothing by its thunderbolt, so do you, O King, equipped with piercing weapons like the thunderbolt, smash into pieces the
vast armies of the enemy, consisting of various units, by your striking power like the thunderbolt. Just as the waters of
the cloud released by the electricity, fall down and flow over the earth, similarly the well-equipped armies of the enemy;
being subdued by the might of the king are duly regulated by him. Truly do you alone, O King, hold all the power to subdue
The inference is quite obviously to weapons utilizing electricity. "Piercing weapons
like the thunderbolt" is a clear pointer to surges of exceedingly high voltage. The lethal electric weapons are used to counter
various units of the army. This is another clue, for as discussed above, the EMP effect can be used to advantage for a number
of targets ranging from computers, to communication systems. Apparently electricity was employed as one of the primary weapons
in military combat during the Vedic era.
Chapter 4: Hymn XXXVIII
Verse 5: Indra Idhyorah sacha sangmishal aa vachoyuja
Electricity is well mixed up with Prana and Apana, the
2 horsepowers, yoked to power of speech. Electric power has the striking power of a deadly weapon and is full of brilliance.
Here we find it stated starkly that electricity has the striking power of a deadly
weapon. There can be no greater proof of the deployment of electrical weaponry during the Vedic era. An interesting suggestion
is also made in the first line of this verse, that electrical energy is also present in the form of Prana and Apana, within
the human body. "Prana" means "breath " according to Tantra Yoga, wheras "Apana" is the Prana that exists in the area below
the navel. According to Tantric thought Prana is charged with negative ions while Apana is charged with positive ions. When
Prana is forced to enter through the central canal (Sushuma or Brahma Nadi) in the spinal column, the result is fusion of
the negative and positive ions. This fusion generates an immense amount of energy, which awakens the dormant energy called
Kundalini that lies at the base of the spine. Once Kundalini or the vital life force is awakened, it destroys the ignorance
of the mind and results in enlightenment.
We know now of course, that the cerebrospinal system is a great generator of electrical
energy and has a fantastic network of nerves that serve as connectors. The cerebrum as it is called keeps on providing electrical
energy. Through fine nerves, this energy is constantly supplied to the organism, providing life force. Thus we can see how
these and other type of systems described in the Atharvaveda have a purely scientific basis.
Chapter 3: Hymn XXX
Verse 1: Pra te mahe vidathe shansisham hari pra te
vanve vanusho haryatam madam
Dhritam na yo haribhishcharu sechat aa tva vishantu harivparsang girah
O electricity, I fully praise thy two forces of protection
and destruction in this great universe, which is a great sacrificial place or battlefield of life. I highly cherish your beautiful
exhilaration, destroying the evil forces of the enemy. You shower various forms of fortunes through your blessing powers of
speedy action, like waters from the clouds. Let all praises find their abode in you of charming splendor.
Here again, we find the mention of the dual nature of electrical energy. It can be
destructive as in the EMP effect, and it can be protective as in the cerebrospinal system.
Verse 3: So asya vajro harito ya aayso harinirkaamo
Dhumni sushipro harimanyusayaka indre ni roopa harita mimikshire
Here is the blue-green colored thunderbolt of iron of
the king. There is also the beautiful horse of iron of high speed. Here is also the horsepower of the rays of electricity.
There is also the shining arrow, capable of destroying the pride of the enemy and having a very high speed. In short many
kinds of weapons have been made through electric power for the king.
These verses appear to be describing different sorts of electrical weapons. The "beautiful
horse of iron of high speed" apparently refers to some type of metallic car/aircraft which can reach extremely high speeds.
The horsepower for the engine for a craft or automobile of this sort was provided by electricity. The "shining arrow" can
mean an exceptionally powerful ballistic missile loaded with an electric warhead. The missile was superfast and probably covered
vast distances, it was apparently one of the main weapons that could be used to target the central command and control center
of the enemy. Here we find a reference telling us that many advanced weapons utilizing electricity had been deployed in this
Verse 4: Divi na keturadhi dhaayi haryato vivayachadvajro
harito na ranghaya
Tudadahi harishipro ya aayasah sahastrashokaa abhavadharibharah
Like a radiant spot, it is well placed in the heavens,
then with a high speed, the terribly destructive missile, made of iron, possessing speed of electric power, crushing the serpent
natured enemy, becomes lit up with thousands of lights and loaded with destructive ray of various kinds.
This makes the previous verse even more apparent. The missile being described seems
to generate immense power and would be exceptionally destructive. It is possible that the electric weapons used by Vedic society
may have been equivalent in destructive power to nuclear weapons, or perhaps even more lethal. They may also have been used
for preliminary strikes before the actual use of nuclear weapons. A conventional electronic combat campaign, or intensive
electronic combat operations, would initially concentrate on saturating the opponent's electronic defences, denying information
and inflicting maximum attrition upon electronic assets. The massed application of electromagnetic bombs in the opening phase
of an electronic battle would allow much faster attainment of command as it would destroy electronic assets at a much faster
rate than possible with conventional means. After this phase, it would be child's play to completely destroy the enemy.
Chapter 3: Hymn:XXI
Verse 7: Yudha yudhmup ghedeshi dhrishnuya pura puram
Namya yadindra sakhya paraavati nibrahyo namuchi naam maayinam
O mighty King, you can easily get at the striking power
of the enemy by your overwhelming striking force. Being well-entrenched in your sheltered place of defense, you can thoroughly
break the defenses of the enemy to smithereens. Completely crush the deceitful enemy, unfit to be left alive, through your
faithful ally, although stationed at a distance.
