Introduction to Vedic Maths
About Vedic Mathematics
"We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made." Albert Einstein
India has been a treasure-house of knowledge since thousands of years. There has not been any branch of knowledge that was left out by the Indians to explore. Among the different branches of knowledge,Indian contributed a lot in Mathematics the queen of all sciences.
Indian Mathematics can be broadly classified into four:
- Mathematics in the Vedas.
- Sulba Sutras Geometrical texts written around 800 BC - 200 BC (as suggested by historians).
- Ancient Indian Mathematics or Mathematical texts written by Indian Mathematics during the last two millenniums, like Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, etc.
- The popularly known 'Vedic Mathematics' as propounded by Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha.
What makes Indian Mathematics special is, the ways in which the texts are written and explained.The subject of Mathematics was capsulated in Sutras & Slokas. Poetry was very well appreciated during ancient days and anyone who wished to learn Mathematics would enjoy learning these verses in poetry by-heart.
Another distinctive feature of ancient Indian mathematics is the use of alpha-numerical codes (like Katapayadi & Bhuta Sankhya) to represent numbers. These codes were used for encoding historical dates, passing secret messages, numbering Melakarta Raagas in Karnatic music (Indian classical music), coding scientific formulae, etc. One can just sit in awe and wonder when one sees the beauty in these ingenious works.
Indians connected Mathematics very well with any other subject like Engineering, Astronomy, Finance, Medicine, Chemistry, Physics, and even in art forms like Music, Dance, etc. Ancient Indian Mathematicians were more like Rishis, they saw Mathematics as a way to reach God. They would connect Mathematics to spirituality, to the stories of Puranas, etc. They converted Mathematics into a subject with an essence, as opposed to the common view that Math is a dry subject.
In Mathematical texts like Lilavati, written by Bhaskaracharya II in 1150 AD, many questions are put up as recreational mathematics and different formulae are given out in Slokas. The beauty of Lilavati is such that it is still used as Math text-book in Sanskrit-medium schools in India even after 8.5 centuries!
Vedic Mathematics by Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha
During the period 1911-1918 AD, Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha (1884-1960 AD), a saint of Shankaracharya order who later assumed the post of Acharya of Govardhan Math of Puri, is said to have come across some Ganita Sutras which he reconstructed and formed 16 Sutras & 13 Upa-Sutras. Using these Sutras, he said, mathematical calculations can be performed faster and simpler ways than the conventional methods of computation. He wrote 16 volumes on this new branch of Mathematics but all of them got irretrievably lost. During the last years of his life, he re-wrote an Introductory Volume on the subject but couldn't write further volumes on account of his failing health and finally he attained Samadhi in 1960. It is his book that is popularly known as Vedic Mathematics which deals with faster computation techniques.
The beauty of this subject is that it deals with pattern-observation in numbers. Man was able to make various discoveries only when he started observing the different patterns in nature. Observation &searching patterns facilitates new discoveries. Since Vedic Math is based on pattern observation, it helps brain-development to a great extent. When school students start discovering new computation techniques on their own, they enjoy playing with numbers, thus developing a flair for Math. The techniques in Vedic Math are so simple that students of any calibre can learn it with ease. Moreover,Vedic Math gives many techniques to do the same calculation and the student has a freedom of choice while computing. Students appearing for competitive exams find Vedic Math as an effective tool in number crunching when they face a high time-constraint in competitive exams. Even though we live in the age of electronic devices like calculators & computers, there are many calculations which become time consuming and sometimes impossible to do using a calculator. Vedic Math comes handy for working professionals in their day-to-day activities like a Finance Meeting, Salary calculations, Vendor negotiation, etc.