Gupta Sciences

The Gupta period saw the development of mathematics, astronomy, medicine, chemistry, physics and metallurgy. The science of mathematics was cultivated with success. Numerals had been in use for some time. They were later introduced to the European world as Arabic numerals. In the field of mathematics Aryabhatta wrote Aryabhatiya. This mathematician was well versed in various kinds of calculations. The Aryabhatiya refers to some of the important properties of circles and triangles. The most epoch making achievement of this age in the realm of arithmetic was the discovery of the decimal system of notation. The Bakshali manuscripts give us a fairly comprehensive idea of the state of mathematics during Gupta period. It deals with varied topics like fractions, square roots, arithmetical and geometric progressions, summation of complex series, simultaneous linear equations and indeterminate equations of the second degree. The first major expositions of Indian astronomy in the last few centuries BC are recorded in two works, the Jyotisha-Vedanga and the Surya Prajnapti. Vasishtha Siddhanta marked a further progress in astronomy.

Paulisa Siddhanta was another important work. It laid down a rough rule for calculating the lunar and solar eclipses. The Surya Sidhanta was most popular before the time of Aryabhatta. It had formulated some rules for calculating eclipses and discovered solutions for some of the problems in spherical astronomy. Another important writer on astronomy was Varahamihira. His work the study of Astronomy is divided into three branches each of equal importance-astronomy and mathematics and astrology. The most interesting work of Varahamihira is the Pancha Sidhantika a concise account of the five currently used schools of which two reflect a close knowledge of Greek astronomy. Medicine also progressed during this period. The famous Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna was a student of chemistry, metallurgy and medicine. Dhanavantari was a renowned Ayurvedic physician. Hastyaurveda or the veterinary science authored by Palakapya attests to the advances made in medical science during the Gupta period.