The Transmission of Scientific Knowledge from Tamilnadu to Europe (15th to 20th centuries)

07 Mar

The Transmission of Scientific Knowledge from Tamizhagam to Europe

(15th to 20th centuries)

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao

(In this page the author mentioned often the word “bramin” readers pls read that word as “Tamils”. Because the knowledge of Thamizhagam is not only belongs to a purticular caste. I think the author thaught so. This is a good article but having such mistakes. Anyway I thank the author for such a work )


About the transmission of mathematical and astronomical Science from South India, particularly from Kerala, studies have been already conducted and published by C. K. Raju, George Ghevergheese Joseph, Denis F. Almeida, and the Aryabhata Group of University of Exeter1. Though, Prof. D. S. V. Subba Reddy2 has pointed out the European interest and their books on Indian medicine, he stopped short with appreciating interest shown by them. However, about the transmission of scientific knowledge and/or manuscripts from Tamizhagam, it appears no study has been so far. The study of Jesuit writings reveal interesting details that such transmission had taken place during 1600 to 1850 period and even beyond. The study of events at Tranquebar, Pondicherry and Madurai provides wealth of such information.

Many times, the masquerade of the Jesuits has to be removed to find out their scientific pursuits (piercing the corporate veil to understand a company). The author has already presented and published some papers about Saltpetre3, the scientific pursuits of Robert de Nobili4 and Le de Gentil5, the interest of European Scientists in India6, etc. That even the British adopted such methods under the guise of scientific survey is interesting to study their motive7. The cross-reference of Tamil Siddha books correlates corroborate and gives ample evidence for such transmission taking place. The Tamil Siddha works – a compilation popularly known as “Periya Gnanak Kovai” and as well as individual works have been consulted8 for this purpose.

South India up to 18th Century:

From 10th century onwards (with due respect to the Pallavas), South India excelled in scientific and technological activities. Indian shipping, astronomy, chemical, textiles and food processing, architecture and other fields attained status. They in turn encouraged other industries and businesses. The Indian traders and businessmen had been common in many countries. The Cholas were reigning supreme during 10th to 14th centuries. During Vijayanagara period (14th to 16th centuries), everything was at peak followed by the Nayaks. The visiting Europeans (including Jesuits)9 were stunned at multi-storied buildings, gardens, dams and water reservoirs, the shipping activities, metal technology and above all, the time bound activities of the people. They could not understand the time reckoning methods of Indians, as the Europeans were struggling with corresponding activities involving calendar, longitude problem, compass and time reckoning. Here come the Jesuits and missionaries, their colleagues and contemporaries.

Europe during the material period:

During the same period, the European countries were faced with all problems, frequent wars, famines, diseases and above all religious fanaticism interfering with every walk of life. The imports from India and East Indies were as follows:

Year     Percentage

1588        14%

1621        48%

1669        70%

The so-called revolutions took place changing the face of Europe -The American Revolution (1776-1783), the French Revolution (1789-1791), and the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850). Within hundred years, surprisingly, Europe began to discovering and inventing everything all of sudden, when they were plaguing with diseases, reeling under religious persecution and suffering from economic conditions. Definitely, the European companies and the Jesuits gained much from India. As the ships had to sail around India from west to eastern parts, the coastal areas became strategic and hence, the European companies were fighting with each others for domination. The oppressed and suppressed scientists got wisdom through Indian books. The Protestant England and Germany, thus opposed Catholic Portuguese and French. In any case, they were united in India as far as opposing heathen Hindus in all aspects.

The Prelude to the Scientific Quest of Europeans in India:

Portuguese Physician Garcia d’Orta (1501-1568), Finnish Botanist L’Ecluse, Christovas da Casta, Dutch scholar Henrick Adrian Van Reede (1637-1691), Johann Ernest Grundler (1677-1720), Charles Clusius, Linchoten (16th century), Poludanus (explaining the writing of Linchoten) and others had studied Siddha medicine and sent voluminous palm-leaf books to Europe. Rheede when landed in Kerala was surprised to witness a great botanical garden there. In India, such gardens have been part of temples (Nanda Vanam) and Hospitals (Muligaip Pannai). Interestingly, in his case, the modus operandi found is that he got written statements from the Indian doctors to that effect that as per the directions of him, they provided the medical data, information, books, samples and formulations. Three statements are reproduced below10:

“On the tenth of the black fortnight of Chaitra month and Rakshasa year of Salivahana saka 1597, on a camp at Cochin, we Rangabhatta, Vinayak Pandit and Appu Bhatta (Eye Physician) write the following testimony of truth so that no one should treat this as false. On a message from Adrikin Fondre, Commander of Cochin, we collected herbs, flowers, fruits which are used for medicine from this Malabar Desha through a person who was paid for it and who was specialized in discriminating medicinal plants. This material was collected in the various seasons when they are grown. Then on, all the herbs, fruits, flowers etc., were painted. Later on we testified and tallied this material with the descriptions in the Materia Medica which we had brought along with us. We then described these herbs, their effects etc., of which we had experimental knowledge. For the last two years both in mornings and evenings we are doing this. Whatever is written over here should not be treated as false hence we are attesting our signatures below”.

Ranga Bhatta

Vinayak Pandit

Apu Dev

Written and signed in Marathi

“By the order of Commander Hendrik Van Rheede, I, a Malabar Physician of the Ezhava caste, born in Kollad house at Kadakkarapally in Karapuram village came to the Cochin Fort and dictated as already agreed, the details of the trees, shrubs, creepers and grasses in Kerala providing with diagrams, and the medicinal treatment with them, from the practical experiences as well as the erudition from our precious old books, to Manuel Carner, the official translator of the Company, so as to record them in books, after clearing the doubts, in such manner that no learned men of this field in Kerala could find fault with it and for this it is written in Cochin Fort on 20th April, 1675”.


Written and signed in Kolaluthu script of Malayalam

“By the order of the Commamner Henrika Van Rheede, I Manuel Carner, born, married and put up in Cochin, working as the official translator of the Company at Cochin Fort, wrote down in books in Malayalam and Portuguese languages separately, the details, virtues and uses of (medicinal) trees, shrubs, creepers and grasses in Kerala and their flowers, fruits, seeds, roots and essences etc, being dictated by a Malabar Physician, Kolladan, belonging to Ezhava caste, born in Karapuram village, according to my previous agreement. Thus the work is completed after clearing all doubts and mistakes and for this agreement my signature in this writings in Cochin Fort on the day, the 19th April, 1675”.

Manuel Carner

Written and signed in Grantha Lipi of Malayalam

Thus, the statements (which are amply self-explanatory in all aspects) have been direct evidence as to how the European doctors acquired Hindu medicine directly, rather extracted. The same modus operandi must have been followed by all other doctors, engineers, chemists, etc., of all categories either Jesuits or Protestants. At least, their letter correspondence exposes such transaction taken place, shown in the context below.

•1. Tranquebar – The Fortified Scientific Research Centre for Europeans:

The account of foreigners on Tranquebar differs in many aspects, as they evidently want to suppress many facts. Even the recently brought out books have been reflecting same trend11. They only delve on the religious, theological and church planting and growth activities giving statistical details,12 keeping silence on the scientific pursuits undertaken by the Jesuits or the visit of scientists, doctors, botanists, surgeons, chemists, engineers, astronomers etc, to India, and in particular to Tranquebar, Pondicherry and Madurai. There the Europeans worked together in getting all data and information of Indian arts and sciences. The medical doctors and surgeons reportedly mentioned as “taking special interest in botany”, worked under or with “famous Botanist Linnaeus” and so on. The activities of these “Botanist-Doctors” and “Jesuit-Botanists” are interesting for study, as they also formed a society “The United Brothers”. They are discussed as follows leaving the details of much-popular-missionary activities:

•§ Parthalomius Ziegenbalg (1683-1719): Ziegenbalg was the first Danish to start collect such data and information on Indian arts and sciences, which includes original palm-leaf books and his writings. List of herbs, aromatic plants, etc., including Plant Lexicon had been favorite collection. In one of his writings, he describes 32 types of musical instruments sitting in Tranquebar learning Tamil. When he went to Europe in 1715, he took many of his collections to the envy of the company directors. After marrying, he went to England, met King George I and appraised his activities. However, the Directors of the mission accused him of marrying, spending too much money and staying in place for long. After his death, many palm-leaf books were taken to Halle-foundation13. They include the following:

• i. Books on astronomy and astrology – One book numbered TAM 79, 123 reportedly containing nine planets, twelve zodiacs and twenty seven star families.

• ii. A book of Anatomy (not listed in the on-line catalogue of Danish Halle Mission).

• iii. Many books on Siddha medicines, classification of herbs / plants, samples etc. (not listed).

• iv. Though, Sivavakkiyar had been famous in his theological writings, none of his works listed.

• v. Many books – Atticcudi, Kondrai Vendan, Nidhi nul, etc., of Avvaiyar.

• vi. Books authored by Pillaip Perumal Iyengar, Pattinattup Pillaiyar, Guru Namaccivayar, Ulaganatha Pandithar, Honganer (may be Konganar), Ganapathy Pandithar.

• vii. Of course, there are polemic works between Catholics and Protestants like Veda Vilakkam, and many tracts issued by one group against the other.

He must have procured these works through his Hindu contacts there like Vairaventa Guru, Pancaccara Guru, Mapillai Guru, Sena Sastri, Minakshi Sastri, Citampara Sastri and Mokampara Sastri. Other close associates were 70 years old Tamil teacher (name not mentioned), Alappan / Azhagappan (the Company Dubash), Ganpathy Upadhyata (1670-1710), his father – a Pandit (name not mentioned), Arumugam / Aaron etc. Thus, the Danish had created a gang of contacts for the purpose.

•§ Heinrich Plutschau (c.1678-1747): He went to Denmark along with Zeigenbalg in 1710, but did not return. He took all of his collections at that time. That his explicit religious interests had even gone to the extent of threatening Johan Sigismund Hassius (1664-1729), the Governor of Tranquebar. Danish Governor proves the crucial role played. That he was not returned from Denmark in 1716 along with Ziegenbalg is intriguing. When Hassius jailed Ziegenbalg, he was running the show at Tranquebar. Perhaps, he accompanied Ziegenbalg as a watchdog.

•§ John Fryer (c.1650-1733): As a skilful and experienced artist, he came to India and Iran to conduct research on Indian medicine and as well as a sort of scientific espionage from 1673 to 1681. Directed by the EIC, he collected Indian medicinal plants, herbs, seeds etc., and returned to England in 1682. He obtained a MD in 1683 from Cambridge and was elected to the Royal Society in 1697 and remained there till 1707. In his correspondence, he records that a Dr. NG (from India) sent an account of the manufacture of ghee (clarified butter) to the Royal Society (Elgod 1951: 397).

•§ Samuel Brown: Directed by the EIC, he collected Indian medicinal plants, herbs, seeds etc., to England. He was having correspondence with James Petiver. The work, “An account of some Indian plants etc. with their names, descriptions and virtues”; communicated in a letter from Mr. James Petiver…to Mr. Samuel Brown, surgeon at Fort St. George, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, 1698 proves the fact.

•§ James Petiver (1663-1718): Though, he was a London apothecary (a historical name for a medical practitioner who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients), it is surprising that he should work in collecting botanical samples, specimens, seeds and much other material from correspondents in the American and British colonies from India. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society as well as London’s informal Temple Coffee House Botany Club, famous for his study of botany and entomology. Petiver received many samples plants from the India-sojourned physicians, doctors and missionaries, and his collection formed for the Royal Society14.

•§ Samuel Benjamin Cnoll (1705-1767): A medical doctor educated in Halle and employed in Royal Danish Mission, Tranquebar from about 1732 until his death in 1767. He supervised the hospital from the 1740s, and in 1753, published an article on the Indian preparation of Borax in the Danish Journal15 Acta Medica Hafniensis. He served for 35 years contacting many Siddha doctors, collecting their works, gathering samples and creating a Botanical garden there, which was used by his successors for further research.

•§ “The United Brothers” (1768-1848): It was formed mainly to study Indian Siddha medicine system, collect samples and formulations. The members include Heyne, Klien, Rottler, Fleming, Anderson, Berry, John, Roxburgh, Buchanan (later Buchnan-Hamilton), William Jones etc. The members collected such items and sent them to Botanists of established reputation in Europe16. Many plants of Indian origins came thus be described by Retz, Roth, Schrader, Wildenow, Vahl and Smith. The French at Pondicherry also did not lag behind. Sonnerset and other Botanists from Pondicherry sent large collections of plants to Paris, and these were followed by the collections of Leschenhault and they were studied by Lamarck and Poiret. In 1788, the Tranquebar Society was formed just like the British Asiatic Society in Calcutta. It had members of naturalists, orientalists, linguists and historians from the Danish colonies and the mother country, including missionaries.

•§ Johan Gerhard Koenig (1728-1785): He succeeded Cnoll. Ralph records that modern Botany first gained a foothold in India through him, at Tranquebar. Though he was a missionary surgeon, he studied botany under famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-78). T. L. S. Folly served under him in Copenhagen. As Koenig had other interests, he started working for the Nawab of Arcot also. He started his “medical voyage” to “discover” different disease-curing plants and herbs with the help of Indian doctors covering the areas from “the mountains north to Madras and to Ceylon” and published his findings in a Danish Scientific Journal17. In 1778, he was transferred to EIC undertaking several scientific journeys and working with notable scientists like William Roxburgh till his death in 1785. Thus, he worked for 17 years.

•§ Christoph Samuel John (1747-1813): He was a missionary succeeding Koenig in 1771 and continued his work with inspiration. As had been instructed by Koenig suitably about his activities, he immediately, started his work of collection of samples, preservation, packing and forwarding to William Roxburgh. Interestingly, he provides economical uses of Indian derivatives and extracts of Bassia Butyracea (Polyandria Monogynia), Bassia longifolia (Illeepei oil) etc., as been recorded by Roxburgh18. He took special interest in Indian fish. Employing Indian professional painters, he collected many figures, samples in jars and books, to Prof. Marcus Eliezer Bloch at Berlin19. Based on the data and information received from India, he published 12 volumes on the natural history of fish. He also helped another Prof. Jogann Reicnhold Forster at Halle20, who was interested in snakes, snake bites and antidotes prescribed by Brahmins. Based on the questionnaire sent by Forster, John sent back in 1792 with full details and samples. While he was discussing with Brahmins, he came to know about “Palakarai prediction” and accompanied cakras with mathematical tables used for such prediction. So he started collecting different types of cowries/shells with figures and books. Working for 42 yeas, he died in 1813 in Tranquebar.

•§ Johan Peter Rottler (1749-1836): He was another missionary to arrive at Tranquebar colony in 1776. His interest in botany had been so vigorous that he made “botanical excursion” around the “Tranquebar countryside and as far away as Ceylon” to collect Indian Medicinal books, formulations, drugs and medicines. He published descriptions of new species in European journals, verified the names of plants collected by two other members of the mission – Johann Klien and Benjamin Heyne. He served in Tranquebar till 1803 and then moved to Madras working for Madras Mission and died in 1836. Thus, he worked for 60 years in Tamizhagam, collected more than 2000 plants and sent them to Europe21. All the three – John, Klein and Rottler got Doctorates for their field work.

