Ancient Hindu civilisation and mathematics
By Dr R.N. Das
The ancient Hindu sages discovered the miracles of modern scientific
tools. Believe it or not, the following are the glorious examples of
them.
I. The Concept of Zero
The concept of zero came from the revered Hindu sages in Vedic times
thousands of years ago.
Without the concept of zero the binary system is blind. No counting,
no commerce or no computer business. The earliest documented "date"
was found in today's Gujarat [BC 585-586] in an inscription on
Sankedia copper plate. In Brahamaphuta—Siddhanta of Brahamagupta (7th
century CE), zero was lucidly explained. Muslim invaders from Central
Asia crossing the Hindukush mountain ranges invaded Bharat 1300 years
ago and plundered its beauty, riches, books, thrones and what not.
They plagued the holy land with sword, loot, arson and rape and
destroyed and ravaged the whole land in the name of jehad
and "Allah". There was no Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List) like
cinema director who could document this sordid past of our history.
There was no patent system at that time. Might was right. They
considered those substances of robbery maal-e-ganimat (booty looted
from kafirs to be distributed among themselves and friends of theirs)
and thus inculcated those invaluable theorems of mathematics,
astronomy and geometry in Arabic books in around 770-1200 CE. From
there, those extraordinary concepts were carried to Spanish Europe in
the 8th century. However the concept of zero was referred to as
shunya in the early Sanskrit texts of the 4th century BC and was
clearly explained in Pingala's Chand Sutra of the 2nd century too.
II. The Contribution to Astronomy
Hindu sages told modern scientists how to map the sky in terms of
glaring stars almost 4000 years ago. Copernicus published his theory
of revolution of the Earth around the Sun in 1543 AD only. But our
Aryabhatta in the 5th century had stated that the Earth revolves
around the Sun in these specific words: "Just as a person boarding on
a boat feels that the trees on the banks are moving, people on the
revolving earth also feel that the sun is moving". Such illustrious
teaching of astronomy was rarely seen in the contemporary writings of
the Greek astronomers. In his Aryabhatteem, he clearly stated that
our Earth was round and it rotated on its own axis, orbited the Sun
and was suspended in the space. It also explained that the lunar and
solar eclipses occurred by the interplay of the shadows of the Sun,
the Moon and the Earth.
III. The Law of Gravity
The Law of Gravity was known to the ancient Hindu astronomer
Bhaskaracharya. In his Surya Siddhanta he noted: "Objects fall on the
Earth due to force of attraction of the Earth. Therefore, the Earth,
planets, constellations, the Moon, and the Sun are all held in the
galaxy due to this great cosmic attraction."
It was in 1687—1200 years later—that Sir Isaac Newton discovered (re-
discovered?) the Law of Gravity, which was already invented by the
greatest Hindu astronomer Bhaskaracharya, of course which was written
in the holiest language, Sanskrit.
IV. The Invention of Trikonmiti
The word geometry seems to have emerged from the Sanskrit word
gyaamiti, which means measuring the Earth. And the word trigonometry
is similar to trikonmiti meaning measuring triangular forms.
Euclid was famous for the invention of geometry in 300 BC whilst the
concept of trikonmiti had emerged in 1000 BC in Bharat. It is evident
lucidly from today's "practice of making fire alters (at homagni
kshetra) in different shapes, e.g., round, triangular, hexagonal,
pentagonal, square and rectangular". It was part and parcel of daily
pujas and homagnis in ancient times. The treatise of Surya Siddhanta
(4th century) described in fascinating details about trigonometry,
which was introduced in Europe by Briggs 1200 years later in the 16th
century.
V. The Invention of Infinity
The value of "Pi" was first invented by the ancient sages of Bharat.
The ratio of circumference and diameter of a circle is known as "Pi"
which gives its value as 3.14592657932...
