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Number Systems in Samskrit

Ramamurthy N

,
qq q1 1
q 7

."Like the crest of the peacock, like the gem on the head of
a snake, so is mathematics at the head of all knowledge."

Vedanga Jyothisha - Lagadha, Verse 35

Mathematics is universally regarded as the
science of all sciences and the priestess of
definiteness and clarity. Everything that
the greatest minds of all times have
accomplished towards the comprehension
of forms by means of concepts is gathered
into one great science, Mathematics. J.F.
Herbert

Indian Mathematicians gave the world the
numerals now in universal use. The
crowning glory of Indian Mathematics was
the invention of zero and the introduction
of decimal notation without which
mathematics as a scientific discipline
could not have made this much headway.

A mathematical equation had a meaning
because it expressed a thought of God, S.
Ramanujam, the man who knew infinity.
In keeping with the ingrained tradition of
mathematics in India, the genius who was
one of the greatest mathematicians of our
time and the mystic for whom blazed new
mathematical trails in Cambridge
University in the second decade of the
twentieth century, even though he did not
himself possess a University degree.
Representation of Numbers in
Samskrit

In ancient times, throughout India, almost
all the scientific books were written
using three types of number systems viz.,
Katapayaadi-Sankhya, Bhoota-Sankhya
and Aryabhateeya-Sankhya
Katapayaadi Method:

Katapayaadi MOmrS, (beginning with
ka, ta, pa & ya), is one of the general
methods of representing numerals in
Samskrit. This method was described by
the Rishi Vararuchi. The numbers
corresponding to each of the Samskrit
consonants are given in the table below.

Vedic knowledge is in the form of slokas
or poems in Sanskrit verse. A number was
encoded using consonant groups of the
Sanskrit alphabet, and vowels were
provided as additional latitude to the
author in poetic composition. The coding
key is given as Kaadi nav, taadi nav,
paadi panchak, yaadashtak ta ksha
shunyam - translated as below
letter k and the following eight
letters
letter t and the following eight
letters
letter p and the following four
letters
letter y and the following seven
letters, and
letter ksha or zero.
This method operates as below:

Numbers corresponding to each
letter of any word is taken from the
table
Write them from left to right
serially
Transpose them from right to left
Consider for further calculations.

M
ka
Z
kha
a
ga
b
gha
X
a
1 2 3 4 5
c
ca
N
cha
e
ja
f
jha
g
a
6 7 8 9 0
O
a
P
ha
Q
a
R
ha
h
a
1 2 3 4 5
i
ta
j
tha
S
da
k
dha
l
na
6 7 8 9 0
m
pa
T
pha
o
ba
p
bha
q
ma
1 2 3 4 5
r
ya
U
ra
s
la
u
va

1 2 3 4
z
a
w
a
x
sa
W
ha
H
ka
5 6 7 8 0

Melakarta Raagaas:

An interesting feature of the Melakarta
Raagas of Carnatic music is described to
explain the above method of numerals in
Samskrit. The table in Annexure 1 lists
down all the 72 Melakarta Raagas, in that
order. Read the numbers corresponding to
first two letters of the Raaga from the
above table and then transpose the same.
We can get the number of the Raaga.

For example:

a. Raaga Maayaamaalavagoula
qrqsuas qrqsuas qrqsuas qrqsuas The first two letters
are q q q q (M) and r r r r (Ya). The
numbers corresponding to these
letters in the above table are 5 and
1 = 51. By transposing 51 we get
15, which is the number for
Maayaamaalavagaula Raaga.
b. Raaga Naaganandini lallkl lallkl lallkl lallkl
The first two letters are l l l l N and
a a a a Ga. The numbers corresponding
to these letters in the above table
are 0 and 3 = 03. By transposing
03 we get 30, which is the number
for Naaganandini Raaga.

Note: In Samskrit the half letters are not
taken into consideration for any of the
counting/ calculations.

Lalit Sahasranma

1. Lalit Sahasranma is a hymn has
182 and half verses. One Thousand names
of Lalit have been embedded in these
verses. The greatness of Samskrit language
is mentioned in the name itself
(Samskritam done in a perfect way).
Each word has lots of meanings. In the
same manner splitting of each word
differently will provide different
meanings. This makes different people
split the words differently and interpret
differently. Though it can be taken that
this does not affect heavily, this hymn
exactly has 1000 names not even a single
more or less. Hence if splitting of words is
not done properly and the names read
individually, then count of 1000 may
change. That is the reason, to split the
verses properly, Salkshara Stras were
first formulated. Because this is not
available now Paribhsh Maalam,
with 40 verses, was written by
Bhaaskararaayaa, who first wrote
bhaashyam to Lalit Sahasranma. It is a
self-contained research paper on Lalit
Sahasranma. It is perfect allegory. At
the outset the surface meaning of these
verses is as praising and bowing ree
Devee. But the deep meaning is that, it
explains the structure of all the thousand
names how many names contain how
many letters, the next-next names start
with which letter, the starting letter of
every hundredth name, etc. It is a delight
to read these 40 verses.

These Paribhsh stotras use a blend of
Katapayaadi-Sankhya as well as Bhoota-
Sankhya to denote the numbers through
Samskrit words. It is a delight to read these
verses and appreciate the inherent
meanings.

Bhoota-Sankhya and Aryabhateeya-
Sankhya have been described in some
other articles.

Ramamurthy N, a banker cum IT
professional, pursues research on
hidden scientific treasures in
Samskrit.