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StephaniFogel

Prof.NandiniRanganathan
November29th,2013

OntheOriginsandModernApplicationsofVedicMathematics

ThetopicofVedicMathematicsissomewhatcontroversialanditsoriginshotly
contested.Theveryideathataculturegraspedcomplexmathematicalprinciplespriorto
Europeanscertainlychallengesthestandard.ThisispartlywhyIchosetoresearchVedic
mathematicsformyfinalproject.Iloveagooddebateanditshardtoignorethereal
efficienciesgainedintheirapplication.

TobeginmyresearchIwantedtounderstandtheoriginsofmathematicsinIndia
andlearnhowtheseprinciplesemerged.TheCrestofthePeacock:TheNonEuropean
RootsofMathematicsbyauthorGeorgeGhevergheseJosephwaswhereIbeganmy
search.InchaptereightthewriterdiscussesthehistoryofancientIndianmathematics
exclusively.JosephexplainsthatEurocentrismissodeeplyentrenchedthatthey[modern
historiansandmathematicians]cannotbringthemselvestofacetheideaofindependent
developmentsinearlyIndianmathematicsasevenaremotepossibility(pg311).Ibelieve
thatthismayhavesomethingtodowiththosewhodenythelegitimacyoftheVedic
approach.Fornow,weshouldsuspendanycurrentsuppositionsaboutwhatisknown.

CrestofthePeacockauthorJosephlaysoutthechronologyofIndianhistoryand

earlymathematics,describingtheirorigins:evidenceofmathematicsisfoundamongst
theruinsoftheIndusValleycivilization,whichgoesbackto3000BC(pg313).This
civilizationpredatestheRenaissanceofItalyorGreecebythousandsofyears.The
Harappanculturewasdominantthroughoutuntil1200BC(thisdateisdebated)andare
creditedwiththecreationoftheVedas.Around1200BCanomadicgroupofpeople
knownasAryansdescendedfromthenorthanddestroyedtheHarappanCulture(pg
314).AccordingtotheHindutradition,theVedasareasetofdivineSanskrittexts
creditedtoBrahma,whichaddressvariousaspectsoflife.Vedatranslatestothe
fountainheadofallknowledge(VedicMathematics,pg5.)SomearguethatVedic
mathematicsdonotoriginatefromthetrueVedas,thispointisarguedoneitherside.
Nonetheless,thetechniquesdescribedareuseful,andvastlydifferentthanthestandard
westernstyleofcomputation.

Indianmathematicsarebornfromaculturesetapartfromthewest.Sanskritisan
importantfactorinthisdifference.OverthespanofmanyyearsSanskritdeveloped
sufficientlytobecomeasuitablemediumforreligious,scientificandphilosophical
discourse(pg.314).AuthorJosephgoesontoexplainlinguisticfacilityoflanguage
cametobereflectedinthecharacterofancientIndianmathematicsbutitisabyproductof
thewellestablishedlinguistictraditionofrepresentingnumbersbywords...(pg.316)
whereasEuclidsGeometrygrewoutofphilosophyinancientGreece,Indias
developmentsarepartlyowedtolinguisticadvances(pg.317.)

BhratiKaTrthajiMahrajaisthemancreditedwithrediscoveringtheseVedic
techniques.Hewasbornin1884toarespectedfamilyofeducatorsandpublicservants,
eventuallygrowingtobecomeanexceptionallybrilliantstudentproficientinSanskrit(pg
iii)andawardedthetitleofSaraswatiin1899forallroundmasteryofbothreadingand
speakingSanskrit.TrthajiwentontobethefirstprincipaloftheNationalCollegeat
Rajmahendri(pgiii).Afewyearslaterhelefthispositionandwasinitiatedintothe
monasticHolyOrderoftheSamnyasaatBanaras.Trthajigaveuphisworldlyidentityand
devotedyearstostudyingtheVedantaphilosophies,teachingandmeditating.Duringthis
timehelecturedonthesixteensutrasofVedicmathematics.Hebelievedthatcomplex
problemsinvolvingalargenumberofmathematicaloperations,iftakeninVedicmethod
canreducecomputationtime(pgxvii).

VedicmathematicsarebasedonsixteensutrasfromtheArtharvaVeda,also
knownasthefourthVeda.Whilesomeclaimthatthesesutrasdonotexistwithinthe
Vedas,itishardtoknowastheVedasarecomprisedofmanydisparatetexts.Trthaji
claimedthattheoriginalSanskritmanuscriptscontainingthesixteensutrasweredestroyed
priortopublication(pg.x).Thismakesdeterminingtheoriginsofthesixteenmathematical
sutrasalittlemorecomplicated,yetnonethelessfascinating.

Thesixteensutrasandtheircompanionsubsutrasprovideasetofruleswhichcan
arguablybeappliedtoallmathematics.Thesixteenmainsutrasaretranslatedherefrom
VedicMathematicswrittenbyBhratiKaTrthajiMahrajahimself:
1.Byonemorethantheonebefore

2.Allfrom9,andthelastfrom10
3.Verticallyandcrosswise
4.Transposeandapply
5.Iftheassemblageisthesameitiszero
6.Ifoneisinratiotheotheriszero
7.Byadditionandbysubtraction
8.Bythecompletionornoncompletion
9.Differentialcalculus
10.Bythedeficiency
11.Specificandgeneral
12.Theremaindersbythelastdigit
13.Theultimateandtwicethepenultimate
14.Byonelessthantheonebefore
15.Productofthesum
16.Allthemultipliers

Todemonstratehowthisworksinabasicform,wewilluseformulanumbertwoAll
from9,andthelastfrom10todeterminetheansweroftheproblembelow.