•§ Gottfried Klein (1766-1818): Interestingly, he was born in Tranquebar itself. However, he went to Europe for studies and returned to Tranquebar as a doctor in 1791. He got the medical title in 1795 by submitting a dissertation concerning ‘The Treatment of Venereal Disease by Indian Doctors’. Thus, between 1791 and 1795, he must have done research on the subject matter. As his date of leaving India is not found in the records (by the author), he must have observed such cases, where Indian doctors cured the affected. He would have met Indian doctors, discussed and tried to get information from them. As the Indian doctors did not reveal the details, he must have started preparing medicines with herbs. Thus, staying at Tranquebar, he wandered covering many places and collecting many samples of plants, herbs and seeds to find out their medicinal value. That his samples reached Royal Asiatic Society immediately and Dr. William Roxburgh could write an article in Asiatic Researches22 proves the way in which they worked meticulously. Thus, he was born, worked and died in Tranquebar.

•§ Benjamin Heyne (1770-1819): After arriving Tranquebar in 1792, he worked with the Moravian brothers in charge of the pepper and cinnamon plantations in 1793 and then in Samalcottah23. As he could not meet his both ends, John recommended his best friend William Roxburgh to employ Heyne in EIC. In 1794, he acted as EIC’s botanist in the absence of Roxburgh at Madras. In 1799, he was appointed as an Assistant surgeon in the Madras Medical Establishment. Hayne became the EIC’s Naturalist and Botanist in the Madras Presidency in 1802. He went to Europe in 1812 via Sumatra with his collection. Returning to Madras in 1815, he started his work as a member of the Linnean Society and Gesellschaft Naturforschener Freunde Berlin. He employed Indian collectors and draughtsmen.

•§ Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854): He was the best known Danish scientist to come to India, but he worked in Calcutta with EIC. He became the Superintendent of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society, and later that of EIC’s Botanical Garden both at Calcutta. He prepared a catalogue for Botanical specimens to the extent of 20,000 classifying them24.

•§ Theodor Ludvig Frederich Folly25 (c.1740-1803): He came to Tranquebar to study Siddha medicine and its intricacies. He was commenting on the works of William Roxburgh.

T. L. F. Folly’s Interaction with Indian Doctors:

Folly also appeared to have played double-game in interacting with Indian doctors. He considered Indian Malabar / Tamil doctors as:

* ¨ Highly Superstitious imbibed with religious doctrines.
* ¨ Quacks, fake-doctors or not at all doctors.
* ¨ Had little knowledge of Medicine
* ¨ Knew no surgery

If that was the case, it is not known as to why he was so eager to find out their precise textual sources for their metallic drugs, possibly in order to find a better treatment for venereal diseases (particularly syphilis). In spite of such an opinion, a recent researcher says that he was always in search of their medical books.

Folly’s Enquiry into Siddha and Siddha Medicines:

The discussion, he had with Indian doctors is based on his note dated May 12, 1799. The two doctors came to him were father and son. Two Malabar Doctors were there to translate. Thus, it is evident that the meeting was arranged as per the requirement of Folly’s research. The discussion reveals the following facts:

•§ The Malabar-doctors (Doctors of Tamizhagam) were using mercury extensively for their preparations and it was coming from Madurai, Ramanadhapuram and other places in the interior of the country.

•§ First, he enquired about the mercury preparations.

•§ They explained the preparation of such a medicine in the form of pills which could be used for treating all venereal diseases.

•§ When he asked about the symptoms while taking such preparation, they explained that there might be wound formation in the patients’ mouth, but still he should take pills for 7 days and then stop.

•§ To cure the mouth sore, they explained that the mouth would be washed with boiled milk and malva leaves (mallow, Tutti). A preparation of Sulphur dissolved in mother’s milk could be also used. Only Kanchi would be given for diet. Purging was done in between, if necessary. The time taken for cure ranged between 12 to 15 days.

•§ When asked, if the patient still had sores on the sexual organs or other places, what should be done, they replied that the case referred to must be of “great venereal disease”, and then the pills should be continued for 15 more days. Now, the pills would be ground with Radix China (Parangippattai) and given as per the prescription.

•§ When asked for what were the other diseases which could be cured with mercury preparations, they gave the details.

•§ When enquired about the source of procurement of mercury, they replied that earlier they bought from the Dutch in Nagapatnam, after their departure, they got from Madras. They revealed that the Whites increased the price. Mercury was also obtained from Cinnabar (Jatilingam).

•§ When asked how the mercury was burned / calcinated, they replied that they learned the method from their ancestors.

•§ When he tried to suggest as to whether they learned the art from the Whites, particularly, the priests (implying white-men posing and roaming as Hindu Sanyasis) from whom they purchased mercury, they replied that they knew only their Gurus living in the mountains southwest. There were “Nine Masters” from whom they got the medicinal sciences, pharmacopeias etc.,

•§ When he wanted to buy their medicine, they refused as they could give only on seeing the patients. Persisting, he got some. He listed them as follows:

•o Boils and sores.

•o Stomach ache.

•o Diarrhoea.

•o Sweet pits (diabetes)

•o Drippers (Gonorrhea).

•o White flow (Syphilis)

•o And other diseases.

Procurement of Medical books:

He then describes about the process of mercury sublimation from the book of Tamil doctor Agastya obtained from the elder Tamil doctor. Folly confessed that he obtained the book and the process by giving one pound of purified mercury. He also promised to give more mercury, if they could get two books written by the “Nine Gurus”. The Indian doctors promised that they would come next year (1780) and give.

Following this, the note given by the author is interesting and it is reproduced2: “In all probability the mercury was brought to the Indians by the Europeans, and the formers learned its preparations from the latter. It is well-known that the Portuguese, Spanish and French, for more than 200 years have sent out missionaries, especially Jesuits. The skills of Jesuits in all sciences are well-known, and they have been around the entire country. In all parts of Indostan, especially on this peninsula, there have been monasteries, churches and missionaries. For the time being, they are expelled from the country by the Indian Princes, and in 1780-81, Hyder Ali has had all their churches, schools etc., in this country demolished, and expelled all Catholics clergymen. There are still plenty of them, where the Europeans have power”.

Then he goes on telling that there were pharmaceutical factories of the Jesuits in Goa and a Jesuit college in Pondicherry and the old monks there sent “compounded medical remedies all over the country, and of these their Drogue Amere, Elexir Ameres, Theriac, Eau de Melig, Syrup Capilar are still held in very high esteem by the residents of this country”.

Thus, the following facts are evident –

•§ Indian Doctors (e.g, Bogar) were going to China or Chinese merchants (during Chola period) coming to India for dealing with mercury. Understanding the fact, through Matteo Ricci and others, the European Companies decided to deal in mercury through the planted Jesuits.

•§ Realizing the scarcity and demand for mercury, the Europeans tried to exploit the Indian doctors directly and indirectly. That they increased the price and tempted with mercury is recorded in the Jolly’s note.

•§ As the Dutch had gunpowder factory at Pulicat, manufactured explosives and exported to Europe getting huge profits, it is evident that the Portuguese and the French also manufactured and exported these medicines to Europe exploiting the prevailing situation there.

•§ Previously, there was free movement of the doctors, scholars, students, traders etc., but after the advent of Mohammedanism, the rivalry between the Christians and them resulted in their restricted movement through north-west of India. Even after 16th century, the blockade continued through piracy carried on by both.

•§ The European doctors were desperately getting the Indian science, technology, medicine and other books. Of course, the Jesuits helped them, which they mentioned as follows (Jesuit policy as mentioned by Goncalco Fernandez Trancosco27):

Theft: So they must have robbed, stolen, burgled and committed larceny to get books

Confiscation: This could be possible, where the Europeans had their factories or churches, where they took the books by force, elimination and threatening the scholars, doctors.

Purchase: As Hindus did not sell books, “purchase” may not arise. However, as the Europeans started corrupting some of them, say by giving “one pound mercury to get a book of Agastya”, some Indians might have started selling the books.

“The Jesuit policy of Theft, Confiscation and Purchase” of Indian Books is repeated in the context of Mackenzie as “Beg, buy or borrow” as follows28: “The most impressive orientalist explorations were collaborative, unofficial and voluntary. Among these, none matched the enormous privately funded venture by Colonel Colin Mackenzie. His teams of Maratha Brahmin scholars begged, bought or borrowed, and copied, from village heads, virtually every manuscript of value they could finally acquired. Collections so acquired, reflecting the civilization of South India, manuscripts in every language, became a lasting legacy – something still being explored”

•§ In spite of the scholarship, professionalism and medical acumen, that the Europeans could act as Christians only, as revealed through the prejudice and biased thinking of Folly is interesting.

•§ Again, as his “Remark” is very revealing, it is reproduced29: “I must confess that what I have written about the separation of mercury, etc., by the Malabar might seem wrong to the learned people. However, I must be excused for my lack of understanding the language, and especially for the discretion of the Malabar doctors who never tell the truth. If one asks them about the composition of some medicament, they believe they will loose their income if they tell the truth. Therefore, they usually leave out one or two of the ingredients. My remarks about the two traveling doctors from Ramanathapuram, namely what they said about the nine great masters in the south, might possibly be true, since there has been a university for astronomy in Madurai. Furthermore, in Bengal, a province belonging to the English, there is a city called Kasi, where an Indian university still remains. The English government gives the entire income of this province, which amounts to twenty thousand rupees a year, to this university. From this university all their astronomical observations are sent out over all India and their calculations of solar eclipses are said to very precise. Their knowledge of medicine is the best in India and they are especially experienced in diseases of the eye, and even if their medicine is strong it often has a good effect. In the area of surgery they are said to have limited knowledge, but I hope soon to be able to report more fully on this”.

Again, this note reveals the following interesting details:

•§ He had accepted his poor knowledge of understanding the Indian Doctors.

•§ That the European doctors continued to, “ask them about the composition of some medicament, they believe they will loose their income if the tell the truth. Therefore, they usually leave out one or two of the ingredients”, proves their motive.

•§ There is nothing wrong, if the Indian doctors had hidden their formulations from the European doctors, as the latter had not been sincere in their dealings.

•§ They had not been honest enough to record their sources in their writings, encyclopedias etc.

•§ Even after knowing also, the western / European writers continue to write that the Hindu scholars, doctors, professionals, metallurgists etc., were “heathens”, “gentiles”, “followers of diabolic religion”, “the practices of gentility” etc., show their imbibed fundamentalism and hatred towards Hindus / Indians.

•§ That “since there has been a University for Astronomy in Madurai”, proves –

* ¨ That there was an astronomy university in Madurai.
* ¨ Perhaps, it was about to be or subjected to destruction or destroyed recently, as while mentioning about Kasi university, it is mentioned in the immediate next sentence, “Furthermore, in Bengal, a province belonging to the English, there is a city called Kasi, where an Indian university still remains.”
* ¨ Roberto de Nobili might have occupied, taken over or converted into his Ashram. As he could roam as “Romapuri Brahmin”, producing the “lost Yajur Veda” and “preaching wisdom among the wise”, he could be capable of doing that also.
* ¨ His references to calculations of solar eclipses, eye-diseases, surgery of Indians prove that he knew them already.

•§ Above all the Europeans of all sorts were working together as far as the study of Indian arts and sciences is concerned.

Inter-Medical Dialogue for Syphilis-Cure:

The entire dialogue has thus been revolved around the cure for syphilis. Folly was asking full details about the cure-pills made of mercury preparations, the dosage, the method of administration in a phased manner, and the precautions to be taken in between as the mercuric preparations had been harmful. It is evident that he forced the Hindu doctors to give out all details, but they refused informing that without seeing the patient, they would not give medicine. As a doctor, he should have treated Hindu doctors at par respecting their professionalism. But, he had approached them with preconceived ideas that they were quacks and so on. No doctor would give away all his valuable medicinal preparations, just like that. Had his medical methodology been supreme, he could have proceeded with their science, instead of getting medicine and medical knowledge from India. In fact, his “Remark” exposes his attitude. If the European doctors were proud of their knowledge, Hindu doctors could have also felt proud of their tradition, heritage and ethical practices. It is not inter-religious dialogue of “their own style” to talk with somebody and record in their writings that he had conducted 100 dialogues with heathens criticizing their diabolic methods or 200 conferences to debate male-female nature of Godhood or 300 workshops to disparage the scriptures, creation of universe, birth of Gods and Goddesses etc. Therefore, the Ramanathapuram doctors had definitely taught a good lesson to the Danish Surgeon, which has been revealed in his “Remark”. That is why, perhaps, it is not appearing in the “official manuscript” but in the “original manuscript”.

The Mystery of Moravians in Tranquebar – the ‘Hidden Seed’:

About the “visit of Morvians” much fuss is made by the missionaries themselves. The hatred of the Danish missionaries there against them is utterly surprising and inexplicable. They landed in Tranquebar in 1760 making shivers among the Danish-Halle missionaries there. When the Danish enquired, they came to know that they were sent by the Denmark King as a “Kiraikkadaikku ethir kadai” (shop opposite to green-grocery), rival shop to sell Christianity. Though, they lasted till 1803, they could counter the Danish-Protestants theologically. Anyway, this is to be taken as their internal problem, as Samuel Hugh Moffett30 characteristically calls them “the Hidden Seed” and of course, G. Samuel Iyer31 names it as a “grocery shop”. Both groups were Christians, sent by their own King, but the enmity between them is inexplicable, as the Tranquebar Danish had been very happy, when they dwindled down.

But, actually, they were a group of doctors, surgeons, botanists, astronomers, watch makers etc., specifically engaged and sent to India to study the arts and science of India, just like Le Gentil sent by the French Government. During the transit of Venus in 1761, observations were made at Tranquebar, as Le Gentil, the French astronomer did in Pondicherry. Le Gentil learned astronomy from a Brahmin of Trivalore33.

The details given about the Moravians have been very sketchy and after putting together, the picture emerged gave interesting details. Besides such professionals mentioned, particularly, doctors, there must have been patients, evidently suffering from syphilis and they were brought there for treating, curing or conducting experiment. Interestingly, the period 1760-1803 fits into TLF Folly c.1740-1803! In fact, as per their chronology, the Moravians had been there already. Therefore, the syphilis research of Folly and Moravians is revealing. The opposition and hatred shown towards Moravians is also perhaps answered.

The Mysterious Death of Moravians:

The sudden death of most of the Moravians due to diseases is really intriguing and surprising. “They were often on the verge of starvation……………….They suffered from the diseases of the liver………………..They died on the verge of starvation…………They suffered fever………….they never succeeded in the native language” The above are quoted from J. E. Hutton34 by P. Maria Lazar35 either partially or suppressing the lines which could convey some other details. In any case, the details given about them earlier contradict this situation:

* ¨ As they “had enough funds”, their starvation is intriguing.
* ¨ As they had “solid medical training” that could even present a “positive image on the Southern Coromandel Coast”, how they suffered from “diseases of the liver…” is not known.
* ¨ “They died on the verge of starvation…” again is intriguing, as if the first had been due to penury, the second must have been due to health condition or they were not in a position to eat
* ¨ “They suffered fever…” The nature of fever is not explained.
* ¨ “They never succeeded in learning the native language” – how it is related to death is not known.

