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 Hockings, 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,