Sunday, September 27, 2009

3. Medical Science & Technology In Indian Myth & Vedas...

Test-Tube Babies:

According to a hymn in the Rig Veda (VII.33.13), which has a striking resemblance to the genesis of a test-tube baby. It says, in effect that when the Vedic gods Mitra and Varuna saw the beautiful nymph Urvasi, their seeds fell. One of these fell into a jar, and it was from there that the sage Agastya was born. The idea of an infant growing up in a jar is a prescient account of what was to come centuries later.

In our age, we also have cases where a pre-maturely born infant is kept in an incubator, there to grow for some weeks or months. In the Mahabharata we read about two rival families, the Pandavas and Kauravas. The latter are one hundred in number. Here is how the hundred brothers were born along with one sister.While Queen Gandhara was carrying an over due embryo, she heard that her husband's brother's wife had given birth to a son which would make him eligible for royal succession. In her anger:

"she struck her womb with great violence... And as a result there came out of her womb ... a hard mass of flesh. When she was about to throw it away, a wise instructed her: "Let a hundred pots full of clarified butter be brought instantly, and let them be placed at a concealed spot. In the meantime, let cool water be sprinkled over this ball of flesh."

That ball of flesh, then, sprinkled over with water, became divided into a hundred and one parts about the size of a thumb. These were then placed in pots with clarified butter that had been placed at a concealed spot and watched. Then, in due course, the hundred brothers and one sister were born, and they who came to be called Kauravas because they were from the family of Kuru.

We may never know whether something like this ever happened. As long as we confine ourselves to the world such as we understand it, it may strike some people as too much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that it was actually so. Yet, there are a great many in the world who have no problem believing in such matters. Be that as it may, the description of embryos being nurtured in jars, which provided nourishment to them while they were becoming mature has a remarkable resemblance to test-tube babies.

To be continued...

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