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Electricity and batteries in Ancient India

Galvani in 1780 discovered what he called the “animal electricity”. He found that connecting a nerve in a frog leg to two different interconnected metals causes the leg to contract (See image below).

What happens here is that, the circuit gets completed via the frog leg and the voltage difference between the two different metals causes an electric current to be produced. This electrical stimulation of nerves causes muscle contraction, because that is how nerves communicate with muscles in animal body.

Galvanism: The twitching of frog’s legs – Source: Wikipedia

So, it was not animal electricity as Galvani had called it, but electricity generated by metal-metal contact that caused animal leg to contract. And this was what Volta proved in 1794. Alessandro Volta invented electric battery and did not use any biological material in his device. He produced electricity using copper and zinc plates, separated by brine-soaked paper disks.

These inventions led to the electric revolution, starting an age of electricity powered societies. The batteries based on this design were the main source of electricity for nearly a century till the invention of electric motors and electric generators.

Now, here comes an interesting find. There is an ancient Indian text written by Sage Agastya, called the Agastya Samhita, composed in Sanskrit language. Sage Agastya was a revered sage of the vedic times. He is mentioned in texts as ancient as Rigveda and Ramayana. Now, Rigveda is said to be composed at the least around 1200 BCE. Which means, Sage Agastya lived at the least some 3000 years before Volta.

Below is a verse we find in Agastya Samhita.

संस्थाप्य मृण्मये पात्रे ताम्रपत्रं सुसंस्कृतम्‌।
छादयेच्छिखिग्रीवेन चार्दाभि: काष्ठापांसुभि:॥
दस्तालोष्टो निधात्वय: पारदाच्छादितस्तत:।
संयोगाज्जायते तेजो मित्रावरुणसंज्ञितम्‌॥

Here is a translation of the above text in English.

Place (संस्थाप्य – sansthaapya) a clean (मृण्मये – susanskritam) copper plate (ताम्रपत्रं – taamrapatram) in an earthen pot (मृण्मये पात्रे – mrinamaye paatre).

Cover (छादये – chhaadye) it with copper sulphate (शिखिग्रीवा – shikigreeva) and then add (चार्दाभि – chaardhaabhih) moist sawdust (काष्ठापांसु – Kaashtapaamsu) on top of it.

Next, deposit (निधात्वय: – nidhaatavya) a mercury-amalgamated (पारदाच्छादितस्तत: – paardaachhaditastatah) zinc (दस्तालोष्टो – dastaaloshto).

This combination will create (संयोगाज्जायते – sanyogajjayte) a glorious energy (तेजो – tejo) called (संज्ञितम्‌ – sangyitam) Mitra-Varuna (मित्रावरुण – mitravaruna).

This is a crystal clear description of a voltaic cell! Moist sawdust is used instead of brine-soaked paper disks used by Volta. In other words, this verse is telling us that the knowledge to manufacture an electric battery existed in ancient India, at the least some 3000 years before they were re-invented in modern times!!

What is even more interesting are another two lines that we find in the same Agastya Samhita.

अनेन जलभंगोस्ति प्राणो दानेषु वायुषु।
एवं शतानां कुंभानांसंयोगकार्यकृत्स्मृत:॥

The above two lines are saying that using around 100 such earthen pots will give you enough electrical energy to break water (जलभंगोस्ति – jalabhangosti) and there by generate oxygen and hydrogen (प्राणो दानेषु वायुषु – praanodaaneshu vaayuhu). In other words, these lines are talking about electrolysis of water using a voltaic pile! Voltaic Pile is the first electrical battery that provided a steady supply of electric current for considerable amount of time.

Experiments done to create a battery using the methods mentioned in Agastya Samhita have shown to generate around 1.4 V of electric potential, while around 1.23V of potential difference is sufficient for the electrolysis of water. Amazing, isn’t it?

वायुबन्धकवस्त्रेण निबद्धो यानमस्तके उदान स्वलघुत्वे बिभर्त्याकाशयानकम्‌।

Then two more lines mentioned above go on to say that, Hydrogen (obtained by the breaking down of water) can be captured in an airtight container and which then can be used for aerodynamic applications! Think about Hydrogen balloons!! By the way, did you note that, Oxygen and Hydrogen were also already known during the times of Agastya !!!

Alessandro Volta’s electric battery (Tempio Voltiano in Como, Italy) – Source: Wikipedia

So, here we are staring at some text that is at the least 3000 years old and is describing how to produce a steady supply of electric current and do electrolysis of water! No doubt, we have a lot yet to find out about the history of our ancestors, their life style, their knowledge and technological advances.

After all, humans have been having this intelligent brain at the least for the past 300,000 years (based on fossils found in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco) and civilizations have thrived at the least for some 12,000 years.

So if only in the past 4-5 centuries intelligent humans could come up with so many discoveries and inventions, it is only natural that advanced scientific inventions and discoveries may have happened in the distant past as well.

After all, those civilizations that thrived for thousands of years in the distant past also had humans with the same intelligent brains as we have today.

And yes, the question also remains about what more advances were done using this knowledge in those ancient times and what happened to all that knowledge? Assuming that the knowledge was lost due to the end of civilizations then, and knowing that this text is still available even today, why was no effort made to build up on this knowledge in recent history, say 1000 years ago?

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Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Electricity in the Atharva Veda:

    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
    Ahi Cha vritrahaavadheet

    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
    Urudhaarev dohate

    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
    Piba vrishaswa taatripim

    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 Haree tura
    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 plants.

