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Indian Scholar Bhaskara I (522 A. D.) perhaps used the method of continued fraction to find out the

integral solution of the indeterminate equation of the type by = ax c. The paper presents the

original Sanskrit verses (in Roman Character) from Bhaskara I's Maha Bhaskaryia, its English

translation with modern interpretation.

Introduction

Bhaskara I (522 A. D.) gave a rule in his Mahabhaskariya for obtaining the general solution of the

linear indeterminate equation of the type by = ax c. This form seems to have chosen by Bhaskara I

deliberately so as to supplement the form of Aryabhata I. Smith1 following Kaye said that Aryabhata

1 attempted at a general solution of the linear indeterminate equation by the method of continued

fraction. In this paper we shall deduce the formula pn qn-1 - qn pn-1 = (-1)n of the continued fraction

from the Bhaskara I's method of solution of indeterminate equation of the first degree and then we

may draw the conclusion that the formula pn qn-1 - qn pn-1 = (-1)n of the continued fraction was

implicitly involved in the Bhaskara I's method of solution of the indeterminate equation of first degree.

a/b = a1 +

a2 + a3 +

Let

p1 /q1 , p2 /q2 ;... , pn /qn ... be the successive convergents of a/b then

/

=

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08/06/2015

... (i)

p1 / q1 = a1

p2 / q2 =

a1 a2 + 1

... (ii)

a2

a1 (a1 a2 + 1) + a3

p3 / q3 =

a2 a3 + 1

... (iii)

a1 [a2 (a3 a4 + 1) + a4 ] + a3 a4 + 1

p4 / q4 =

p5 / q5 =

... (iv)

a2 (a3 a4 + 1) + a4

a1 a2 a3 a4 a5 + a3 a4 a5 + a1 a4 a5 + a1 a2 a5 + a1 a2 a3 + a1 a2 a3 + a5 + a3 + a1

a2 a2 a4 a5 + a2 a5 + a2 a5 + a4 a5 + 1

...

(v)

and the following result will be easily obtained

pn qn-1 - qn pn-1 = (-1)n

Bhaskara I (522 A. D) gave the following rule in his Maha Bhaskariya

bhajyam nyasedupari haramadhasca tasya

khandayatparasparamadho binidhaya labdham I

kena hato' yamapaniya jathasya sesam

bhagam dadati parisudhamiti pracintyam II 42 II

aptam matim tam binidhaya ballam

nityam hyadho'dhah kramasasca labdham I

matya hatam syaduparisthitam ya

llabdhena yuktam paratasca tadvat II 43 II

harena bhajyo bidhino paristho

bhajyena nityam tadadhah' sthitasca I

aharganosmin bhaganadayasca

tadva bhavedyasya samihitam yat II 44 II

Datta and Singh translate these Slokas as follows:

"Set down the dividend above and the divisor below. Write down successively the quotients of their

mutual division, one below the other, in the form of a chain. Now find by what number the last

remainder should be multiplied, such that the product being subtracted by the (given) residue (of the

revolution) will be exactly divisible (by the divisor corresponding to that remainder). Put down that

optional number below the chain and then the (new) quotient underneath. Then multiply the optional

number by that quantity which stands just above it and add to the product the (new) quotient

(below). Proceed afterwards also in the same way. Divide the upper number (i.e. multiplier) obtained

by this process by the divisor and the lower one by the dividend; the remainders will respectively be

the desired ahargana and the revolutions."

After translation Datta and Singh further said

"The equation contemplated in this rule is

ax c

b

= a positive integer.

This form of the equation seems to have been chosen by Bhaskara I deliberately so as to supplement

the form Aryabhata I in which the interpolator is always made positive by necessary transposition.

Further b is taken to be greater than a, as is evident from the following rule. So the first quotient of

mutual divisions of a and b is always zero. This has not been taken into consideration. Also the

number of quotients in the chain is taken to be even."

The equation is of the type ax c = by

... (1)

where a = dividend, b = divisor, x = multiplier, y = quotient, remembering that a < b.

Now according to sloka we have.

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Here

... (2)

a = a1 b + a

b = a2 a + r1

a = a3 r1 + r2

r1 = a4 r2 + r3

r2 = a5 r3 + r4 .

Consider the even number of (partial) quotients, say four Remember that Datta and Singh said "... .

