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June 06, 2019 Thursday 01:57:42 PM IST

Vedic Mathematics: Sutras To Cure Maths Phobia and Make Learning Interesting

Guest Column

By Subha Rakesh
When I ask students about their interest in Mathematics, the usual response has always intrigued me. Most students view Mathematics as something that is the most difficult subject to learn and practice. Yet, a solid base in arithmetic can help in generating more interest. And here comes the role and significance of Vedic Maths. Working with numbers can be made more fun-filled with techniques in Vedic Maths. It is very easy to understand and practice. This helps students to be confident about numbers and theorems.
Some of you must have heard about Vedic Maths, but might have wondered what it is all about. I first came to know about this unique and interesting stream of Maths, when I was preparing for my Bank Exams some 20 years back. 
Veda means knowledge or wisdom. We associate Vedas with spiritual knowledge. But not many know it has a strong scientific and  mathematical base too.
A Deeper  Look into Vedic Maths

Vedic Mathematics is the collective name given to a set of sixteen mathematical formulae or sutras and their corollaries or subsutras derived from Vedic system. It is the name given to the ancient system of Mathematics  which supposedly is apart of Sthaptya Veda,an Upaveda of Atharvaveda. It was rediscovered from Vedas by Jagadguru Swami Sri Bharati Kisna Tirthaji Maharaj between 1911 and 1918. 
Each formula deals with a different branch of Mathematics. The most striking feature of Tirtaji’s work is its coherence. The whole system is inter-related and unified. The methods are simple and help students to get solutions to various arithmetical problems mentally. Complex mathematical questions which otherwise may take numerous steps to solve can be done in a very few steps. And these systems are so simple that even people with an average knowledge of mathematics can easily understand them. The simplicity of the techniques, encourages flexibility and help students to find their own method. That is the beauty of Vedic maths. It encourages pupils to be creative and does not remain limited to the same rigid approach. 
Benefits of Learning Vedic Maths
First, it plays with numbers and thereby removes the phobia of Mathematics. It triggers interest and boosts confidence in dealing with numbers. Moreover, it helps in solving problems 10  to 15 times faster. Vedic Maths helps in intelligent guessing, increased concentration and removes burden of learning multiplication tables of 2 digit numbers. 
Its techniques simplify multiplication, division, squaring, cubing  etc. It even simplifies recurring decimals and auxiliary fractions. It helps in preparations for competitive exams, various entrance exams, PSC, Bank exams etc. By applying Sutras, we can save a lot of time and effort in solving the problems, compared to the formal methods presently used. Though the solutions appear like a magic, the application of Sutras is perfectly logical and rational. 

I will give a simple example:
All of us know how to square numbers. 
Now let us see squares of numbers ending with 5.
a)25 X 25
We can do in the traditional way writing one below other as follows:
   25 x
Now we can see how we do the same in Vedic Maths, in a single step:
25  x 25 = (2+1) x 2/25=625.
1.Mulitply 5 with 5 to get 25.
2. Multiply 2 with successor of 2 ,i.e 3,so 2x 3 gives 6
So 25 x 25 =   625
     35 x 35  =1225( 3 x4 =12/25)
     85 x 85 =7225(8 x 9 = 72/25) 

Sutra applied is Ekadhikena Purvena, meaning By one more than the one before.
Another simple multiplication is multiplication by 11. Subsutra applied is  Anurupyena, meaning Proportionately.
Application of this Sutra is very easy, we just have to add digits in pairs. Only addition is needed and no need to learn the table of 11.
431 X 11=  0 431 0  X 11 = 0+4/4 + 3/3+1/ 1+0 =4741
First put 0 s before 4 and after 1(sandwich multiplicand  between single zero). Then add digits in pairs from right to left.
54 x 11 = 0+5/5+4/4+0 = 594
81 x 11 = 891 
From the above, we can see how fast we can do calculations in a single step using Sutras.

What is the ideal age to start learning Vedic Maths?
There are always some queries regarding the ideal age for learning Vedic Maths. The techniques of Vedic Maths are not accepted by our normal school systems. Students are given marks for intermediate steps and the detailed calculation procedures. Vedic Maths gives solutions in a single step without intermediate steps. Hence my personal view is, any particular Vedic technique should be taught to a student after he or she has mastered the traditional way, taught in schools. In smaller grades, all steps are needed in a multiplication problem. But in higher grades only solution of the multiplication is expected. So there is no ideal age for learning Vedic Maths. However, most concepts will be understood better by higher grade students.

What is the difference between Abacus and Vedic Maths? 
Another query normally raised is about difference between Abacus and Vedic Maths. Abacus is a Chinese system and Vedic Maths is an Indian system. Secondly, Abacus system deals with arithmetic only and hence it is taught to students of age group 5 to 13 years. It also helps in increasing concentration and focusing and helps in speed calculations. Vedic Maths not only covers arithmetic, but also algebra, geometry, calculus and other advanced branches of mathematics. Hence it is suitable for students of any age. 

The real beauty and effectiveness of Vedic Mathematics cannot be fully appreciated without actually practicing the system. Nowadays, Vedic Maths is  being taught informally in many institutions. In years to come, let us hope that this ocean of knowledge will be introduced in schools as a part of curriculum, which in turn will help in removing the phobia of Maths, sharpen the skills and give a strong arithmetic base to the students from a young age.

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Subha Rakesh

Subha Rakesh, a FIDE Arbiter in Chess and Online Tutor in Mathematics, was a topper in MSc Mathematics at Govt Victoria College, Palakkad. Her other academic achievements include JAIIB from Indian Institute of Banking and Finance, Diploma in Business Management from ICFAI. She is a Certified Vedic Maths Professional from Indian Institute of Vedic Maths and Abacus (IIVA). She has obtained FIDE Arbiter Title from World Chess Federation (FIDE) and the first woman to get the title in Ernakulam District and second in Kerala State. She has been recently elected as the President of Ernakulam Chess Association.She previously worked as Assistant Manager in State Bank of India.

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