Greek genius in “ ‘he’ between two ‘mats’ and ‘ics’ “ – Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos (582 to 502 B.C.) was a Greek genius in Mathematics who flourished in ancient times about 2500 years ago.
Scientist Pythagoras was born about 582 B.C. in Samos, Greece in a rich family.
At the age of 16 he was a student prodigy. Printing of books was not known in those days. The only way was to express one’s views and to interact with others.
Scientist Pythagoras travelled through the Mediterranean, Persia, Babylon, and Arabia, India. Gowthama Buddha was founding his religion in India during that time.
Scientist Pythagoras learned music in Egypt and tried to establish mathematical principles to music; the pleasing quality of sound depends upon the stretch of the string, e.g. 2 to 1 represents octave.
Scientist Pythagoras migrated to Croton in Southern Italy about 530 B.C. He established a philosophical and religious school framed on views of brotherhood which came to be known as Pythagoreanism. Soon he could gather about 300 colleagues.
Scientist Pythagoras and his followers said that human soul is immortal/indestructible. This coincides with such a view in Bhagavad Gita.
Further, the soul returns to earth again and again, transmigrating into different people, which view is again substantiated in Bhagavad Gita — the cycle of birth, rebirth.
If a man lives, a pure life, he would not be born into an animal womb in the next birth. The importance of self-discipline, austerity, plain-heartedness, temperance and modesty, obedience were the tenets of good living.
Purposeful living and purity of thought, word and deed were the watchwords. Pythagoras practised Vegetarianism.
Studies in Pythagoreanism
1. Metaphysics (the nature of “Being”)
2. Religion and ethics: Friendship and modesty.
3. Number theory: The harmony of the cosmos was emphasised.
- The tetraktys (meaning “fourness”) 1+2+3+4=10
- “One” is seen as both even and odd. This ambivalence applies to the total Universe.
Peripatetics (the school founded by Aristotle) praised Pythagoras as the educator of the Greeks who were very fond of preaching the gospel of humanity.
4. Scientist Pythagoras Mathematics and Science.
Arithmetic and Geometry, Science of musical tones and notes, harmonics were studied.
Geometry : Geometry — implies measurement (mathematics) of world objects, e.g. cube, square, rectangle and the like.
- The Pythagorean theorem which is a popular fundamental basic concept which brought name and fame to Pythagoras, states that in a right-angle triangle the square on the hypotenuse (longest side) is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides, i.e. 32 + 42 = 52 viz. 3×3 plus 4×4 equals 5×5. A right-angle triangle is one in which one angle is 90° i.e. a “right” angle.
- The sum of the three interior angles in a triangle is equal to two right angles i.e. 180°.
5. Scientist Pythagoreans postulated that the Sun occupied the centre of the Universe, a fore-runner idea of Copernicus.
6. The four elements in the world and four qualities : World is made up of air, water, earth, fire; world composes of opposites, wet-dry, hot-cold, etc.
People began disliking the brotherhood as the members turned arrogant towards the ignorant. Pythagoreans fell into disrepute and the web of politics. Disgusted and dejected, Pythagoras went to exile.
Pythagoras chapter came to a close at the age of 80.
Italy respected this great Greek 200 years after his death when the Senate in Rome built his statue and honoured him as “the wisest and bravest of the Greeks”.