Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
One of the six philosophies of Vedic Wisdom, the second one is called Sankhya – which means the counting and analysis of the Universe (in terms of numbers). It is quite important.
There are numbers found in everything around us. For example, the number of chromosomes in the DNA of our body, the DNA chains, etc. They all have numbers. Almost everything in this universe can be seen to have some numbers at play. In the Rudrabhishekam, the chanting is “Ekachame Trayanchame Panchachame…” (referring to the series of odd numbers starting with 1).
This entire universe is full of Ganas, meaning units, and there are different units that make up the universe. Gana also means groups. So the entire universe is made up of units and groups. Ganaraja means the Lord of the Groups, and is another name for Lord Ganesha. Each element in the Periodic table has a number assigned to it, and each element has a certain number of atoms and electrons in it. The reason why silver, charcoal, gold and diamond appear different is simply because of the difference in the number of protons and electrons in the constituting atoms. Different permutations and combinations of the number of protons and electrons give rise to the diverse elements we see today. In fact the whole Creation is one vibration, but different combinations and quantities of the same vibration make up the diversity in this Universe.
So numbers are very important. If numbers (of atoms or electrons) are different in charcoal (an amorphous form of the Carbon element), then it becomes Diamond (a crystalline shining form of the same Carbon element). So the diverse universe is nothing but the result of different combinations of numbers.
Just a small change in the grooves and spacing of the lines on your thumb can change everything. That is why no two individuals have the same thumb impression. If you have locked your house with your thumb impression, then only your thumb can open it. So a small change in numbers can make a huge difference. And this was recognized so many years ago by our great Rishis, such as Rishi Kanada, Rishi Kapila, etc. The highest number – Zero, was given by the Upanishads, and by the vedic Rishis. India gave the number Zero to the world. If there was no Zero, there can be no other number. Then everything would stop at the number nine. The definition of the number Zero lies in the Vedic literature. There is a verse: 'Om Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornaat Poornam Udachyate. Poornasya Poornamadaya Poornamevava Vashishyate'. (Meaning of the verse: 'That is whole, this is whole; from wholeness emerges the whole and if you remove wholeness from wholeness, wholeness still remains'). This verse encompasses the definition of Zero. How many of you did not know this?