Seventy-six years ago, in the desert of western USA, a nuclear physicist named Robert Oppenheimer uttered these ominous words. No doubt he was referring to the legendary Bramhastra weapon, mentioned in ancient Hindu Scriptures.

Did such weapons of mass destruction exist in prehistoric times? There is inconclusive evidence to suggest that such nuclear weapons existed in ancient times. Researchers in the Indus Valley's Mohenjo-daro have uncovered mass skeletons of people buried deep below.

These are not normal burials.

Apparently these look like victims of a catastrophic event.

High levels of radioactive elements are found in these ancient mass burials. There are legends of advanced civilizations which ended in a great catastrophe everywhere.

Once upon a time, some historians say, an ancient golden civilisation existed called Bharatvarsha. Western folklore also recalls stories of a lost advanced civilisation called Atlantis.

Japanese folklore has similar themes. Although the Mahabharata war is considered as a work of fiction by most Western scholars, there is striking similarity between the description of the Bramhastra weapon and atomic bombs.

So why am I referring to these ancient legends of lost great civilisations now? Japan, the host of the Olympic Games, wants the world to remember the tragedy. It is the only modern nation to have suffered a nuclear attack. On August 6 and 9, they commemorate the catastrophic event which occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Entire cities were obliterated, hundreds of thousands died.

Thousands were permanently disfigured by the blast. Hibakusha was the nickname given to those unlucky victims who had to survive with an ugly disfigured face.

Japan is a phoenix. She rose from the ashes of defeat and destruction to become a technological powerhouse.

But Japan's painful history is unbearable by the fact that there are now nine nuclear armed nations in the world (USA, Russia, China, India, France, UK, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea).

We now have enough atomic bombs to destroy three planet earths! So as Japan remembers the somber day on August 6 and 9, during the Olympics, there is a lot to remember, but little to celebrate.

As the world fights against the corona pandemic, it is high time we reflect on our existential threat.

Our greatest danger is not a virus. It is the bomb. We need to create an international movement to ban the bomb.

Otherwise millions of years later, our skeletons will be uncovered by another 'intelligent' species.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 11 2021, of The Himalayan Times.