Sushruta and PaniniFor example, 3,000 years ago, Sushruta, who is regarded as the greatest surgeon of ancient times, detailed over 300 surgical procedures in the Sushruta Samhita, which included ophthalmology, neurosurgery, cosmetic surgery, caesarean sections, techniques for intra-operative anesthesia and post-operative pain relief, antiseptic treatment of instruments and operation theatres – which displays an understanding of bacterial infections – and much more. Another example is Panini. His rules of Sanskrit grammar are the first known work on linguistics. It includes concepts of Boolean logic and other procedures used to describe modern programming languages. Scientists working on artificial intelligence and natural language processing are studying his work to move research in their fields forward.
PatanjaliOver the generations, the science of yoga took on a life of its own and branched off into hundreds of systems. When Patanjali came, he saw that it had become too complex and diversified for anyone to grasp in a meaningful way. So, he codified all aspects of yoga into a certain format known as the Yoga Sutras. This is a collection of 196 sutras on yoga. And so, Patanjali is known as the father of modern yoga. “Sutra” literally means “a thread.” Or, in modern language, we can say it is like a formula. Anyone who knows the English alphabet, even a kindergarten child, can say “E=mc².” But, there is an enormous amount of science behind that little formula which most people cannot understand. The sutras are like this. Out of ignorance, people have interpreted these sutras in very superficial ways and have tried to implement them in their lives accordingly. The thread is vital for a necklace or a garland, but it is not a goal by itself. No one ever wears a garland for the sake of the thread. It was for each spiritual master to put his own kind of flowers, beads, pearls, diamonds, or whatever else in the garland.
A Galaxy of Realized BeingsThese are just a few names that are well-known today. But this culture has produced a galaxy of realized beings. It is not that one guy just popped up somewhere and said or wrote something. There was a phenomenal level of intelligence and competence in this land because powerful consecrated spaces and instruments were created, which allowed individuals to make contact with dimensions that are not usually available to a human being. This knowledge and understanding is not something they came to through logical thought. They saw existence the way it is. By seeing the nature of creation, human intelligence matured in ways that nobody had ever imagined possible. Editor’s Note: Find more of Sadhguru’s insights in the book “Of Mystics and Mistakes.” Download the preview chapter or purchase the ebook at Isha Downloads. This article was originally published in The Week.
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POSTED IN: History of Yoga