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Concept of Infinity in Hindu Framework

~ Prachyam

Infinity Symbol
Infinity !

The concept of infinity has intrigued and captivated human minds for centuries. While the idea of infinity can be found in many different cultures and philosophical traditions, it holds a special place in the Hindu framework through the concept of Brahman.

The invocatory verse for Brahman, which is often recited in Hindu rituals and ceremonies, goes as follows:

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

This can be roughly translated as "That (Brahman) is full, this (Universe) is also full, (this) fullness emanates from (that) fullness; even when fullness is taken from fullness, what remains is also fullness." The concept of Brahman is an infinite, eternal and all-encompassing reality that pervades everything in the universe. Brahman is often seen as the ultimate goal of human existence and the path to liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Bhaskara II, a 12th-century Indian mathematician, gave the term Khahara to the concept of infinity. Khahara refers to something that is immutable and unchanging, regardless of the addition or subtraction of other things.

अस्मिन्विकारः खहरेण राशावपि प्रविष्टेष्वपि निःस्तेषु ।
बहुष्वपि स्याल्लयसृष्टिकालेऽनन्तेऽच्युते भूतगणेषु यद्वत् ॥

In his words, "There is no change in the infinite (Khahara) figure if something is added to or subtracted from it. It is like: there is no change in infinite Lord Vishnu due to the dissolution or creation of abounding living beings."

However, it was the Kerala mathematicians who made significant contributions to the development of the concept of infinity as we know today. In the 14th century, they introduced a systematic method for dealing with infinities and developed the idea of infinite series. This work laid the foundation for calculus and anticipated its development in Europe by centuries.

The beauty of Indian mathematics lies not only in its complexity but also in its spirituality. For our ancestors, mathematics was a path to connect with the divine, and their formulas were a manifestation of Bhagwan's expression. Through the intricacies of mathematics, they found a way to understand and know Paramatma.

In conclusion, the concept of infinity in the Hindu framework is a fascinating topic that has intrigued mathematicians and philosophers for centuries.The concept of infinity has been an integral part of Indian mathematics. The intersection of spirituality and mathematics in Indian culture makes it a unique and valuable perspective that is worth exploring.