Vedic mathematics

s. kalyanaraman s._kalyanaraman at
Fri Feb 17 16:01:55 UTC 1995

     I found this interesting posting on the India Discussion Digest:Date: 
     Thu, 16 Feb 95 09:30:52 EST
     From: ciswa at
     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           
                (the Bindi method)           (Vertically & cross-wise       
                 ..                                   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  
     the number of dots (shudhikaran")     Again, the number of memory      
     are counted and used as a carry       required for this procedure is   
     over.  Note that no intermediate      fewer than that for              
     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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