Sanskrit Numerations - Essay Example

Summary
Sanskrit is a classical representation of India's history in literature and it is the liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It's one of the twenty two official languages of India. Sanskrit itself means "refined", "consecrated" and "sanctified" (Sanskrit, par.1)…

Extract of sample "Sanskrit Numerations"

Download file to see previous pages It is widely agreed upon that that Vedic form of Sanskrit underwent a seamless evolution into the Classic Sanskrit by the middle of the first millennium BC where it changed from the first language to the second language of religion and learning.
The whole Hindu-Arabic numeral system is a place value numeral system, which to the most part is built on the base 10, unlike the Babylonian base 60 system (J.J O'Connor and E F Robertson, par.3). The place value system of enumeration is built into the Sanskrit language which used nine numerals and the zero to give representation to numbers ranging from the smallest of decimals to the largest powers of ten. Sanskrit gives each power of ten a distinguishable name and as a result giving no special significance to a separate number. The Yajurveda Samhitaa listed names of units of ten up to 10 to the twelfth power (India and the Scientific Revolution, sec.3) and in times to come, Buddhist and Jain authors carried forward the list to the fifty-third power. The Sanskrit numeration system provides actual distinct names to the powers of ten, in stark contrast to the English style of using auxiliary bases like thousand, billion etc. Numbers from the start were expressed by taking the names of the first nine units separately and the powers of ten. For Sanskrit, literature number words were used for the first nine numbers and the powers of ten. The most widely used place value symbols belong to the Devanagari script numerals, which are themselves very similar to the Brahmi numerals and form the basis of the modern Hindu-Arabic numerals (Origins, par.1). The numbers till the first power of 10 in the Sanskrit language are:

The introduction of a 10th symbol, for the numeral Zero paved the way for the positional system of decimal numeration. The modern decimal system was born when the symbol for the numeral Zero came in the shape of a small circle with a dot in the middle (the dot was later dropped in the modern '0').
The widely known advancement in Arab mathematics was based on the Sanskrit numeral system and its place value and decimal system of enumeration methods. Around the seventh and eighth century, the simple and ingenious Sanskrit methods came to the attention of the Arabs and it wasn't till the 12th century that it reached Europe when Adelard of Bath translated the work of Al-Khwarizmi (an Arab mathematician) into Latin (India and the scientific revolution, sec.3). Europe, more familiar with the Roman numeral system was resistant to the Sanskrit numeral system but when the eventual adoption finally occurred, a scientific revolution swept Europe beginning in the thirteenth century.
Sanskrit language and its numeral system have greatly contributed to the modern day languages and mathematics. The Devanagri script which is adopted by Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit still employ the same numeral symbols, although the names of the numbers vary by language. The Sanskrit language is used mainly in Hindu religious rituals but the Sanskrit numerals system is the true pioneer of the modern-day mathematics. The place-value system embedded in the Sanskrit numeral system makes some parts of it very logical and wonderfully easy and simple for scientific and mathematical reasoning (India and the scientific revolution, sec.3). It outshone the Greek and Roman numeral methods and forced the Europeans ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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