Thus, again these puzzles lead to further investigation.

Nicobar Island used for Deportation of Diseased? :

The mysterious deaths occurred evidently in Nancauwery is one of the Nicobar Island. Before the arrival of the Moravians i.e., 1760, the Danish Company had withdrawn from the Nicobar Islands and had suspended traffic to Nicobar since most of the people sent to the Nicobar had died away. Thus the brethren had to wait until the Danish East India Company opened up traffic to Nicobar”. In 1768, the Company decided to open the traffic. Then, the death of brothers was described as mentioned above. Finally, it is also mentioned that “more than 30 brethren succumbed to tropical diseases”. The Nicobar Island was already in the Syphilis map of the Europeans, as has been recorded by them. Therefore, the reference mentioned here may point to the fact that the infected / quarantined patients or the persons already dying or beyond curability or recovery might have sent there as some sort of “medical deportation”.

Andreas Betschler – Did he conduct parallel research on Syphilis in Tranquebar (1760-1803)? :

It is reported that the Moravian doctors came to Tranquebar with “solid medical training with the help of which they could build a positive image on the Southern Coromandel Coast”. It is to be noted that Dr. Andreas Betschler was very efficient and popular. He was frequently sought after by the sick Europeans, and others. The Danish Governor used to take treatment from him. Over the years, the Brother garden had become a medical centre for the public. The questions arise here are –

•§ The emphasis that the doctors came there with “solid medical training” is intriguing.

•§ That “with the help of which they could build a positive image on the Southern Coromandel Coast”, implies that the earlier Danish doctors created some image.

•§ That “Dr. Andreas Betschler was very efficient and popular” and “He was frequently sought after by the sick Europeans and others” definitely shows the demand. But what for such demand necessitated?

The prevailing conditions prove Syphilis was rampant among the Europeans, particularly among the Danish and they were desperately searching for cure. As the above mentioned Botanist-doctors were also engaged in the same research, it is evident that the “search for cure” or the “discovery of a new drug” would have created the rivalry among the brethren in “the Brother Garden” (1760-1803) and “The United Brothers” (1768-1848).

Doctors posing as “Botanists” in search of Cure for Syphilis:

The above discussion clearly proves that the doctors of different specialization (as claimed or mentioned) had come here only for the following purposes:

* ¨ To study the cure of Syphilis by Indian doctors.
* ¨ To obtain medicines – ointments (kalimbu) and formulations from them.
* ¨ To visit their schools, laboratories and places of preparations.
* ¨ To meet their Gurus.
* ¨ To analyze the ingredients of the medicines.
* ¨ As the Indian doctors had not co-operated, they proceeded in their own way to obtain the plants, herbs, seeds etc., and started preparations.
* ¨ To send the collection of botanical samples, to send Indian books showing the classification of trees, plants, herbs etc., to European scientists, probably, Linnaeus, so that he could have completed the botanical classification successfully.

Syphilis compels Europeans to learn from Malabar (Tamil) Doctors:

The Europeans were called “Parangi” by the Tamils as they were infected with a contagious disease known as “Mega noi”, “Granthi noi” and so on. In fact, Johann Philip Fabricius (1711-1791) gives meaning for “Parangi” as Syphilis in his famous Tamil to English dictionary. Incidentally, the Danish official reports show that syphilis was high, wherever the Danish colonies were there in Tranquebar, Andaman & Nicobar, Mauritius etc. Thus, the Danish had been desperate to find a cure immediately. As they were getting reports from Tranquebar that some of their people were cured by the Tamil doctors, they deployed their group to study and send the report immediately.

An Indian’s Account of Syphilis:

Interestingly, Prof. D. V. Subba Reddy (1899-1987) has done much research on the subject matter. He published his thesis, “Antiquity of Syphilis (Venereal Diseases) in India”, in the Indian Journal of Venereal Diseases (Vol.2, No.2, June 1936), which fetched him Charaka Memorial Prize in 1936. Writing on the subject in many articles of the same Journal between 1938 and 1940, he published his collection in the form of a book, “Phirangi Roga or Syphilis in India in 16th and 17th Centuries: Sketches of early European Syphilographers” with extracts from their writings in 1939. Incidentally, he records an episode connected with his book, which worth to be reproduced: “It was to be dedicated to Prof. Karl Sudhoff and have a foreword from the veteran British Historian of Medicine, Sir D’ Arcy Power. The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, stoppage of correspondence with Germany and death of British Surgeon, upset my plans. Then, though Prof. J. F. Fulton of Yale agreed to write a foreword, the two copies of the book, sent by ship, on different occasions did not reach him. Finally, I had to be content with the publication of the collected articles in a book form, with my short preface…”

Of course, he has published the following articles on the subject matter as follows:

• i. XVI Century Dutch Physician on Indian Drugs, in Bulletin of the Department of History of Medicine, Vol. III, No.3, July, 1965, pp.173-182.

• ii. Dutch Writings of 16th century on Indian Drugs, in Bulletin of the Institute of History of Medicine, Vol. I, Nos.3 & 4, July & October, 1971, pp.135-140.

• iii. A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Syphilis in India in XVI Century in Bulletin of the Institute of History of Medicine, Vol. II, No.2, April, 1972, pp.94-97.

Here, it can be noted that the “two copies of the book sent on different occasions” did not reach Prof. Fulton. Perhaps, the westerners might not have wanted such book to be published and circulated, that too with the title “Phirangi Roga” or Syphilis in India in 16th and 17th Centuries, as it might lead to further research to expose their strategies followed by them.

•§ Carl Linnaeus36 (1707-78): Influenced by the work of da’Orta, Linnaeus took much interest in Indian medicine, particularly based on herbs, flowers, creepers, seeds, plants etc. Through the works of da’Orta, van Rheede and Limmaeus, Ayurvedic traditions exerted an important and lasting influence on the development of botanical science in Europe (Grove 1995: Ch.21). He did not come to India, but his colleagues mentioned above were regularly sending him – (i) Preserved samples of plants, herbs, seeds etc, (ii) List of the above (as found in the Indian palm-leaf books) (iii)Plant Lexicon (Palm-leaf books) with classification, and (iv) Writings and jottings of interviews with the local Doctors. Using this data and information, he classified the Plant Kingdom in 1753 stating that the “number of plants in the whole world is much less than is commonly believed” 37, calculating that it “hardly reaches 10,000”, as he could not identify many species mentioned in the Tamil books. As Latin was the scientific language of the European scientists, just like Sanskrit, he Latinized the names of the plants, and thus they started appearing “scientifically”. A century later, in 1847, Lindley credited the Plant Kingdom with a total of 100,000 species in nearly 9,000 genera38. The figures of Linnaeus derived from Indian sources and the Indian medical wisdom has thus become component of modern global knowledge.

The Herbaria, Botanical Gardens and Explorations:

The Europeans operated to collects Indian medicinal books, formulations etc., in three ways:

•§ The Herbaria: The place where herbs are collected, treated, pressed, dried and displayed. However, such archival collection is not required for Indian doctors, as they believe in live-plants and they already identified and preserve the species. Ramadeva had been expert in this field. He went to Arabia to find out how the plants lived even under extreme temperatures. Later, returning to Tamizhagam, he experimented with certain plants at his herbarium at Caturagiri.

•§ Botanical Garden: Where the plants are grown. It has to be mentioned that in Tamizhagam, every temple had herbarium with many species of plants. In daily rituals, their preparations were used symbolically and given to the devotees after Abhisekam (the prescribed washing of the Idol of the presiding deity in a temple). For each devotee, a prescribed plant was there for the purpose, which was given to him as “prasada” (offering), which later, he/she took or applied according the prescription. In the Indian system of cooking and meals, the plants, herbs, seeds etc., are part and parcel of menu and they periodically consumed. In traditionally maintained cooking, families still take preparations of – (i) Different types of Paruppu (grams), (ii) Various types of Kuzhambu (where vegetables leaves, roots, are used along with mixture of leaves and seeds), (iii) Diverse Rasams (extracts of herbs), and (iv) Chutneys (rammed mass of leaves, herbs, seeds). Similar types of preparations are used in medicine by the Indian doctors either Ayurveda or Siddha. In Siddha, besides or instead of plant preparations, the inorganic chemicals are mixed to get quick relief, healing and curing. That is why the Europeans took more interest in the latter and camped in Tamizhagam, under different banners to exploit, loot, and exhaust the wisdom of Indians by all means. John Gerard of London maintained a good Botanical garden

•§ Botanical Exploration: This is nothing but grabbing the so-called “folklore medicines of the Indians”, including their books. This incidentally involved threatening, kidnapping and even killing of Indian doctors. Sadasiva Brimendrar and Ramalinga Adigal were perhaps victims of such processes; later glorified and hagiographed differently39.

British Commander gets Smallpox and is cured by Mariamma:

The story has been very famous that a British commander comes across the Mariamman festival just like Francis Xavier (1506-1552). He notices the Indian mode of inoculating to appease “the vicious, vengeful demon of smallpox”. As he ridicules, he gets the disease. For cure, he goes to the temple as per the advice of a small girl and prays. He is cured and his unbeliever wife also gets convinced of the power of Goddess, when they are saved from the sudden collapse of their house. The simple fact is that the disease (Ammai) and the cure are considered as the Goddess (Mariamma). This apocryphal story has the hidden fact of the British attempt to learn the inoculation method from the Tamils. Francis Xavier was sent to India and he made contact with the powerful Brahmin priests and medicine men40.

From Cowpox to Smallpox – Indian method of Vaccination’s Journey to Europe:

It was Vasco-da-Gama who found out that “Mari” was invoked to cure smallpox, but he or his translators made it to read as that “when he arrived Calicut in 1498, the heathens were praying Mary Mary” This is converting “Mari to Mary”, just like Cowpox turning to Smallpox41. Edward Jenner42, S.J (1749-1823) named the disease he invented as “Cowpox”. Xavier could not go further, because of his other agenda in the Coromandel Coast. However, Dr. J. Z. Holwell43 completes the story and sends his most detailed account of the Indian rites of vaccination to the College of Physicians in London in 1767. In 1792, Jenner writes his book “An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccine, a disease discovered in some of the Western Counties of England”, sends his paper to the Royal Society in 1797 and gets honorary M.D degree from the University of Oxford in 1813. No acknowledgement to India!

An American Medical Association book gives the following details with a picture of “A Malabar woman invoking the goddess of smallpox and carrying fire on her head symbolic of the disease”. Thus, the religious rituals of dramatic representation of the power of the Hindu goddess of smallpox, is described as follows44: “The goddess stands with two uplifted crooked daggers, threatening to strike on the right and left. Before her is a band of the executors of her vengeance. Two of them wear grinning red masks, carry black shields, and brandish naked scimitars. White lines, like rays, issue from the bodies of the others, to indicate infection. On the left there is a group of men with spotted bodies, inflicted with the malady; bells are hung at their cinctures, and a few of them wave in their hands black feathers. They are preceded by musicians with drums, who are supplicating the pity of the furious deity. Behind the goddess, on the right, there advances a bevy of smiling young women, who are carrying gracefully on their heads baskets with thanksgiving offerings, in gratitude for their lives and their beauty having been spared. There is, besides, a little boy with a bell at his girdle, who seems to be conveying something from the right arm of the goddess. This action may probably be emblematic of inoculation. In a country where every thought, word and deed are mere repetitions of those of their progenitors, a composition like this bears the stamp of great antiquity.”

Dr. J .Z. Holwell45 sent a most detailed account of these religious rites to the College of Physicians in London in 1767: “Inoculation is performed in Indostan by a particular tribe of Bramins, who are delegated annually for this service from the different Colleges of Bindoobund, Eleabas, Benares, & c. over all the distant provinces: dividing themselves into small parties, of three or four each, they plan their traveling circuits in such wise as to arrive at the places of the operation consists only in abstaining for a month from fish, milk, and ghee (a kind of butter made generally of buffalo’s milk); the prohibition of fish respects only the native Portuguese and Mahomedans, who abound in every province of the empire.”(An Account of the Manner of Inoculating for the Smallpox in the East Indies, Dr. J. Z. Holwell, F.R.S)

‘A Pious Fraud’ – A Rebuttal gives more Evidences:

Dominik Wujastyk46 has tried to prove that the claim of Indian origin of vaccination started with an article appeared in ‘Madras Courier’ dated January 12, 1819 as a letter to editor under the name ‘Calvi Virombon’. He traces the origin to one Tamil work. He then tries to assert that this article was picked up by the European writers and started writing that vaccination was invented in India before Jenner. Then he points out the opposition of the introduction of vaccination in India by the Brahmins from the 19th century British documents. He tries to interpret that one Ellis and Dr. Anderson of Madras produced some literature pointing out that the vaccination was an old practice in India and therefore, it need not be opposed by the Hindus. However, he accepts that this literature is not available. As the vaccination was prepared from the udders of British cow, the Hindus refused to get vaccinated. So the British applied Brahmins to inoculate. He also points a letter reportedly written by one Mopearl Streenivasachary (December 29, 1804) to Dr. Anderson, Madras. He also accepts that all these documents (his relied upon documents) are not available. However, he was tactfully silent on the report sent by Dr. J .Z. Holwell to the College of Physicians in London in 1767. However, the Tamil works mentioned ‘Yougimuni Cintamani’ and ‘Karisal Munnuru’ attributed to Agastya and another work ‘Jayana Vasishtham’ tell different story. The missionaries opposed and vehemently criticized when the Indian practice of vaccination was introduced in England, as they were trying to introduce ‘heathenish practices’ in Christian countries on the ‘Christian patients’!

From Small-pox to Great-pox, the Syphilis:

There have been many facts hidden behind the discovery of or attempted European discovery of cure for the diseases of smallpox and syphilis. Europeans accept that Jenner ‘discovered’ accidentally. The great argument brought against vaccination is the danger of transmitting other disease, syphilis with the lymph. During the material period, the Europeans were after cure for smallpox and syphilis besides leprosy. The real affinity of cow-pox is not to the small-pox but to the great-pox. As the Europeans of all sorts, particularly the sailors, soldiers, workers, and others, were traveling different countries they indulged in sex without any morality. The reports of naval surgeons, military doctors etc., vouchsafe such conditions (e.g., Sir George Balinggall47 1780-1855). Thus, their desperate chase after the Siddhas is understandable.

