“People hate maths for one big reason—lack of proper communication. If Maths is appropriately communicated and the concepts taught with passion, there would be no phobia of it, and Maths would be fun and interesting!” – Said Gaurav Tekriwal,President of Vedic Maths Forum India
Business Upside [BU]: Basically, What is Vedic Math?
Gaurav Tekriwal [GT]: India has a rich, diverse and intellectual past.
India is applauded and known worldwide thanks to its contributions, advancements, and achievements in many fields since time immemorial. It is one of the greatest ancient civilizations, and because of its glory and heritage, it is respected worldwide.
India gave solutions to the world’s problems. Through its ingenious solutions, it helped the world advance and progress, especially in the fields of science and mathematics.
‘Zero’ is one of the greatest contributions from the times of Aryabhatta in the 5th century. India also invented the decimal number system, which is used today, among other mathematical concepts. India had a series of astronomers and mathematicians like Bhaskaracharya, Brahmagupta, Madhava, etc., who worked relentlessly and made path-breaking achievements possible.
In this context, a spiritual guru Tirthaji, a mathematician, wrote a book in the early 20th Century in India. As the legend goes, he went into solitude in the forests of South India between 1911 and 1918, meditated and researched for nearly a decade, and rediscovered the ancient ingenious ways to speed up mathematical calculations – mentally.
He wrote a book giving all the rules and the mental calculation system published posthumously in 1965 called Vedic Mathematics. Vedic Mathematics can also be said to be the world’s simplest and also fastest way to do Mathematical calculations.
[BU]: What Encouraged you to Start Imparting High-Speed Vedic Mental Mathematics to Students Worldwide?
[GT]: Well, I first came across ‘Vedic Mathematics’ – the book over 20-22 years ago when I was in college and was preparing for a competitive examination called CAT. My mother got me the book and said that this could be helpful for you to crack the exam. When I went through the book, I found it was a treasure trove of new methods and ways to calculate. For example, it taught me ways to do fundamental problems like 98 x 97 in less than five seconds. I was very moved by not only the speed but the simplicity of it. When I checked with my friends, no one had heard about the book or seen the methods.
This shocked me that when Maths can be so easy and simple, why go the traditional way? Why go through all the drudgery and the rote when Maths can be taught in such a fun way. Maths can be fun too!
A lot of students go through anxiety, depression, and mental health trauma in school because of this subject. Why can’t we change all that?
Let me tell you something happening worldwide. I present some surprising data.
- 2% of all children in Grade 5 in India can’t do Division (3 digits by 1-digit problems) – Source: ASER 2012 by Pratham.
- 7% of all children in Grade 3 in India can’t subtract (two digit problems with borrowing) – Source: ASER 2012 by Pratham.
- Almost half of British Adults have the math skills of an 11-year-old or worse. That’s 17 million adults in the UK alone. Source: The Telegraph, UK
- 3% is the Maths pass rate in South Africa’s National Senior certificate examinations. Maths is a National disaster in the country.
Such is the havoc that maths has created across countries. Our children can’t do the math.
It is where Vedic Maths fits in with its sheer simplicity and comfort. It helps make a career possible in fields of Management, Engineering, Banking, Finance, or Law by helping crack their respective examinations.
So, I thought for a second that these simple techniques from India could help children the world over. After a while of teaching kids, I grew more passionate about the subject and made teaching Vedic Mathematics my purpose and mission in life.
[BU]: What is the Difference between the System of Vedic Maths and Traditional maths?
[GT]: Vedic Maths is very holistic and coherent. Just like in life, a problem can be solved in many ways, so it is with Vedic Maths. But in traditional maths, problems should be solved in one way only. Why is that?
Vedic Maths gives you special methods applicable to specific numbers and general methods for solving the problem. It gives you a choice, and you can be creative about choosing your methods for solving the problem.
Vedic Maths is very visual. And you can see the patterns in numbers as well.
Vedic Maths is a Mental System of Arithmetic. With it, you also solve the problem left to right rather than right to left, which works more naturally than your brain. If you can read left to right – why can’t you do maths the same way?
The real beauty of understanding the difference between traditional Maths and Vedic Maths is going through the techniques. I will give you a link to a talk I gave in New York on Vedic Maths, where you will be able to see and judge the difference yourself.
[BU]: Why Should People, Especially the youth, Learn Vedic Maths?
[GT]: Vedic Maths is a life skill, and it’s important for everyone.
The Maths Sutras of Vedic Maths open up a world of possibilities for everyone. Problems that once seemed difficult and daunting seem like child’s play now. They seem magical and unbelievable initially, but all have logic and principle behind them.