So the first quotient of mutual division of a by b is always zero. This has not been taken into

consideration." Therefore a5 is the even (partial) quotient.

Let t 1 = optional number.

Now

r4 t1 c

= k1 ,

r3

t1 =

k1 r3 + c

r4

Here

s1 = a5 t1 + k1

= a5 (

k1 r3 + c

r4

) + k1 [t1 =

k1 r3 + c

r4

k1 (a5 r3 + r4 ) + a5 c

=

r4

k1 r2 + a5 c

r4

[r2 = a5 r3 + r4 ]

s2 = a4 s1 + t1

= a4 (

k1 r2 + a5 c

r4

) +

k1 r3 + c

r4

k1 (a4 r2 + r3 ) + c(a4 a5 + 1)

=

r4

k1 r1 + c(a4 a5 + 1)

r4

[r1 = a4 r2 + r3 ]

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s 3 = a3 s 2 + s 1

= a3 (

k1 r1 + c(a4 a5 + 1)

) +

r4

k1 r2 + a5 c

r4

k1 (a3 r1 + r2 ) + c(a3 a4 a5 + a3 + a5 )

=

r4

k1 a + c(a3 a4 a5 + a3 + a5 )

[a = a3 r1 + r2 ]

r4

L = a2 s 3 + s 2

= a2 (

k1 a + c(a3 a4 a5 + a3 + a5 )

k1 r1 + c(a4 a5 + 1)

) +

r4

r4

k1 (a2 a + r1 ) + c(a2 a3 a4 a5 + a2 a3 + a2 a5 + a4 a5 + 1)

=

r4

k1 b + c(a2 a3 a4 a5 + a2 a3 + a2 a5 + a4 a5 + 1)

[b = a2 a + r1 ]

r4

k1 b + cq5

by (v)

r4

U = a1 L + s 3

a1 [k1 b + c(a2 a3 a4 a5 + a2 a3 + a2 a5 + a4 a5 + 1)]

=

k1 a + c(a3 a4 a5 + a3 + a5 )

+

r4

r4

k1 (a1 b + a) + c[a1 a2 a3 a4 a5 + a1 a2 a3 + a1 a2 a5 + a1 a4 a5 + a3 a4 a5 + a1 + a3 + a5 ] k1 a

r4

[a = a1 b + aand by (v)].

Here

p6

q6

a

=

L

and

k1 b + cq5

k1 a + cp5

Now

p6 L q6 U = p6 (k1 b + cq5 ) q6 (k1 a + cp5 )

= a(k1 b + cq5 ) b(k1 a + cp5 )

= k1 b + acq5 k1 ab bcp5

= c(aq5 bp5 )

= c(p6 q5 q6 p5 )

6

= c(1 )

= c

We have taken L = x, U = y

p6 L q6 U = c

p6 x q6 y = c

or,ax by = c

or,ax c = by

Thus we see that the formula pn qn-1 - qn pn-1 = (-1)n of the continued fraction is implicitly involved in

the Bhaskara I's method of solution of the indeterminate equation of the first degree.

Example

Now let us take an example from the Ganita Sara Samgraha B of Mahavira. Mahavira says

drstvamrarasin pathiko jathaika

trimsatsamuham kurute trihinam

sese hrte saptativistrimisrai

rnarairvisudham kathayaikasamkham

Rangacharya translates this as follows:

"A traveller sees heaps of mangoes (equal in numerical value) and makes 31 heaps less by 3 (fruits);

and when the remainder (of these 31 heaps) is equally divided among 73 men, there is no remainder

(of these 31 heaps) is equally divided among 73 men, there is no remainder. Give out the numerical

value of one (of these heaps)."

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73x = 31x - 3.

Take the even number of partial quotients say 2. (Here a3 = 2nd partial quotient as Datta and Singh

said".... So the the first quotient of mutual division of a and b is always. This has not been taken into

consideration).

Now according to Bhaskara I's rule we have

9.t 3

11

take t = 4, then k1 = 3.

Consider the Valli (table)

Ans x = 26.

Acknowledgements

The author expresses his gratitude to Prof. M. C. Chaki and Dr. A. K. Bag for their kind suggestions

and guidance for presentation of this paper. Thanks are due to the referee for his comments towards

the improvement of the paper.

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08/06/2015

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