Aryabhata

Aryabhata was one of the greatest mathematicians and astronomers of all times, and certainly the first of the great mathematicians and astronomers responsible for the renaissance of mathematics and science in ancient India.

It is true that Indian mathematics and astronomy had great achievements to their credit even before Aryabhata’s time, but contributions in these fields were usually made by groups of saint-scholars, who combined in their writings mathematics, astronomy, astrology, religious rituals, science and spiritual knowledge, in a more or less integrated manner.

Aryabhata, for the first time, had the courage to break with this tradition. He studied thoroughly and completely all the mathematics and astronomy known in his time, systematized it, found the gaps in the knowledge of these disciplines and filled these gaps with his  own researches. He had the courage to reject the accepted values of astronomical parameters, if these were inconsistent with his and others’ observations. In this sense, he was a true scientist uninhibited by any consideration, other than that of search for truth.

He was dedicated to Lord Brahma, the creator of this universe, and he pursued mathematics and astronomy as he believed that researches in these disciplines would enable him to understand fully the universe created by his Lord. Instead of just worshipping Nature, he wanted to understand it and in this approach, he was very near in spirit to Kepler, Newton and later mathematicians and astronomers.

Aryabhata ushered in a revolution in Indian mathematics, astronomy and science, the effects of which were felt and continued to be for eight centuries and even after that.

Had political condition been more stable, Indian scientists would probably have continued to follow the path shown by Aryabhata, and India would have continued as a leader in the world of science and technology during the later centuries as well.

A study of his life and works inspires young Indian students, raises their scientific morale and gives them faith in themselves and in their ancient heritage. Aryabhata had a great scientific attitude of creativity, objectivity,, a relentless and single minded pursuit of truth, and he displayed courage in rejecting all false statements and from his desire to understand Nature. I hope that the great scientific values cherished by Aryabhata would continue to inspire all Indians.

More later,

Nalin Pithwa

 

 

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