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Zero (शून्य)

Quick Facts
  • The numerical symbols that are used in the modern world originated in India.
  • Zero (Sanskrit: शून्य) was not only used as a number but was applied in Ancient Hindu philosophy to define Space, Universe, beginning and end of a life cycle, Vasthu Sahastra and many more..
  • The oldest known text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, is the Jain text from India entitled the Lokavibhâga, dated 458 AD, where shunya (“void” or “empty”) was employed for this purpose.
  • The first known use of special glyphs for the decimal digits that includes the indubitable appearance of a symbol for the digit zero, a small circle, appears on a stone inscription found at the Chaturbhuja Temple at Gwalior in India, dated 876 AD.
  • The Indian scholar Pingala (circa 5th-2nd century BC) used binary numbers in the form of short and long syllables (the latter equal in length to two short syllables), making it similar to Morse code. He and his contemporary Indian scholars used the Sanskrit word śūnya to refer to zero or void.
  • Pingala (Devanagari: पिङ्गल piṅgala) is the traditional name of the author of the Chandaḥśāstra (also Chandaḥsūtra), the earliest known Sanskrit treatise on prosody. Pingala is variously identified either as the younger brother of Pāṇini (4th century BCE), or as Patañjali, the author of the Mahabhashya (2nd century BCE).
  • The Chandaḥśāstra is a work of eight chapters in the late Sūtra style and presents the first known description of a binary numeral system in connection with the systematic enumeration of meters with fixed patterns of short and long syllables.
  • Aryabhatta did not invent zero, it was invented long before Aryabhatta’s time.
  • Aryabhatta created the value of decimal based on zero.

Rules of Brahmagupta governing Zero (Brahmasputha Siddhanta [The Opening of the Universe], written in 628 AD):

  • The sum of zero and a negative number is negative.
  • The sum of zero and a positive number is positive.
  • The sum of zero and zero is zero.
  • The sum of a positive and a negative is their difference; or, if their absolute values are equal, zero.
  • A positive or negative number when divided by zero is a fraction with the zero as denominator.
  • Zero divided by a negative or positive number is either zero or is expressed as a fraction with zero as numerator and the finite quantity as denominator.
  • Zero divided by zero is zero.


  1. The Universal History of Numbers – Georges Ifrah
  2. Wikipedia




One Response to Zero (शून्य)

  1. Gautam May 16, 2013 at 1:52 am #

    I like it

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