isis unveiled: chapter xv (knowledge is power)

“Although it would seem as if we had already furnished sufficient proofs that modern science has little or no reason to boast of originality, yet before closing this volume we will adduce a few more to place the matter beyond doubt. We have but to recapitulate, as briefly as possible, the several claims to new philosophies and discoveries, the announcement of which has made the world open its eyes so wide within these last two centuries.

We have pointed to the achievements in arts, sciences, and philosophy of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chaldeans, and Assyrians; we will now quote from an author who has passed long years in India studying their philosophy. In the famous and recent work of Christna et le Christ, we find the following tabulation:

“Philosophy: The ancient Hindus have created from the foundation the two systems of spiritualism and materialism, of metaphysical philosophy and of positive philosophy. The first taught in the Vedantic school, whose founder was Vyasa; the second taught in the Sankya school, whose founder was Kapila.

Astronomical Science: They fixed the calendar, invented the zodiac, calculated the precession of the equinoxes, discovered the general laws of the movements, observed and predicted the eclipses.

Mathematics: They invented the decimal system, algebra, the differential, integral, and infinitesimal calculi. They also discovered geometry and trigonometry, and in these two sciences they constructed and proved theorems which were only discovered in Europe as late as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was the Brahmans in fact, who first deduced the superficial measure of a triangle from the calculation of its three sides and calculated the relations of the circumference to the diameter. Furthermore, we must restore to them the square of the hypotenuse and the table so improperly called Pythagorean, which we find engraved on the goparama of the majority of great pagodas.

Physics: They established the principle, which is still our own today, that the universe is a harmonious whole, subject to laws which may be determined by observation and experiment. They discovered hydrostatics; and the famous proposition that every body plunged in water loses of its own weight equal to the volume which it displaces, is only a loan made by the Brahmans to the famous Greek architect, Archimedes. The physicists of the pagodas calculated the velocity of light, fixed in a positive manner the laws which it follows in its reflection. And finally, it is beyond doubt, from the calculations of Surya-Sidhenta, that they knew and calculated the force of steam.

Chemistry: They knew the composition of water, and formulated for gases the famous law, which we know only from yesterday, that the volumes of gas are in inverse ratio to the pressures that they support. They knew how to prepare sulphuric, nitric, and muriatic acids; the oxides of copper, iron, lead, tin, and zinc; the sulphurets of iron, copper, mercury, antimony, and arsenic; the sulphates of zinc and iron; the carbonates of iron, lead, and soda; nitrate of silver; and powder.””

H. P. Blavatsky

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