The old Sanskrit text Baudhayna Sulbha Sutra of the 6th century BC
mentioned that above-mentioned ratio as approximately equalled to
that of Aryabhatta's ratio [in 499 BC] worked out the value of "Pi"
to the fourth decimal place as [3x (177/1250) = 3.1416]. Many
centuries later, in 825 AD, Arab mathematician, Mohammed Ibn Musa
admitted: "This value of "Pi" was given by the Hindus (62832/20,000 =
3.1416)."
VI. Baudhayna's Sulbha Sutra versus Pythagoras's Theorem
The famous Pythagoras's theorem states: "The square of the hypotenuse
angled triangle equals to the sum of the two sides." This theorem was
actually discovered by Euclid in 300 BC but Greek writers attributed
this to Pythagoras. But the irony of fate is that our so-called
intellectuals (indeed Macaulay's sons who have forgotten their old
but rich and glorious ancient Hindu heritage) had also accepted that
theorem as a contribution of Pythagoras. They never read or tried to
know that Baudhayna's Sulbha Sutra which has been existing for many
thousands of years (written in the Sanskrit) had already described
lucidly the theorem as follows: "The area produced by the diagonal of
a rectangle is equal to the sum of the area produced by it on two
sides."
VII. The Measurement of Time or Time Scale
In Surya Siddhanta, Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the
Earth to revolve around the Sun up to the 9th decimal place.
According to Bhaskaracharya's calculation it is 365.258756484 days.
Modern scientist accepted a value of the same time as 365.2596 days.
The difference between the two observations made by ancient Hindu
sage Bhaskaracharya just by using his super brain (in the 4th century
AD) and today's NASA (National Aeronautic and Space Agency)
scientists of America by using super computer (in the 20th century
AD) is only 0.00085, i.e., 0.0002 per cent of difference.
The ancient Bharatbhoomi had given the world the idea of the smallest
and largest measuring units of Time. In modern time, only Stephen
Hawking, Cambridge University Professor of theoretical physics, had
the courage to venture into the abysmal depth of the eternity of
Time. Astonishingly, our ancient sages taught us the following units
of time:
Krati =34,000th of a second
Truti =300th of a second
2 Truti =1 Luv
2 Luv = 1 Kshana
30 Kshana =1 Vipal
60 Vipal = 1 Pal
60 Pal = 1 Ghadi (=24 Minutes)
2.5 Ghadi = 1 Hora (=1 Hour)
24 Hora = 1 Divas (1 Day)
7 Divas = 1 Saptah (1 Week)
4 Saptah = 1 Maas (1 Month)
2 Maas = 1 Ritu (1 Season)
6 Ritu = 1 Varsha (1 Year)
100 Varsha = 1 Satabda (1 Century)
10 Shatabda = 1 Saharabda
432 Saharabda = 1Yug(Kali Yuga))
2 Yuga = 1 Dwapar Yuga
3 Yuga = 1 Treta Yuga
4 Yuga = Kruta Yuga
10 Yuga = 1 Maha Yuga (4,320,000)
1000 Maha Yuga = 1 Kalpa
1 Kalpa = 4.32 Billion Years.
Therefore, the lowest was 34,000th of a second known as krati and the
highest of the measurement of the Time was known as kalpa, which
equalled to 4.32 billion years. Is it not amazing? Are you not
feeling proud to be a Hindu descendent? Swami Vivekananda, the modern
sage of Bharat, stated in his famous sermons compiled in his Rousing
Call to the Hindu Nation, "Take pride in Hinduism; pronounce
yourselves as a descendant of a Hindu. Boast to be a Hindu and give a
clarion call to rouse the Hindu nation from its lethargy and
slumber."
VIII. The Invention of Decimal System
It was the ancient Bharatbhoomi that gave us the ingenious methods of
expressing all the numbers by means of 10 symbols (decimal systems)—
an invaluable and gorgeous idea that escaped the genius of Archimedes
and Apollonius, two of the greatest Greek philosophers and
mathematician produced by antiquity (100-130BC).
