Vaalmeeki Raamaayan

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Notes-41

Ancient Indian Numbering System

In the present Indian counting system:

USA System                                         Indian System
100,000         100 Thousand  is        1,00,000      One Lakh
1,000,000      1 Million  is               10,00,000      Ten Lakh
10,000,000    10 Million   is         1,00,00,000      One Crore
100,000,000  100 Million is       10,00,00,000      Ten Crore

But the ancient Indian legionaries have names like:

"Ayut" = One thousand; 1,000 per unit
"Shanku" = One trillion; (1,000,000,000,000) or 1012
"Arbud" = 1,000 Shanku
"Samudra" = 20 Antya
"Paraardh" = 30 Samudra

These numbers have been described by Sugreev to Raam while giving the count of his military power. Some say about this that "Sugreev meant that innumerable monkeys were coming"; while others hold the view that ancient Hindu organized their military pattern in a particular nomenclature apart from the generalized numbers.

The present Indian system is taken from Indian astrology in which every number is increased by a multiplication of ten - 1, 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 etc. (This is called decimal system - originated from "deca" means 10). As said in verse:

Ekam dash shatam asmat sahastram ayutam tatah param laksham |
Prayutam kotim ath arbudam vrindey kharvam nikharvam cha ||
Tasmat mahaa sarojam shankum saritaam patim twat antam |

Leelaavatee mathematics also says:

ek dash sahastra aayut laksh prayut kotyah kramashah |
arbudam abdam kharv nikharvam mahaapadmam shankhvah tasmaat ||
nidhih cha antam madhyam parardham iti dash gunaa uttaram sangyaah |
sankhyaaya sthaanaanaam vyavahaar artham kritaah poorvaih iti ||

[Taken from Valmiki Ramayan 3/39/44]

It means that,
one = 1
1 ten = 10;
10 ten = 1 hundred;
10 hundred = 1 thousand (Ayut)
10 thousand
100 thousand = 1 lakh
1 prayutam =10 lakh, = 1 million;
100 lakh = 1 koti =1 crore;
100 crore = 1 arbud (Arab) = 1 billion
100 arbud = 1 vrinda
100 vrinda = 1 kharv (Kharab)
100 kharv = 1 nikharv (Neel)
100 mahaa padm = 1 shanku (Shankh) = 1 lakh crore
100 shanku = 1 samudra
100 samudra = 1 antya

By this, the nomenclature of million, billion and trillion, was in ancient days. This may be observed by the names "Prayutam" ( a million); "arbud" ( a billion); "shanku" (a trillion) ....

 Present USA Counting System Present Indian Counting System 1 1 1 1 10 Ten 10 Ten 100 1 hundred 100 1 hundred 1,000 1 thousand 1,000 1 thousand (Ayut) 10,000 10 thousand 10,000 10 thousand 100,000 100 thousand 1,00,000 1 lakh 1,000,000 1 million 10,00,000 10 lakh 10,000,000 10 million 1,00,00,000 1 crore 100,000,000 100 million 10,00,00,000 10 crore 1,000,000,000 1 billion 1,00,00,00,000 1 arab (Arbud) 10,000,000,000 10 billion 10,00,00,00,000 10 arab 100,000,000,000 100 billion 1,00,00,00,00,000 1 kharab (kharv) 1,000,000,000,000 1 trillion 10,00,00,00,00,000 10 kharab 10,000,000,000,000 10 trillion 1,00.00.00.00.00.000 1 neel 100,000,000,000,000 100 trillion 10,00,00,00,00,00,000 10 neel 1,000,000,000,000,000 1,000 trillion 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 1 padm 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 10 padm 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 1 shankh (Shanku) 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 10 shankh 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 1 samudra 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 10 samudra 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 1 antya 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 10 antya  etc.

[Taken from:  Valmiki Ramayan 3/38/31]

Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Contact: bhagvatjee@yahoo.com
Updated on
03/12/06