Kanta Prasad Sinha, Retd. IAS

Independent Researcher, M-25 (LGF), Kalkaji, New Delhi-110019 (Received : March 14, 2021;

Revised : October 12, 2021; In final form : December 29, 2021)



This article traverses the path of Śūnya (Zero) as symbol and then digit since its birth. It tries to search how zero behaved in the number system as a new member in the family of 1 to 9 digits Word numerals with place-value started appearing since Bhaskara –I, contemporary of Brahmagupta, used word numerals along with symbolic expression of numbers with zero. Number-system (place- value with zero) was also found in use in copper inscriptions and stone tablets from the early sixth century CE.

Arithmetic in Bakhhsali Manuscript (Third-fourth century CE), Jain Lokavibhāga (fifth century CE) and other literature prior to the fifth century CE and texts of Aryabhata (fifth to sixth century ¯ CE) and Varāhamihira (sixth century) might help Brahmagupta (early seventh century CE) to theorise properties of Śūnya. Greek’s golden era ¯ tremendous growth of Geometry-based Mathematics had no room for void or infinitude. Christianity’s clinging to Aristotelian philosophy did leave little or no space for any alternative thinking. Europe’s resistance to 0 and infinity continued till the fifteenth century. Efforts of Arabic mathematicians, traders, bankers and Leonardo da Pisa (1170- 1250 CE) to infuse the easiest form of the number- system facilitating easy reckoning went in vain. However, from the sixteenth century onwards, the number system based on nine digits with ‘infidel’ 0, became almost naturalized. Its tremendous impact accelerated exponential growth in Europe in the entire field of Sciences.

2020 Mathematical Sciences Classification: 11B39.

Keywords and Phrases: 0 as divisor, division by 0, Brahmagupta, Bhaskar II, nut-shell universe. GmailAristotle. Rene Des Cartes. Calculus.

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