Understanding Hinduism

  • By Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London
  • April 18, 2005
  • 21805 views

Zero, PI, Geometry, Astronomy     

A. Mathematics
1. Zero – Most Powerful Tool - India invented the Zero, without which there would be no binary system. No computers! Counting would be clumsy and cumbersome! The earliest recorded date, an inscription of Zero on Sankheda Copper Plate was found in Gujarat, India (585 – 586 CE). In Brahma-Phuta Siddhanta of Brahmagupta (7th century CE), the Zero is lucidly explained and was rendered into Arabic books around 770 CE. From there it was carried to Europe in the 8th century. However, the concept of Zero is referred to as Shunya in the early, Sanskrit texts of 4th century BCE and clearly explained in Pingala’s Chandah Sutra of the 2nd century.

B. Geometry
1. Invention of Geometry - The word Geometry seems to have emerged from the Indian word ‘Gyaamiti’ which means measuring the Earth. And the word Trigonometry is similar to ‘Trikonamiti’ meaning measuring triangular forms. Euclid is credited with the invention of Geometry in 300 BCE while the concept of Geometry in India emerged in 1,000 BCE, from the practice of making fire altars in square and rectangular shapes. The treatise of Surya Siddhanta (4th century CE) describes amazing details of Trigonometry which were introduced to Europe 1,200 years later in the 16th century by Briggs.

2. The Value of PI (n) In India  - The ratio of the circumference and the diameter of a circle is known as Pi which gives its value as 3.1428571. The old Sanskrit text Baudhyana Shulba Sutra of 6th century BCE mentions this ratio as approximately equal to 3. Aryabhatta in 499 CE worked out the value of Pi to the fourth decimal place as 3.1416. Centuries later, in 825 CE Arab mathematician Mohammed Ibna Musa says that “This value has been given by the Hindus (Indians).”

3. Pythagoras’ Theorem or Baudhayana’s Theorem? - The so-called Pythagoras’ Theorem - the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle equals the sum of the square of the two sides – was worked out earlier by Baudhayana in Baudhayana Sulba Sutra. He describes: “The area produced by the diagonal of a rectangle is equal to the sum of the area produced by it on two sides.”

C. Mathematics
1. 100 BCE The Decimal System Flourished in India - “It was India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by means of ten symbols (Decimal System)… a profound and important idea which escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest men produced by antiquity.”

D. Astronomy
Indian astronomers have been mapping the skies for 3,500 years.

1. 1,000 Years Before Copernicus - Copernicus published his theory of the revolution of the Earth in 1541. A thousand years before him, Aryabhatta in 5th Century (400-500 CE) stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, “just as a person traveling in a boat feels that the trees on the bank are moving people on the earth feel that the sun in moving.” In his treatise Aryabhatteeam, he clearly states that our earth is round; it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space. And explains that lunar and solar eclipses occur by the interplay of the sun, the moon and the Earth.
2. 1,200 Years Before Newton - The Law of Gravity was known to the ancient Indian astronomer Bhaskaracharya. In his Surya Siddhanta, he notes:

“Objects fall on the Earth due to a force of attraction by the Earth. Therefore, the Earth, planets, constellations, moon and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction”.
It was not until the late 17th Century in 1687, 1,200 years later, that Sir Isaac Newton re-discovered the Law of Gravity.
3. Measurement of Time - In Surya Siddhanta, Bhaskaracharya calculates the time taken for the Earth to orbit the sun to 9 decimal places.
Bhaskaracharya = 365. 258756484 days.
Modern accepted measurement = 365. 2596 days.
Between Bhaskaracharya’s ancient measurement 1,500 years ago and the modern measurement the difference is only 0.00085 days. Only 0.0002%.
4. 34,000TH of a Second To 4.32 Billion Years
Indian has given the idea of the smallest and largest measure of time.

Krati

=    34,000th of a second

1

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 Mas (1 month)

2

Mas

=    1 Rutu (1 season)

6

Rutu

=    1 Varsh (1 year)

100

Varsh

=    1 Shatabda (1 Century)

10

Shatabda

=    1Sahasrabda

432

Sahasrabda

=    1 Yug (kaliyug)

2

Yug

=    1 Dwaparyug

3

Yug

=    1 Tretayug

4

Yug

=    1 Krutayug

10

Yug

=    1 Mahayug (4,320,000 years)

1000

Mahayug

=    1 Kalpa

1

Kalpa

=    4.32 billion years.


Receive Site Updates