As Vasco-da-Gama48 introduced Syphilis in India through Calicut, the Tamils had a contempt for the Europeans and started calling them “Parangi”, that is the persons with such disease, syphilis. Of course, the Europeans accuse Columbus. The other names used for Syphilis are – the Great Pox, Lues, Lues Venera, the Great Mimic, the Great Imitator, Morbus Gallius, the French Disease, Spanish pockes, the Neopolitan itch, Pok Royal and each name reveals the fact behind. The cure with mercury, mercurial preparations and their availability in India made them attack India. Dr. Julius Jolly49 confirms that – “The identification of ‘Syphilis’ with the disease phiranga, phirangaroga, phirangamaya, the Franc disease is certain which, however, is mentioned in the works of the 16th century, especially in Bhavaprakasa 4.50.2 along with boils and smallpox. There its name is explained by the fact that it frequently occurs in the land of Francs (phiranga samjnake dese) i.e. in Europe. It is a gland-disease (gandharoga or gandaroga) that is caused by physical contact with a phirangin (European), (and particularly-comm) by intimate intercourse with a phirangini (European woman), and belongs to the disease. The disease originating from the external cause….the European origin of phiranga cannot, therefore, be doubted.” Thus, in the case of Syphilis, comes the surgeon – T L S Folly. The Danish took special interest in acquiring Indian medicine for curing Syphilis, as they were not satisfied with “Rob Anti-Syphilitique”. It was reportedly invented by a chemist Sieur Pierre Boyveau-Laffecteur (c.1750-1812), who worked at French Naval hospitals for thirty years.

The Indian Tribals targeted for Herbal Formulations:

Actually, Hindus respected Vanavasis (the forest dwellers and herbal doctors), as they live in their natural setting without disturbing the ecological imbalances so that the species of flora and fauna are not disturbed. Thus, there is no question of disappearance and dwindling away of any species from the mother Earth. But, the westerners had different approach of grabbing, exploitation and immediate usage for money-making. Understanding that certain Tamil tribes were having herbal medicines for syphilis, snake bite etc., the Europeans targeted them. However, in India, they had totally misunderstood the Hindu-tribes unlike that of other continents (Note that, none of the tribes are demeaned or under-estimated, the attitude of the Europeans is pointed out). They expected that they would be wild or uncivilized and so on. But, the way of their life proved otherwise. After all, Rishis and Siddhas also lived in forests. Thus, their way of life had been natural and they were the real “naturalists”. In fact, Siddhas and Rishis were guiding and protecting the tribes, as they were supplying herbs and minerals for their preparations. When, the Europeans tried to disturb them, some of them turned against them of course, literally condemning their qualities etc. Thus, some of the Siddha literature has been against Christianity, basic tenets and so on. Sivavakkiyar poems many times refute their theology implicitly and explicitly.

Bogar50 Apocryphal Story reveals that the Jesuits learned from Siddhas:

Tobacco (Lobalia inflate) was introduced into Europe from India, particularly medicinal properties, derivatives and formulations were obtained from Indian doctors. This is clearly mentioned in the books of Siddha doctors like bogar. The work Bogar7000 characteristically mentions how ‘Pothimattukkarar’ gives Tobacco to Bogar and gets medical education from him learning other formulations. ‘Pothimattukkarar’ implies the persons dealing with or handling pack-bullocks. The expression is used in derogatory manner in Tamil. First Konars (the Cattle-keepers) come to him with respect and learn the ‘Ema vittai’ (the art of converting bae metal to gold with basmam, ash). Then comes the ‘Pothimattukkarar’ to Siddha. As he was attracted towards the smell of tobacco, they offered tobacco to him. They started ridiculing him and mockering by all means. They challenged them to raise the fallen Asoka tree, which the Siddha did. Then they challenged him to bring rains, which he did again. Then, the “Pothimattukkarar” gave “Pugayilai karpam” (a compound of Tobacco) to the Siddha. Then he started teaching the ‘Pothimattukkarar’ as per the directions of his Guru. He taught them including ‘Ema vittai’. When tobacco itself had gone to Europe from India, there is no necessity for a Siddha doctor to get tobacco and have a puff and later to get its preparation. And finally, they got the art of transmutation of metal from him.

•§ Charles Curtis51: He was a Naval-surgeon of British fleet and in Madras between 1782 and 1783. He came there landing at Ceylon, Nagapatnam and Caddalore observing the cases of wounds, ulcers, burns caused by gun powder, luxes and fever diseases, cholera and different types of sores. At the Naval Hospital in Madras, he conducted many clinical studies observing and treating patients. Though, he followed modern methods, he also studied Indian sources and wrote a book, ‘An Account of Diseases of India’.

•§ Roberto de Nobili: He collected astronomical works and tables of Tamilnadu and studied the calendar making method adopted by the South Indians. At one side he criticized the Vedanga Jyotisa52, whereas on the other side, he was collecting all such astronomical works and tables. In fact, he was also discussing about Galileo’s tables with Indian astronomers. Here, one Antoniod Rubino played a role. As Ricco collected astronomical works from Cochin, he did the same from Madurai. He also compiled a Tamil book explaining the methods applicable to Church in observance of feasts and fasts of saints. After his death on January 16, 1656, his important Indian collections were sent to Rome.

Kepler and India – Nobili’s dialogue with Indian Astronomers:

That Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) had so much of contempt against Indian astronomy is intriguing. He studied the Kaliyuga and reckoning of the Hindus, but accused that Hindus borrowed from the Christians and the Jews from the Chaldeans, who, it is claimed that Messiah would appear in the Lunar year of the world 4320! Here, the important questions arise are:

• i. How and why he should have studied Kaliyuga?

• ii. What was the attraction of Kaliyuga to European scientists?

• iii. How Kepler knew about Kaliyuga, the calculations and Indian astronomy?

• iv. Why should he accuse that Hindus borrowed it from the Christians and the Jews from the Chaldeans?

• v. What was the necessity of placing Chaldeans on the top?

• vi. Why the comparison was made among the Hindus, Jews, Chaldeans and Christians?

It is very difficult to answer, but the fact is that Kepler knew all. When Nobili started debating Kepler Laws with Indian astronomers, there is a reason to believe that Nobili too knew about Kepler’s acquisition of Indian astronomy to criticize. Nilakanta’s planetary model is exactly the Tychonic model (Tycho was a contemporary of Christopher Clavius), except that it involves eliptical orbits. Tycho Brahe’s student was Johannes Kepler, who obtained his elliptical orbits by computing his (Tycho’s) observations. In 1990, physicists and writers reported that Kepler fabricated his data to obtain the planetary motion53. If the data could be obtained scientifically by working based on observations or derived formulae, one need not cook up figures, because, the figures are mathematical, which could be verified by anybody to find out the facts contained. Therefore, scientist like Kepler could not have changed his figures, unless, he got hold of some other figures, which would have appealed to him the most. As he was having only the final figures and not the working to arrive at such figures, he would have arrived at some figures without giving the source or working. Therefore, such changed figures are perhaps now mentioned as ‘fabricated’. By all means, the source material was nothing but Indian, which was given to the scientists on a platter.

Nobili had access to Brahmin secrets:

The main motive behind Nobili to masquerade as a ‘Brahmin’ is to learn astronomy and collect books from India. Jesuits understood that most of the books from north India were destroyed and taken away by the Muslims and used by the Arabs for their ‘scientific pursuits’, they came to know that south Indian Brahmins were still in possession of valuable books. During the 16th – 17th centuries, the moors were demanding huge money in the form of gold and other valuables for Indian books exploiting the European scholars. Therefore, the Jesuits planned to collect books directly from India. As Indian works were also available in Tibet, China and South East Asian countries, they targeted these countries also. Rome taking clue from Ricci ordered Nobili to don ochre to collect astronomical secrets from Brahmins.

•§ Matteo Ricco (1552-1610): He was the first batch of Jesuits trained in the new mathematics curriculum (astrology, astronomy, astronomical table preparation, calendar making etc) introduced in the Collegio Romano by Christopher Clavius. The Italian missionary was sent to China, who came to Goa, India in 1577. From there, he proceeded to China. Again, after his work in China from 1583 to 1610, he came to Goa in 1611 and stayed there for four years. In his first visit, he lived in Goa and then in Cochin from September 13, 1578 to April 15, 1582 meeting Brahmins and moors to learn recording and measuring time and collect manuscripts54. He specifically made enquiries about Indian calendar and collected connected manuscripts and took them when he left India. There is a strong reason to confirm that he must have taken the Madhava works of ‘Infinite series’ and circulated among the European scientists.

•§ Christopher Clavius (1538-1612): He collected all contemporary mathematical, geometrical, astrological, astronomical, and allied works and introduced the new mathematics curriculum (astrology, astronomy, astronomical table preparation, calendar making etc) in the Collegio Romano. He was a ‘Jesuit friend’ of Johannes Kepler and chided by Tycho Brahe for writing so many letters and supplier of manuscripts to Galelio Galeli, while visiting to the Jesuit Roman College Collegio Romano.55 His discovery of ‘Gregorian Calendar’ has been kept in secrecy, as many contemporary scientists criticized his ‘mystical methods’ applied. Kepler commented, ‘After all, Easter is a feast, not a planet” (about his addition of 97 days to every 400 years to get correct date of Easter!). Joseph Scaliger rejected it dubbing him as a ‘German potbelly’.

Nobili’s Interest in Indian Cosmology:

Nobili was startled and thrilled to know that such concepts were there already in Tamil books/manuscripts. One manuscript “Olagathuva Sasthiram” (The Knowledge of Earth) gives the following details:

16 hair-breadths = 1 scratch

16 scratches = 1 finger breadth

16 finger-breadths = 1 foot

5 feet = 1 arm’s length

3000 arm’s length = 1 astronomical kadham (1 kadham = 8 miles = 12.8 kms)

Then the diameters of planets are given as follows in terms of kadhams: The greatest circumference of earth = 7920 k = 101376 kms.

Thus, it is very evident that Galeli and Kepler got the details from Antonio Rubino and Nobili, who sent the books to Goa and from there they reached Rome. Kepler proposed the elliptical orbit concept only in 1609.

•§ Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585)56: He was the reformer of the Julian calendar (later known as the Gregorian calendar) Decreed in 1582 that a calendar with fasts and feasts be adopted by the Roman Catholics, heavily depended on the Indian astronomical tables. To reform the calendar, he constituted a commission, which included astronomers like Italian physicist Lilio57, who had been familiar with Indian calendar and time reckoning and headed by Christoph Clavius. It is evident that he must have procured Indian methods of construction of calendar. He was to complete another great work, closely allied to the reform of calendar – the publication of the Roman Martyrology. The Saints whose feasts had to be celebrated only in certain places were inserted in of the Roman Martyrology.

•§ Chronological Pursuits: The European scholars had been curious and inquisitive about the Indian sciences, as they used to learn through Arabs. As they came to know that the Arabs were only passing on Indian arts and sciences besides the goods, they decided to deal with India directly. As the sea-route was dominated by Moors/Muslims, the missionaries tried to reach land and after establishment of their base at Goa, the ancient power seat of Kadambas (who dominated the trade with middle-east for centuries) the Portuguese tried to command their men from there.

•§ The Transit of Venus and India58: India has been the suitable location to study the transit of Venus for many centuries. Interestingly astronomers and scholars have never missed to visit India on such occasions. John Playfair gives details of the visits of Jesuits to Tamizhagam, their collection of astronomical and mathematical tables from different places. The movement of Coeurdoux from Krishnabourum to Maddigubba to Dharmavaram and reporting to Paris unfolds two aspects-astronomical observation and investigation of textile technology and chemistry; and sending the connected data, information and books.

Indian Saltpetre and Scientific Geometry / Crystallography:

Nobili collected many works on Indian crystallography, otherwise known as ‘Madhyama kshara’. Some of the salts were mentioned as Dandi (Balio Spermun Montanum), Dravanti (Salvinia Cucullata), Chitraka (Plumbago Zeylanica), Langaliki (Gloriosa Superba) and so on. Ayurveda contains usage of salts, but prepared and mixed judiciously to get desired cures. Indian saltpetre made the Europeans sensational in many aspects – the connected pyrotechnics was unknown to them; the crystallogragy was hidden knowledge; the alchemy was divine secret; and above all the explosive nature God-sent warfare. The samples of salt crystals of different colors, sizes and shapes and the connected works brought by the Jesuits induced the scholars, mathematicians, chemists, physicists, scientists and others in different angles. There were potassium nitrate and other alkaline salts, but all were not inflammatory or explosive, as they were used to heal disease, make soap, glass, fertilizers and textiles. Immediately, they understood as to how the textiles were processed, dyes manufactured, designs printed, metals extracted and purified, medicinal preparations made and so on. The calculation of numbers from the infinitesimal to infinity; distances and time accordingly, but always associating with man and nature had been illuminating, interesting and thought provoking. Indians kept the processing of such salts secret restricted to certain groups, what the Portuguese jealously called ‘castas’, which have become “castes’ now creating havoc. But technology held by them for generations was disappearing. As “Siddhas” or “Siddha like sadhus” were reportedly having such knowledge, the Jesuits and Mohammedans also targeted them. The other side of Saltpetre was that Europeans mainly used it for making gunpowder and used in battles. Saltpetre trade was started by the Dutch first in the Coromandel Coast. The Dutch and Portuguese were purchasing saltpetre from the east coast in huge quantities during 17th century. To compete, the British also entered.

Vediyuppu – Sodium Nitrate – Gunpowder:

The Siddha literature had been abundant with references to explosives using different types of naturally available salts. In India, the dynamites/explosives were used extensively for quarrying purposes, as they required large quantities of stones for building purposes. The rock-cut temples, monolithic monuments, lengthy pillars and slabs prove the tactful breakage of stones from rocky mountain along its cleavages. Another usage was for pyro-technique mixtures. Explosives were manufactured simply with saltpetre or potassium known as ‘Vediyuppu’, literally meaning ‘the salt that explodes’. However, they kept it as guarded secret, as the general belief of Indians has been such techniques should not fall into the hands of weak or perverted minds leading to disastrous consequences. But, the Europeans and Mohammedan rulers started knowing about it through Jesuits and tried to exploit for explosives. Tipu Sultan employed some experts to manufacture explosives to be used in battle. In 1646, the British started refining and processing saltpetre in their Malpore factory at Gujarat and packing such refined/ processed saltpetre in raw hides to prevent the loss in storage. In 1652, at Balasore and Hoogly factories, they found the processing was very expensive, as 200 out of 600 copper pans were damaged. However, as the Dutch could get Indian expertise, they could process easily and pack the processed powder in wooden barrels and then transferred to jars, known as Martaban jars purchased from Burma, so that the gunpowder could be kept for years. Tipu Sultan extracted the technique from the Siddhas by force. The Ashram of Sadasiv Bramendra was destroyed by the army. Actually, the Siddhas did not want such technology should fall in the hands of tyrants who could try to destroy the humanity and the world. That is why they kept it as secret.

•2. Madurai – European Centre for Production of Indian Mathematical and Astronomical Books and Transfer to European Scholars and Scientists:

The selection of Madurai by the Jesuits is significant and that is analyzed as follows by taking into consideration different European connections. Interestingly Augustus De Morgan59 (1806-1871), was born (blind in one eye) in 1806 in Madurai, where his father was associated with the East India Company. His DeMorgan’s laws, which were named after him stated:

“The negation of an ‘and’ statement is logically equivalent to the ‘or’ statement in which each component is negated.”

