Well, to all the Maths-haters, this would sound blasphemous. Yes, it should. However, I have my own reasons to assert this statement that Maths, indeed, is God.
Although I was thinking of writing something related to this topic for a long time, but the below mentioned couplet shared by someone of FB really intrigued me and I got a direction to follow. The couplet reads like this:
यथा शिखा मयूराणां नगानां मणयो यथा |
तथा वेदाङ्गशास्त्राणां गणितं मूर्धनि स्थितम् ||
Yathā śikhā mayūrāṇāṁ nagānāṁ maṇayō yathā |
tathā vavēdāṅgaśāstrāṇāṁ gaṇitaṁ mūrdhani sthitam ||
‘Like the crowning crest of a peacock and the shining gem in the cobra’s hood, Maths is situated similarly as the supreme Vedanga Shastra’.
Well, we know that Maths is not liked by a lot of people, and most of them would like to have a Maths-free world, if it were possible. But, as the followers of Maths, we know that Maths regulates almost everything that we do and observe in this universe and we can’t simply exist without Maths.
If Maths is not there, we can’t have figures; we can’t have shapes; we can’t have counting; and what not. Think about music. Music is all based on Maths. It would not be atrocious if I assert that you name it and it has Maths in it!
We know and believe that God is perfect. So is Mathematics. You don’t have imperfections in Mathematics. In fact, it provides or imparts perfection to whatever it involves.
Consider a beat in music. If it not divided into some parts, namely, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8.5, 9, 12, 14, 16 and so on, it won’t make sense. Yes, you can manipulate the numbers but you need to have it in a definite cycle. Now, numbers and cycles are both concepts included in Mathematics. So, it is Maths that gives perfection or a definite shape, so to say, to musical beats or rhythm.
Consider astronomy and planetary motion. There is a definite path followed by all the planets with sun as center, and they take a definite time to complete one cycle. Now, center, circle, ellipse, time, distance are all covered in Maths. So, it is Mathematics that govern the rules of astronomy.
I can take numerous examples in this regard but I would quickly move to the main topic that I wanted to discuss here.
Maths in Indian mythology
I will quote two things from Indian mythology that I involve serious Maths. By serious I mean pure Mathematics and not simple a reference to its applications or rules.
Shivalinga: Shivalinga is referred to as a form related to Lord Shiva. It is written in many forms include, Sivalinga, Sivalingam, Shivalingam, etc. The usual interpretation of Shivalinga is regrettably misleading and misunderstood. A lot of people, especially foreigners, are made to believe that it represents phallus. However, it is not. The literal meaning of Linga in Sanskrit is a symbol. It can represent anything. It can be a symbol of anything and has nothing to do with being a phallus. In Hindi, it sometimes mean gender.
Now, we come to our present discussion regarding its connection to Maths. Well, we will talk about the egg-shaped Shivalinga, which you can find anywhere in India. Instead of the usual shape that you might see in temples, egg-shaped Shivalinga is also very common. In fact, personally, it appeals to me more.
The story is that Shivalinga represents the universe or the whole creation. They say that God was perfect and there was none other. Yet, a desire aroused in Him (which represents a defect or blemish, known as विकार in Sanskrit and Hindi). This desire of creating Himself from Himself to love Himself was the main reason for the birth of this universe.
Now, mathematically, it is represented through geometry. They say that like the perfect shape of a sphere, God was alone. When He grew a desire, the shape was distorted and it changed to an ellipsoid, which is represented by the egg-shaped Shivalinga.
Just imagine the beauty of this simile. Even if you are not inclined to believe it, just consider its perfection according to mathematical perception. We know that sphere is said to be having the perfect shape. When a drop of water falls freely under the force of gravity, it acquires the shape of a sphere. Why? Because, everything in this universe is believed to be engaged in attaining perfection. An ellipsoid is a distorted sphere, which beautifully represent the spiritual belief that a man who wants to submerge in God needs to be free from the blemish of any desire. This creation, represented by the egg-shaped Shivalinga is a desire of God.
Sheshnaag and Anantnaag: Now, we come to our second consideration in Indian mythology and its connection to Maths. Well, there is a primordial snake talked about in Indian mythology known as the king of all types of snakes and named as ‘Sheshnaag–शेषनाग’. There is a literal meaning of this name: It means ‘a snake that is left’. शेष means the remainder and नाग means a snake. But why such a queer name to such a hallowed entity?
Well, it’s again a Mathematical beauty! There is another name given to the same entity and again having a literal meaning–Anantnaag. ‘Anantnaag-अनन्तनाग’ means ‘Infinite Snake’. This name is quite suitable to someone who is worthy of veneration because we are ascribing infinity with him.
In mathematics, we regularly use that if we take anything out of infinity, the remainder is still infinity. Even if you reduce infinity from infinity, it’s infinity that remains. So, they say that even if you call ‘Anantnaag’ as ‘Sheshnaag’, meaning that instead of saying an ‘Infinite Snake’ you call ‘The remainder snake’, you are still ascribing him with that infinite-ness. This is mathematics at its best.
I hope you will agree that this is a classical example of Mathematics being an integral part of mythology.
So, what say you!
Well, this topic is engrossing. You can talk about it at length sitting in a coffee-shop or enjoying the scenic beauty on the hill-top. However, I would believe that I was able to intrigue you enough to think over it; doesn’t matter whether you agree with my points or not. Let me know if you have anything to share with me on this.