Veda is divided into four major parts viz, Samhitas (prayers), Brahmanas (rituals), Aranyakas ( meditations) and Upanishads (The knowledge of self). The first three (Samhita, Brahmana & Aranyaka) are collectively called as Veda Purva (Starting) and the last one Upanishad is called as Veda Anta (ending) or Vedanta. The Veda Purva is also referred as Karma Kanda (Portion dealing with Rituals & Activities) and Vedanta as Jnana Kanda (Portion dealing with The Knowledge of Supreme Self).
Vedic Mathematics is the name given to the ancient system of Indian Mathematics which was rediscovered from the Vedas between 1911 and 1918 by Sri Bharati Krsna Tirthaji (1884-1960). According to his research all of 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.
Bharati Krishna Tirthaji, who was also the former Shankaracharya (major religious leader) of Puri, India, delved into the ancient Vedic texts and established the techniques of this system in his pioneering work - Vedic Mathematics (1965), which is considered the starting point for all work on Vedic math. It is said that after Bharati Krishna's original 16 volumes of work expounding the Vedic system were lost, in his final years he wrote this single volume, which was published five years after his death.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Vedic system is its coherence. Instead of a hotch-potch of unrelated techniques the whole system is beautifully interrelated and unified: the general multiplication method, for example, is easily reversed to allow one-line divisions and the simple squaring method can be reversed to give one-line square roots. And these are all easily understood. This unifying quality is very satisfying, it makes mathematics easy and enjoyable and encourages innovation.
In the Vedic system 'difficult' problems or huge sums can often be solved immediately by the Vedic method. These striking and beautiful methods are just a part of a complete system of mathematics which is far more systematic than the modern 'system'. Vedic Mathematics manifests the coherent and unified structure of mathematics and the methods are complementary, direct and easy.
The simplicity of Vedic Mathematics means that calculations can be carried out mentally (though the methods can also be written down). There are many advantages in using a flexible, mental system. Pupils can invent their own methods, they are not limited to the one 'correct' method. This leads to more creative, interested and intelligent pupils.
Interest in the Vedic system is growing in education where mathematics teachers are looking for something better and finding the Vedic system is the answer. Research is being carried out in many areas including the effects of learning Vedic Maths on children; developing new, powerful but easy applications of the Vedic Sutras in geometry, calculus, computing etc.
But the real beauty and effectiveness of Vedic Mathematics cannot be fully appreciated without actually practising the system. One can then see that it is perhaps the most refined and efficient mathematical system possible.
Vedic math was immediately hailed as a new alternative system of mathematics, when a copy of the book reached London in the late 1960s. Some British mathematicians, including Kenneth Williams, Andrew Nicholas and Jeremy Pickles took interest in this new system. They extended the introductory material of Bharati Krishna's book, and delivered lectures on it in London. In 1981, this was collated into a book entitled Introductory Lectures on Vedic Mathematics. A few successive trips to India by Andrew Nicholas between 1981 and 1987, renewed the interest on Vedic math, and scholars and teachers in India started taking it seriously.
Interest in Vedic maths is growing in the field of education where maths teachers are looking for a new and better approach to the subject. Even students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) are said to be using this ancient technique for quick calculations. No wonder, a recent Convocation speech addressed to the students of IIT, Delhi, by Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Indian Minister for Science & Technology, stressed the significance of Vedic maths, while pointing out the important contributions of ancient Indian mathematicians, such as Aryabhatta, who laid the foundations of algebra, Baudhayan, the great geometer, and Medhatithi and Madhyatithi, the saint duo, who formulated the basic framework for numerals.