The concept of zero as a number and not merely a symbol for separation is attributed to India, where, by the 9th century AD, practical calculations were carried out using zero, which was treated like any other number, even in case of division. The Indian scholar Pingala (circa 5th-2nd century BC) used binary numbers in the form of short and long syllables (the latter equal in length to two short syllables), making it similar to Morse code. He and his contemporary Indian scholars used the Sanskrit word śūnya to refer to zero or void. The use of a blank on a counting board to represent 0 dated back in India to 4th century BC.In 498 AD, Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata stated that "sthānāt sthānaṁ daśaguņaṁ syāt" (literally, "place to place in ten times in value"),[citation needed] i.e. "from place to place each is ten times the preceding" which is the origin of the modern decimal-based place value notation.

The oldest known text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, is the Jain text from India entitled the Lokavibhâga, dated 458 AD, where shunya ("void" or "empty") was employed for this purpose. The first known use of special glyphs for the decimal digits that includes the indubitable appearance of a symbol for the digit zero, a small circle, appears on a stone inscription found at the Chaturbhuja Temple[disambiguation needed] at Gwalior in India, dated 876 AD. There are many documents on copper plates, with the same small o in them, dated back as far as the sixth century AD, but their authenticity may be doubted.

The oldest known text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, is the Jain text from India entitled the Lokavibhâga, dated 458 AD, where shunya ("void" or "empty") was employed for this purpose. The first known use of special glyphs for the decimal digits that includes the indubitable appearance of a symbol for the digit zero, a small circle, appears on a stone inscription found at the Chaturbhuja Temple[disambiguation needed] at Gwalior in India, dated 876 AD. There are many documents on copper plates, with the same small o in them, dated back as far as the sixth century AD, but their authenticity may be doubted.