Composition of Earth as described by Aryabhata I
Many geologists have conducted various studies to understand about the composition of Earth. According to modern science on a high level it is determined that earth is composed of Soil, Water, Air, Fire and Ether. It is quite remarkable to see Aryabhata mentioning about the composition of earth in his book Aryabhatiya. In his book Aryabhata I not only talks about the composition of Earth but also about the Shape of Earth. Aryabhatiya can be considered to be one of the best works made in India in the field of astronomy and mathematics. There are various concepts in the book still unexplored by the modern science.
वृत्तभपञ्जरमध्ये कक्षापरिवेष्टित: खमध्यगत:।
मृज्जलशिखिवायुमयो भूगोलः सर्वतो वृत्तः॥ (Chapter 4, Vere 6)
The globe of the Earth stands (support less) in space at the centre of the circular frame of the asterisms (i.e., at the centre of the Bhagola) surrounded by the orbits (of the planets); it is made up of water, earth, fire and air and is spherical (circular on all sides).
In the above verse Aryabhata mentions that Earth is made up of water, soil, fire and air. It is quite interesting to see that he has determined this in 499 CE. Other astronomers however believe that earth is made up of 5 elements which includes ether along with the ones mentioned above. We don’t know why Aryabhata did not mention about ether when he speaks about the composition of Earth. Apart from this he has also provided other significant information about Earth. His poetic way of expression is also notable. He compares Earth with that of Kadhamba flower in the below verse.
यद्वत् कदम्बपुश्पष्पग्रन्थिः प्रचितः समन्ततः कुसुमैः।
तद्वद्धि सर्वसत्त्वैर्जलजैः स्थलजैश्च भूगोलः॥ (Chapter 4, Verse 7)
Just as the bulb of a Kadamba flower is covered all around by blossoms, just so is the globe of the Earth surrounded by all creatures, terrestrial as well as aquatic.
When he says about the bulb of Kadhamba flower in his verses, we can also conclude that Aryabhata was sure about the Spherical shape of earth. Aryabhata also casually mentions about the different types of species that are present in earth and how earth is surrounded by them.
Apart from Aryabhatiya, there are several other Tamil scriptures that describes the composition of earth to be made of Pancha Bootham. These Pancha Bootham is classifed as earth, water, fire, air and space. Even the human body is made up of these 5 elements. In Ayurveda it is described that a person is exposed to diseases only when there is an imbalance in Air energy, Fire energy and Water energy in the body. Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar has also mentioned about this in his Thirukkural.
மிகினும் குறையினும் நோய்செய்யும் நூலோர்
வளிமுதலா எண்ணிய மூன்று. – (Thirukkural 941)
Miginum Kurayinum Noiseiyyum Noolor
Malimudhalaa Enniya Moondru.
Scholars consider three elements air energy, fire energy and water energy that can create disease in a person if any of its level is high or low in the body. So there is no wonder that we had all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom in India.