# Vedic mathematics

By Murray Bourne, 19 May 2007

Vedic Mathematics is interesting. According to Vedicmath.org:

... All mathematics is based on sixteen Sutras, or word-formulae. For example, ’Vertically and Crosswise' is one of these Sutras. These formulae describe the way the mind naturally works and are therefore a great help in directing the student to the appropriate method of solution.

Wikipedia (article no longer available) adds:

Labelling the mathematics he presented as ‘Vedic’ has provoked great controversy amongst Indian mathematicians who question both the Vedic origin of the mathematics, and whether the sutras can fulfill the claim of encompassing all mathematics.

Essentially, Vedic Mathematics is a system of mental arithmetic. It is similar in nature to the Trachtenberg System.

What I found interesting was the method of finding recurring decimals, where we learn how to express:

1/19 = 0.052631578947368421052631578947368...

Another site offers to teach you how to divide 89786756543423980876 by 132346765434356574635 in less than 30 seconds. But do I want to be able to do that? Is it worth the mental effort to memorise the techniques?

Do these techniques have a place in our calculator- and computer-based mathematics classes? Actually, while I am enthusiastic about reducing the mental clutter of numeric and algebraic techniques via the use of technology, I do think it is worth pursuing mental arithmetic. Algebra is much easier if you know the number laws behind it.

Besides, Vedic maths provides you with some great party tricks...

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