The highest prefix used for raising 10 to the power in today's
mathematics is "D" for 1030 (for Greek Deca).While as early as 100 BC
Hindu mathematicians had exact names for figures up to 1053.
a. Ekam = 1
b. Dashkam = 10 (101)
c. 1 Shatam = 100 (102)
d. 10 Shatam = 1 Shahashram = 1000 (103)
e. 10 Dash Shahashram = 10,000 (104)
f. Laksha = 100,000 (105)
g. Dash Laksha = 10,00,000 (106)
h. Kotihi = 10, 00, 0000 (107)
i. Ayutam = 100,000,000 (109)
j. Niyutam = 100,000,000,000 (1011)
k. Kankaram = 10,000,000,000,000 (1013)
l. Vivaram = 10,000,000,000,000,000 (1016)
m. Pararadahaa = 1017
n. Nivahata = 1019
o. Utsangaha = 1021
p. Bahulam = 1023
q. Naagbaalaha = 1025
r. Titlambam = 1027
s. Vyavasthaanapragnaptihi = 1029
t. Hetuhellam = 1031
u. Karahuhu = 1033
v. Hetvindreeyam = 1035
w. Sampaata Lambhaha = 1037
x. Gananaagatihi = 1039
y. Niravadyam = 1041
z. Mudraabalam = 1043
aa. Saraabalam = 1045
ab. Vishamagnagatihi = 1047
ac. Sarvagnaha = 1049
ad. Vibhutangaama = 1051
ae. Tallakshanaam = 1053
Is it not amazing to know that the ancient Hindu sages used to
remember them just by using their outstanding memory power or was
there some super computer known to them also, which we are quite
unaware of?
In Anuyogadwar Sutra, written 100 BC, one numeral had been shown to
be raised to as high as 10140 which is beyond our outmost stretches
of imagination. All of our remaining hidden treasures, which had not
been destroyed or stolen by the foreign mercenaries and invaders,
were written in Sanskrit, mother of all languages, which should be
revived. It is our legacy to inherit such rich property that our
forefather had left for us by their meticulous observations over
thousands of years ago.
All hidden treasures are written in Sanskrit, which we are quite
ignorant of and our so-called Macaulay's sons are trying their best
to prevent us from knowing about our glorious past. Sir Monier-
Williams rightly said: "Hindus are perhaps the only nation, except
the Greeks, who have investigated independently and in true
scientific manner, the general laws that govern the evolution of
languages."
There was no patent system at that time. Might was right. They
considered those substances of robbery maal-e-ganimat (booty looted
from kafirs to be distributed among themselves and friends of theirs)
and thus inculcated those invaluable theorems of mathematics,
astronomy and geometry in Arabic books in around 770-1200 CE.
More than this, the Hindus had made considerable advances in
astronomy, algebra, arithmetics, botany and medicine, not to mention
their superiority in grammar, long before some of these sciences were
cultivated by the most ancient nations of Europe.
Indeed, Hindus were Spinozists 2000 years before the birth of
Spinoza, Darwinians many centuries before the birth of Darwin, and
evolutionists, centuries before the doctrine of evolution had been
accepted by Aldus Huxley's of our times, and before any word like
evolution existed in any language in this world.
We should take a vow to work together to search those hidden
treasures out, propagate the notion that Sanskrit is not a dead
language. Sanskrit is the elite of the elitist, classic of the
classics and it should be revived once again. We will again sit in
the seat of the world assembly with our head held high and with
pride. I would like to draw the final touch with the quotation from
Swami Vivekananda, "I do not see into the future nor do I care to
see. But one vision I see clear as life before me, that the ancient
Mother has awakened once more sitting on her throne rejuvenated, more
glorious than ever. Proclaim her to all the world with the voice of
peace and benediction."
(The writer is Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Manipal
Teaching Hospital, Pokhara, Nepal,
E-mail:dar_rabindranath@hotmail.com)
http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=114&page=31