Tag Archives: Hindu mathematics

A sampler of Ramanujan’s elementary results and their manifold ramifications

As we have remarked before, Ramanujan seemed as if channeling the world-conquering strides of Viṣṇu, when he single-handedly bridged the lacuna in Hindu mathematics from the days of the brāhmaṇa-s of the Cerapada to the modern era. Starting around the … Continue reading

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Some biographical reflections on visualizing irrationals

In our childhood, our father informed us that, though the school told us that , it was not valid. However, he added that for “small fractions” [Footnote 1] it was a great approximation. Moreover, the numerical problems, which we would … Continue reading

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Two exceedingly simple sums related to triangular numbers

This note records some elementary arithmetic pertaining to triangular numbers for bālabodhana. In our youth we found that having a flexible attitude was good thing while obtaining closed forms for simple sums: for some sums geometry (using methods of proofs … Continue reading

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Johannes Germanus Regiomontanus and his rod

Even before we had become acquainted with the trigonometric sum and difference formulae or calculus are father had pointed to us that there was an optimal point at which one should stand to observe or photograph features on vertical structures, … Continue reading

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Bhāskara’s dual square indeterminate equations

PDF for convenient reading Figure 1. Sum and difference of squares amounting to near squares. In course of our exploration of the bhūjā-koṭi-karṇa-nyāya in our early youth we had observed that there are examples of “near misses”: . Hence, we … Continue reading

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Counting pyramids, squares and magic squares

Figure 1. Pyramidal numbers The following note provides some exceedingly elementary mathematics, primarily for bālabodhana. Sometime back we heard a talk by a famous contemporary mathematician (M. Bhargava) in which he described how as a kid he discovered for himself … Continue reading

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Conic conquests: biographical and historical

PDF file of same article Studying mathematics with our father was not exactly an easy-going experience; nevertheless, it was the source of many a spark that inspired fruitful explorations and life-lessons. We recount one such thread here, and reflect on … Continue reading

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Notes on miscellaneous brāhmaṇa passages from the Yajurveda

The upasthāna ritual is performed to let the sacrificial fire remain in residence after the primary oblations are complete. In the triple-fire śrauta rite this is done at the āhavanīya altar with several incantations specified in the saṃhitā-s of the … Continue reading

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Two squares that sum to a cube

Introduction This note records an exploration that began in our youth with the simple arithmetic question: Sum of the squares of which pair integers yields a perfect cube? Some obvious cases immediately come to mind: . In both these cases … Continue reading

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Some Nārāyaṇa-like convergents and their geometric and trigonometric connections

While playing with an iterative geometric construction in our youth we discovered for ourselves a particular right triangle whose sides are in the proportion , where is the Golden Ratio. This triangle is of course famous as being the basis … Continue reading

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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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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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Visualizing the Hindu divisibility test

Prologue This article continues on the themes covered by the last two (here and here) relating to factorization and the primitive root modulo of a prime number. Early in ones education one learns the divisibility tests for the first few … Continue reading

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A problem from 600 CE and some curiosities of Āryabhaṭa’s kuṭṭaka algorithm

Around 600 CE in the examinations of one of the Hindu schools of mathematics and astronomy one might have encountered a problem such as below (given by Bhāskara-I in his commentary on Āryabhaṭa’s Āryabhaṭīya): dvayādyaiḥ ṣaṭ-paryantair ekāgraḥ yo ‘vaśiṣyate rāśiḥ … Continue reading

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Triangles, Hexes and Cubes

One philosophical question which we have often ponder about is: Are numbers “real”? One way to approach this question is via figurate numbers, where numbers directly manifest as very tangible geometry. This idea has deep roots in our tradition: as … Continue reading

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Citrabhānu’s cubes

The Hindus unlike their yavana cousins preferred algebra to geometry. Yet on occasions they could indulge in geometric games for demostrating proofs of algebraic relations. We see a bit of this in the Āryabhaṭa school and the great Bhāskara-II, but … Continue reading

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The square root spiral and the Gamma function: entwined analogies

The topic discussed here is something on which considerable serious mathematical literature has published by P.J Davis, W. Gautschi and others. This partly historical narration is just a personal account of our journey through the same as a non-mathematician. As … Continue reading

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The magic of the deva-ogdoad

Classical Hindu tradition holds that the ogdoad of deva-s corresponding to their directions is: Indra: East; Agni: Southeast; Yama: South; Nirṛti: Southwest; Varuṇa: West; Vāyu: Northwest; Kubera: North; Īśāna: Northeast. The central position might be occupied in certain traditions by … Continue reading

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Āryabhaṭa and his sine table

Everyone and his son have written about Āryabhaṭa and his sine table. Yet we too do this because sometimes the situation arises where you have to explain things clearly to a layman who might have some education but is unfamiliar … Continue reading

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Euler and Ramanujan: primes, near integers and cakravāla

Mathematician Watson who worked on the famed notebooks said regarding some of Srinivasa Ramanujan’s equations: “a thrill which is indistinguishable from the thrill which I feel when I enter the Sagrestia Nuovo of the Capella Medici and see before me … Continue reading

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Early Hindu mathematics and the exploration of some second degree indeterminate equations

The following is merely a record of our exploration as a non-mathematician/non-computer scientist of a remarkable (at least to us) class of numerical relationships. An equation like can be solved to obtain specific solutions as: . However, if we have … Continue reading

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Chaos in the iterative Hindu square root method of the gaṇaka-rāja

For Hindus big numbers always mattered and our mathematics is quite reflection of this fascination. Since the earliest times, Hindus devised various methods to obtain square roots of numbers, especially approximations of irrational roots correct to multiple decimal places. The … Continue reading

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