# Vedic mathematics

s. kalyanaraman s._kalyanaraman at mail.asiandevbank.org
Fri Feb 17 16:01:55 EST 1995

```     I found this interesting posting on the India Discussion Digest:Date:

Thu, 16 Feb 95 09:30:52 EST
From: ciswa at mse.ufl.edu
Subject: ShUnya NamaskAram KarishyAmi! (Worship Nothing!)

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of Vedic Mathematics is their
intuitive recognition of the importance of zero.  The introduction of
zero streamlines number systems and facilitates artithmetic.  Despite
the  introduction of zero into the Hindu-Arabic system used by the
Westerners, the enormity of nothing(!) is infrequently appreciated.
Part of the problem is the English language which confuses "the
presence of nothing" with the "absence of something" and "the absence
of anything".  Consider the difference between (a) there is NOTHING
there and (b) vahan kuch nahi hai {there is NOT ANYTHING there} and
(c) vahan koyi patthar nahi hai {there are "NO ROCKS" there} This
confusion leads to such silly syllogisms as "something is better
than nothing - nothing is better than god - therefore something is
better than god" which cannot be translated into Hindi for example.
In any case, here is more Vedic Mathematics which relies heavily on 0
as a place holder:

Addition by "Sutra Shudha":             Multiplication by
"Urdhva-Tiryagbhyam"
(the Bindi method)           (Vertically & cross-wise
method)
..                                   2 7
3 7 9                                    x 4 6
.                                        -----
8 5 4                                      4 2
. . .                                    .
7 6 7                                    1 2 -
.
4 2 6                                    2 8 -
8 - -
--------                                --------
2 4 2 6                                  1 2 4 2
--------                                --------
Before moving to higher columns       The "-"'s are place holders for
zeros.
the number of dots (shudhikaran")     Again, the number of memory
registers
are counted and used as a carry       required for this procedure is
far
over.  Note that no intermediate      fewer than that for
multiplication
result EVER EXCEEDS 19!               by the carry-over method.

Basically, the Vedic method (a) allows you to carry out big
calculations in your head (since you have to remember only one or two
intermediate results) and therefore (b) allows you to razzle-dazzle
your friends and ultimately (c) makes mathematics more fun!
***Those of you who are Anglophiles, Indophobes or people with
school-age children will no doubt recognize these two examples as the
"New Math" that they teach children here in the U.S.  From the Vedas
to New Math - we have come a full circle (or should I say 0) - haven't
we?  Coimbatore V.Iswaran.

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