Aryabhatta- His life
Aryabhatta is believed to be born in 476 A.D Pataliputhra in Magadha, modern Patna in Bihar. He lived in Magatha during the reign of Gupta rulers which was the golden time of India. Although there are many views regarding the birth place place, there is no doubt that he lived his life mainly in Pataliputhra. In a verse by him it has been clearly mentioned that he was the head of an institution of Nalanda University in Kusumapura and because the Nalanda University was in pataliputhra it is speculated that Aryabhatta was the head of the astronomical observatory of the Nalanda University.
Aryabhatta is the author of several treatise in mathematics and astronomy of which many of them are lost. Of his great works, only Aryabhateeya is the work which has survived to the modern times. Aryabhateeya is an important work on mathematics and astronomy which covers the areas of mathematics like algebra, plane trigonometry, spherical trigonometry, fractions and quadratic equations etc.
Arya sidhanta is another work of Aryabhatta which is known to us. Although the work is lost, we get the information about the Arya sidhanta from the works of his contemporary Varahamihira, and later mathematicians and commentators including Brahmaguptha and Bhaskara. In Arya Sidhanta there was information about various astronomical devises like water clocks and the Chaya yantra which was used for measuring angles etc.
The direct information about the work of Aryabhatta is only got from Aryabhateeya. The text contains 108 verses and 13 introductory verses. He assimilated the great theories in mathematics and cosmology in these 108 verses. The Aryabhateeya is written in Sutra style literature which can be memorized and kept in mind. The whole work is divided into four chapters or Padas :
1)Gitikapada : It has 13 slokas and describes large units of time such as Kalpa, yuga etc. It also contains the table of sines described and included in only one verse.
2)Ganithapada : It covers mensurations, arithemetic and geometric progressions and quadratic equations.
3)Kalakriyapada: It provides different units of time and it gives a method of determining the planetary positions in a given day etc.
4) Golapada: trigonometric aspects of celestial spheres, shape of earth, cause of day and night, horizons etc are described in this section.
We can conclude his main achievements in the field of astronomy and mathematics for easy reading as follows :
1) He introduced place value system and concept of zero in mathematics .
2) He calculated the value of Pi corrected to five decimal places.
3) He provided formulas for the summation of a series in arithmetic progression.
4) He introduced the concept of sine in the name of Artha jya .
5) He advocated the heliocentric solar system and the the round shape of earth.
All his inventions and discoveries can not be mentioned here. It is so many in number . His greatness will be established only if we know that it took hundreds of years and volumes of books by other people to develop the theories of mathematics even based on his theories.
Statue of Aryabhata on the grounds of IUCAA, Pune