An interesting articles that captures some of the nuggets of Vedic philosophy and knowledge from India. In response to an earlier article criticising the concept of Vedic Mathematics, researcher James Glover points out that people are missing the point…
Everything Vedic in ‘Vedic Maths’ – The Hindu.
The concept being presented is about a holistic approach to mathematics in everyday life with some beautiful examples. Most importantly about demystifying numbers and rational thinking.
…it expresses underlying laws and mental patterns of all methods. It provides us with an entirely new orientation — one that humanises mathematics, thereby reducing fear of numbers and mathematical concepts. James Glover, London
Vedic Mathematics uses sutras to introduce mathematical concepts, integrating into the rational the very mental experience (awareness) by which one comes to the answer, for example
if you want to add 324 and 199, an easy approach is to add 200 instead of 199 to 324 and take off one, resulting in 523. This is a naturally occurring mental method and uses the fact that 199 is deficient from 200 by one. Such special cases are not normally taught but most people will naturally adopt them by understanding numbers. This comes under the pithy sutra, deficiency. This example shows that there are often simple methods which follow the path of least action and reflects Sir Isaac Newton’s observation, “Nature abhors the pomp of superfluous causes.” James Glover, London
or, another sutra, which highlights the important concept that the whole is reflected in the individual and yet
It describes the principle in which something of the whole is reflected in the part or individual — a wide-ranging law or principle permeating throughout nature. For example, oak trees have characteristics common to all trees of that genre and yet each oak tree is different from every other. The commonality is reflected in each individual. James Glover, London
As for the critics of this interpretation of Vedic knowledge, James Glover makes an interesting quote from renown Vedic teacher,
The Veda should not be taken in a very restricted sense. The Veda means knowledge and it is not entirely Indian. It manifests in many ways in different lands. Any nation or race or group of people who have learned to live a civilised life; who have evolved or appreciated ethics or morals, govern themselves according to laws, they too have seen the Vedas. It may be different, but nevertheless it is the Veda. The West is neither entirely destitute of Vedas…They, and many others too, have some part of the universal knowledge.Shankaracharya Shantananda Saraswati
A most profound statement, for the Vedas is knowledge that was acquired from spiritual practice and, invariably, that source is Universal and not confounded in time or space.
James Glover is Mathetics teacher in London, you can follow him on LinkedIn, Google+ or read his blog for more information.