Thursday, July 25, 2013

Crunching numbers the vedic way

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 of solution.

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 on children.

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. 




Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

This post in response to  Indiblogger's " Idea caravan" contest.



14 comments:

  1. amazing :) informative and inspiring :) well written

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    1. Welcome here preethi, thank you :)

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  2. Very interesting and informative Asha. Thanks. No wonder Indians are “the experts” in the information technology sector. Math is in their genes.

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    1. Agree with you SG, maths is in our genes and we are IT experts. Wish we learned the ropes of marketing too.

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  3. For somebody to whom both the vedas and 2+2 are difficult concepts to behold, Vedic Maths is a step too far. I shall therefore leave it to super experts such as yourself and will simply accept as you say :)

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    1. //Super experts// - no such tall claims ramesh.

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  4. Vedic maths is always interesting and quick. But the steps involved in them should be understood to learn its effect. Informative post :)

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    1. Right Hari. It is handy especially during time bound exams like GRE/CAT etc.

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  5. Vedic Maths is so very interesting. I remember Aaryan doing a course some years ago and more than him, I was amazed at the simple ways of calculating large numbered figures, multiplication tables... I wish this is taught in our schools right from the very beginning. For example, instead of cramming the tables, if the kids are taught the concept of calculating on their own, Maths would not be scary for many!

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  6. Yes, shilpa. That is the idea. This should be introduced in schools at primary levels. But not many are aware of this concept of mathematics. This should be popularized.

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  7. Very well written... Vedic maths is definitely a way to explore one of the best subjects Mathematics...we are losing our forte in it and need to capture it back..Concept is important so that kids don't develop phobia of numbers..


    manjulikapramod.com

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  8. very well said, Manjulika. We have to capture back our forte and popularize it. Yes vedic maths makes numbers fun and knocks out the phobia of numbers.

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  9. Hi,
    This one is great and is really a good post. I think it will help me a lot in the related stuff and is very much useful for me. Very well written I appreciate & must say good job.

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    vedic maths

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  10. Hi, This is a good post, indeed a great job.. You must have done good research for the work, i appreciate your efforts.. Looking for more updates from your side.

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