From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Manava was a mathematician who lived in what is now modern-India circa 750 BC. Very little is known about him except that he was the author of the Manava Sulbasutra which post-dates the Baudhayana sulbasutra.

The mathematics given in the Sulbasutra enables accurate construction of altars needed for sacrifices and implies that he was both a priest and a skilled craftsman.

Manava's Sulbasutra, like all the Sulbasutras, contained approximate constructions of circles from rectangles, and squares from circles, which can be thought of as giving approximate values of π (pi). There appear therefore different values of π throughout the Sulbasutra, essentially every construction involving circles leads to a different such approximation. E.g., 11.14 and 11.15 of Manava's work give π = 25/8 = 3.125.


  • R C Gupta, New Indian values of p from the Manava sulba sutra, Centaurus 31 (2) (1988), 114-125.
  • R P Kulkarni, The value of π known to Sulbasutrakaras, Indian J. Hist. Sci. 13 (1) (1978), 32-41.