Nila Mathematics – General Survey
The fact that the mathematical writings of the Nila school as a whole exhibit a remarkable unity of purpose does not mean that everything that was not either preparation for or a consequence of the Madhava revolution is absent in them. Collectively, they also serve as a review of the already established body of knowledge; additions and extensions are described, generally in direct continuation of the earlier work but, also, often interestingly fresh. Some of these insights have already been described at appropriate places in this book as the natural culmination of the work of earlier masters. The present chapter is meant to complete the job; it seems best to get everything that is not directly connected with Madhava’s programme out of the way before turning to his formulation of calculus on the circle and its supporting mathematics. Perhaps even more than in other mathematical cultures, the conscious clarification and consolidation of already acquired knowledge was always considered in India a precondition for further progress, though parts of it will often be ignored or transcended in the process; in going back to Aryabhatan fundamentals, Madhava bypassed much of what happened in between.
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