“The negation of an ‘or’ statement is logically equivalent to the ‘and’ statement in which each component is negated.”

De Morgan’s laws were an important element in the field of symbolic logic. It made things easier for other mathematicians to study symbolic logic and made them more receptive towards this abstract and radical study. De Morgan’s laws also played an important role in the study of sets theory that sprang up after his death.

The University of Astronomy at Madurai:

None cared to probe into why the Jesuit missionaries come to Madurai all along the way begging permission from the Naik Kings to start their activities. The European writers have been too clever to suppress the fact that they wanted to come there to get all details what they required, as the European scientists were struggling with numbers, hypotheses and theories. The model of ‘Christopher Clavious’ is followed faithfully60. The Jesuits learned Tamil along with Indian school children writing alphabets on the sand to at least read and understand so that they could locate and identify the palm-books, they wanted. Their grudge, antipathy and hatred against ‘Brahmins’ had been due to the fact that they never wanted to teach them, as they equated them with ‘mlechas’ i.e. they might use the acquired knowledge against the humanity.

According to Roberto de Nobili, Madurai was the excellent university where 10,000 Brahmins were learning different arts and sciences into groups of 200-300 under professionals. It was a residential university of which the King had taken care of finance. Understanding this he came here as a ‘Romapuri Brahmin’. Fr. Buccerio’s account61 proves that he acted as a Brahmin in all aspects just to fool the Hindus.

Take the case of inoculation, they did not want to learn it properly, but steal the knowledge in piece-meal, applied on experimental basis and killing people. Jenner inoculated his son, John Phipps son of his gardener, but both died. Of course the fate of two daughters of the Prince of Wales is not known who were inoculated by the Jesuits learning ‘the Indian religious rite’. The medical formulations have been useful and harmful to human-beings depending upon the nature of body. The Siddha and Ayurvedic medicines cannot be applied as such in the same manner prepared or manufactured in one country to another country. The Indian doctors have recorded such truths in their books, but the western doctors, pharmacists and pharmaceutical manufacturers did not care and experimented with animals and human-beings for clinical results and killed lakhs of people without their knowledge.

•§ Antonio Rubino (1590-1608), ‘The Astronomically Interested Missionary’: Antonio Rubino was a Piedmontse missionary, but ‘with astronomical interest’ as reported by western writers. He was entrusted with the main job to collect all astronomical, mathematical and scientific manuscripts with instruments and gadgets used by the Brahmins62. He was associated with Galeli Galileo (1564-1642), who was very much interested in getting Indian works after knowing details through his friends. As he tried to know astronomical secrets, he developed friendship with Brahmins. He was astonished at the interest taken by Brahmins ‘in the movement and aspects of stars and planets, particularly of those twenty-seven which rule men’s lives’. Vincent Cronin characteristically notes that, ‘”he had tried to find out how they predicted ‘the hour and even the minute of solar and lunar eclipses’, but with no success, for Brahmins guarded these secrets closely” adding that “Nobili, however, had access to Brahmin secrets”. He was informing Nobili about the inquiries and workings of Galileo. His “Account of the History and Religion of Vijayanagara (1608)” is interesting63.

•§ Jean Venant Bouchet (1655-1732): Siam became the nerve centre of the Jesuits, the moment the Hindu astronomical tables created a great debate among the European scientists. Simon de La Loubere (1642-1729) brought an extract of a Siamese manuscript containing tables and rules for calculating the places of sun and moon (Mem de l’Acad. Des Science, tom.8, p.281 & c). Inspired by this, the European scientists started their research in the tables. He was expelled from Siam for his activities. Bouchet in spite of his hobnobbing with John Britto and Panaraswamis, could cover coromandel coast by foot recording astronomical observation, making maps and sending them to France (from 1689 onwards). Here, the collusion of French missionaries with other European missionaries is revealed. Thus, it is evident that the ‘Pandaraswamis’ were their informers, helpers and collaborators for the Jesuits in getting the Indian palm-leaf-books. R. K. Kochar64 describes it as: “Obviously there was some sort of coordination between the Jesuit data collectors on the one hand and the French commercial and political interests, on the other hand”. The Jesuits sent many manuscript charts, and other materials to France continuously. D’ Anville prepared a map with the help of these materials (as the paper is restricted to Tamizhagam, the activities of north-India is not mentioned e.g. James Runnel (1742-1830), Anthony Monserrate (1536-1600), Claude Stanislaus Boudier (1686-1757), Joseph Tieffenthaler (1710-1785), Francis Xavier Wendel (c.1730-1803) etc, who have collected many Indian maps, charts, tables, samples and books on different sciences). As the Indian maps, geographical diagrams, pictures, charts were continuously taken away by the missionaries; maps drawn by Indians are not available and they are accused of their ignorance of ‘cartography’ in spite of their ship-building, navigation and oceanic adventures undertaken to different countries!

•§ Fr. Richard: He was a companion of Bouchet interested in the collection of astronomical charts, tables and lists of stars. Just like the fight between Newton and Leibniz over the claim of ‘discovery of Calculus’, there was a fight between him and another Fr. Fontenay about the ‘discovery of new stars’. Finally, Fontenay was credited with the discovery of the first Binary Alpha Crucis in 1685 from the Cape of Good Hope to reach India; and Richaud that of southern bright star Alpha Centauri in 1689 from India itself!

•§ Abraham Hyacinthe Antiquetil de Perron (1731-1805): He is the French collector of Indian mathematical and astronomical books, besides the Persian and Sanskrit. Had been in India between 1755 and 1764, and linking many Jesuits of India, he is generally credited with the translation of the Zend-Acestha (1771) and the Upanishads in Latin (1804). When he was forced to leave India to France in 1764, he took 180 manuscripts (Indian books). When Fr. Pere Coeurdoux was sending astronomical tables and books from Tamizhagam to Fr. Souchet, Paris, his name is figured in the context of an alleged book attributed to Beschi. Thus, his interest in Parsi and Sanskrit appeared to have excelled in the study of Tamizhagam astronomical manuscripts. He helped the Jesuits in translating Indian books to French and Latin and acted as a conduit for the manuscripts taking out of India. For example, Joseph Tieffenthaler in 1773 entrusted him with his voluminous collection of his works in Latin to a Prof. Krat Zenstein through the agency of a Dutch doctor, whom he met in India and other material to him directly.

•§ Tycho Brahe (1546-1601): About his involvement in transmission of Nilakanta Somasutvan (1444-1550) works to Europe, studies have been already published. Here, his dealing with astronomical instruments is studied. In his preface to ‘Mechanica’ to the Noblest Emperor Rudolph the 2nd, he comes out with the following details65:

* ¨ God made men to discover astronomy etc., because it is ‘divine astronomy’ and make instruments following the Christian Prophets.
* ¨ Many other devices that were constructed for this purpose by the most ancient kings were once observed, such as in India, Syria, Arabia, Chaldea, Ethipia, Egypt.
* ¨ The Arabs used zodiac armillaries (armillary sphere), torquetum, and plane astrolabe.
* ¨ He laments about many other astronomical instruments that might be perished due to frequent changes of the world.
* ¨ He accepts that recently (in 16th-17th centuries), the instruments used were quadrant, radius, and astronomical rings.
* ¨ About the usage of astronomical instruments by Copernicus, he records that “partly from those instruments considered to have been used by him that which still remain”.
* ¨ Then, he explains how he tried to construct ‘astronomical instruments’ since childhood but failed.
* ¨ He notes that “Ptolemy is seen to complain loudly about the same kind of instruments, which were made of solid metal and once used to stand in the Colonnade at Alexandria”, but he was making with wood.
* ¨ He mentions about “a certain very large quadrant intended for altitudes only, which I once used at Ausburg, in my youth”. Then, he mentions about the instruments he purchased without mentioning the source.
* ¨ “a certain steel quadrant, which I brought up earlier” –
* ¨ About his instruments, he says, “… instruments, which are not yet drawn and which I am not ready to exhibit, where also is added some indication of those that I am still thinking of constructing to great advantage”.
* ¨ Finally, he mentions about a “very great globe made of brass, which comprehends 1000 fixed stars that were placed by me with the greatest care and precision many years ago now….”

Thus, though the Arabs are mentioned, India is mentioned initially and not afterwards. The Indian works Surya Siddhanta, Aryabhatiyam and other ‘Karanam’ works mention about the practical astronomical instruments like armillary sphere, gnomon, compass, etc., for observations. The Siddhantic tables were extensively used for the preparation of Alphonso tables. Therefore, the astronomical instruments mentioned, particularly made of solid metal, steel and brass must have come from India during the material period. As the Indian books and tables had gone there, based on them it is unbelievable that they could not have known the Indian instruments and obtained. After all, the Arabs had only borrowed from India and introduced in Europe and the Europeans name them with Arabic adjectives – al-gamest, algorism, al-gorithm, al-gebra, al-kali, al-chemy, al-cohol, al-embic and so on. But, such naming alone cannot make them the owners or inventers. Any way, at that time, perhaps, the westerners never thought of intellectual property rights and so on!

The double-standards adopted by the European writers and researchers:

The European interest in Indian medicine had been open secret. That EIC established botanical gardens, collected Indian samples, wanted to classify Indian flora according to Linnaeus, conduct scientific investigation, etc., and were well recorded. They made efforts to collect the knowledge of Indian medicine, material medica, medicines themselves from the Indian scholars and doctors. However, they pretended as if the Indian doctors were quacks and not diagnosing scientifically and so on. They even accused that Indian doctors were not aware of the circulation of blood, did not perform autopsies and had little knowledge of anatomy. This is just like Roberto de Nobili questioning a Hindu astronomer as to whether he knew Kepler’s laws! They also alleged that the knowledge possessed by them was degenerated and clouded with religious superstition. Unfortunately, they are definitely accusing Hindus just for their weakness of religious fundamentalism during the material period. The circulation of blood, autopsy etc., were heavily condemned by the Church and they wanted to find an excuse from the Hindu doctors, but as the Hindu system had already been well established and time-tested, such preliminaries were not required. In fact, the so called discovery of circulation of blood, transfusion of blood resulted in creation of more denominations detaching from Catholicism.

Medicinal Works – Sthala Puranas – Vrukshayurveda – Sidhha Works:

•§ Collin Mackanzie (1753-c.1820): He came to India in 1782, working in Madras, Coimbatore, Tindugul, Nellore, Gundur, Mysore, Calcutta and Java, he bought thousands of manuscripts/palm-leaf books, charts, maps, and antiques related to all subjects of India, mainly concentrating on ancient Indian arts and sciences. Before coming he was already collecting details of Indian mathematics and astronomy. Vedanayagam Sastry, who worked with him in copying, making or rewriting manuscripts, has obeyed in master to do so as is revealed in his own confessional sort of statement in the ‘Idangai Valangai Varalaru’ and ‘Viswapurana Vacanam’. Thus, it is evident that many manuscripts were manufactured as per the directions of Mackanzie, which are now printed and circulated as originals. Moreover, the entire original collection was sent to England and returned partly (one-third retained in England), which is only numbered and preserved in Oriental Manuscript Library, Madras. To quote Robert W. Wink here is pertinent: “The most impressive orientalist explorations were collaborative, unofficial and voluntary. Among these, none matched the enormous privately funded venture by Colonel Colin Mackanzie. His teams of Maratha Brahmin scholars begged, bought or borrowed and copied from village heads, virtually every manuscript of value they could finally acquire. Collections so acquired, reflecting the civilization of South India, manuscripts in every language, became a lasting legacy – something still being explored.” Thus, here also, Christians and as well as converted Christians have consciously worked in suppressing the antiquity of India by suppressing manuscripts and creating manuscripts as ‘original ones’, which are against the Hindu interests. Here, the Hindu response has been nil. Actually, they should have demanded all manuscripts/palm-leaf books from England knowing the fact.

Logarithm Tables evolved from the Tables of Tamizhagam/South India:

Suryadeva Yajva (c.1191-1270) was a great astronomer in the courts of Rajaraja (985-1014) and Rajendra (1012-1044) Cholas. He helped the Kings during their campaigns to Gangetic areas and South-East Asian Countries for the naval expeditions. He also informed them about the Naval Academy functioning at Kanthalursalai having links with Moors. Thus Rajarajan immediately took action and destroyed their base dangerous to South India seizing many ships of the Cheras. Later, they were inducted in his navy. Yajva only wrote a commentary for Aryabhatiyam, but compiled astronomical data and tables based on his observations during his journey along with the Kings. With the advent of Vijayanagara Empire, science and technology flourished well in South India. Most of the Northern-Hindu scholars moved to South India and many went to South-East Asian countries, because of the Mohammedan atrocities. The Kanthalursalai episode proves the link between the astronomers and mathematicians working in Tamizhagam (including Kerala areas in those days) astronomers. As Vijayanagar Empires promoted sciences, there was a spurt in the activities of astronomy. Most of the progeny of scholars of the Chola courts started moving to them. Warren incidentally prepared his work Kala Sankalita based on Tamizhagam astronomical tables. Robert Sewell also compiled an astronomical table. Having Sine, Cosine and other tables, he could develop, enlarge and compile a table easily.

•3. Pondicherry – the French Centre Feeding European Scholars and Scientists:

•§ Joseph Constanzo (Constantius) Beschi66 (1680-1742): He came to Tamizhagam (Tutucorin) in 1710 and started learning Tamil from Pundit Subradipa Kavirayar in Madurai. He collected many Sanskrit and Tamil religious books on ethics, philosophy, logics, astronomy, medicine etc, and employed Pundits to read and translate. He employed Siddhanta Pandaram to compose Gnana Vilakkam. Julien Vinson67, who has complete and exhaustive study of Beschi’s works up to 1899, points out that Tembavani “is a strange imitations of old classical Tamil works with which the author mixed up Italian reminiscences”. He has also questioned the authorship of two other works. In fact, such works are listed under ‘Varia and Doubtful’ and the works circulated in his names ‘Books wrongly attributed to Beschi’ by L. Besse68. His contemporary Tamil poet, Muthusami Pillai in his “Veda Vikarpattikaram” points out his manipulations and opposes his Christianization of Indian ideas. On the other side, his collection of Indian books on astronomy, mathematics and medicine had been as usual as that of any missionary. He got hold of many books attributed to different Siddhas, rewritten and presented as his own. The books like Nasa Kandam, Rathina Curukkam, Vaithiya Murai etc, prove the fact. The genealogical tree prepared and reportedly presented to Bangara Tirumalai Nayakkar of Madurai69 proves his acquiring of astronomical, mathematical and geographical books and tables.

The Jesuit Discussion on ‘Tirucabai Kanitham’ proves the passage of Indian astronomical works to Europe70:

A Tamil astronomical manuscript was found at St. Joseph’s College, under the title numbering 24 sheets or 48 pages. The date of 1801 was written at the end of within a circle, with these words: Inda nidi kanakkum tidi kanakkum 1801 tuvakki, varushandorum tavaramel, Ulaga mudiya mattum aryalam (This calculation of days, months start from 1801. With this one can calculate such days and months for every year till the end of the world). The Christians believed that the table was meant for the Dominical letters going from 1800 to 1900 for Christian purpose and others opined it was a Hindu calendar:

•§ L. Besse comments that, “If we are not mistaken, we are in presence of a perpetual calendar; such are to be found at the beginning of the Roman Breviaries, to find out the date of Easter and of the other festivals of the church”.

