Our lives are today driven by numbers, calculations and
gadgets. All of modern day inventions and gadgets would not be possible without
the use of numbers and mathematics.There is no area where we can escape number
crunching or math. Infact, it is the basic structure on which the fields of
physical science, social science, technology rest. Even our daily life rests on this. From physicists, engineers, mathematicians,
economists and math teachers to an average citizen needs mathematics for
his/her daily business and commerce. No wonder, we start learning them
from the very beginning stages of our formal education.
But how many really like math? Not me, I never liked
math in my primary school years. I found the numbers random, boring and
frustrating when I did not get the right answers. It took my tenth class Math master
KRK to drill sense into many of us that math had a rhyme and reason and it was
not just random numbers. He emphasized that we should be thinking
logically and develop a problem solving ability rather than finding a
solution to the problem or cram/memorize the math facts. His method was also
inspiring and fun. Math then became a simple subject for many of us and a
subject which I dreaded in my primary school days was the subject which
traveled with me till I graduated.
But not many students would be lucky to have a teacher like
KRK who had the sobering responsibility of nurturing mathematical minds.Here is
where vedic maths comes into picture. To drive out the fear and instill the
love for the subject in young minds and learn the fun way.
This concept of mathematics owes its origin to the
vedas. Infact, the vedas considered to be the fountainhead of knowledge covered
many major branches of knowledge like astronomy, medicine, surgery, finearts,
civil engineering, navigation, shipbuilding, physics, metallurgy etc. According
to the 19th century British historian Grant Duff, “Many of the advances in the
mathematics and sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe
were in fact made in India centuries ago.”
Research has revealed many interesting facts
that the origin of many advances of today's modern world has originated
in India like that of Vedic maths.
A few proofs of maths presence in the vedas:
We find elaborate proof of this in the vedas
like the concept of division, addition, roots of algebra, concepts of zero and
the infinite etc. These were in the form of sutras and shlokas. When invaders
and foreign merchants traveled to India, they learnt easy to use calculation
methods from India and this knowledge reached Europe, Arab countries etc
when they traveled back.
Even the famous French mathematician Laplace has
said" The ingenious method of expressing every possible number using a set
of ten symbols( each symbol having a place value and an absolute value) emerged
in India" He referred to the decimal system.
The mathematical activity in the vedic
period were associated with ritualistic activity and in
agricultural contexts too. Like the system of breaking the agricultural land
into rectangular or triangular or square plots of equal size. Assessing the tax
based on the annual or seasonal crop incomes. Math thus served both the secular
and ritual domains.
Pingala's binary number system which contains
the basic idea of Fibonacci number( called maatraameru) has evidence in the vedas.
Aryabhata sutra for Pi which played a vital role
in his revolutionary understanding of the solar system. For this he worked
on beejganit(algebra) and trikonimit( trigonometry). He arrived at a sutra or shloka which when deciphered brings out the approximate value of Pi
Pythagoras the Greek mathematician and
philosopher is also said to be familiar with the Upanishads and learnt his
basic geometry from the sulva sutras. Researchers have found an early statement
of Pythagoras theorem in Baudhayana's sutra.
So, above are a few research findings of math in our vedas.
Thus the name given to the ancient system of mathematics rediscovered from the Vedas is called Vedic mathematics. This is researched by Sri Bharati krsna
tirthaji. According to him, all of mathematics is based on sixteen sutras
or word formulae. These formulae describe the way the mind naturally works and
are therefore a great help in directing the student to the appropriate method
The most important feature of this vedic system is it is
beautifully interrelated and unified making it coherent. These methods make
math easily enjoyable and encourages innovation. Another feature of vedic maths
is that the calculations can be carried out mentally.
Today, this system is growing and popularized by a few. Many
math teachers who want to use inspiring and interesting methods of teaching math have vedic maths as
the answer. Research is also carried out including the effects of vedic maths
It is more popular in the Middle East, South Africa , Europe and the US. Infact, so popular that USA patented it and India had to fight a copyright case and eventually won it. For more on Vedic math, I will leave you with a video of Gaurav Tekriwal's TEDx talks. He is the founder & President of Vedic maths forum in India.