The Decimal System: Ekam of Sanskrit became ek in Hindi and ?one? in Arabic and Greek while the shunya became sifar in Arabis, jeefar in Greek and ?zero? in English. This is how Indian numerals spread throughout the world.
Arithmetic: The sequence-wise description of the numbers can be found in the Yajurveda:
Savita prathameahannagni rdviteeye vayustriteeya
Panchamarituh shashthe marootah saptame brahaspatirashtame
Mitro navame varuno dashamam indra ekaadashe
What is special is that the numbers are given here from one to twelve in a sequence.
From the aspect of counting, the largest number known to the ancient Greeks was myriad which is equal to 104 or 10,000 and the largest number known to the Romans was 10?, i.e. 1000. On the contrary, many kinds of counting were prevalent in India. These methods were independent. The methods described in the Vedic, Buddhist and Jain texts, have a similarity in the names of some of the numbers but there is a difference in the value of the numbers.
First: Next number multiple of 10: This means that the number that comes next is 10 times more. The second mantra in the 17th chapter of the Yajurveda Samhita refers to this, whose sequence is given?Ek, dash, shat, sahastra, ayut, niyut, prayut, arbud, nyarbud, samudra, madhya, ananta and parardh. In this way, Parardh measured 10?? that is one thousand billion or one trillion (US).
Second: Next number multiple of 100: This means that the next number is 100 times more than the earlier number. In this context, we must refer to the conversation between mathematician Arjun and Bodhisatva in Lalit Vistar, the Buddhist text from the 1st century BC in which he asks what the number after 1 crore is? In reply, Bodhisatva describes the numbers after crore, which are multiples of 100.
Shat (One hundred) koti = ayut, niyut, kankar, vivar, kshomya, nivaah, utsang, bahul, naagbal, titilamb, vyavasthanapra-gyapti, hetusheel, karahu, hetvindriya, samaaptalambh, gananagati, nikhadh, mudraabal, sarvabal, vishagyagati, sarvagya, vibhutangama and tallakshana which meant that tallakshana means 10 raised to the power of 53. (i.e.1053)
Third: Next number multiple of ten million: The 51st and 52nd chapters of Katyayan'sPali Grammar has reference to multiples of crores, i.e. the next number is a crore times (i.e.107 times) more than the earlier number.
In this centext, the Jain text of Anuyugodwar describes the numbers after koti as follows?
Koti koti, pakoti, kotyapakoti, nahut, ninnahut, akkhobhini, bindu, abbnd, nirashbud, ahah, abab, atat, sogandhik, uppalkumud, pundareek, padum, kathaan, mahakathaan and asankhyeya.
Asankhyeya measures 10140 that means 10 raised to power of 140.
From the above description, it becomes quite clear as to how much developed was the knowledge of numbers in India in the ancient times while the rest of the world did not know more than 10,000.
The above references have been given in detail in Vibhootibhushan Dutt and Avadhesh Narayan Singh'sbook The History of Hindu Mathematics.
(This book is available with Ocean Books (P) Ltd, 4/19 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110 002.)