The concept of śūnya in India has a
long history and varied manifestations in different dimensions, in
mathematics, in philosophy and in mysticism. In mathematical
literature it is used in the sense of "zero" having no substantial
numeral value of its own but playing the key role in the system of
decimal notation, to express all numbers with nine digits, one to nine
and the śūnya as the tenth. The application of śūnya in this system of
notation was discovered in India some time in the pre-Christian era.
Its concretization in the form of a dot or a small circle and its use
in decimal place value system was first transmitted to the Middle-East
and thence to Europe to supplant the Greek and Roman systems, and the
whole world slowly recognized it as the most scientific system of
numeration.

The present volume is the outcome of
a joint seminar organized by Indian National Science Academy and
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and aims at a documented
account of various facets of śūnya in mathematics and astronomy and
its various ramifications in philosophy and arts.