SOAS University of London

Centre of Jaina Studies

International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) ISSN: 1748-1074

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Jaina Versus Brahmanical Mathematicians

Author: Johannes Bronkhorst

Year: 2016

International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) Vol. 12, No. 1 (2016) 1-10

Unlike the Buddhists, Jaina authors have contributed in an important manner to the history of mathematics in India. Unfortunately many of their texts have not survived, but what has survived allows us to form a good impression. The present paper concentrates on the way in which Jaina and Brahmanical mathematicians related to each other. About this there is very little explicit evidence, but a passage in Bhāskara‟s (Bhāskara I) Āryabhaṭīya-bhāṣya (7th century CE) provides interesting information. Bhāskara here criticizes (though implicitly) a Jaina mathematician by showing that the latter‟s theorem has unacceptable results. This can be contrasted with Bhāskara‟s uncritical attitude toward Āryabhaṭa, the inspired teacher of his own school. The conclusion to be drawn is that mathematics in India never cultivated the critical attitude that characterizes much of Indian philosophy. In mathematics it appears that criticism was exclusively directed at authors and texts belonging to different traditions than one‟s own.

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