By Mutalik Gururaj

The term upaveda (Applied Vedas) is used to designate the four technical disciplines. Archery (Dhanurveda), associated with the Rigveda ,Architecture (Sthapatyaveda), associated with the Yajurveda,  Music and sacred dance (Gāndharvaveda), associated with the Samaveda and Medicine (Āyurveda), associated with the Atharvaveda . This classification is provided in vedic text called Charanavyuha.

Upavedas in totality address various aspects of health, security, aesthetic culture  and literature and civic comforts needed for a civilization.

Dhanurveda technically known as a part of śastra-vidyā, weapon knowledge. Dhanurveda derives from the words for bow (dhanushya) and knowledge (veda), the “science of archeryThe Vishnu Purana text describes dhanuveda as one of the traditional eighteen branches of “applied knowledge” or upaveda,  as a  military science. The use of vedic chants to mystically empower the weapons is a one of the popular concepts and a part of ‘faith ’anchored to the purana works. The divinity of the weapon is an integral part of faith of a warrior.

Architecture or Sthapatyaveda is linked with the deity  Vishwakarma. The science materials and constructions, smithy and metallurgy, civil engineering and textiles are a part of disciplines under this topic.

Sacredness of art and literature is presented in relation to Vedas in Gandharvaveda. The highest experience of aesthetic bliss – rasa is compared to the experience of the Supreme Divine in a flash mode. All art and literature, music and dance is considered sacred and to be used for soul elevation  and emotional refinement.

The central ideas of Ayurveda are primarily derived from Vedic philosophy. Healthy body and mind is considered as a need for total experience of Divinity in a sustainable mode. Health here covers life long wellness of body mind meld.   Balance is emphasized, and suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness. Health care is integrally twined with Yoga.

Ayurveda means  “life-knowledge” .  Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional Vedic medicine native to the Indian subcontinent. Ayurveda is a discipline of the upaveda or “auxiliary knowledge” in Vedic tradition. The origins of Ayurveda are also found in the Atharvaveda, which contains 114 hymns and incantations described as magical cures for disease. There are also various legendary accounts of the origin of Ayurveda, e.g., that it was received by Dhanvantari (or Divodasa) from Brahma. Ayurvedic practices include the use of herbal medicines, mineral or metal supplementation (rasa shastra), surgical techniques, opium, and application of oil by massages. Ayurveda names three elemental substances, the doshas (called Vata, Pitta and Kapha), and states that a balance of the doshas results in health, while imbalance results in disease. Ayurveda has eight canonical components, which are derived from classical Sanskrit literature. Some of the oldest known Ayurvedic texts include the SuśruthaSaṃhitā and CharakaSaṃhitā, which are written in Sanskrit.

Due to the tremendous progress in the field of material sciences which resulted in coming of age of archeology, epigraphy, carbon dating and others as viable scientific methods. The impact of this transformation resulted in the emphasis that valid history can only be based on material artifacts like pottery, inscriptions and other tangible material evidences and not tradition, folk lore etc.

Hence the modern historians relegated all that was oral history into mythology. For them mythology was an art from for cultural entertainment rather than to be considered as serious history of a culture or civilization. Hence history became, instead of a robust lively narration of the story of cultures of our forefathers, a mere skeleton of facts and figures with very little possibility of a valid impact on the psyche of the society. Hence in modern time’s, history lost its prime position of importance as a guide to formulate the opinions of the people in order to preserve the culture and traditions that are unique to each civilization.

Bharata was no exception. Even though it was acknowledged as the repository of the most ancient poetical creation namely the Vedas and was acknowledged to be one of the most ancient civilizations of the world all Its oral records were relegated as pure mythology – a figment of imagination of the ancients.

So was the fate of the history of the river Sarasvati. Even though the traditional texts of Bharata from the Vedas on wards spoke about a mighty river called Sarasvati, by the time the modern historians tried to look at the history of Bharata sarasavati had disappeared. So all information associated with river Sarasvati was relegated to the background. It had scant attention of the academic world for a long time. She became a myth.

But river Sarasvati continued to be a reality in the minds of the masses of Bharata as a sacred river who had gone underground. Fairs, melas were celebrated at places of pilgrimage believed to be on the banks of river Sarasvati during the rainy season. People believed that river Sarasvati would appear in the tanks and ponds during the rainy season at the places of pilgrimage to bless them and would throng to take bath and feel sanctified by the waters of river Sarasvati.