By George Gheverghese Joseph
This booklet strains the 1st faltering steps taken within the mathematical theorization of infinity which marks the emergence of contemporary arithmetic. It analyzes the half performed through Indian arithmetic during the Kerala conduit, that is a huge yet overlooked a part of the heritage of arithmetic.
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Extra info for A Passage to Infinity: Medieval Indian Mathematics from Kerala and Its Impact
These results will be discussed in detail in subsequent chapters of this book. Madhava’s distinguished pupil was Vatasseri Paramesvara. He was born in Alathiyur in 1360 into a Nambuthiri Brahmin (the Vatasseri) family that specialised in the study of astronomy and astrology. The present-day Alathiyur is situated in the Ponnani taluk of southern Malabar in Palghat district. The location of this village is mentioned in his book, Goladipika. Information about his parentage is lacking but from his commentary on Govinda’s Muhurtaratna and also from 17 A Passage to Infinity his astrological work Acarasangraha we can gather information about his grandfather, a well-known astronomer of his time who was also a student of Govinda Bhattathiri who was mentioned earlier.
In either case, in the traditional cultures, they were mainly empirical in the sense that they originated or were based on practical experience. 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.
The first part is in Malayalam and it deals with rationale of several mathematical results of great significance. 21 The second part of the Yuktibhasa is an astronomical treatise giving the rationale of various astronomical results. M. Whish, the first Westerner to take note of the work of the Kerala School, ascribes to Jyesthadeva the authorship of another astronomical treatise Drkkarana in Malayalam composed in 1608. This text is no longer extant. 22 Based on Nilakantha’s Tantrasangraha, it is unique in that it gives detailed rationale, proofs or derivations of many theorems and formulae in use among the astronomers/mathematicians of that time.