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By Sriranjan Chaudhari
The Times of India
Thursday, April 15, 1999

BANGALORE: It is being taught in some of the most prestigious institutions in England and Australia. NASA scientists applied its principles in the area of artificial intelligence. And yet, in the country of its birth it languishes as a forgotten science.

 Vedic mathematics, which simplifies arithmetic and algebraic operations, has increasingly found acceptance the world over. Experts suggest that it could be a handy tool for those who need to solve mathematical problems faster by the day, especially in a system where the emphasis is on examinations.

The subject was revived lar gely due to the efforts of Jagadguru Swami Bharathikrishna Tirthaji of Puri Jaganath. Having researched the subj ect for years, even his efforts would have gone in vain but for the enterprise of some disciples who took down notes during his last days. That resulted in the book, Vedic Mathematics, in the 1960s.

Says P.R. Srinivas, who has  taught the subject in some of the city's colleges: ``It is an ancient technique which simplifies multiplication, divisibility, complex numbers, squaring, cubing, square and cube roots. Even recurring decimals and auxiliary fractions can be handled by Vedic mathematics.''
Vedic scholars did not use figures for big numbers in their numerical notation. Instead, they preferred to use the Sanskrit alphabets, with each alphabet constituting a number. Several mantras, in fact, denote numbers; that includes the famed Gayatri mantra which adds to 108 when decoded.

The bases of Vedic mathematics are the 16 sutras which attribute a set of qualities to a number or a group of numbers. Mr Srinivas feels that given the initial training in modern maths in today's schools, students will be able to comprehend the logic of Vedic mathematics only after they have reached the 8th standard. Among his students are Armymen and doctors in their 50s and younger students keen to make their mark in competitive entrance exams.

India's past could well help them make it in today's world.



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