Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems
Exploring Śulbasūtras–An Overview of Cord Geometry
An online course that draws from the treasure trove of ancient Indian mathematical traditions
Śulbasūtras, the manuals written around 800 BCE contain geometrical procedures for the construction of altars for ritual purposes. These are part of a vast literature called Kalpasūtras which are one among the six Vedāṅgas (auxiliaries to Vedas). Śulbasūtras are collections of aphorisms that help us appreciate how sophisticated Geometry was involved in the construction of fire altars starting from the construction of simple perpendicular bisectors to complicated altars of various sizes and shapes such as falcon, tortoise, etc.
Introduction to the Course
The course takes learners to the ancient Indian Geometry knowledge systems where techniques to convert one geometrical shape to another while keeping the area constant. Learners also get to explore how ancient Indian mathematicians were able to devise a good approximation to the square root of 2, and more.
The course is also designed to clearly convey the idea of how Cord Geometry laid the foundations for the development of Indian Mathematics in later centuries.
- Understanding how sophisticated Geometry got developed in India in connection with simple to complicated construction of altars of various shapes such as Falcon, Tortoise, etc.
- Study the original sūtras with translation in English along with Mathematical explanations and proofs wherever needed.
- Provide exposure to how the Śulvakāras (geometers) judiciously integrated Geometry, Algebra, and Arithmetic.
- Students will get an overview of the ancient text Śulbasūtra by going through the original sūtras.
- The course will aid students to appreciate the elegant geometrical techniques along with learning about their development a few thousand years ago using cords.
- The Śulbasūtras – an overview.
- Tools involved in the construction of Vedis.
- Determining the east-west line using śaṅku.
- To draw a perpendicular bisector of a given line.
- Theorem of the square of the diagonal.
- Construction of squares, rectangles, and trapezium.
- Area preserving transformations.
- Combination, and subtraction of geometrical areas.
- Properties of similar figures, areas, and rational right triangles.
|Teaching Hours||60 minutes (Total 15hrs)|
|Starting from||12th July 2023, 2 days a week, every Wednesday and Friday|
|Timings (tentative)||Afternoon IST|
|Online platform||Microsoft teams|
|Medium of Instruction||English, Sanskrit|
|Course Fees||INR 2000|
Who can apply?
– Individuals keen to understand ancient Indian geometry and possessing a background in basic mathematics.
– No age limits
– The ability to read Devanagari is desirable.
– Background in Sanskrit is desirable, but not necessary.