The pioneer of Botany in ancient India – Rishi Parashar

The greatest gift to the entire world by our ancient Indian ancestors is the Ayurved, which deals with many plants and herbs helpful to keep a man healthy and hale. Throught he development of plant science, there has been a lot of inputs into AYurved which believes that nature and its resources are the beast healers. It is indeed a pride factor that this plant science was developed in ancient India even before the Westerners knew about it by many great seers and sages. One such contributor who has expounded innumerable helpful theories of Ayurved especially in plant science and medicine and help it grow as a part of our life is Rishi Parashar.

Rishi Parashar was son of Shakti and the grandson of Rishi Vashisht. He is the father of the immortal Rishi Ved Vyaas. Once during the Vedic rituals, Rishi Vashisht heard Vedic hymns coming from his daughter-in –law’s womb and realised that it was the unborn child who was repeating the hymns after him. Rishi Vashishth was overjoyed to hear his grandson being so well versed even before birth and blessed him. When Parashar was a young man, he came to know that his father was killed by a demon and started a Yagna so powerful that all the demons came and fell into the sacrificial fire and lost their lives. On the request of Brahma ji and Rishi Vashisht that his Yagna would imbalance the creation, he stopped the Yagna and pardoned all of the demons.

Rishi Parashar is known to be the pioneer of many Botanical discoveries. He was the first person to explain the structure of plant cell in his Sanskrit work “Vrkhsa Ayurveda”. In this work, he also explained the process of Photosynthesis of the plant in the fourth chapter. He clearly explains that leaves prepare food and water through their roots and named this process as “Syandhana” and it is no surprise that all ancient Indians were aware of this fact.

Rishi Parashar also categorised the plants according to their type of flowers, fruits, roots and leaves. Hence, we can notice that every great book like the Upanishad, Ramayan , Mahabharat and many more do give a reference of the plants very clearly in their works which speaks volumes about their knowledge in the ancient plant sciences.

Rishi Parashar also classified seeds of the plants which is the benchmark to all the modern biologists of today. He also authored a book named Krishi Parasharam which deals with agriculture and weeds. Rishi Parashar’s contribution to plant sciences is like the foundation on which the modern science and technology are developed. His life and work proves that how far was the vision of our ancestors in our country’s growth and also reminds us to follow their methods and regards them as our own rich bounty of knowledge and make their life work known to further generations too.