•§ Julien Vinson thinks that under this title, is designated the fourth Appendix in the Tamil-Latin dictionary. But, Besse opines that this is quite a distinct work.

•§ Rev. E. Hoole (1844) calls this work “a treatise on Astronomy, is in verse and prose”. It has never been printed, but copies may be found in our libraries.

The opinions divide, because there were different manuscripts attributed:

• i. “A memoir on the concordance of the Hindu Kalendar and the Gregorian Kalendar”. This was the fourth Appendix to the Tamil-Latin Dictionary, already mentioned. It was written in Latin. We surmise that the note added by M. Mousset, p. 186-192, to the Grammar of Common Tamil (1843), on the Hindu calendar and the conversion of Indian dates, is based upon this memoir.

• ii. This memoir was published in French by J. Vinson, in his Revue de Linguistique, (t. xx, 1887, p.97-113). It has therefore only sixteen pages, and cannot be identical with the Tirucabai Kanidam, which contains fifty.

•iii. It had been also published in French, p.383-402, in the following work: Lettres sur Contantinople de M.l’abbe Sevin, suivies de plusieurs lettres de Peyssonnel, continant des details curieux sur l’empire Ottoman. On y a joint la relation du Consulat d’Anquetil a Surate un memoire du savant Beschi, sur le calendrier de Pinterieur de l’inde, revue par Jerome Lalande. Paris, Obre, an x (1802) s-vo. De xvi, 452 p.

Fr. Pere Coeurdoux, S.J., writing Fr. P. Etienne Souciet, Paris says: “I hope to send Your Reverence a small memoir composed by an Italian Father who is among the Portuguese Fathers, on the method followed by Indian calculators to find the first day of each month, etc. After translating it, I sent to that Father, who understands French. As we are at a great distance from each other, and there is no regular postal service in this country, I foresee that I shall not be able to receive back and send it before the departure of the last ships.” (Khrishmabouram, 2 November, 1733).

From the same to the same: “I do not send, this small writing of which I spoke to you, and which treats of the way of finding out the beginning of the Indian solar months. As they are lunar in these parts, I neglected that trifle to which I may go back when the divine providence recall me to the Tamil country, where the months are solar”. (Madigoubba, 10th September 1734).

The same to the same: “You have heard of the death of Fr. de Bourzes…As regards the so called treatise of Fr. Constantius Beschi of which late Father has spoken to you, it is a very small writing on the manner of finding out the beginning of the year and of the Tamil months for the Tamil country, where the year is solar. Fr. Beshi who had put it in Latin, had send it to me, and I had begun to put in it French with some alterations. As I came then into the Telugu country, where the months are lunar, although the year is luni-solar (a fact, I believe, which is not known by any Indian calculator of these parts), I neglected to finish this little method, which I shall try to do, whenever any business compels me to visit Pondicherry and the Tamil country again”. (Dharmavaran, 13th September 1735).

In 1733, Fr. de Bourzes wrote to the same Father Souciet: “Finally they have found out the cause of the inequality of the months. I suppose our Pondicherry Fathers would have communicated it in France. I saw a small treatise about it composed by one of our Fathers of Madurey (Father Joseph Constantinus Beschi, an Italian). I had made a précis of it to communicate to Your Reverence, as I have it not with me at present, I can only tell you what has remained vaguely in my memory. “The Indians begin the month on the day when the Sun, according to their calculations, enters a new sign. The entrance into new sign happens but rarely at dawn, when they begin the day. Hence the rule that the civil month begins in the morning, upon the entering of Sun in the new sign. However, they add to the astronomical month following what remains of hours and minutes, since the entrance of the Sun till the above said morning. E.g. the sun according to their calculations must enter Aries on Sunday noon, the month chittrye civil (April), which corresponds to it, will begin only on Monday morning. But, the maker of almanach will all the same count the hours and minutes, which elapsed till Monday morning and allot them to chittirey, to know when it must end. So, April will be shorter in proportion as March will have finished earlier before the Monday morning. The sooner the Sun enters Aries, the sooner will it go out of it. That is the reason why one year March will be of 30 days and another year of 29 or 30”.

About this work, Fr. Beschi says: “I have at last finished the treatise of the Indian months and years; I say treatise, because my work is longer than I thought at first. But I had to explain the system of those mathematicians and give the reason for their calculations; or reasons which they do not themselves, I consulted several Brahmins; scarcely did I found who could tell me things even materially. When I asked for the reason of it, they answered: Sic voluere priores. I had much trouble for several months, who pout everything in the order in which you will find it.”- (Beschi quoted by Fr. de Bourzes in his letter to Fr. Souceiet). The doubt is there as to whether Fr. Beschi wrote it in Tamil or Latin, as the opinion divides – one group says that it was written in Tamil, another asserts it was in Latin. This was translated by Fr. Coerdoux into French. Again another suspicion is whether the text published by M. labbe Savin and later on by J. Vinson, was Fr. Couerdex’s translation. To the worst, M. Labbe Sevin says it was printed “after the original which has never been published.” In any case, the above discussion exposes the following facts:

•§ The French Connection: The French Jesuits helped Indian books reaching European scientists. As noted by Fr. Pere Coeurdoux, S.J. played a key role. Incidentally, George Byran Souza71 points out the fact in the context of transmission textile and textile technology to Europe. From Pondicherry, Beaulieux in 1737 and Coeurdoux in 1742 and 1747 wrote authoritative letters and reports on the fabrication of painted cottons in southern India. Here, he was reporting, moving from different places about the astronomical methods followed by Indian astronomers.

•§ The Multi-pronged Attack on India: The European Companies, the Jesuits and missionaries acted together collecting and supplying data and information to European writers, scientists, doctors and technocrats. In fact, they had carried out all sorts of political, scientific, industrial, commercial and social espionage.

•§ Nadi Sastra – The Art of Pulse, Pulse Diagnosis etc: The concept of pulse and pulse diagnosis has been Hindu and it spread to other countries through the ‘Travelling Doctors.’ Thousands of palm-leaf books on the subject were taken away by the Chinese, Greeks, Arabs and the Jesuits. Coming under the category of ‘Hidden knowledge’ category, Hindus guarded it under ‘Tantric literature’ and later, Tamil Siddhas started incorporated in their literature. It is based on ‘Tridosha tatva’ linking nerves, the six nerve-plexuses, body liquids, breadth and yoga. As it mainly depends on the science of breadth, Siddhas taught only under Gurukula system. The Jesuits aided and abetted by the European scientists virtually looted the Siddha literature. They have not left out Ceylon and South-East Asian countries also, as they formed part of India with continuing Hindu medical tradition and system. As mentioned above, the ‘Science of Pulse’ spread through Silk routes. Praxogoras of Leos was the first to adopt pulse diagnosis in the west.

Fake Siddhas/Sanyasis/Iyers/Pandarams/Sufis/Gnaniyar/Pirs/Yogis etc:

As far as Masqueraded Siddhas are concerned, they were there even during the Tirumular period and hence, Tirumular72 has condemned them like anything.

•§ He urged that it is the duty of the ruler to contain such imposters.

•§ Those who do not have and follow the Vedic principles, there is no meaning for them to masquerade with saffron dress and other paraphernalia.

•§ It is better to cut off their gudimi (the tout) and punul (sacred thread).

•§ The ruler has to investigate into such activities.

•§ He accused the destroyers of temples and breakers of idols in clear terms.

•§ A consecrated Linga should not be removed from its place for any reason.

•§ Not even a brick should fall from the compound of any temple.

•§ If anything happens like that, he warns that sufferings would increase, rains stop, the (good) rule disappear and so on.

Therefore, it is evident that the moment, Siddhas deviate from the traditional path / Tirumular tradition, and switched over to the practices of rasavada, the fake Siddhas started increasing. Fake Siddha works also increased accordingly. Moreover, the fake Siddhas started destroying the works of others. The genuine Siddhas also started destroying their own works fearing that their works should fall into the hands of quacks and imposters, so that the time tested methods are misused by them. They have recorded the tearing down the palm leave manuscripts of many works in their poems themselves. That is why the researchers now declare that the original works of Siddhas have already disappeared. The available Siddha works have been composed by some poets and circulated in their names and are forged.73 Purnalingam Pillai has gone to the extent of telling that Siddhas have done a great injustice to the Tamil literature because, though their works appear as poems, they contain very ordinary words and expressions just like prose, language, syntax, colloquial vocabulary etc.

Here, three fake / imposter groups have to be analyzed. For convenience and identification, they are mentioned as follows:

•\ Hindu Group: The Hindu Siddha group divided because of the intrusion and infiltration of the fake/masquerade Christian and Mohammedan groups. Both non-Hindu categories had done maximum harm by converting Hindus resulting in social division of ‘hate-groups’. Mackanzie is the direct evidence, who directed the convert Vedanayagam to write forged Valangai Puranam to poison the Hindu society. Thus, the Siddha group got divided and started accusing each other in the creation of polemic literature, which was/is exploited by the Christian and Muslims for their search now. However, the Hindu supporting Siddhas have been meticulous in maintaining their stand. Thus, this group is mentioned as ‘Sanyasi-Siddhas’ in the Hindu context for convenience.

•V Christian Group: First, as usual the Jesuits must have roamed here as Sanyasis to collect preliminary information, as otherwise, the Masquerade Nobili or the Romapuri Sanyasi could not have staged his drama so meticulously at Madurai amidst the so-called ‘Brahminical Fort’ of Hindudom/Heathendom with their diabolic religious practices proving their gentility, as has been faithfully recorded by them in their divine language of Latin, though, they were credited with learning ‘dead language Sanskrit’ and ‘sacred Tamil’ going on composing poems without the knowledge of Tamil poets of the material period. The Catholic-Protestant rivalry turned religious polemic literature, had been there as has been revealed through the action taken against Robert de Nobili, the ‘theological or literary’ fight between Ziegenbalg and Beschi etc. However, the Christians could suppress the literature and few come to the knowledge of Indian researchers. Thus, this group is mentioned as ‘Jesuit-Siddhas’ in the Christian context for convenience.

•Z Mohammedan Group: The word ‘Mohammed’ is used strictly in legal sense, till they wanted to be called as ‘Muslims’ by themselves quite recently. The Mohammedans divided about the study of Tamil, composing Tamil literature involving their God – Allah, Mohammed, Wives of Mohammed etc. But without projecting them, they could not learn Tamil from the Hindu teachers; compose poems learning the nuances from Hindu poets and circulate in their names. So orthodox Mohammedans started restricting them to what extent they could describe/praise Allah without amounting it to ‘Idoltary’, Prophet particularly, when they started composing ‘Nabi Pillait Tamizh’ (as they could not describe all the Paruvams just like Hindu poets describing Hindu God), Prophet and his wives etc. If this is the ‘Tamil literary problem’, the problem of ‘Mohammedan Siddhas’ in search of India medicine persisted at the other side. So the orthodoxy condemned them. Thus, this group is mentioned as ‘Sufi-Siddhas’ in the Mohammedan context for convenience. Similarly, the Muslim mystics have criticized and condemned the fake mystics/saints as poli gnaniyar. Particularly, Pir Mohammed Appa and Maccaregai Sittan used strong language to condemn them. They are Kafirs, as they misinterpret scriptures, they recite scriptures like dogs for money, eulogize falling at the feet of Pirs – thus, Pir Mohammed Appa condemns. Maccaregai Sittan condemns them as the masqueraded Saitans, who came as Shaikh, Syed, Fakir, Mastan, Kamil, Ganani, Yogi etc. With facade of Sufis, they misled the common people and exploit them with their spurious messages. Here, the words as Shaik, Syed, Fakir, Mastan, Kamil, etc specifically denote Muslims and Ganani, Yogi – Muslim and non-Muslims. Therefore, the following facts are evident:

• i. The so called fake Shaiks, Syeds, Fakirs, Mastans, Kamils, Gananis, Yogis etc would have been opposed as they had un-Islamic opinion and practiced connected methods with objectionable paraphernalia.

• ii. The Shaiks, Syeds, Fakirs, Mastans, Kamils, Gananis, Yogis etc would have gone to the extent of appearing as Hindu counterparts or the difference would have been disappeared and thus, the orthodox Sufis would have warned in their poems.

• iii. Non-Muslims might have been attracted towards Sufism and adapted and adopted such dress, practice etc. As the orthodox Muslims did not want their mixing with Muslims, they would have warned.

Why this type of fake Siddha-Sufi groups should have increased during the 18th – 20th century period is to be studied critically. It is evident that these groups indulged in non-spiritual activities. That is why Sivavakkiyar has categorically refuted the communalist Siddhas and Sufis:

“Is there your God and our God thus God existing separately,

Can God exist here and there as two Gods for two believers

Do not you know that the omnipresent God is one

Those who differentiate God would die with disease in their mouths”.

How these groups could be divided is discussed now:

•§ Fake Saints/imposters existing in their own Religion: As there was respect in the society, the fakes would have imitated through name, dress, behavior and other external factors, though they were not match with the genuine ones in intellectual and spiritual capacities.

•§ Fake Saints/imposters existed to cheat/undermine the Other Religion: As the other religionists wanted to know the theology, philosophy, liturgy etc, they tried to don the robes so that they could dupe ordinary people with their expertise. Particularly, for conversion activities, such methodology was adapted and adopted.

•§ Masquerade as the Religion of the Majority: To get the confidence of Gurus, head of mutts, Siddhas and others, one has to don the robes and mannerism of the religion of the majority and thus they followed the suit.

•§ Masquerade to Grab the Secrets of other Religion: Indian religion was supposed to possess many secrets like elixir, transmutation of metals, flying, levitation, transmigration, and so on. Therefore, the other religionists were very much interested in learning such tricks and other magic. Thus, they donned the robes of Siddhas. Most of them were interested in rasavada techniques and those who could not learn successfully, roamed to cheat the public.

•§ Masquerade for Political Purposes: Many worked as spies for the rulers sending information to them as they could freely move in different parts of the country and move with all people without restriction.

These tendencies were noted in both the categories of Siddhas and Sufis during the material period as has been recorded and reflected through the respective literature as pointed out above. As fake saints/imposters increased, their literature also increased. Therefore, they are studied critically.

