One of the eighteen essential Puranas of Hindu dharma, Garuda purana was composed in the first millennium CE. Most of the works deal with sin, death, hell, Vaitarni river, torture of sinful human. But it also talks about the way development of embryo and fetus in the book, and to our surprise, the level of detail mentioned and its relation with science is incredible.
Translations of the verses:
Vishnu says: I will give you an account of the birth of humans when male and female are bound together by the union of man and woman. Right in the middle of menstruation period, in the three days on which Indra incurs the sin of Bramicide, the body of sinful begins to form. According to karma, the creature enters the womb of a woman, and this is the receptacle of a man’s seed. The creature then obtains its own body.
On the first night, it becomes a lump. On the fifth day, it becomes round. On the tenth day, it becomes like the frith of the jujube tree, and after than an egg of flesh.
On the first month, the head is formed; on the second month, the arms and other parts are formed; on the third month, the nails, hair, bones, skin, genitalia and other cavities are formed; on the fourth month, the seven bodily fluids are formed; on the fifth month, hunger and thirst arises; on the sixth month, it is enveloped by the chorion and moves to the left of the womb; on the seventh month, he gains consciousness, he who is in the womb trembles and moves about because of parturition winds, like a uterine worm.
Now let’s see these statements through the eyes of science:
- 1st night, it becomes lump – 2 cells stage of biological science
- 5th night, it becomes round – blastocyst of biological science
- 10th day, it becomes like jujube fruit – still to understand what it really means
- 1st month, the head is formed – according to biological science, the baby develops its face through various process and can be identified at the end of 4th week
- 2nd month, the arms and other parts develop – according to biological science, the elbows and knees are established on the 50th day, and the finger and toes become free
- 3rd month, other organs are formed – according to biological science, the first hair is produced by fetal hair follicles, and is usually seen around 16 weeks of gestation, primary centres of ossification of long bone are seen around 8 weeks, prostate begins to develop at the end of 3rd month and vagina is canalized by 5th month
- 5th month, the unborn child feels hunger – science says that even though the baby cannot really feel the hunger as it is not fed through the stomach, but it does experience the rise and drop of blood sugar http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=568512.
- 7th month, fetus gains consciousness – according to science, the brain structures necessary for the conscious experience of pain around the 29-30th week, and the conscious processing of sound is possible in the baby after the 26th week.
The level of detail between the text and the scientific discoveries is nothing but fascinating. What is important to know is that these Hindu texts are thousands of years old, while the scientific discoveries have only been around for few centuries. With these instances laid down on you, would you believe that Hindu dharma is truly scientific?