1000357=?

Firstweminus3from9asthesutrastates,resultingin6.Wethensubtract5from9
givingus4.Thelastdigit7isminusedfrom10accordingtothesutra,givingus3.Our
resultis643whichisthecorrectanswer.

AsasecondexampleIwillshowhowthismethodmakesmultiplicationeasiertoo.
UsingthethirdsutraVerticallyandcrosswisetosolve:

88x98

Employingthethirdformula,firstwedeterminehowfarfrom100eachnumberis(88
is12numbersawayfrom100and98is2):


8812
x
982

Thenwesubtractnumbersthatarecrosswisefromeachother(882=86,or98
12=86,theansweristhesame)andmultiplyvertically(12x224)thetworesults86&24
combinetomake8624theanswertotheproblem.

Whileitmaytakesometimetomemorizethesenewprinciplestheyareundoubtedly
easierformetocomprehendthanpreviousapproachesIhavebeentaught.Idontknow
whybutIalwaysstruggledtoremembermostofmymultiplicationtables,thissystem
doesntrequireyoutoknowanytableshigherthan5.Additionally,thisprocesswaseasier
formetovisualizeinmyheadthanothermethods.

Besidesmyowndubiousapplicationofthesetechniques,Vedicmathematicsare
beingappliedinnewandexcitingways,despitenaysayers.DigitalSignalProcessingisan
areawhereVediccomputationtechniquesarecurrentlybeingapplied.TexasInstruments
explainsthatDSPsbringspeedandpowertodiverseapplications,includingautomotive,
voice,audio,consumer,biometrics,aerospace,defense,testandmeasurement,industrial
controlandmore(TexasInstruments).

InanarticleentitledTheImplementationofVedicAlgorithmsinDigitalSignal
ProcessingwrittenbyPurushottamD.ChidgupkarandMangeshT.Karaddemonstrates

thegrowingneedforfastercomputationtechniquesinthefieldofdigitalsignalprocessing
orDSP.

Digitalsignalprocessingscorecomputingprocessisalwaysa
multiplicationroutinetherefore,DSPengineersareconstantlylookingfornew
algorithmsandhardwaretoimplementthem...Theauthorshighlighttheuseof
multiplicationprocessbasedonVedicalgorithmsanditsimplementationson
microprocessors,resultinginappreciablesavingsinprocessingtime.The
explorationofVedicalgorithmsintheDSPdomainmayprovetobeextremely
advantageous(pg153).

InTimeAreaPowerEfficientMultiplierandSquareArchitectureBasedOn
AncientIndianVedicMathematicsauthorsHimanshuThapliyalandHamidR.Arabnia
confirmwhatourpreviousarticlementionedtheresultobtainedfromproposedVedic
multiplierisfasterthanarraymultiplierandBoothmultiplier...thetimingdelayisgreatly
reducedforVedicmultiplierascomparedtoothermultipliers(pg.3).Byincreasingthe
multiplicationspeedoftheDigitalSignalProcessoryoucanactuallyincreasetheoverall
speedofthecomputer.TheproposedmultiplierisbasedonanalgorithmUrdhva
Tiryakbhyam(VerticalandCrosswise)(pg.2)whichisthethirdsutraofVedic
mathematics.

Andwhatofthesenaysayers?DuringmyresearchIcameacrossanarticlewritten
byHartoshSinghBalforOpenmagazine,titledTheFraudofVedicMaths.Theauthor
arguesthatThe16sutrasexpoundedbyTirathjidonotappearinanyknowneditionofthe
AtharvaVedaandthencitesTirathjispoliticalaffiliationsthemanwasanearly
nationalist,andheworkedwithGKGokhalein1905whenthelatterwaspresidentofthe
IndianNationalCongress.ThroughoutthearticlethewriterattacksTirathjischaracter,not
necessarilythetechniqueshetaught.ItseemsclearthatHartoshSinghBalsangleis
personalasheclaimsthesutrasonlysymbolisethestrivingsofacolonisedmind
searchingforsomeselfrespect.Aprettyharshpersonalcritique,whenthearticlewas
intendedtoinvalidateVedicmaths.Itseemsliketherearepersonalpoliticsatplayhere
thatIamignorantof,butthesecommentshavenothingtodowiththeactualVedic
techniques.

OverthecourseofmyresearchIfoundaTEDTalkvideowitheducatorandfounder
oftheVedicMathsForuminIndia,GauravTekriwal.Thevideowasfascinatingtowatchas
Tekriwalquicklytaughtaroomfullofteenagerstosquarenumbersintheirheadwithouta
calculator.Youcouldhearthegaspsandeureka!momentshappeningalloverthe
auditorium.Withinminutesthismanhadgivenaroomfullofkidsnewfoundconfidencein
theircomputationalabilities.IthinkthisisavalidtestamenttothepoweroftheVedic
mathematicalsutras.

InsteadofdiscountingthetechniquesofTirathji,hisideasshouldbeexplored.

Whatstheharminverifyingtheseclaims?Whetherornotthesystemhecreatedwastruly
divineorperfect,itisclearthereareadvancestobemadeinitsapplication.Aswithany
theorythatchallengesmainstreamdogmas,therewillberesistance.Itmaybeanuphill
battle,butworthafightnonetheless.