    Chapter 2: Hymn XV

    Verse 2: Adha te vishwamanu haasadishtaya aapo nimneva savanaa havishmatah
    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 exposed.

    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
    Avaasrijo 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 foes.

    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
    Indro vajri Hiranyah

    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 harira gabhastyoh
    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 era.

    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 samidam hansyojasa
    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 vartani
    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 weapons effects.

    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
    Pashisht 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 tuvrayaanam
    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 haryashava hansi
    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

  2. most of the ancient technolgy was lost mainly due one resons.selfishness.those who know wont like to record.if it is recorded then that texts are not made available to all.that texts too will be written deliberatly in a language which wont be understood by others.
    in modern times printing has advanced and people like to publish books.only in india books are very costly even without taxes.even now detailed books with pictures are not published in india not by indians.indian normally dont love knowledge.so they are unworthy to carry forward the learning ,research etc.look at the numerous reserch organisations run by government.there is no lasting benifit to inidans from them only to plunder the treasury filled by us.

  3. So you put in water and you get hydrogen and oxygen and you claim further that you get electricity from this?!
    This sounds like an ancient Fuel cell!!!! That is more novel than a battery as we know the Persian, Greeks and Egyptians used batteries for electroplating.
    Nowhere in the ancient world is there ever any mention of Fuel Cells (Which are space age technology initially created for life support systems.)
    You should publish this finding or have someone try to validate this claim. They must take the proper care to handle mercury laden items though.

  4. Babylonian earthernware jars with anodes and cathodes, as described above, were excavated in Iraq and are now in the British Museum.

    You may be interested to know that small votive statues with plated gold surfaces, have also been discovered in Iraq.

    The statues were originally assumed to be covered in gold leaf, until it was discovered that the gold was only three microns in thickness.

    Looks like thats what the ancient batteries were used for.

    Astonishing, but if you think about it, not totally suprising.

    Just as now, there have always been guys who like experimenting, fiddling and messing around, seeing what they can make to impress their friends, their boss or (more importantly) their wives and girlfriends- especially if they can sell their invention!).

    They’ve been doing it for thousands of years.

    Batteries are not difficult to make.

    (Get a lemon or an orange, stick a piece of lead or zinc in it stick a piece of copper or brass into another part of the fruit the put the lead or zinc and copper to your tongue and feel the tingle of .5v!)

    This must have been done many times before someone decided to experiment and explored the possiblities of his new found energy and discovered that he could use it to make small bronze statues of the gods look like gold.

    (No doubt his wife was very, very impressed!)

    The problem with this is the applications are limited. Unless you also have the technology to make use of your electricity, its a bit of a dead end.

    Now- if 5000 years ago, an ancient Indian or Persian had noticed how the steam from a boiling kettle will lift its lid, then made the leap of genius into recognising the power of expanding steam…

    Had that happened- where would we be now?

    Thrown in a bit of inspired thinking and knowledge passed down either by word of mouth or writing

  5. i was just searching this type of blog i like the most and i m the regular user of it
    can u pls give me the reference for the above sanskrit txt i mean to ask where it is in “”Agasthya Samhita””? can u pls address me that u are doing really really a great job i sallute u

  6. Gurudev,

    I suggest with your knowledge you can start exploring more and more and start a series of interpretations of sciences and probably some of them inventions/discoveries which our ancient indians have already done and written into such verses in vedas.

    Isnt this what we need today? if we just claim Gaandhaari gave birth to 100 kauravas was actually a Cloning technology used in those days ….we must have be having cure for cancer, AIDS, technologies which we cant even imagine at this age!! ….please start a page on these let us all try to contribute our thoughts into it.

    Thanks for all the extraordinary work you been doing on this website. I have great admiration for you.

    Suchin

  7. Srinivas

    Why did the Egyptians loose the technology of building those massive pyramids? How did they build it? We know ancient Egyptians built it, because its still there, but how? why did they lose it today? :)

  8. Now, now.. If electricity and/or batteries were remotely ever used in ancient India, why did we ever lose it? China touts most modern inventions like printing press, gun powder and rockets, why did India just *lose* it?
    I am not sure about this.

  9. Interesting!!
    I haven’t read this jataka.. will definitely read it now .. Thanks for the link..

    This particular jataka tale is said to be painted in cave 1 of the Ajanta caves.. will look for it when I visit these caves :)

  10. The Buddha has narrated 550 previous Jatakas. These are the previous births of himself, mostly in human form but also in non human (hasthi, vanara, etc.) forms. The best description I have ever seen in an ancient text to the actual use of electricity is in the Maha Ummagga Jataka of Buddha. Here there is actual reference to the swithcing on and off of lights, so much like what we have today!! its amazing and I am trying to find others who have read this and would like to hear their interpretations. Like all Jataka stories the Ummagga Jataka is also written in Pali verse. The best that I could find in English translation is the one from the Sinhalese version (of Ceylon) which is available on line now at
    http://www.archive.org/details/ummaggajatakathe00yatarich

    I would

  11. @Manish

    The source is mentioned in the article. It is “”Agasthya Samhita””.
    If you are looking for the actual text from this book it is

    Sansthapya Mrinmaya Patre Tamrapatram Susanskritam
    Chhadyechhikhigriven Chardrarbhih Kashthpamsubhih
    Dastaloshto Nidhatavyah Pardachhaditastah
    Sanyogajjayte Tejo Mitravarunsangyitam

    Anen Jalbhangosti Prano Daneshu Vayushu
    Evam Shatanam Kumbhanamsanyogkaryakritsmrita

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