Dept. of E&ECE, I.I.T Kharagpur
“Leelawati is a Mathematics book written by Bhaskaracharya-II a graet Mathematician of ancient India. Leelawati was a simple illiterate lady of ancient Mithila. What made Bhaskaracharya to name his famous book dealing speacially with Arithmetrics and Spherical Trigonometry after this Lady Leelawati” — Padmanabh Mishra
Today, it was just a simple dawn as usual. The birds were chirping, the Saints had gone for morning bath. The sun is about to bang at the horizon but its appearance can be felt. The petals of the flowers are gaining energy to bloom soon. The light is about to convert from blackish red to full fledged bright sunlight. It was a great morning.
This lady was performing her daily duty, but today she would not try to escape from the Saint. Today she would face the truth of the fact; she has been doing for last 20 years. Why not, She? A wild goose chase has just converted into a Red letter’s day today in the life of the Saint. She has just completed her daily duty of cleaning his work place, placing his carpet and necessary tools besides his seat. She has given fodder to his cow. Arranged sticks of dried mango trees branch. She has desperately waiting for the Saint who has gone for his morning bath in nearby river. She was feeling unusual, for… She has to leave the scene before the Saint arrives, the routine work she has been performing for last 20 years. But she is proud today for what she has done. It is really a Red Letter’s Day in the life of both for this Lady and for the Saint.
Almost all the great mathematician from all over the India were invited to take part in the feast which is organized by the above said Saint named “Bhaskaracharya”. The feast was on the occasion of the completion of his research work in mathematics and astronomy. Mr. Bhaskaracharya will be honored by above mathematician from all over the India for his unique work. The heart of the lady was banging and breaking the silence of the loneliness. Suddenly the Saint Bhaskaracharya arrived. He had ignored the lady in front of him.
The lady bent down and touches the feet of the Saint in honor. What Saint has felt couldn’t stop him to ask the lady, “Who are you?” In response the lady couldn’t tell anything as the tears broke out of the corner of her eyes. She should demand of her compensation for the sacrifice she has made for last 20 years. If not the compensation it could be the right of a common woman. But she was completely silent, only the things that can be guessed by the matter were her tears. The Saint again asked, “Who are you?” This time she cannot stop herself, replied, “It is me, Leelavati”. In response he again gives her a new question to be replied, “ Who Leelavati?” Now it was too much for her, she couldn’t stop herself, as the Saint was not able to recognize her. “Remember the promised you have committed to my father”, She murmured. The Saint looked into the eyes of the Lady called herself as “Leelavati”. The tears were still flowing out of the corner of her eyes. The saint find himself disappeared in the event happened some 20 years back.
He has just graduated from the school where the father of the said lady was his teacher of mathematics. This Saint “Bhaskaracharya” was his brilliant student. He has seen every quality in Bhaskar for the quality research in Mathematics and Astronomy. The father of the lady and teacher of Bhaskaracharya was on his deathbed and find that his daughter will be an orphan after his death. So he called his one of the best student and demanded “Gurudakshina” and his ultimate wish. He was knowing that Bhaskar had taken vow not to marry in his life for the sake of his study in mathematics, still the man on deathbed given him a order to marry with his daughter Leelavati. Bhaskar was in “Dharmshankat” but still obeyed his guru at the deathbed.
Bhaskar thought that he had been trapped by the wish of his teacher and his further career will not be the same as he thought to be. He will indulge himself in bread and butter and for the livelihood of his wife and children. But to the women with whom he had married, had a super gene in her blood. She had decided not to be the obstacle in the research work of his man in the field of Mathematics and Astronomy. She has decided to give every daily life comfort and fulfill the needs of her husband. And in this process she use to stay away from his working place but look after him worked as a maid for him so that his research work might not be affected.
The time had started passing and the saint was so much busy in his work that he had forgotten that sometimes he had married to a woman. It had taken complete 20 years to complete his work. He has compiled his work and today he is going to get recognition for what he had done for last 20 years. The book dealing largely on Arithmetic’s, Spherical Trigonometry, Astronomy and of course Algebra was ready to challenge the world of science and mathematics. He had worked enough to complete his work. But into the eyes he was looking was a special contribution. The Saint had observed a selfless sacrifice of the true womanhood, which is meant for her husband only. He had find that the work he had done was possible without the efforts of his woman.
Again the Saint asked the Lady, “What is your name?” “It is Leelavati”, she whispered. The Saint told the Lady, “I have committed a sin. And now only compensation I can award you that the book I had written in 20 years is going to be named as “Leelavati”. Whenever the people will go through this book of Mathematics, will think why a book of mathematics is named as Leelavati, and so your name will be remembered”. And in this way this great mathematician of India gave honor to a Lady hailed from heartland of holy state named as Mithila.
Writer’s Comment “Stri aa purush ek rathak du pahiya. Dunu pahiyak, ekke mahatwa. Dunu pahiya alag alag nahi muda yadi ekke disha ma’ chlaya ta’ Jindagi me adami Kichho ka’ sakait achhi, mithilak naari tyagak prateek theek aa Leelavati ekar bahut sundar udaharan achhi.”
Even Maithil woman faced lots of atrocities by his man. But always shown its quality. There are several examples in the history and even in the daily life. But they have shown a tremendous character incorporated in her. Whether it is “Sita” of Ramayan is concerned who had been sent in the Forest even having pregnant, whether “Ahilya” the wife of St. Gautam is concern that had been cheated by Lord Indra, whether it is Kunti of Mahabharat is concern. But all of them were loyal to their man and society. And the world is bending down on their sacrifice. After all they are Maithil Lady only meant for the sacrifice.
Second Thought: In the research field where a lot of mental stability and peace of mind is required Mr. Bhaskaracharya got it free from a maithil Lady. Is the efforts made by Leelawati is less in anyway than the efforts made by Bhaskaracharya-II himself for almost 20 years in writing his great book? No… her efforts are great in some sense.
Final Thought: there is always a woman behind the success of a man.