Category Archives: Heathen thought

A modern glance at Nārāyaṇa-paṇḍita’s combinatorics-1

For improved reading experience one may use the PDF version. Students of the history of Hindu mathematics are well-acquainted with Nārāyaṇa-paṇḍita’s sophisticated treatment of various aspects of combinatorics and integer sequences in his Gaṇita-kaumudī composed in 1356 CE. In that … Continue reading

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Kaiṭabha, poison and death: meanderings through tradition

For better reading try PDF version The medical Suśruta-saṃhitā, kalpasthāna, chapter 3 contains an unusual mythologem about the origin of poison. It clearly belongs to the Prājāpatya tradition and presents some unusual features. It presented in full below: prajām imām … Continue reading

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Big fruits and dead giants

The fruits of the elephants nāgo bilvam ivākramya pothayiṣyāmy ahaṃ śiraḥ | alabhyām icchatas tasya kīcakasya durātmanaḥ || Like an elephant seizing a bilva [fruit] I will crush the head of that evil Kīcaka who desires that which ought not … Continue reading

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Pearl necklaces for Maheśvara

Śrīpati’s pearl necklace for Maheśvara The brāhmaṇa Śrīpati of the Kāśyapa clan was a soothsayer from Rohiṇīkhaṇḍa, which is in the modern Buldhana district of Maharashtra state. Somewhere between 1030 to 1050 CE he composed several works on mathematics, astronomy … Continue reading

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Nārāyaṇa’s sequence, Mādhava’s series and pi

The coin-toss problem and Nārāyaṇa’s sequence If you toss a fair coin times how many of the possible result-sequences of tosses will not have a successive run of 3 or more Heads? The same can be phrased as given tosses … Continue reading

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Matters of religion: the Vāyavīyaṃ Kaubera-vratam

The bus came to halt at the underground stop. Vrishchika of pretty tresses got off the bus and walked up the stairs to reach the over-bridge. She reached the middle of the bridge and stood there looking out expectantly at … Continue reading

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The Platonic culmination of Euclid and the pentagon-hexagon-decagon identity

Why did great sage Pāṇini compose the Aṣṭādhyāyī? There were probably multiple reasons but often you hear people say that he wanted to give a complete description of the Sanskrit language. That was probably one of his reasons but was … Continue reading

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