Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha Rediscovered Vedic Mathematics

Vedic Maths is was re-discovered and popularized by his Holiness Shri Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha(March 1884 to February 1960). Swamiji called it mental math and it was an intuitive method and new technique different from orthodox methods of mathematical computations. An arithmetic calculation that took dozens of steps was completed simply, many times mentally.

The 4 Vedas are considered the most divine knowledge. Swamiji was a very staunch believer that the Vedas represent a vast and limitless treasure trove of profound wisdom on atmik(spiritual) field as well as practical and worldly subjects. Each of the 4 vedas have upavedas. Atharva Veda has an Upaveda called Stapathya or engineering – this Vedic education subject includes all kinds of architectural, structural human endeavors, and all visual arts. Swamiji considered mathematics or the science of calculations and computations to be part of the Stapathya Upaveda.

The much-respected Swamiji used to say the 16 mathematical formulae were reconstructed from the Atharvaveda after extensive research and Tapasya for about 8 years in the forests around Sringeri. These formulas are not found in the Atharvaveda recensions available today. The Vedas are intuitive revelations by ascetic saints or rishis after years of tapas or austerities with a daily regimen of self-control and restrain. Swamiji said these 16 sutras were intuitively revealed to him from materials scattered in various parts of the Atharvaveda.

Swamiji’s Early Life And Non-Sanyasa Academic Achievements
Before joining the order of Sanyasas (Saints), Swamiji’s birth name was Venkatraman Shastri. He was not a traditional person taught in the ancient Indian Gurukuls. He had a brilliant academic career in the British English medium schools and colleges. At the same time, he was good with Sanskrit.

Swamiji was born Venkatraman Shastri, in March 1884 at Tennivelly, Tamil Nadu, India to highly pious and learned parents. Swamiji was born in a reputed family with his father, Sri P Narasimha Shastri being a high-ranking British Government Officer.  His father Sri P Narasimha Shastri was in service as Tahsildar in Madras Presidency and later retired as Deputy Collector in British India. Swamiji’s great grandfather was Justice C Ranganath Shastri of the Madras High Court in British India. His family was in British elite circles with many privileges in the British Indian government.

Swamiji had completed his schooling in Tamil Nadu and passed his matriculation examination from the Madras University in 1899 securing the first position. His extraordinary proficiency in Sanskrit awarded him the honor “Saraswati” from the Madras Sanskrit Association in July 1899.

Swamiji first got a B.A degree. Thereafter in 1904 he appeared for the M.A examination of the American College of Sciences, Rochester, NY, USA, and cleared the exams in 6 subjects (Mathematics, Science, English, Philosophy, History, and Sanskrit) with the exam center at Bombay.

Venkatraman Shastri Takes Up Sanyasa Becomes Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha
Later on, in 1911 Swamiji could not anymore resist his burning desire for spiritual knowledge practice and attainment. Therefore, he resigned from the work of teaching and went to Sri Satchidananda Sivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati Swami at Sringeri. He spent the next eight years in the study of Vedanta Philosophy and practiced Brahma Sadhana. 

Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha Re-discovers Vedic Maths
Credit for rediscovering Vedic Maths (between 1911 and 1918) from the Vedas or ancient Indian scriptures goes to Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji (1884-1960). He studied the ancient texts for years and was able to construct a series of sixteen mathematical formulae as Sutras. A sutra means a profound statement summarizing the essence of a complex concept in a single phrase or sentence.

Vedic Mathematics consists of sixteen Sutras that discuss strategies for mental calculation useful in all basic branches of Mathematics. He discovered these techniques of mathematical calculations by getting the key to Ganita Sutra (easy mathematical formulas) coded in Atharva Veda. Vedic Mathematics consists of sixteen Sutras (word formulas) which discuss strategies for mental calculation useful in all basic branches of Mathematics.

Swamiji Becomes Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Govardhana Matha, Puri
Swamiji’s command over dharma sastras, his intelligence, sadhana and his sistachar impressed the senior Sankaracharyas who put burden of responsibilities on his capable shoulders. In 1921 Swamiji was appointed as the Sharada Peetha Sankaracharya.  Then in 1925, Swamiji was made the head of Govardhana Matha in Puri. Swamiji was now called Jagadguru Sankaracharya Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji Maharaja of Govardhana Matha, Puri. 

Swamiji  Travelled To USA & UK To Promote Vedic Maths & Sanathana Dharma
Swamiji delivered regular lectures on Vedic Maths and Sanathana dharma at Banaras, Calcutta and other Indian cities. During one such session in Calcutta he was invited for lectures on Vedic maths in the USA. The Self Realization Fellowship of Los Angeles, the Vedantic Society founded by Paramhansa Yoganandaji sponsored his trip.  In February 1958, Swamiji went on the first tour outside India by a Sankaracharya.  Swamiji toured the USA and also the UK on this return journey when he was 76 years old. In these foreign trips, Swamiji addressed audiences in Universities and public institutions. Swamiji also gave talks and demonstrations on TV. Swamiji returned to India in May 1958.

Publishing Of First Vedic Maths Book And Its Popularity
Swamiji had earlier written 16 volumes of work expounding the Vedic Math system and handed over to his disciple for safe custody. These volumes were lost despite much efforts to find them and in 1956 the volumes were  concluded to be untraceable. The volume of Vedic Mathematics which is available presently is rewritten by Swamiji in this tour. In his final years of his life, Swamiji wrote this single volume, which was published five years after his death.

Swamiji had much grasp of the ancient Vedic texts with a sharp and scientific bent of mind. Swamiji established the mathematical techniques in his pioneering work – Vedic Mathematics published in 1965 by the Banaras Hindu University after the demise of Swamiji in 1960.  This book has since been reprinted 19 times.

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