The body of knowledge that forms the basis of all Eastern religions is referred to as Vedas. Veda, in Sanskrit language, means “knowledge”. In the revered book of knowledge called the Bhagavad Gita (which is considered to be an essential part of the Vedas), the history of the Vedic knowledge has been traced. It can be understood to be at least 120 million years old or 2 million years old or 5000 years old, depending on when a snapshot is taken. From another perspective, this knowledge is timeless because it is eternally present in the heart of realized souls and this knowledge has been always flowing from the heart of a realized soul (a teacher or a spiritual master) to a sincere seeker (a student or a disciple) since time immemorial. The chain of teachers who maintain the integrity of this transcendental secret of spiritual science is called a disciplic succession. The knowledge preserved by the disciplic succession is considered to be perfect because of two reasons:
(1) The knowledge of the disciplic succession originates in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is, by definition, perfect, and
(2) the members of the disciplic succession do not have any vested motive to tamper the message for their own profit but they are simply interested in disseminating the knowledge (that they have received from their teacher(s)) with utmost care and caution (as it is).
Consequently, it is natural to expect that the Vedic knowledge would have a strong correlation with the modern empirical findings. In this article, I wish to share two instances where the timeless Vedas have documented numbers which are strikingly similar to the data obtained by modern research. They answer two important questions: (1) How many species are dwelling in this planet? (2) What is the age of this earth planet?
According to the Vedas (Padma Purana), there are exactly 8.4 million species on the earthly realm. The Sanskrit quote is as follows:
jalaja nava lakshani, sthavara laksha-vimshati, krimayo rudra-sankhyakah, pakshinam dasha-lakshanam, trinshal-lakshani pashavah, chatur lakshani manavah
The rundown as per the above verse is as follows:
Jalaja (Aquatics) - 0.9 million Sthavara (Plants and Trees) - 2.0 million Krimayo (Reptiles) - 1.1 million Pakshinam (Birds) - 1.0 million Pashavah (Land animals) - 3.0 million Manavah (Human-like animals) - 0.4 million Total = 8.4 million
A Science Daily article dated Aug 23, 2011 writes,Eight million, seven hundred thousand species (give or take 1.3 million). That is a new, estimated total number of species on Earth — the most precise calculation ever offered — with 6.5 million species found on land and 2.2 million (about 25 percent of the total) dwelling in the ocean depths.
Although the criteria for classification used are quite different, it is astounding to see that the numbers are remarkably close.
According to the Vedas, time is cyclical and the material universes (including the earth planet) go through a timeless cycle of creation and annihilation. Skipping the detailed calculation, the age of the earth (or the elapsed time between a particular creation and destruction) can be established to be about 2 billion years, based on the Bhagavad Gita (BG 8.17-18) and other books of Vedic knowledge.
Time between creation and destruction of the Universe = 1000 times the time duration of a cycle of 4 epochs (golden age, silver age, bronze age and iron age) Golden age (Satya Yuga) lasts for 1.728 million years Silver age (Treta Yuga) lasts for 1.296 million years Bronze age (Dvapara Yuga) lasts for 864000 years Iron age (Kali Yuga) lasts for 432000 years Total time in a cycle of 4 epochs = 4.32 million years Therefore, total time between creation and destruction of the Universe = 1000 x 4.32 million years = 4.32 billion years Currently, we are 5000 years into Kali Yuga of 454th cycle of epochs. Therefore, total time elapsed since last creation = 453 x 4.32 + 3.89 million years = 1.96 billion years
Now, let us study an article in wikipedia, which corroborates information from various references and asserts that the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years. Given that there are many assumptions in the radiometric dating, this number is quite close to the number already enjoined in the Vedas.
Of course, these are just a handful of examples where the scientists have established the validity of the Vedic information through their strenuous research. There are many other facts in relation to the cosmological models of the universe, which point to the sophistication of the Vedas.
Thus, it behooves us to take a serious look into the contents of the Vedas with an inquisitive spirit and make an effort to understand and take advantage of the timeless knowledge therein.