Book:Bhaskara II Acharya/Lilavati/Historical Note

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Historical Note on Lilavati

Of all the silly fanciful stories about mathematical topics, this one beats the lot.

According to Faizi, Lilavati was the name of Bhaskara's daughter.

Bhaskara cast Lilavati's horoscope in order to determine the most auspicious time for her wedding.

In order to make the forecast more dramatic, he constructed a water clock by putting a cup with a small hole in it into a bowl of water.

The idea was that it would sink at the propitious moment.

But Lilavati, with the typical impatience of a teenage girl, leaned over the bowl to watch it, and a pearl from her clothing fell into the cup and blocked the hole.

Thus the cup did not sink and the wedding did not happen.

To cheer her up, Bhaskara wrote a mathematics textbook for her.

As Ian Stewart puts it:

The legend does not record what she thought of this.