(Last Updated on : 14-02-2009)
Katyayana is the name of an ancient Sanskrit author, mathematician and Vedic priest who use to live at the time of Panini.
Katyayana is said to have been a child with great talent and extraordinary memory. He was able to repeat to his mother an entire play after hearing it once at the theatre.
Katyayana in the Indian mythology is recognized for his two works. His work, 'Varttika' is an explanation on Panini's grammar. Varttika is one of the important books on grammar or vyakarana. This text was one of the six Vedangas and comprises essential education for Brahmin students in the next twelve centuries.
Katyayana composed one of the Sulba Sutras. Sulba Sutras is a series of nine texts on the geometry of altar constructions, dealing with rectangles, right-sided triangles, rhombuses, and many more.
Katyayana analysis on the grammar is very simple. Like Plato, Katyayana believed that the word-meaning relationship was not a result of human convention. To him it means 'siddha.' For Katyayana, word-meaning relations were siddha, given to us, eternal. According to Katyayana though the object a word is referring to is non-eternal, the substance of its meaning, like a lump of gold used to make different ornaments, remains undestroyed, and is therefore permanent.
Katyayana was a learned man but not a pure mathematician. He was interested in mathematics not for his own sake but for the sake of religious purpose. Indubitably Katyayana wrote the Sulba Sutra to provide rules for religious rites and to improve and expand on the rules which had been given by his predecessors. Thus Katyayana was also a priest instructing the people in the ways of conducting the religious rites.