Baudhayana Sulbasutra

  • IASbaba
  • July 21, 2022
  • 0
History and Art and Culture
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In News: The position paper, part of Karnataka’s submissions to the NCERT for a National Curriculum Framework, has revived discussion on what we call the Pythagoras theorem was already known to Indians from the Vedic times.


  • The Pythagoras theorem is disputed in many international forums. Not the content, but Pythagoras claiming it as his own.
  • Madan Gopal, a retired IAS officer who heads Karnataka’s NEP task force, has referred to a text called the Baudhayana Sulbasutra, in which a specific shloka refers to the theorem.

How do we know that Indian mathematicians from the Vedic period knew this?

  • There are references in the sulbasutras, which are texts pertaining to fire rituals (yajanas) performed by Vedic Indians. The oldest of these is the Baudhayana Sulbasutra.
  • The period of Baudhayana Sulbasutra is uncertain, there being no direct internal evidence useful in this respect. I
  • t is estimated based on linguistic and other secondary historical considerations and have varied substantially depending on the author.
  • By and large, in recent literature, Baudhayana Sulbasutra is taken to be from around 800 BCE.

In what context is this equation discussed in the sulbasutras?

  • The yajna rituals involved construction of altars (vedi) and fireplaces (agni) in a variety of shapes such as isosceles triangles, symmetric trapezia, and rectangles.
  • The sulbasutras describe steps towards construction of these figures with prescribed sizes.
  • The Pythagorean equation comes into play in these procedures, which involve drawing perpendiculars.
  • But because there is no evidence that the Indians had a proof, its origin is still hotly debated topic.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

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  1. Jain monks
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