Right from the Vedic times, there has been in India a tradition of synthesis of knowledge; Vedas themselves have spoken to celebrate discovery of new knowledge and of the development of wider and higher peaks of knowledge. As a result, Sanskrit has been a vehicle, not only of sublime and inspiring literature but also of Yogic science, philosophy, Dharma shastras, ethical codes and numerous systems of natural science, applied science and pragmatic knowledge. It is well-known that Sanskrit contains the earliest discoveries of zero and decimal system and the works of Aryabhatt and Bhaskaracharya rank among the best in their various fields. In regard to trigonometry, original insights are to be found relevant in Sanskrit literature and Madhvacharya (1350 to 1410 AD) well anticipated in advance the works of Newton and Leibnitz in regard to integral and differential calculus. Indian mathematicians enunciated not only formulate for the value of pi, derived from its methods. Astronomical knowledge figures even in the earliest Vedic Samhitas and that the remarkable development of astronomy in India through millennia has been widely acknowledged. Science of computation of time and space were highly developed; that the speed of light is the highest among all the physical speeds was known to the Vedic seers, and the measurement of the speed and the formula of that speed which corresponds very much to the corresponding formula of today has been mentioned is a part of the traditional knowledge in a work belonging to 14th century AD. The idea of gravitation has been recorded in the ancient Sanskrit literature and a passage in the writings of Sankaracharya shows is acquainted with that knowledge. That the earth is not the center but small portion of the huge universe was not only known but was a part of practical knowledge is testified in the various Sanskrit works pertaining to scientific and spiritual fields.
The science and art of Ayurveda have their origin in the Veda and continue to develop through a long history of Indian medicine, and it is alive even today. In regard to the study of minerals, the work of Vagbhatta 12th century AD outlines elaborately the medicinal aspect of gems and curative element in each of these and curative properties of medicine prepared using their ashes. It may be remarked that realization of these formulas in forming of modern mathematics have taken mathematical development in India and have thrown out a number of ideas and approaches which are worth pursuing by modern mathematicians.
It may also be added that veterinary science was also very well developed in the works like Asvavaidyaka of Nakula.
It may also be noted that much work is found in Sanskrit literature in respect of engineering and technology. A number of manuscripts have been collected, study of these manuscripts is found to throw light on these important branches of knowledge. A study of Indian technologies will bring out the simple techniques in various fields such as metallurgy, and textiles. It is a fact that in 19th century, fabrics produced by textiles mills in England had to be protected from Indian competition by the imposition of duties from 70 % to 80% on cotton silk imported from India. As pointed out by H.H. Wilson,“The mills of Paisley and Manchester would have stopped in their outset and could scarcely have been again set in motion even by the power of steam.”
The available Sanskrit literature also shows that India had developed special techniques also in agriculture, building and construction, sculpture, pottery, glass making and even in luxuries like making ice, etc.
It is now being increasingly recognized that the Indian Shastras and modern science can both benefit if a fresh dialogue is instituted, and this of course needs some knowledge of Sanskrit among scientists of today. With these dialogues, the rigour of exact reasoning will be achieved and new insights gained in various branches of science and technology, and even in disciplines like music, poetics, drama and linguistics.