Special numbers

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 12 16:37:43 UTC 1999

Remember reading a paper by Parpola sometime ago, wherein
M. Deshpande told about milkmen pouring little more than
the purchase volume (will give the ref. later) in India; I think
discussions on these are in the archives too.

404 = 4 X 101
101 is little more than 100 (to cross the threshold value).

But why 4?
Classical Tamil anthologies are puRam 400, akam 400, etc.,
One Sanskritist told me that 4 is the perfect number, 4 corners,
4 vedas, 4 varNas,etc.,  P. Claus, in a paper on Gollas (ta. kuRumpar,
skt. yAdhav) says that moving from tribal to a caste, folks leave
their "circular"  to "rectangular" (4 corners, sharply defined)

May be the 4 in 404 has all and more of all these elements.

N. Ganesan

*It is 4 X 101, and 101 is a frequently important number, because it
*is 100 + 1, and round numbers such as 100, 1000, 10,000, etc. are
*viewed as inauspicious, and so gifts of money e.g. to templesa are
*frequently made in denominations of 101, 1001, etc.  101 Happens to
*be a prime number but I'm unaware of any symbolical or other
*numerological significance attributed to primes in the Indian
* tradition.

   As you know 1001 and 10001 are not primes, and so I don't think
   being a prime number is a consideration. The idea, I believe,
   is that it should be a 'growing' number and should not 'terminate'
   on some 'neat' number. I'm not aware of any textual basis for this.

*Allen Thrasher

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