The foundation of mathematical belief lies in the notion of numbers, patterns and figures, form and intensity and often, magnitude. Since then, with time and evolution, we have now developed computers and calculators, technology that makes our lives simpler and easier but at the same time, extremely dependent.
History of mathematics can be identified well in terms of origin of discoveries in prehistoric times. As early as in Egyptian and Mesopotamian culture, mathematics formed the basis of language as a deductive system. There was prevalence of usage of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry for purposes of taxation, commerce, trade among those flourishing cultures. Mathematics was also used to distinguish the patterns in nature, in the field of astronomy and consequently astrology, to record time and to formulate calendars.
Interesting thing to note here is that without such stalwart work in ancient mathematics, modern math would not have seen the light of the day. At the core of our modern mathematics is the foundation of ancient math.
Approach of Ancient Mathematics
Ancient Mathematics' approach sort of integrates our views to look at these different areas in a unified manner. It is the unification (synthesis) makes the difference between Ancient Mathematics and Modern Mathematics. One could apply many ideas of limits and Pythagoras Theorem within Ancient Mathematics, extend them for different number of dimensions (ekadhika rule), and see how beautifully Ancient Mathematics helps us look at things from a different perspective.
Ancient Mathematics helps the mind to go to the roots of problem and it solves it as well- thus helping us in other areas as well, like Management, Physics, and Algorithms etc. It helps in building alternative solutions to a given problem.
Let us take up a few examples to establish superiority of ancient mathematics over present day technology.
- Prediction of weather, eclipse, natural phenomena were all possible before computers were even invented
- A universal language of Mathematics was established back in the day, which is still the one language that binds us all among all diversity
- Social connection now made easy through Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. has in its foundation the basics of ancient mathematics
- Engineering, which is a pioneer field in the advent of technology, again has ancient mathematics as its base
- Electricity, which makes modern living possible, would not have been manifested, had there been no ancient mathematics
- The aircraft business, the art of flying, making connection and communication easier across the world, would not have been made possible but for the complex contributions of ancient mathematics.
- The movies that you see, the Wi-Fi that you use, the phone that you want to buy, the vacation that you want to take, the online shopping that you want to do, simply would not have been possible today if not for the hefty assistance of ancient mathematics.
- In addition, most interesting to note, ancient mathematics has its roots even in the formulation of Vedic Astrology.
History of Mathematics & Astrology in Ancient India
Science and Mathematics were highly developed during the ancient period in India. Ancient Indians contributed immensely to the knowledge in Mathematics as well as various branches of Science.
- Baudhayan, a great Indian Mathematician was the first to discover and calculate the value of pi
- Aryabhatta was a fifth century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and physicist. He devised a method of denoting big decimal numbers by alphabets
- Brahmgupta introduced negative numbers and operations on zero into mathematics
- Bhaskara introduced Chakrawat Method or the Cyclic Method to solve algebraic equations
- Varahamihira’s contribution in Jyotish or Astrology is worth mentioning. Astrology was given a very high place in ancient India and it has continued even today. Jyotish, which means science of light, originated with the Vedas. Aryabhatta and Varahamihira presented it scientifically in a systematic form.
What is the relationship between Ancient Mathematics and Vedic Astrology?
Varahamihira was the first proponent of Astrology or Jyotish Vidya in ancient India. His contributions through mathematics and calculations, combining astronomy spearheaded the growth of Vedic Astrology. Some of his major contributions ar as follows:
- It is widely believed that Varahamihira had constructed “Meru Stambh,” for his research on astronomy. It was a seven storied structure constructed in the middle of a lake. These seven stories symbolized seven planets and the structure had 27 windows symbolizing twenty-seven constellations, laying the basis of first principles of astrology.
- Varahamihira’s critically acclaimed work “Pancha Siddhantika” (Treatise on the five Astronomical Canons) is a treatise on mathematical astronomy. It summarizes five earlier astronomical treatises, namely, the Surya Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and Paitama Siddhanta.
- Varahamihira’s Pancha Siddhantika of is one of the most important sources for the history of Hindu Astronomy.
- As a pioneer astrologer, he wrote on all the three main branches of Jyotish astrology. It covered the five main treatises on Hindu astrology on Horoscopy.
- His mathematical work included the discovery of the trigonometric formulas, which he successfully implemented in calculations for ancient Vedic Astrology.
Varahamihira was a champion in the field of ancient astrology and mathematics, drawing close co-relations and laying the foundations of modern day astrology. To quote him, “The science of Astrology is a vast ocean and is not easy for everyone to cross it. My treatises provide a safe boat,” truly shows, how even now his works are acknowledged as masterpieces.