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The Lokavibhaga is a Jain cosmological text originally composed in Prakrit by a Digambara monk, Sarvanandi,[1] surviving in a Sanskrit version compiled by one Simhasuri. It contains the oldest known mention of numeral zero ("0") and the decimal positional system[2] The discovery of the manuscript preserving the text was mentioned by the Archaeological Department of Mysore in their report for 1909-10.

The work was supposed to have been first given by word of mouth by Vardhamana, and is said to have been handed down through Sudharma and a succession of other teachers. Rishi Simhasuri or Simhasura made a translation of it, apparently from the Prakrit into Sanskrit.

The surviving manuscripts state that the original Prakrit work was written down by Sarvanandi at Patalika in the Banarastra on a certain day the astronomical details of which are given. It is further stated therein it was in Saka 380, corresponding to CE 458. The surviving text is a Sanskrit translation by one Simhasuri, copied "some considerable time" after that date by one Simhasuri.[3] A translation was published by Balachandra Shastri.

It mentions the reign of king Simhavarman of the Pallava dynasty in 435.


  1. ^ Encyclopaedia of Jainism By Nagendra Kr Singh, Indo-European Jain Research Foundation, Published by Anmol Publications PVT. LTD., 2001
  2. ^ Thomas Crump, The Anthropology of Numbers, Cambridge University Press, 1992, p. 42
  3. ^ The Chronological Datum of the Lokavibhaga, in "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar (1923)[1][2]