is an author of the India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....
text of Sulba Sutras
The Shulba Sutras or Śulbasūtras are sutra texts belonging to the Śrauta ritual and containing geometry related to fire-altar construction.- Purpose and origins :...
The Manava Sulbasutra is not the oldest (the one by Baudhayana
Baudhāyana, was an Indian mathematician, whowas most likely also a priest. He is noted as the author of the earliest Sulba Sūtra—appendices to the Vedas giving rules for the construction of altars—called the , which contained several important mathematical results. He is older than the other...
is older), nor is it one of the most important, there being at least three Sulbasutras which are considered more important. Historians place his lifetime at around 750 BC.
Manava would have not have been a mathematician in the sense that we would understand it today. Nor was he a scribe who simply copied manuscripts like Ahmes
Ahmes was an ancient Egyptian scribe who lived during the Second Intermediate Period and the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty . He wrote the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, a work of Ancient Egyptian mathematics that dates to approximately 1650 BC; he is the earliest contributor to mathematics...
. He would certainly have been a man of very considerable learning but probably not interested in mathematics for its own sake, merely interested in using it for religious purposes. Undoubtedly he wrote the Sulbasutra
to provide rules for religious rites and it would appear almost a certainty that Manava himself would be a Vedic
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...
The mathematics given in the Sulbasutras
is there to enable accurate construction of altars needed for sacrifices. It is clear from the writing that Manava, as well as being a priest, must have been a skilled craftsman.
like all the Sulbasutras,
contained approximate constructions of circles from rectangles, and squares from circles, which can be thought of as giving approximate values of π. There appear therefore different values of π throughout the Sulbasutra,
essentially every construction involving circles leads to a different such approximation. The paper  is concerned with an interpretation of verses 11.14 and 11.15 of Manava's work which give π = 25/8 = 3.125.