Business Standard : Speed Maths 3rd May 2014.
Vedic mathematics brings quick solutions to tricky calculations. The authors do some number crunching.


You have five seconds to solve
996 x 997 without using a calculator. Let’s see if you can take up the
challenge. Well, it’s not difficult if you know your way around Vedic
mathematics. The base of both numbers — 996 and 997 — is thousand. Subtract
each number by 1000 and you get -004 and -003. Now multiply the subtracted
numbers and you get 012. After this, cross subtract either of the number — 996
minus 003 or 997 minus 004 — and you get the same number (993). There, you have
your answer: 993012.
Vedic maths is the world’s
easiest way to solve math problems — and a great way of getting over the maths
phobia that several children, and even adults, suffer from.


Some argue that the term ‘Vedic’
might be misleading given that Vedic Mathematics, the first book on the
subject, was first published only in 1965. It was authored by Bharati Krishna
Tirthaji, the Shankaracharya of Puri’s Govardhana matha and the founder of
Vedic maths. The book contains 16 sutras or mental calculation techniques which
are said to cover practically every branch of mathematics — arithmetic,
algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, applied mathematics, dynamics,
hydrostatics and others.
In a world where calculators and
computers have taken over the task of exercising our mathematical mind — one of
the reasons for the rise in Alzheimer’s disease across the globe — Vedic maths
can prove helpful.
Gaurav Tekriwal, a noted TEDx
speaker who has been propagating high-speed Vedic maths for years, recalls an
incident where he once asked a South African girl to multiply eight by seven.
“She drew eight circles seven times and still got the answer wrong as 52.”
Indians fare no better. In the Programme for International Student Assessment,
conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Secretariat annually to evaluate education systems worldwide, India ranked
second last among the 73 countries that participated, outscoring only
The serious decline in numeracy
levels has caused concern among parents, teachers, students and educationists
and created the need for remedial or alternative methods for students. This is
where Vedic maths and other methods like Abacus come in. Vedic maths does not
seek to replace the school curriculum or conventional maths, but to simplify it
and make it fun.
Vedic maths is the genie that
introduces you to a simplified, unified and superfast method to solve your
maths problems,” says Tekriwal who was preparing for the Combined Admission
Test (CAT) when he read Vedic Mathematics. He was awestruck by the simplicity
of the solutions. Soon he started teaching it to his friends and in time
founded the Vedic Maths India Forum.
Today there are several courses
being offered in India and across the world. “In India, there are 10-30 focused
Vedic maths institutes having 150-300 centres. And there are over 1,000 Vedic
math trainers,” says Tekriwal. Kolkata Vedic Math Forum, for example, offers a
40-hour online course for teachers. This includes 40 live ‘one-on-one’ one-hour
lessons online as well as basic and advanced concepts and proofs of Vedic
mathematics. This course costs up to $297. There is also a 30-hour online
course for students, designed for those preparing for competitive exams (GMAT,
SAT and CAT) and also for those at primary levels. The fee for this course is
$147. Then there are books costing Rs 125-325 and DVDs for Rs 4,500.
As Vedic maths becomes an
industry, classes have mushroomed in several bylanes. But not every teacher or
trainer truly understands the concepts of Vedic maths, which makes it important
to run a background check before zeroing in on a teacher.
With time and research, Vedic
maths is evolving. New applications of the sutras have been discovered and the
concept is also being applied in information technology. Vedic algorithms have
been found to be useful and research papers have been written on them,
especially in the field of engineering. For example, Himanshu Thapliyal, a
bachelor of technology in computer engineering from GB Pant University of
Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, has been researching the applications of
Vedic maths in information technology and has been awarded a patent in United
States for his research on reversible computing at the University of South
Florida. Shripad Kulkarni, an engineer in process instrumentation, has also
applied Vedic maths in his research.
Many, however, argue that in the
time of computers and calculators, Vedic maths is not needed. But then
technology cannot be compared with the human brain and has its adverse effects.
“The current education system is complex and structured. It involves modern
computational systems like calculator and mobile devices which also keep the
mind passive,” says Malini Shah, psychologist and co-founder of Aastha
Chrysalis Center. “Vedic maths is an unusual way of problem solving. It
stimulates interest in learning, gets children involved and keeps their mind