Today, 15th September, is the 158th birth anniversary of celebrated civil engineer Bharat Ratna M Visvesvaraya. He was inspired by India’s ancient engineering tradition : aesthetic beauty was integral part of the marvels of engineering, created by him. That is why his birth day is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India.
Definition of engineering processes, as explained in our ancient texts, were lucidly described by Jagadguru Swami Shri Nischalanada Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Puri, during his visit to SAC in 2016. Engineers are Vishwakarma, essentially creator of methods, products, structures aimed at enhancing our ability, as endowed by nature, so that we harness nature fruitfully, make our lives better, build our future, protect nature, protect ourselves and understand nature, life and cosmos better, store and enhance our knowledge.
As we cannot run fast like Cheetah, we built cars, motorcycles which can run faster than cheetahs. We cannot fly like birds. So we built aeroplanes to fly from one end of the earth to other. We built machines which can work much better than us. We built rockets so that we travel to other planets, satellites. As an insurance against vagaries of nature, we built dams to store water to irrigate our crops, if rain fails. We built cities and villages to carry forward our civilisation. We built computers to calculate billion times faster than our brain can do. We built robots which will replace human beings in those places and conditions where human beings cannot survive.
All such creations of engineering are called ‘Yantra’ in our ancient texts. Outwardly all these creations may appear to have been created from earth elements like stones, metals, silicon, water or other human designed materials like composites, polymers etc. But think carefully: they are essentially creations of human mind. Somebody dreamt them in their mind, used the strength of our brain to convert their dreams to imagination, when dreams were given mental shapes and contours. Essentially, they are created by thought processes. Our ancient texts referred to these thought processes as ‘Mantra’ .
You cannot convert imaginations in our brains, conceived by billions of neurons, ensconced in one and half kg of brain muscles, to a tangible, practical and realisable creations just like that. You have to apply your knowledge, enhance your knowledge and build many intermediate machines and processes to realise these creations. Our forefathers referred to the process of converting ‘Mantra’ to ‘Yantra’ as ‘Tantra’ .
If we can imagine a creation, we can surely realise it, provided we discover and master right ‘Tantra’ and there is no end to the extent of our creations. Engineer’s can go on extending the envelops of creations as long as they push the horizon of knowledge further and further. Engineers, in true sense, are ‘Tantriks’ . Greetings to all Engineers and Scientists on this auspicious occasion.