Pythagoras mentioned in Vedas?-A simpler explanalation

Toke Lindegaard Knudsen tlk at MATH.KU.DK
Mon Jun 14 09:38:56 UTC 1999

On 13 Jun 99, at 18:16, Vishal Agarwal wrote:

> Respected Dr. Knudsen,

You don't have to refer to me as "Dr" as I am not one.  I am simply
a student working on my master thesis in history of mathematics.
Incidentally I am working with the Sulvasutras which you mention

> I advance a simpler explanation:
> The Pythagoras theorem has been stated in the Baudhayana Sulba Sutras. Now
> many Hindus (like Sayanacarya) include even the Kalpasutras in the cateogory
> of Vedas, and the Hare Krishnas include even the Puranas etc. in 'Vedic
> Literature.'

Actually I do not have enough knowledge on this.  I rely mostly on
translations of the Sulbasutras and related articles and essays
which deal primarily with the mathematics.  I also want to know
more about the actual rituals and the procedures involved (other
than the geometric constructions).  I was referred to one book
called "Agni" edited by Frits Staal, which I somehow have
difficulties finding.  Does anyone have other references to these
things?  Also good references concerning the Vedas (explanations
of the divisions of the Veda, relations between different Vedic
literatures, relations between Vedas and, say, Kalpasutras) would
be appreciated.

> The fact that the theorem attributed to Pythagoras is stated in the
> Baudhayana Sulba as well is publicized in 100's of Mathematics texts
> prescribed for children in Indian schools (as also the fact that the
> 'Pascal's Triangle' occurs in Pinagalacarya's Chhanda sutras and so on).
> Since one of the persons involved in the discussion is a Hare Krishna, we
> might surmise that he got his facts slightly mixed up.

I am not sure I completely understand what you mean.  Is it that
since the theorem of Pythagoras is mentioned in the Sulbasutras,
which is considered Vedic by some, the Hare Krishna mistook this
to mean that Pythagoras was in India?  It seems a little simplistic
and not so plausible to me.

Toke Lindegaard Knudsen

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