Given the primordial importance of the understanding of numbers in the first awakening of a mathematical sensibility in early civilisations, it is something of a surprise that we have no text from India, comparable to the Śulbasūtra for geometry, devoted to the subject. Or perhaps it is not so surprising: it would seem that early people learned to use numbers in the natural course of events, without any conscious mathematical effort, just as we do today in childhood. The faculty of counting precisely and doing elementary arithmetic has become such a routine accomplishment that it is now almost part of basic literacy; some cognitive scientists in fact hold the view that it is innate. The fact remains that counting, i.e., the accurate determination of the cardinality of a finite set, and the manipulation of the numbers so determined are an acquired skill demanding logical thinking and a degree of abstraction.
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