Fake/Forged Siddha-Jesuit-Sufi Literature:

Except the compilation of Siddha literature available as ‘Siddhar padalgal’, ‘Periya Gnanakkovai’, among the works of name and style, Vaidhyam – 1000, Karukkidai Vaidhyam – 600, Bogar Vaidhyam – 1000, Karpam – 360, Gnanasaramsam – 100 etc, attributed to Tirumular, Agasthiyar etc, are mostly forged. However, the existence of genuine Siddha literature on medicine is not questioned or doubted and the discussion is restricted here only to the forged works. This fact can be easily understood with the internal evidences. For example in Pulippani Vaidhyam, it has been mentioned under the Chapter ‘Nalyugangalin varalaru’ (The History of Four Yugas) that Boganathar lived during Dwarapayuga (i.e. 5105 YBP = Years Before Present), Pulippani 205 years after the starting of Kaliyuga (i.e. 3102 – 205 = 2897 BCE = Before Common Era) or 4899 YBP74. Similarly, the details found in the works attributed to Agasthiyar contain contradictory and non-verifiable data about the Yugas. Moreover, such details are not supported by any historical evidences. Therefore, the writers/composers of such works have purposely used the half-baked details of Yugas, the names and incidences of Itihasas and Puranas in the most assertive and authoritative tone and tenor to appear as if the works are authentic just to exhilarate, excite and inspire the readers. To take another example of a poem attributed to Tiruvalluvar, which runs as follows75:

“Calling the God Allah, folding their arms, worship saying –

‘Illallah’ and bending their bodies, and heads touching the ground.

Tell the message of God with the Cross, the Sutas,

Conquer through Spiritual propaganda, the Christians”

The conveyed meaning is self explanatory, but, during the period of Tiruvalluvar, there was no Christianity or Islam on the earth. Therefore, to what extent the forger could go could be known and understood by these forged, counterfeit and spurious works. In fact, it is a big literary and historical fraud to circulate such poems in the name of Tiruvalluvar or Tirumular.

Among the Rasavada literature also, the forged literature has been plenty. There are works with names – ‘The Book of the King’, ‘The Book of Mildness’, ‘The Book of Weight’, ‘The Book of Mercury’, ‘The Book of the 70′, ‘The Book of the 1200′ and so on attributed to Jabir ibn Hayyan/Jabar, Jibir/Geber/Jiyaber. These books contain the details about the preparation of elixir, conversion of Iron/Copper into Silver/Gold and so on. Till 1678, these were included in the Medical encyclopedias, reference books etc, attributed to Jabir ibn Hayyan. The French chemist Marcellin Berthelot (1826-1907), E. J. Holmyard, and Paul Kraus conclusively proved that these works were only Latin Geberian forgeries76. They were written after about 900 CE by the Arab religious sect called ‘Islamia’; took the name of Jabir and wrote these works from the ‘unknown’ sources! The existing works belong to 13th – 14th centuries. But, the scholars surprisingly, do not mention as to who actually wrote these works, which are the original source works, why they were written, when copied or adapted and adopted from ‘the originals’ or ‘unknown sources’, why such sources were not acknowledged, why the names of the original writers not mentioned. It is evident that the western and Arab/Muslim writers perhaps did not know the Siddhas and their works and therefore they could not relate the connection between them with the works. Those who read the existing works of Siddhas and the researchers on Siddhas could easily find out the similarity between the names of Siddhas and these forged works. Not only the names, even the poems, the methods mentioned to compose medicinal preparations, herbs/minerals used etc are very similar. Therefore, taking the accounts of sojourn of Siddhas to the Middle-eastern countries, it can easily be concluded that these works belong to Siddhas only. Such happenings could have taken place in historical settings in historical perspective as follows:

•§ As Indian works of Medicine, Astronomy, Astrology, Mathematics, etc, were translated into Arabic during the Abbasid period even by bringing the Indian Pundits/scholars from India, some Arabs must have written these works from the works of Siddhas.

•§ Adapting and adopting from the works of Siddhas, they must have been attributed to an Arabic scholar. Jabir ibn Hayyan is considered as ‘the first Sufi alchemist’. Therefore, his name must have been used by them for respect and popularity.

•§ The Siddhas who lived in the middle-east and got converted into Islam, might have written such works.

•§ As the episodes of conversion of Ramadeva and Bogar into Islam is mentioned, whether they were written by them is subjected to further critical study.

The scholars have mentioned the following details to the effect that:

•§ They say that the words al-kaya denote Alkalis/salts, segimen vitri to Carbonate of Soda, tutia to Copper Sulphate, al kuhl to finely ground grey Antomony ore etc.

•§ ‘al-iksir’ is nothing but Kayakalpam. The western scholars like George Lockmann forcefully try to derive the word from the Greek ‘gerion’, xerio = desiccative and Arabic ‘imam’ = the leader, they could not give proper and associated concepts and meanings. But, in Indian connotation, it is well known that ‘Kayakalpam’ is used for rejuvenation of the body or keeping the body young without aging.

•§ Moreover, the procedure prescribed, course explained and methodology used do not suit or match with their tradition, culture, heritage and civilization and such factors point to India.

Therefore, it is evident that either they would not have known the Siddhas and their works or knowingly they did not mention them with bias. The noting of Ajmalkhan77 can be quoted here – “The knowledge of chemistry must have gone from India to western countries. Siddhas Bogar and Ramadeva alias Yacob spread their works wherever they went. They visited Arabia, Turkey, China and other countries and had spread the Siddha medicinal practices”. Thus, these details constitute the first Siddha-Sufi dialogue taken place in the field of medicine.

A Note on Historiography of Medicine:

Rajesh Kochar78 has pointed out how the so-called European doctors were reportedly pampered by the Moghul rulers for their publicized cure of members of ‘royal families’ and getting ‘firmans’ for trade concessions including exemption from customs etc. However, he asserts as the ‘firmans’ are not there, the ‘miraculous cures of the doctors’ were publicized only by the British historians Thomas Bowrey and John Beard followed by Orme and Stewart. It has already been pointed out that the important fimans issued for the right of Madras given by Hindu Rajas on Gold were missing during 18th century itself. The Dutch, Danish and Portuguese always manipulated documents cheating the Hindu Dubash, merchants and Rajas. The best example is the exploitation of Naiks by them, getting permission from one Naik and doing business (here it includes everything – trade in goods and services, slaves and lunatics, etc.) in the territory of another. They ignore the Indian contribution all together, just by kicking the ladder after reaching the top. Therefore, in the historiography of medicine due acknowledgement should be given to Hindu doctors.

How Transmission taken place?

From the above, it is evident that the following were involved in handling Hindu books on Science and technology:

•§ European scholars, scientists, astronomers, botanists, Jesuits and other missionaries (here many times the so-called professionals themselves were Jesuits or missionaries or vice versa):

Garcia d’Orta (1501-1568)

Nathaniel Wallich

Nevil Meskelyne


T. L. F. Folly

Antonio Rubino

Christovas da Casta

Andreas Betschler

Jean Venant Bouchet

Henrick Adrian Van Reede (1637-1691)

Carl Linnaeus

Fr. Richard

Johann Ernest Grundler (1677-1720)

Charles Curtis

Abraham Hyacinthe

Charles Clusius, Linchoten

Gancalco Fernandez

Antiquetil de Perron

Francis Xavier

Roberto de Nobili

Tycho Brahe

Parthalomius Ziegenbalg

Antonio Vici

Collin Mackanzie

Heinrich Plutschau

Balthasar da Costa

John Napier

John Fryer

Immanuel Martins

Joseph Constanzo Beschi

Samuel Brown

John de Britto

Pere Coeurdoux

James Petiver

Matteo Ricci

Etienne Souciet

Samuel Benjamin Cnoll

Christopher Clavius

Fr. De Bourzes

Johan Gerhard Koenig

Galileo Galeli

Julian Vinson

Cristoph Samuel John

Johannes Kepler

L. Besse

John Peter Rottler

Pope Gregory XIII

Francis Whyte Ellis

Gottfried Klien

Simon de la Loubere

C. T. Edward Rhenius

Benjamin Hayne

Isaac Newton

G. U. Pope

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Robert Caldwell

Nicolas Luis de la Caille

Leonard Euler

La Gentil

•§ Hindu Scholars, Scribes, Dubash, Teachers, Doctors, engaged by the Europeans:

Vairaventa Guru (Ziegan balg)

Siva Dharma (Nobili)

Ranga Bhatta

(van Rheede)

Pancaccara Guru (Z)

Brahmin of Trivalore (la Gentil)

Vinayaka Bhatta (R)

Mapillai Guru (Z)

Supradipa Kavirayar (Beschi)

Apu Deva (R)

Sena Sastri (Z)

Siddhanta Pandaram (B)

Kolattuvaidhyan (R)

Minakshi Sastri (Z)

Arumuga Navalar

Manuel Carner (R)

Citampara Sastri (Z)

Muthusamy Pillai (Ellis)

Many un-named, unknown, Tamil scholars, Pundits, Doctors, Pandarams, Siddhas, etc.

Mokampara Sastri (Z)

Vedanayaga Sastry (Mackazie)

70 years old Tamil teacher

(name not mentioned) (Z)

Kalangiraya Pillai (Kappal satram)

Alappan / Azhagappan (Z)

Ganpathy Upadhyata (1670-1710)(Z)

his father-a Pandit

(name not mentioned)(Z)

Arumugam / Aaron (Z)

•§ Eliminating the persons who did not come to India, short-listed from is as follows:

Garcia d’Orta (1501-1568)

Johan Gerhard Koenig

Simon de la Loubere


Cristoph Samuel John

Nicolas Luis de la Caille

Christovas da Casta

John Peter Rottler

La Gentil

Henrick Adrian Van Reede


Gottfried Klien

Antonio Rubino

Johann Ernest Grundler (1677-1720)

Benjamin Hayne

Jean Venant Bouchet

Charles Clusius, Linchoten

Nathaniel Wallich

Fr. Richard

Francis Xavier

T. L. F. Folly

Abraham Hyacinthe

Antiquetil de Perron

Parthalomius Ziegenbalg

Andreas Betschler

Collin Mackanzie

Heinrich Plutschau

Charles Curtis

Joseph Constanzo Beschi

John Fryer

Gancalco Fernandez

Pere Coeurdoux

Samuel Brown

Roberto de Nobili

Francis Whyte Ellis

James Petiver

Antonio Vici

C. T. Edward Rhenius

Samuel Benjamin Cnoll

Balthasar da Costa

G. U. Pope

Immanuel Martins

Robert Caldwell

John de Britto

Matteo Ricci

•§ The persons who claimed that they could read / write / speak Tamil and Collectors:

Barthalomeous Ziegenbalg

La Gentil

Francis Whyte Ellis

Gancalco Fernandez

Antonio Rubino

C. T. Edward Rhenius

Roberto de Nobili

Jean Venant Bouchet

G. U. Pope

Balthasar da Costa

Collin Mackanzie

Robert Caldwell

Immanuel Martins

Joseph Constanzo Beschi

John de Britto

Thus, the short listed persons are all members of Society of Jesus (Catholics) and missionaries (Protestants). The European companies had significantly helped them in many aspects – shipping them from Europe to Indian destinations safely and transporting them back or their collection from Indian destinations to European ones. Here, perhaps the European pirates had also worked together or had some sort covenant not to attack the ‘Christian priests’, that too with ‘heathen books’ and ‘goods of gentility’. Anyway the transmission had taken place and such process is depicted figuratively as follows:

European countries







Ceylon (via)

Batavia Cophenhagen








The transmission of Hindu palm-leaf books, charts, maps, tables, pictures, instruments, specimens, samples, medicines, formulations etc.


Diseases are the culmination of mind due to bad or inhuman thinking processes. Such thinking vibrations affect all neurons and cells – the factories inside and thus disturbing the activities of secretion, production and replenishment of cells etc. The health-keeping neuron is greater than the cells. That is why Hindus want to safeguard neurons always, as they know that body would take care of itself. Here come the Samskaras with rituals and mantras. The bodily diseases only could be cured with medicines. That is why Hindus related them to ‘Tridosha’ and ‘Panchbhuta tatva’. Theologically, also, they believed such nature given elements should go back to nature, thus following the rituals of ‘Five Elements’ eve during death. But, the west always wanted and wants to pose differently. They not only grabbed the knowledge of Siddhas, but want to be ‘Siddhas’, by burying their bodies.

Western scientists while suppressing the fact of deriving much of their fundamental knowledge from India, accuse that Indians have no proof for their claimed excellence or antiquity of sciences. It has to be mentioned that Indians had already tested the microcosm and thus presented the tested facts in the macrocosm for the use of humanity, but the westerners, no doubt in the urge of finding truth took Indian sciences, tested in their laboratories, converted technical name in Latin, proposed new hypotheses and theories with Latin and Greek terminology. In every subject, they have gone into – breaking matter to find out atomic (John Dalton 1766-1844) and sub-atomic particles (J. J. Thompson 1856-1940), analyzing the molecules of gases (Gay-Lussac 1778-1850) and liquids (Robert Brownian 1773-1858), probing into germs (Louis Pasteur 1822-1895, J. J. Lister 1827-1912), bacteria, virus, germs; cells in plants, animals and human-beings, classification of them (Linneaus, G. J. Mendel 1822-1884), circulation of blood (William Harvey 1578-1657) and so on. Take any science, their discoveries or claimed inventions are only in 18th-19th centuries, after their ‘comfortable’ association with, derivation of and consummation with India. Getting goods and services from India – searching for India – getting goods manufactured and exported to their countries from India – taking science and technology with samples and books to Europe – getting revolutionalized suddenly – all clearly proves the fact.

Thus, it may be noted that much of the western science and technology has been developed and established only after 19th-20th centuries. That too, they required ‘revolution’ for such things to happen. They assert that the so-called Industrial revolution happened in the late 18th and beginning of 19th centuries. They were using only wooden instruments and machines till late 18th and early 19th centuries and then only they switched over to metal, as they could learn the working of metals only thereafter. But note that Indians were using machines, of course made of stone, wood and metal, but could export textiles, medicine and food items to Europe till 19th century. This was possible, only due to the naturalized adoption of sciences. But, the westerners want to exploit nature. Here only Hindus/Indians differed and still differ. Just because of westernized or industrialized ‘mass-production’, the Indian concept of ‘production-by-mass’ cannot be belittled.

In medicine, they could achieve processes which could diagnose, administer, operate and heal quickly. Indians too adopted such methods only in ultimate conditions and not as prescribed or routine way. They considered the human body as the best example where all biological, physical, chemical and other activities are going on in thousands of in-built-factories, laboratories, workshops and R & D divisions. If mind and body are kept in consonance with nature with purity, the in-built factories would care of everything. This is now studied under Bio-physics, Bio-Chemistry, Bio-Technology, Genetics, etc. The EIC ironically ordered to close down all Siddha and Ayurvedic works and factories stealing the technology. Passing one Act after the other (Medical Acts from the respective regions), it banned Indian doctors, midwives, compounders and all connected people. Finally, it gave a death blow to Indian medicine by introducing Poisonous Act. Definitely, it was a poisonous Act for Indian Medicine, particularly Siddha system dealing with medicinal preparations with salts, metals, metallic poisons and combination thereof. They activated European intellectuals to write against their practices creating a bad impression so that Indians themselves feel ashamed of their ‘Medicinal system’.

About the Author:

The author is an independent researcher.

