Paresh

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  • Topic: Rigveda, Indian mathematics, Vedas
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  • Published : February 20, 2013
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Religion and Science

At the outset let me start with the quote from the father of the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein who aptly remark that……

"We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made."

Apart from Einstein Will Durant, American historian stated that

"India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all".

One of the essential features about the Vedic scene was the ambrosial amalgamation of the mind and the Mother Nature, achieved by our ancestral genius. This fusion was made possible by the sharp observation of the life in all forms by the sages of the yore. What helped them more in this exceptional contribution to the humanity was the lately lost faculty of lifting the mind to the ultimate spiritual level through meditation. From this spiritual height, the cause-effect relationship of natural phenomena, the intricate mechanism that guides and supports the organisms and the hopes, opportunities and threats that direct the forward progress of humanity etc. became crystal-clear to the visionary minds of our ancestors. Thus, in short, the Vedic knowledge was the creation of vision, insights, and observation and was tested in the biggest laboratory of them all, the Nature.             Here my humble effort is towards the unveiling of the Vedic period of the Indian ancestry for an appreciation of its spectacular achievements in science. The ancient India of Vedic and ensuing eras gave the world many a legacy in mathematics, medicine, and natural sciences. The 'place value' concept in the decimal system of numbers and the concept of 'zero' travelled to Europe from India through the Arab world. The ingenious technology of zinc distillation predates by a few centuries to a similar technique discovered in Europe. The technology of wootz steel still baffles metallurgists not to mention the rust-less wonder called the Iron Pillar near the Qutb Minar at Mehrauli in Delhi.             Lets us have a look at some of the achievements of early Indians in the field of mathematics. 1. Pythagorean Theorem principle discovered (Baudhayana, Baudhayana Sulba Sutra, 600 BC, 1000 years before Pythagoras) 2. Decimal System (references dating back to 100 BC)

3. Prefixes for raising 10 to powers as high as 53 (references dating back to 100 BC) 4. Time taken by the earth to orbit the sun calculated as 365.258756484 days (Bhaskaracharya, Surya Siddhanta 400-500 AD) 5. Law of Gravity (Bhaskaracharya, Surya Siddhanta 400-500 AD) 6. Calculation of Value of pi as a ratio of 62832/2000 (Aryabhatta, 497 AD) 7. Earth’s rotation about its axis, orbits around the Sun and is suspended in space (Aryabhatta, Aryabhateeyam, 500 AD) 8. Discovery of Zero (mentioned in Pangala, Chandra Sutra 200 AD) 9. Discovery of speed of light by Sayana (1300 AD)

10. Zero (Aryabhatta).
            The origin of Algebra, trigonometry, and calculus were in India. Sridharacharya solved the quadratic equation in the 11th century. The Greeks and Romans contented themselves with rather small numbers, while Hindus (the then inhabitants of the land of Sapta-Sindhu) used numbers as big as 10 raised to the power of 53 with specific names as early as 5,000 BC, during the Vedic period. Today, the largest unit in common use is tera, or 10 to the power of 12.             Ayurveda is the oldest school of medicine codified by Charaka 2,500 years ago. Sushruta, the father of surgery, conducted complicated procedures dealing with cataracts, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones, plastic surgery, and caesarean section and...
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