The Discovery of ” Aryabhatiya “

The Discovery of ” Aryabhatiya ”

Vedaprakash (No.234 dated 18-08-2007)

How ” Aryabhatiyam ” was discovered? Bhau Daji (1824-1874) in 1864 discovered the manuscripts of Dasagitika and Aryabhatiya. He had great difficulty in collecting the manuscripts of Aryabhatiyam, as by that time the European scholars started smuggling out thousands of manuscripts. They started confusing and meddling with the ” Aryabhatiyam ” manuscripts also, as pointed out by Bahu Daji.

Aryabhatiyam – original Texts not found: As a great many of the quotations of aryabhata are second hand, for it appears that the original works were ptactically lost for centuries or the original works were neither available npor existed onm;ly in mutilated condition in the 14th century as note by G. R. Kaye (Notes on Mathematics No.2 – Aryabhata, JRASB, New series, Vol.IV, 1908, p.111). It is evident that the extant works might have been taken away by the Chginese, Arab and Christian missionaries, as they were very much interested in collecting manuscripts, scrolls, tables, charts etc. sending them to their respective countries, as pointed out by themselves and getting translated into their languages for further study.

Bhau Daji, who dealt with the age and authenticity of the works of Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta etc., quoted a passage from Maha Aryasiddhanta to the effect that the knowledge from the Siddhanta produced by Aryabhata, which was destroyed, in recessions, by long time and hence, he had his own languages stated specifying in rule (Bahau Daji, The Date and authenticity of the works of Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta etc., JRAS, 1864, p.392; Brief Notes on the Age and authenticity of the works of Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Bhattopala and Bhaskaracharya, Bombay, 1974, pp.121-145).

Al-biruni recorded that he had not been able to find anything of the books of Aryabhata adding that what he knew of him was through quotations from given by Brahmagupta (c.628 CE).

Colebrooke opined that a long and diligent research in various parts of India failed of recovering the algebraic and other works of Aryabhata (H. T. Colebrooke, Miscellaneous Essays, ii, p.380).

Thibaut mentioned that the idea of earth rotating on its own axis was original and Aryabhata did not acquire such views from the Greeks, adding that he might have been the first or one of the firsts, to expound the principles of that system in highly condensed and technical form, and might have improved the general theory in details. Particularly, he noted that the main body of doctrine existed before him and he did not create it, but merely recast it in a different form (Thibaut, Indian Thought, 1907, p.215.).

Therefore, the Aryabhatiyam, as available today might have been written by the original Aryabhata or a work attributed to the name or school, as it had been so popular during 5th-6th centuries and before, but original work existing earlier. Writing and composing new works with all available knowledge and updated data abpout a subject and circulating or attributing to a celebrated scholar or school has been a common practice not only in India, but also in other countries (K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, Origin of ” Aryabhata ” and ” Aryabhata’s School, a paper presented in International Seminar and Colloquim on 1500 years of Aryabhateeyam ” held at Thirivananthapuram from 12th to 16th January 2000, p.6).

Aryabhatiyam is in Arya-metre: The work ” Aryabhatiyam ” has been the one that was written in Arya-metre. Even words used have to follow the metre. If anybody had, and or talks about ” Aryabhatta ”  instead of ” Aryabhata ” , that means that such manuscript is forged / meddled one, because ” bhata ” is in Arya-metre and ” Bhatta ” is not. (Note, those who support the Keralite hypothesis mention as ” Aryabhatta ” ).

John Bentley with forged Aryabhatiya works: John Bentley was having such forged or meddled copies or her himself could have meddled to confuse others. With such manuscripts, Bentley wrote that an Aryasiddhanta (Maha Arya Siddhanta) was written in 4423 Kaliyuga or AD 1322 and accordingly, he determined the date of Aryabhata as 1322 AD and therefore the work dated Kaliyuga 3623 or AD 522 was spurious one. Bauj Daji recorded aptly, ” Strtange to say, the date corresponding to AD 1322, mentioned by Bentley, is not to be found in my copies ” . So the fact being that Aryabhatiyam copies were taken away by Bentley and others.

The different dates of Aryabhata: That the verse 10. of Kalakriya was also subjected to criticism is evident from the interpretation of the verse. There had been different versions in reading and interpretation of the verse as expressions found in the manuscripts:

1. 60 x 60 = 3600 – 3101 = 499 – 23 = 476 AD / CE.

1. 60 x 60 = 3600 – 3101 = 499 + 78 = 554 AD / CE.

1. AD 522 according to Saka 444; thus, 444 + 78 = 522 AD / CE.

1. 3623 years elapsed; 3600 – 3101 = 522 AD / CE.

1. 60 x 6 = 360; 3101 – 360 = 2741 – 26 = 2715 BC / BCE.

All manuscripts were available, when these scholars were debating about it. Naturally, the western scholars were so bewildered about the last one. So they cleared off such manuscripts as possible. However, that some Indian scholars were quoting it proved that such manuscripts were there.

Colebrooke commenting without seeing ” Aryabhatiyam ” : Colebrooke, not even having the works of Aryabhata before him, suggested that the older work might be a fabrication, but from citations and references to Aryabhata in the works of Brahmagupta and Bhatta Utpala, came to a singularly accurate conclusion as to the age of Aryabhata, whose works he thought were different from either treatise in the possession of Bentley.

Bibhutibhusan Datta concluded that ” …….Al-biruni’s first wrong impressions about the existence of two Aryabhtas originated when he was in Arabia ” (Bibhutibhusan Datta, Two Aryabhatas of Al-biruni, BCMS, Vol.XVII, No.2 & 3, 1926, p.74).

Al-ntf: What is the work ” Al-ntf ” mentioned by Sachau in Albiruni? We know that Zij, the so-called Indian astronomical tables were characteristically mentioned and it was derived – Sind-hind > Sinhi > zinji > znij > zij. As one astronomical work was accepted but its name was not known in the ” Aryabhatiyam ” context, it could be derived
as follows: Hind-Aryabhat > hindarbhat > hindaf > ntf with al- added. The Arabs added al- making it Arabic and the Europeans used it accordingly. The expressions al-gamest, al-exandrine, al-gorism, al-gorithm, al-gum, al-gebra, al-kali, al-kaloid, al-lah, al-chemy, al-cohol, al-embic, al-manac, al-mighty, al-mond, al-kaya, and so on tell the fact. These names were derived from the works of Siddhas during Siddha-Sufi encounters.

Not to be quoted without permission from:

Institute for the Study of Ancient arts and Sciences,

25 (Old.No.9), Venkatachala Iyer Street,

West Mambalam,

Chennai – 600 033.


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2 Responses to “The Discovery of ” Aryabhatiya “”

  1. Subramanyam Durbha Says:

    Dear sir,
    I am glad to have come across your blog.
    I am interested in finding out what is the original source of all the present versions of aryabhatiyam.i.e. I am interested in knowing the original source of all the Sanskrit verses, of our present copies of Aryabhatiyam.
    I am particularly interested in verse 10 and your last entry 60×6=360,years having elapsed since the start of Kaliyuga as the time of Birth of Aryabhata.
    I read somewhere that all genuine manuscripts say Shastyabdanam Shadbhi i.e 60×6=360. the second word shadbhi having been altered to shasti.
    I believe Kern who first translated this book might have played some mischief.What exactly is Kern’s source and where is it now?
    Can you throw some light on my above questions if you have any knowledge about this.
    Subramanyam Durbha


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