HS 434: Some Scientific Concepts from Sanskrit Texts

Sanskrit, for many centuries, had been the language of ancient India not only for spoken communication, but also of scientific studies. Naturally the knowledge that was acquired is found embedded in various texts belonging to various branches or disciplines.

The disciplines to be covered in the course are mathematics, chemistry and Sanskrit grammar. Some selected excerpts or paragraphs from the Sanskrit texts themselves. The texts chosen are Bijaganita (algebra), Rasaratnasamuccaya (alchemy), and Ashtadhyayi (Sanskrit grammar). The prominent theories or portions intended to be read are

i) Bijaganita: Karani, Kuttaka, & Chakrawal, that means surds, linear equations in two unknowns and quadratic equation in two unknowns.

ii) Rasaratnasamuccaya:: Preparation of chemical instruments and preparation of Bhasma;  Paradsamskar   (chemical reactions on mercury); Gandhak (chemical reactions on sulphur)

iii) Ashtadhyayi: some sutras (aphorisms) with their commentary in Siddhanta-kaumudi especially from the Karaka-prakarana (case-endings in Sanskrit syntax)

Texts/References :

Bhaskaracharya's Bijaganita (ed. & trans. V. P. Khanapurkar) Varada Prakashan, Pune, 1992.

Rasaratnasamuccaya  (ed. Indradev  Tripathy),  Chaukhambha Publications, New Delhi, 1999.

Ashtadhyayi (ed. S. C. Vasu), Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi.

Siddhanta-kaumudi,  Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi