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By George Gheverghese Joseph

This publication lines the 1st faltering steps taken within the mathematical theorization of infinity which marks the emergence of recent arithmetic. It analyzes the half performed via Indian arithmetic throughout the Kerala conduit, that is an incredible yet ignored a part of the historical past of arithmetic.

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Extra resources for A Passage to Infinity: Medieval Indian Mathematics from Kerala and Its Impact

Sample text

Nilakantha wrote a number of influential astronomical works such as the Golasara, a short introduction to astronomy, dealing with basic astronomical constants and concepts, the position and movement of planets, the computation of sines, among other topics. His work on the computation of sines is particularly noteworthy and will be discussed in a later chapter. He wrote commentaries and also commentaries on commentaries such as the Siddhantadarpana and a detailed commentary on it; an elaborate commentary Aryabhatiyabhasya on the Aryabhatiya of Aryabhata; the Chandrachayaganita and a commentary on it dealing with computations relating to shadows, such as computation of shadow from time (kramachaya) and time from shadow (viparitachaya).

Their religious authority and reputed scholarship brought them to the attention of the rulers and soon established an influential position in the courts. It was perhaps the Nambuthiris who introduced the mainly two-tier caste system in Kerala with the Nairs being given the status of Sudra, the fourth in the conventional caste hierarchy after Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya. The legend that all lands rightfully belonged to Nambuthiris having been given to them by Parasurama gained wide currency and this helped them to acquire vast tracts of land and establish the Janmi system of land-holding.

But certain circumstances required these discipline to be presented in a certain way: in a concise form consisting of authoritative 32 The Social Origins of the Kerala School assertions and appeal to established principles. It was often left to the student with the help of the teacher to relate these instructions to practical experience. It was therefore unprofitable to search in a traditional text, which followed a pithy presentation, for derivation, explanation and justification. Thus, the teacher–student relationship was crucial in the dissemination process and the personal bond between teacher and student was valued above all else.

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