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Notes and References:

•1. C. K. Raju, Cultural Foundations of Mathematics, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Aryabhata Group, ‘Transmission of Calculus from Kerala to Europe’, a paper presented during the International Colloquium of Aryabhata held at Thiruvananthapuram.

•2. His articles could be seen in the ‘Bulletin of the Indian Institute of History of Medicine’, Hyderabad; the Indian Journal of Venereal Diseases etc.

•3. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, Saltpetre, ‘The British and the Missionaries’, a paper presented at the 12th session of Tamilnadu History Congress held at Mayiladhurai from September 30th to October 2nd 2005.

•4. ‘The Scientific Pursuits of Roberto de Nobili (1577-1656) in the Tamilagam’, a paper presented at the 25th session of South Indian History Congress, held at Madurai from January 20-22, 2005.

•5. ‘When a French Astronomer Learnt Astronomy in Tamilnadu’, a paper presented during a seminar ‘Contribution of Tribals of Tamilnadu’ held at Madras from June 17th to 18th, 2006 at Meenakshi college (to appear in the proceedings).

•6. ‘European Scientists: Indian Chronology and Historiography’, XXth Session of South Indian History Congress held at Tiruvananthapuram from Feb 25-27, 2002.

‘The Interest of European Scientists in Indian Chronology and Historiography’, UGC Seminar on Situating Historical Writings in Post-Independence India (Abstracts volume), held at Bharathidasan University on March 23 & 23, 2002, Tiruchirappalli, pp.16-17.

‘The Interest of European Scientists in Indian Calendar and Chronology’, in ‘Indian Calendar and Chronology’ (Seminar papers) held at Central Mining Research Institute, Dhanbad on August 9 & 10, 2003, pp.1-20.

•7. ‘The Other Side of the Great Arc’ – The Great Trigonometrical Survey Conducted, a paper presented at the 24th session of SIHC held at Calicut from February 16-18, 2004.

•8. The works of Tamil Siddhar have been published by different publishers, but each work differs from others in many aspects: (i) No. of songs vary attributed to each Siddha, (ii) the no. of Siddhas themselves vary, (iii) There have been many spelling mistakes found in the verses. Many words in the songs compiled also differ, (iv) there have been many spurious works circulated with the names of “Agastiyar”, “Sivavakkiyar”, “Valluvar” and so on.

•9. Robert Sewell, a Forgotten Empire.

•10. V. V. S. Sastry, Hortus Indicus Malabaricus (Garden of Malabar of India), Bulletin of the Indian Institute of Medicine, Vol. V, No.3, July 1975, pp.143-149.

•11. George Oomen and Hans Raun Iversen (Edrs.), ‘It Began in Copenhagen’, ISPCK, New Delhi, 2005.

•12. E. Arno Lehmann, ‘It Began at Tranquebar’, CLS, Madras, 2006.

•13. – An article ‘A Boon for Researchers’ in ‘The Hindu’ (Jan. 23, 2006) claims that digitized form of all palm-leaf books taken by Ziegenbalg is available for researchers, but only partial list is available. No digitized palm-leaf books are available for reading when accessed.

•14. James Petiver, ‘An Account of Some Indian Plants’, in Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society of London, Vol. XX, p.313, 1698.

•15. Samuel Benjamin Snoll, ‘Titera autographica Tranqvebaria Indorum orientalium Fridericopolim Norvegiae missae de borracis artificiali commpositione’, Acta Medica Hafniensis, 1753, pp.64-66.

•16. The formation of it is mentioned in ‘A Sketch of the History of Indian Botany’ in http://

•17. Johan Gergard Koenig, ‘Doctor Koenigs reise fra Trankebar til Zeylon’, in Videnskabernes Selskabs Skrifier, Copenhagen, 1779, Part. XII, pp. 383-402.; Ralph R. Stewart, ‘Missionaries and Clergymen as Botanists in India and Pakistan’, Taxon, Vol. 31, No. 1, February, 1982, pp. 57-64.

•18. W. Boxburgh, ‘A Botanical and Economic Account of Bassia Butyracea, or East India Butter Tree’, Asiatic Researches, Vol. 8, pp. 499-510, 1809.

•19. Dr. Vijay Bedekar, Indian Contribution to World Civilization, in his inaugural speech see: http:// Interestingly, a Mackanzie manuscript no. 59 (D.3082), “Pazhaverkadu Kaipidhu” (A Detailed Note on Pulicat) contains details of different types of fish / species, their characters, figures, the time of catch etc. But, nothing is mentioned about C. S. John’s collection.

•20. Ibid.

•21. K. M. Mathew ‘Notes on Botanical Trips (1799-1800) of J. P. Rottler on the Coromandel Coast (India) with a translation of his Original Text, Explanatory Notes and a Map’, in Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, Vol. 113, 1993, pp. 351-388.

•22. W. Roxburgh, opt.cit.



•25. Niklas Thode Jensen, ‘The Medical Skills of the Malabar Doctors in Tranquebar, India as recorded by T. L. F. Folly’, 1798, in

•26. Ibid. Mercury was in demand in Europe itself during the material period. Therefore, enticing with Hg is interesting and intriguing. The Europeans were using Mercuric preparations; indiscriminately killing many patients suffering from syphilis. Thus, they were desperate in getting the Indian medicine at any cost.

•27. Goncalco Fernandez, ‘On Indian Heathenism’, translated by Ines G. Zupanov, Portugal Indico, Brown University, 2003.

•28. Robert W. Wink (Ed.), Historiography, Vol. V of ‘Oxford History of the British Empire’, 1999, USA, p.197

•29. Niklas Thode Jenson, opt.cit. In foot note no.80, he records as follows: “This remark can be found only in Folly’s original manuscript (Royal library catalogue number: Add.761 e40) and not in the copy made at the Royal Academy of Surgeons in Copenhagen (Royal library catalogue number: Add 333a Fol.)”

•30. Samuel Hugh Moffett, ‘A History of Christianity in Asia’, Orbis Books, USA, Vol. II: 1500 to 1900, 2005, pp.242-243. See the chapter 11 under “Hidden Seed”: The Moravians in India (1760-1803).

•31. G. Samuel Iyer, ‘History of Tranquebar Mission AD 1706-1955′, Tranquebar Printing & Publishing House, Madras, 1955, p.36.

•32. European doctors were treating the syphilis patients very badly. The sores were burned with hot iron rods and so on. When they learned about Hindu treatment, they would have decided to bring the patients for treatment and also tried to get full technique of cure from the Hindu doctors at any cost.

•33. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, ‘When a French Astronomer Learnt Astronomy in Tamilnadu’, opt.cit.

•34. J. E. Hutton, ‘The History of Moravian Missions’, London, 1812.

•35. P. Maria Lazar, ‘Moravians in Tranquebar (1760-1803)’,

•36. DW, The Transmission of Indian Medicine to Other Cultures, BSc/C123-Lecture10b.pdf

•37. Carolus Linnaeus, Flora Zeylanica sistens plantas Indicas Zeylonae Insulae, quae olim 1670-1677, Amnsterdem

•38. William A. R. Thomson (ed.), ‘Healing Plants-A Modern Herbal’, MacMillan London Ltd, UK, 1978, p.10.

•39. The incidences leading to disappearance or Jivasamadhi of Sadasiv Brimendrar and Ramalinga Adigal have been mysterious and not yet solved. These remarks are made not to hurt the feelings of devotees of the Saints, but to point out the puzzling situation around the incidences taken place – A Mohammedan cutting off hand of Sadasiv Brimendrar and a Christian threatening Ramalinga Adigal with an iron rod, when he refused to teach Rasavada.

•40. Vaccination – Vatican’s Medical Inquisition Revealed at Last! at

•41. Vasco-da-Gama brought Syphilis in Calicut and tried to cure it by worshipping at a Hindu temple. But the Church historians have written in such a way that when he landed, there was already a Church, where Christians were praying to Mary. Thus, Syphilis exposes many tricks played by the Jesuits in Indian history.

•42. His biographers point out that he was working as a “doctor” without basic qualifications. He got elected to the “Royal Society” by submitting a paper on ‘The Nesting Habits of the Cuckoo’ and became Dr. Jenner in 1790, by buying a Medical Degree from the University of St. Andrew for the sum of 15 pounds. He tried his vaccination with children and boys, who were dead by TB. In 1797, his paper was rejected by the Society with a warning that, “He had better not promulgate such a wild idea if he valued his reputation”. However, he published his book in 1798 and got honorary MD degree from the Oxford in 1813. (These details are pointed out to show the way in which the westerners wrote on India, and not to discredit any scientist or scholar.)

•43. J. Z. Holwell, ‘An Account of the Manner of Inoculating for the Smallpox in the East Indies’, London, 1767. The paper is available (see: Dharmpal) ‘Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century: Some Contemporary European Accounts’, New Delhi, 1971, pp.143-163.

•44. American Medical Association, ‘History of Inoculation & Vaccination’, Lecture Memoranda, Burroughs Wellcome & Co, London & New York, 1913, p. 18.

•45. J. Z. Holwell, opt.cit.

•46. Domink Wujastayk, ‘A Pious Fraud: The Indian Claim for pre-Jennerian Smallpox Vaccination’, in Studies on Indian Medical History, Egbert Forsten, Groningen, 1987, The Netherlands (Dutch), pp.131-167.

•47. Collection of Sir George Ballinggall (1780-1855), in the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (Western MS, 6905).

•48. The misinterpretation in converting “Mari” to “Mary” has already been mentioned. Ironically, his landing of 500th year was celebrated forgetting his introduction of syphilis in Calicut!

•49. Julius Jolly, ‘Indian Medicine’, Mushilal Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1977, p.3, pp.128-129. Bhavaprakasa was written by Bhavamisra, a famous physician of Banaras. Another work Cobacini prakasa on Cobacini (Sarasaparilla) as a remedy against syphilis and other diseases compiled under the auspices of Ranjit Singh.

•50. S. P. Ramachandran (Pub.), ‘Bogar 7000 (Seventh Canto)’, Tamarai Nulagam, Madras, 1991.

•51. D. V. Subba Reddy, ‘Charles Curtis on Diseases of India in the Fleet and Naval Hospital at Madras in 1782 and 1783′, BIIHM, Hyderabad, Vol. IV, No. 3 & 4, July & Oct. 1974, pp.193-207.

•52. ‘Documenta Indica’, Vol. III, p.307. Vincent Cronin also records his interest in Indian astronomy, discussion of Kepler Laws with Indian astronomers etc.

•53. Kepler’s fabrication – see the following: ‘Planet fakery exposed falsified data: Johannes Kepler’, The Times, London, January 25, 1990, 31a, including large excerpts from the article by – William J. Broad, ‘After 400 years, a challenge to Kepler; he fabricated his data, scholars say’, New York Times January 23, 1990, C1, 6. The key article is Willliam Donahue, ‘Kepler’s fabricated figures: Covering up the mess in the New Astronomy’, Journal for the History of Astronomy, 19 (1988), p.217-37.

•54. Henry Benard, ‘Matteo Ricci’s Scientific Contribution to China’, Hyperion Press, Westport, Conn, 1973, p.38


•56. M. Labbe, J. E. Darrae, ‘A General History of the Catholic Church’, USA, 1868, Vol. III, p.307.

•57. Ibid, pp. 234-235.

•58. John Playfair, ‘Some Remarks on Astronomy of Brahmins’, Edinburgh, 1789.

•59. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, ‘Why computers should work only on 0 and 1′, in ‘Vedic Sciences’ (Proceedings of Vishwa Veda Vijnana Satram), 2005, p.364.

•60. The urge to acquire Indian sciences and as well as the Clavius-Maestlin controversy made the Jesuits desperate in stealing all the manuscripts to prove the authenticity i.e. the mathematical and astronomical basis. See, Chapter One, ‘Establishing Mathematical Authority: The Politics of Christoph Clavius’, pp.15-48.; Roger Ariew, ‘Theory of Comets at Paris during the seventeenth century’, in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jul. – Sep., 1992), pp. 355-372. Francis Johnson, ‘Marlowe’s Astronomy and Renaissance Skepticism’, ELH, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1946), pp. 241-254.

•61. Fr. Buccerio’s account of Madurai Mission to the Jesuit General Aquaviva 3 October, 1610 (this is appended to ‘Atma Nirnayam’, a work attributed to Nobili).

•62. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, opt.cit, The Interest of European Scientists… on Antonio Rubino.

•63. Antotio Rubino, ‘Account of the History and Religion of Vijayanagara (1608)’, Atchv fur Religionsgeschichte, Vol.3, 2001, pp.210-256.

•64. R. K. Kochar, ‘Secondary Tools of Empire: Jesuit Men of Science in India’, in Discoveries, Missionary Expansions and Asian Cultures, Concept Publishing Co., New Delhi, pp.175-183.

•65. For details see ‘Preface by Tycho Brahe to the noblest emperor Rudolph the 2nd’, in http://

•66. L. Besse, ‘Father Beschi of the Society of Jesus, His Times & Writings’, St. Joseph Industrial School Press, 1916. This book gives the complex version of the controversial nature of Beschi based on letters of missionaries. About controversies like his arrest and release, polemics with Tranquebar Protestants writing many Tamil works engaging Tamil Pandarams and poets give mosaic picture.

•67. Julien Vinson, ‘Manuel de la Langue Tamoule’, p. xxv (quoted in the above boon on pages 181-182).

•68. L. Besse, opt.cit, pp. 232-240 and 245-246.

•69. V. M. Gnanapragasam, ‘Beschi and Inculturation’, in Jesuit presence in Indian History, edited by Anand Amaladas, Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand, 1988, p.176.

•70. The discussion is made on the details given L. Besse in his book on the topic ‘Tirucabai Kanitham’ in appendices.

•71. George Byran Souza ‘The French Connection: Indian Cottons, their Early Modern Technology and Diffusion’

•72. Tirumantiram – 231, 240, 241, 242, 247, 515-519.

•73. P. V. Namasivaya Mudaliyar, ‘The Coronation Dictionary’, Chennai, 1911, p.938. K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, ‘A Critical Study of Siddhas and Sufis in Historical Perspective’ (in Tamil); in Ayvarangak Kovai (Proceedings of the First Islamic Tamil Literary Conference), Sri Lanka, 2002, pp. 360-382. ‘A Critical Study of Siddhas and Sufis in Historical Perspective’, All India Oriental Conference, 2002, p.256.

•74. S. P. Ramachandran (Pub), ‘Pulippani Vaidhyam’, Tamarai Nulagam, Chennai.

•75. S. Kalyanaraman, ‘Tiruvalluvar Carittira Maruttuva Araycikkathir (Siddhar Marabu)’, Chennai, 1972, pp.171-172.

•76. George Lockemann, ‘The Story of Chemistry’, Philosophical Library, U.S.A, 1959, pp.30-31.

•77. P. M. Ajmal khan and M. M. Vuwais, ‘Islamiya Tamil Ilakkiya Varalaru’, Vol. IV ‘Sufi Meignana Ilakkiyangal’, Madurai Kamaraj University, 1997.

•78. Rajesh Kochar, ‘The Truth behind the Legend: European doctors in pre-colonial India’, in

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