isis unveiled: chapter xv (knowledge is power)

“”Medicine: Their knowledge was truly astonishing. In Tcharaka and Sousruta, the two princes of Hindu medicine, is laid down the system which Hippocrates appropriated later. Sousruta notably enunciates the principles of preventive medicine or hygiene, which he places much above curative medicine – too often, according to him, empyrical. Are we more advanced today? It is not without interest to remark that the Arab physicians, who enjoyed a merited celebrity in the middle-ages – Averroes among others – constantly spoke of the Hindu physicians, and regarded them as the initiators of the Greeks and themselves.

Pharmacology: They knew all the simples, their properties, their use, and upon this point have not yet ceased to give lessons to Europe. Quite recently we have received from the treatment of asthma, with the datura.

Surgery: In this they are not less remarkable. They made the operation for the stone, succeeded admirably in the operation for cataract, and the extraction of the foetus, of which all the unusual or dangerous cases are described by Tcharaka with an extraordinary scientific accuracy.

Grammar: They formed the most marvelous language in the world – the Sanscrit – which gave birth to the greater part of the idioms of the Orient, and of Indo-European countries.

Poetry: They have treated all the styles, and shown themselves supreme masters in all. Sakuntala, Avrita, the Hindu Phaedra, Saranga, and a thousand other dramas have their superiors neither in Sophocles nor Euripides, in Corneille nor Shakespere. Their descriptive poetry has never been equaled. One must read, in the Megadata, “The Plaint of an Exile”, who implores a passing cloud to carry his remembrances to his cottage, his relatives and friends, whom he will never see more, to form an idea of the splendor to which this style has been carried in India. Their fables have been copied by all modern and ancient peoples, who have not even given themselves the trouble to color differently the subject of these little dramas.

Music: They invented the gamut with its differences of tones and half-tones much before Gui d’Arezzo. Here is the Hindu scale: Sa – Ri – Ga – Ma – Pa – Da – Ni – Sa.

Architecture – They seem to have exhausted all that the genius of man is capable of conceiving. Domes, inexpressibly bold; tapering cupolas; minarets, with marble lace; Gothic towers; Greek hemicycles; polychrome style – all kinds and all epochs are there, betokening the origin and date of the different colonies, which, in emigrating, carried with them their souvenirs of their native art.”

Such were the results attained by this ancient and imposing Brahmanical civilization. What have we to offer for comparison? Beside such majestic achievements of the past, what can we place that will seem so grandiose and sublime as to warrant out boast of superiority over an ignorant ancestry? Beside the discoverers of geometry and algebra, the constructors of human speech, the parents of philosophy, the primal expounders of religion, the adepts in psychological and physical science, how even the greatest of our biologists and the theologians seem dwarfed! Name to us any modern discovery, and we venture to say, that Indian history need not long be searched before the prototype will be found of record.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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