This particular reference is apparently to a remotely controlled electronic weapon
system. This verse directly points to unleashing a tremendously high voltage surge that can blast into the defensive electrical
equipment belonging to the enemy. The last sentence describes remote initiation of the bombing sequence, while the controller
is stationed at a safe distance.
Verse 8: Tvam karnyajmut parnayam vadhistejisthayaatithigvasya
Tvam shata vaddagridasyaabhintpuronaanudah parishuta rijishvana
O mighty electricity, you kill the violent enemy, equipped
with speedy means of communication like cars or airships, a hindrance in the way of people who are worthy of respect, cows
or land by your consuming and splendorous power. You shatter the 100 forts of the adversary who obstructs your communications
or breaks your regulations and does not pay tribute to you established by straightforward negotiations.
In the case of electricity, 100 forts refers to 100 elements. It breaks all these through
the power of fission, overcoming all resistances and obstructions in the way. Any trained electrical engineer must have complete
knowledge of the complex laws and limitations governing electrical energy. There is an evident respect for electricity demonstrated
here, for it is an awesome power indeed. Transport infrastructure can also be destroyed with the use of electromagnetic bombs.
Railway and road signalling systems, where automated, are most vulnerable to electromagnetic attack on their control centres.
Significantly, most modern automobiles and trucks use electronic ignition systems which are known to be vulnerable to electromagnetic
Modern land warfare doctrine emphasises mobility, and manoeuvre warfare methods are
typical for contemporary land warfare. Coordination and control are essential to the successful conduct of manoeuvre operations,
and this provides another opportunity to apply electromagnetic weapons. Communications and command sites are key elements
in the structure of such a land army, and these have concentrated communications and computer equipment. Therefore if the
enemy is attacked with electromagnetic weapons, the entire command and control of land operations would be completely disrupted.
Employing tactics like launching an initial attack with electromagnetic weapons would create a maximum of confusion, and if
followed by an all out attack with conventional weapons would completely obliterate the enemy.
Verse 9: Tvametam janrajyo dwidarshaabandhuna sushrvasopajagmushah
sahastra navati nava shruto ni chakrena rathya dushpadavrinak
O electricity, you can by your circular motion like the
wheel of a chariot, which is too powerful to be checked, well keep under control all these 20 basic elements, 6099 organic
and inorganic bodies, by a single transmitter of high quality, with no other force to help it.
In technological terms, coupling is the means to create an electric connection of two
electric circuits by having a part common to both. One of the mechanisms, which can be exploited to improve coupling is the
polarization of an electric weapon's emission. Polarization simply means orienting the emission in a particular direction.
If we assume that the orientations of possible coupling apertures and resonances in the target set are random in relation
to the weapon's antenna orientation, a linearly polarized emission would only exploit half of the opportunities available.
A circularly polarized emission would exploit all coupling opportunities. A single transmitter of superior quality can control
the entire emission.
Verse 10: Tvamaavitha sushravasam tavotibhistava traambhirindra
Tvamasmay kutsamatithigvamaayum mahe raagye yoone arndhanaayah
O electricity, you keep in safety this good listening
set, by your means of safety and protect the commander, with speedy mobile forces by your strong means of defense. You control
the sharp weapons, equipped with the striking power of limitless time and speed for this great, youthful king.
Other electronic devices and electrical equipment would also be destroyed by the EMP
effect. Telecommunications equipment can be highly vulnerable, due to the presence of lengthy copper cables between devices.
Receivers of all varieties are particularly sensitive to EMP, as highly sensitive miniature high frequency transistors and
diodes in such equipment are easily destroyed by exposure to high voltage electrical transients. Therefore radar and electronic
warfare equipment, satellite, microwave, UHF, VHF, HF and low band communications equipment and television equipment would
all be destroyed by the EMP effect. This verse apparently refers to a defense mechanism created with the aid of electricity,
which protects both the commander as well his entire system of wireless communications. It may be referring to some sort of
shield which makes things unsusceptible to the emission. The advanced and deadly missiles of unlimited speed are controlled
by electronic control panels.
Chapter 4: Hymn XXXVII
Verse 4: Tvam nibhinirmano devavitao bhooreeni vritraa
Tvam ni dasyum chumuri dhuni chasvaapyo dabhitaye suhantu
O electrical currents of high voltage, safely carried
by electric wires, you kill many enemies in the war, waged by learned persons or through the help of natural forces. To keep
all the evil forces under control, you, being well-equipped with good means of destruction completely lay down to lasting
sleep (death) the evil forces that rob and harass the general public.
This verse is a simple testament to the intense power and utterly destructive force
of electrical weapons
There are many more such references to electrical energy in the Atharvaveda, however
in the interests of keeping this article to a reasonable length, I have not reproduced every one of them. The discovery of
such amazing truths in the Vedas, clearly undermines the very foundation of our smug assertions that Civilization and scientific
advancement proceed forward in a linear fashion. It is high time for us to thoroughly analyse and learn from the invaluable
resources that our forefathers have left us in the form of the divine Vedas and other profound Hindu literature.
The Atharva Veda (Sanskrit Text with English Translation) translated by
Devi Chand and published by Mushiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd has been used to compose this article.