Indian Culture: Scientists of Ancient India: The Field of Mathematics, Science, Ayurveda and Yoga

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  • This chapter is about the contributions of Ancient Indians in the field of Mathematics and Science, including Medical Science, Ayurveda, Yoga, Astronomy and Astrology .Scientific knowledge was evolved in Ancient India.

  • During Ancient India ,there was immense contribution to the knowledge in Mathematics and various branches of Science. Due to lack of documentation and dissemination in the western world Ancient Indians mathematics did not get the credits for the mathematical theories that they deserve.

Scientists of Ancient India

Scientists of Ancient India

  • Badayun was first to discover several mathematical concepts like the value of pi used in area and circumference of a circle. Today’s Pythagoras theorem was founded several years before the age of Pythagoras in Baudhayan’s sulva sutra.

  • Aryabhatta was an astronomer ,astrologer, physicist, and a pioneer of Mathematics. He wrote summary of Mathematics of his time Aryabhattiya at the age of 23 having four sections describing method of denoting big decimal numbers by alphabets, different questions such as theory, geometry, trigonometry, and beejganita(algebra); and two sections on astronomy .He showed that zero was a symbol and a concept not a numeral only which enables to find out the exact distance between earth and the moon. He also contributed to field of science as the last two sections of Aryabhattiya were on Astronomy .

  • In Ancient India, the science of astronomy was called Khagol Shastra. The need of astronomy to have accurate calendars, climate and rainfall patterns for sowing crops, dates of seasons and festivals was of great importance in trade.

  • Aryabhatta stated that Earth is round and rotates on its own axis. He also stated that the moon and planets sheild by reflected sunlight and gave scientific explanation for solar and lunar eclipse .

  • Brahmagupta ; In 7th century he used place value in multiplication and introduced negative numbers and operations on zero into Mathematics. He wrote Brahm sputa siddantika.

  • Bhaskaracharya a leading light of 12th century . He was famous for his book Siddanta Shiromani . It was divided into four sections: Lilavati (arithmetic) , Beejaganit(Algebra) , Goladhyaya(sphere) and Grahaganit (mathematics of planets). He introduced Chakrawat method or cyclic method to solve algebraic equations.

  • Mahavir Acharya was a Jain guru and wrote Ganit Sara Sangraha in 850 A.D which was first textbook on arithmetic. LCM (Least Common Multiple) was also described by him

  • Kanad was a 6th century scientist . His original name was AULUKYA. He got the name Kanad because of his interest in minute particles called KANA . He held that material universe is made up of Kanas /atom which is not visible through eyes and are indivisible in his atomic theory.

  • Varahmihira lived during Gupta period . He claims that termites and plants could be indicators of underground water. He gave list of six animals and thirty plants. He also gave famous Earthquake Cloud Theory in Brhat Samhita (32nd chapter). He also contributed in Jyotish or Astrology which was given high place in Ancient India and even today. He was the member of Vikram Aditya’s court and was given the title VARAHA by Vikramaditya .

  • Nagarjuna was 10th century Scientist who transformed base elements into gold. He gave the treatise Rasaratnakara which discusses methods for extraction of metals like Gold , Silver , Tin and copper.

  • In Ancient India, Medical Science were highly developed as it has the indigenous system of medicine called Ayurveda Which literally means the science of good health and longevity of life.

  • Ayurveda with the help of herbal medicine aims at removing the cause of diverse by striking at the roots. It is the oldest medical system.

  • Athreya Samhita oldest medical book of the world. Charak is called the father of Ayurvedic medicine and Susruta is called the father of Surgery

  • Susruta, Charak, Madhava, Vagbhatta and Jeevak were noted Ayurvedic practitioner of that time.

  • Susruta is called the father of Surgery. He studied human body with the help of dead body. In Susruta Samhita over 1100 diseases were mentioned with 760 plants are described to provide remedy. It also mentions the process of preserving the dead body for the purpose of study

  • He was greatest contribution in the field of Rhinoplasty (Plastic Surgery) and Ophthalmic Surgery (Removal of Cataracts ).

  • In Ancient India the science of yoga was developed to get healthy at the physical and mental level without medicine. It has its roots in Vedas .

  • Yoga is Physical (Hathyoga) and Mental (Rajayoga).

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