Mathematics in Ancient India

This scroll, written in Sanscrit, contains instructions for calculating the dates of solar eclipses. Although it is only from about 5 A.D., there are many clues suggesting that some, if not most, of the mathematics involved originated more than 1000 years before that.

Almost always overlooked by western scholars, India played a very important role in the advancement of mathematics for much of ancient history.   Besides using simple arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, etc., the Indians even invented the decimal system and the idea of positional notation, both of which are still in use today.   They also used the "Pythagorean" theorem and "Pascal's" triangle long before either of those men were born!

Therefore, it is very important to try to understand more about these little-known people, who obviously and heavily influenced the development of math through the ages.   This web site is meant to explore - in common terminology - the usually unrecognized achievements of Vedic and Hindu mathematicians from 2000-300 B.C.   The information which the above claims are based on comes from the Vedas (the oldest known document in the world) and the Sulva-Sutras, an "instruction manual" for building brick altars.   These two documents are the main focus of this site.  For further information beyond the scope of this site, visit the bibliography.

Use the "stone path" below to quickly navigate between sections.

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