Science History
Yativrsabha

Yativrsabha


Born: about 500 in India
Died: about 570 in India


Yativrsabha (or Jadivasaha) was a Jaina mathematician who studied under Arya Manksu and Nagahastin. We know nothing of Yativrsabha's dates except for a reference which he makes to the end of the Gupta dynasty which he says was after 231 years of ruling. This ended in 551 so we must assume that 551 AD is a date which occured during Yativrsabha's lifetime. This fits with the only other information regarding his dates which are that his work is referenced by Jinabhadra Ksamasramana in 609 and that Yativrsabha himself refers to a work written by Sarvanandin in 458.

Yativrsabha's work Tiloyapannatti gives various units for measuring distances and time and also describes the system of infinite time measures. It is a work which describes Jaina cosmology and gives a description of the universe which is of historical importance in understanding Jaina science and mathematics. The Jaina belief was in an infinite world, both infinite in space and in time. This led the Jainas to devise ways of measuring larger and larger distances and longer and longer intervals of time. It led them to consider different measures of infinity, and in this respect the Jaina mathematicians would appear to be the only ones before the time when Cantor developed the theory of infinite cardinals to envisage different magnitudes of infinity.

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

November 2000
MacTutor History of Mathematics
[http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Yativrsabha.html]
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