I’ve had a fascinating journey in the field of Vedic Mathematics over the last 20-22 years. This journey has not only introduced me to some very interesting people but also made me travel across the length and breadth of the world – across seven seas.
And wherever I went, right from meeting kids in the slums in Dharavi in Mumbai or into the grand casinos of Cape Town in South Africa or the Wall Street in New York, I saw one thread binding them all – Vedic Mathematics.
To a kid in Dharavi, Mumbai, Vedic Maths is like a survival skill because the child is expected to earn a livelihood at a very early age. The Casino Dealers have to be quick with calculations for obvious reasons, and the stock market people need it for split-second decisions.
Even with all the technology, your numeracy skills set you apart from the crowd. Can you imagine a country progressing without Maths? What kind of engineers or scientists would a country produce if they don’t know basic elementary Math?
People hate maths for one big reason—lack of proper communication. If Maths is appropriately communicated and the concepts taught with passion, there would be no phobia of it, and Maths would be fun and interesting!
[BU]: Why do you Think the Knowledge of Vedic Maths Helps Boost Self-confidence?
[GT]: Well, I was interacting and discussing Vedic Maths with a clinical psychologist from Harvard. She says the number one difficult subject children find hard to deal with is Mathematics, and there is a phobia. Many students struggle so badly that they drop out. Have you ever thought about the kind of confidence they would have dealing with numbers ever again in their life?
Vedic Maths gives a student good and sound mental health, and it boosts your self-confidence to a high degree through which you can crack exams and feel good about your studies, among other things. At least you don’t feel like a dropout, quitter, or depressed, among other things.
Students deal with a lot of pressure, and Vedic Maths makes things better for them.
[BU]: Please Share Your Conversation Experience with Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Mann Ki Baat.
[GT]: Well, I am thankful and grateful to our Honourable Prime Minister, Sir Shri Narendra Modi Ji, for a conversation on Mann Ki Baat on Vedic Mathematics. It was the first time Vedic Maths was featured in front of the whole nation in such a grand way. Many people came to know about the same globally, and for the first time, I realized the show’s magnitude and reach and the impact of our Honourable Prime Minister Sir’s words.
I had goosebumps while speaking to him, and we had a very friendly conversation. I spoke from my heart about the topic, and he asked me some really amazing questions regarding Vedic Mathematics.
My phone did not stop ringing for two whole days. Our website crashed because of the number of people visiting it, and my social media handle was filled with wishes from all over. We received a lot of media attention and interviews on All India Radio.
Finally, the Vedic Maths community in India received the glory it truly deserved. That day in April 2022 will always be a red letter day in my life, and somewhere I know that Aryabhatta and Tirthaji, the founder of Vedic Maths, would smile!
[BU]: What advice would you give competitive exam aspirants in our nation?
[GT]: Believe in yourself and learn Vedic Mathematics.
[BU]: What challenges did you encounter at the beginning of your journey, and how did you overcome them?
[GT]: There were a lot of challenges in the beginning. The world in 2000 was very different from what it is now, and the internet was hardly a decade old, and brick and mortar was the way to go.
The number one challenge was a lack of awareness about Vedic Mathematics. No one had even heard about the subject. I approached schools and colleges, and there was no response initially. So, I started teaching my friends from the MBA center the techniques. Soon the word spread in my city Kolkata, and I started getting calls from parents willing to let me teach their kids – Vedic Mathematics.
Vedic Maths was a serious career choice made by me. When my parents and friends learned about that – I was ghosted big time and had a major home scene. At that point in time, funding became an issue because I was dependent on my parents and had no income stream. These were the days before the start-up culture started in India, and I had no idea where funding would come from or how this would grow. Six years later, in 2006, I invested in a domain and started a Vedic Maths blog which became the second Vedic Maths website in the world and the first in India.
The website solved the fundamental challenges of lack of awareness and funding. I started getting invites for workshops from reputed engineering colleges and schools, which started me off and helped me in my journey of Vedic Maths entrepreneurship.
[BU]: What phase of your journey has been the most fulfilling so far?
[GT]: The last five years, of course.
The last five years gave me a clear understanding of my purpose and mission in life. I now have a robust team of teachers, developers, and designers who help me achieve my purpose in life. We now teach Vedic Maths round the clock, 24/7. It has been the most fulfilling period of my life. When I think I have to take care of the Vedic Maths family, it makes me feel more responsible.
I can now join the dots when I look back and realize that everything which happened, happened for a reason.