Open Learning for All on Indian Knowledge Systems

Session 28 (10 September 2020): Dr. Shreehari V. Gokarnakar, Assistant Professor at Amrita Darshanam, International Centre for Spiritual Studies, Chennai, spoke on Vedic prosody in this introductory session tiled ‘Chandas—The Vedic Metres’. Dr. Gokarnakar dealt with the structural analysis of the Vedic metre (chanda) and its distinction from the classical metre (vruttam).

Being one of the Vedangas, chandas play a significant role. The Rukpratishakhya mentions that the knowledge of chandas results in fame, long life, joy, growth and auspiciousness. Bharatmuni’s Natyashastra quotes that there is no word without chandas and no chandas without a word. Through the study of chandas, a learner is able to understand various structural patterns of Vedic hymns. Nevertheless, chandas are the base of classical metres like shardulavikridita.

Session 29 (17 September 2020): Shri Chandrahas Halai spoke on Pingala’s Chandaśāstra and the Indian roots of modern digital technology in the session titled ‘Chandas—Binary Applications of Pingala’. Pingala is credited with using binary numbers in the form of short and long syllables (the latter equal in length to two short syllables), a notation similar to the Morse code. Pingala used the Sanskrit word śūnya explicitly to refer to zero.

Session 30 (24 September 2020): Shri Srinath Mohandas, Assistant Professor at CVV’s School of Ethics, Governance and Social Systems spoke on ‘Vastu Shastra—Architecture and Design Theories from Ancient India’ enlightening the audience on the unique engineering skills from ancient India and its contribution to architecture.

Vastu Shastra is a branch of Sthapatyaveda, an Upa-Veda of the Atharva Veda. It is a well-developed body of knowledge that deals with the art and science of architecture, continually researched and propagated through centuries and millennia. The speaker explored the origin and evolution of Vāstu along with its types and limbs with special focus on temple architecture and town planning.