Traditional Indian way of becoming a Jnani or a man of wisdom ( yes it was always a man) was to go to Himalayas to meditate. I am also going to do that this week. Beware of very wise articles in coming days -:) .
Ancient Indians thought anyone who have gone to Himalayas and did meditations for months to years knew the answers to deep questions of life. Of course the difficult journey, tough climate and harsh life that make you confront directly with the reality of nature should make you wiser in some way.
But the concept of abandoning life and getting “real” wisdom by meditating in Himalayan caves became a real hindrance to development of Indian society. Instead of respecting those artisans, craftsmen, farmers and physicians who gain knowledge by studying nature and doing experiments while they work, those who do yogic meditation became more respectable and powerful. The ultimate goal of life became attaining moksha and the way to attain it was to meditate. India abandoned experimental falsifiable evidence to “evidences” gathered from thoughts based on personal mental experiences and crude logic. Texts written based on such experiences began to be known as “scientific” and real science was left behind. Thus there came a stand still in development of science and technology for more than 1000 years.
Sad part is even modern India, living under a myth created of past glory, is giving more importance to anecdotal pseudo science than evidence based falsifiable real science.