Little History of Earth - Religion and Science

Religious scriptures have stories, many of which are quite relevant from the scientific standpoint. These stories are written way back the science proved the related facts and researchers discovered the hidden knowledge and formulated the associated mathematical and biological equations.

One such story is of demons named Madhu and Kaitabh. This story is mentioned in Devi Bhagvat Puran. The story goes like this –

Madhu and Kaitabh were born out of the earwax of Vishnu when Vishnu was in deep meditation, yoganidra. Both, Madhu and Kaitabh, performed Tapasya and devoted to Mahadevi. The goddess blessed them of ichha-mrityu, meaning they would die only with their consent. Both the demons then, under the influence of false pride and ego, started attacking Brahma and stole the Vedas. Brahma then asked Vishnu’s help. On this request, Vishnu agreed to fight with the demons. The fight went on for thousands of years but the demons remained undefeated. Vishnu, then, said the demons that both of them fought very well and hence he would like to grant both of them with a boon and they could ask anything. Both of them started laughing and said, “we are far more powerful than you. Why not you ask for a boon from us?” And this was the opportunity Vishnu was looking for. He immediately asked that both of them should die. Bound by their words, they could not retreat back and thus granted Vishnu the power to kill them. And so, Vishnu was able to kill both Madhu and Kaitabh. Upon killing Madhu and Kaitabh, he floated their body on the water. The fat from their body floated and later coagulated on water and became soil. In Sanskrit, fat is called ‘meda’, and hence the soil (or earth) is also called as ‘Medini’. Because Vishnu slayed Madhu, he is also called as Madhusudan. And because he killed Kaitabh, he is also known as Kaitabhjit. Many years later this earth started harboring life like plants, fish, animals and humans.

Now, let us look into the history of earth as postulated and recorded by our science fraternity.

Long before humans evolved, there existed giant species on earth during the Triassic and Jurassic period. The dinosaurs, archaeopteryx (large teethed birds) and giant ocean animals existed during that era. The dinosaurs existed from 200 million years ago to around 66 million years ago, thus spanning for about 134 million years. Jurassic period is also significant because this period saw the splitting of one major landmass into two – Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south. Studies show that around 66 million years ago, the climate of earth changed drastically and that resulted in the extinction of many species of that era. The exact reason for this climatic change is still debated in the scientific community, with suggestions like asteroid impacts and volcanic eruptions. But whatever the reason for extinction would have been, one thing was for sure – that the extinction of dinosaurs created a void on the earth and thus provided space for modern day species to evolve, thrive and prosper.

Now, let us compare both these explanations / stories. Both, Science and Religion suggest that there were some living beings that existed long before humans. Those beings had to die to make way for humans and other modern-day species. Earth had initially one landmass and later there were two – Laurasia and Gondwana (or Madhu and Kaitabh).

30 April 2023

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