FOR a long time, the debate about the origin and discovery of zero and the numerals has been a matter of great interest to the historians of science as well as humanities.
Rightly so, as the discovery of zero and its incorporation in the numerals has revolutionised our capabilities of not just counting, but also computing and comprehending in great details complex and large systems and phenomena using large data ensemble and tools of binary coding.
Today, when we are deep into a world of digital transformation, the importance of One, Ekam and Zero, the Purna has suddenly become so indispensable that the entire construct of our imagination and comprehension of large-size data and its analysis using most advanced computing is empowering the humanity with capabilities and competence beyond imaginations of a human mind.
AI age has arrived
The age of big data and Artificial Intelligence has truly arrived. Our creative endeavours and critical thinking abilities are being driven today by Artificial Intelligence applications and Augmented Reality, both of which acknowledge no bounds. Great excitement is already prevailing in the world around in fact, in all spheres of human endeavours.
Thanks to those who thought of numerals one to nine, and zero, that laid the rock-solid foundation for the march of humanity on pathways of great scientific explorations and technology innovations from time immemorial. This march has, however, become far more rapid and with a greater clarity of goals, redefining often the meaning and purpose of development, even the purpose of life and that of the vast and magnificent creation, of which we are a part.
Many around the world however, may not know that the numerals 1 to 9 as well as 0 are the foundation of India’s Sanatan Vedic Dharma founded on the principles of ‘oneness of diversity’ and the ‘diversity of oneness’. It is here we begin to get to the mindset of the great scientists of the Vedic times, usually referred to as Vedic Rishis who proclaimed as early as the Rig Veda that ‘ekam sat viprabahudavadanthi’, (Rigveda 1:164.46), meaning thereby that the truth is one but is propounded in different ways by learned quarters. At same time, the Vedic Scientists also proclaimed as early as the IshaUpanishad dedicated to the Rig Veda;
‘Om purnamadapuanamidam, purnaathpurnamudachyathey; Purnasyapurnamaadhaya purnamevavasidhyathey’, – IshaUpanishad 1.0 The above proclamation of the Vedic Rishis clearly ordains, that all that we have around us, here and even beyond in the cosmos is the manifestation of Purna, the Whole and the Eternal. It functions within the broad consciousness of being purna, to manifest its innate potential and having lived its finite life ultimately goes back to purna, the whole from where it originated. For the Vedic Rishis the numerals one to nine and Zero, were a means to connect seamlessly with this purna, the eternal and the whole and to comprehend this vast creation is all about.
We find in the Yajur Veda, in the Rudra, Akamchame, Triyamchame, Panchamchame, Saptamchame, Navamchame, Ekadaschame, Thriyodaschame …, as also Chatushchame, Sashtamchame, Ashtamchame, Dasamchame, Dwadashchame….., (Krishna Yajurveda’s Taittiriya Samhita, TS 4.5, 4.7).