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Vedic Mathematics Multiplication

Info: 5464 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 6th Dec 2019

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Vedic Mathematics has been the rage in American schools. The clear difference between Asian Indians and average American students approach to solving math problems had been evident for many years, finally prompting concerted research efforts into the subject. Many students have conventionally found the processes of algebraic manipulation, especially factorisation, difficult to learn. Research studies have investigated the value of introducing students to a Vedic method of multiplication of numbers that is very visual in its application. The question was whether applying the method to quadratic expressions would improve student understanding, not only of the processes but also the concepts of expansion and factorisation. It was established that there was some evidence that this was the case, and that some students also preferred to use the new method.


Is Vedic mathematics a kind of magic? American students certainly thought so, in seeing the clear edge it gave to their Asian counterparts in public and private schools. Vedic schools and even tuition centers are advertised on the Web. Clearly it has taken the world by storm, and for valid reasons. The results are evident in math scores for every test administered.

Vedic mathematics is based on some ancient, but superb logic. And the truth is that it works. Small wonder that it hails from India, purported to be the land that gave us the Zero or cipher. This one digit is the basis for counting or carrying over beyond nine- and is in fact the basis of our whole number system. It is the Arabs and the Indians that we should be indebted to for this favour to the West.

The other thing about Vedic mathematics is that it also allows one to counter check whether his or her answer is correct. Thus one is doubly assured of the results. Sometimes this can be done by the Indian student in a shorter time span than it can using the traditional counting and formulas we have developed through Western and European mathematicians. That makes it seem all the more marvellous.

If that doesn’t sound magical enough, its interesting to note that the word ‘Vedic’ means coming from ‘Vedas’ a Sanskrit word meaning ‘divinely revealed.’ The Hindus believe that these basic truths were revealed to holy men directly once they had achieved a certain position on the path to spirituality. Also certain incantations such as ‘Om’ are said to have been revealed by the Heavens themselves.

According to popular beliefs, Vedic Mathematics is the ancient system of Mathematics which was rediscovered from the Vedas between 1911 and 1918 by Sri Bharati Krsna Tirthaji (1884-1960). According to him, all Mathematics is based on sixteen Sutras or word-formulas. Based on Vedic logic, these formulas solve the problem in the way the mind naturally works and are therefore a great help to the student of logic.

Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Vedic system is its coherence. The whole system is beautifully consistent 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. Added to that, these are all simply understood. This unifying quality is very satisfying, as it makes learning mathematics easy and enjoyable.

The Vedic system also provides for the solution of ‘difficult’ problems in parts; they can then be combined to solve the whole problem by the Vedic method. These magical yet logical methods are but a part of the whole system of Vedic mathematics which is far more systematic than the modern Western system. In fact it is safe to say that Vedic Mathematics manifests the coherent and unified structure of mathematics and the methods are complementary, straight and easy.

The ease 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 ‘accurate’ method. This leads to more creative, fascinated and intelligent pupils.

Interest in the Vedic system is increasing in education where mathematics teachers are looking for something better. Finding the Vedic system is the answer. Research is being carried out in many areas as well as 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 success of Vedic Mathematics cannot be fully appreciated without actually practising the system. One can then see that it is perhaps the most sophisticated and efficient mathematical system possible.

Now having known that even the 16 sutras are the Jagadguru Sankaracharya’s invention we mention the name of the sutras and the sub sutras or corollaries in this paper.

The First Sutra: Ekādhikena Pūrvena

The relevant Sutra reads Ekādhikena PÅ«rvena which rendered into English simply says “By one more than the previous one”.

Its application and “modus operandi” are as follows.

(1) The last digit of the denominator in this case being 1 and the previous one being 1 “one more than the previous one” evidently means 2. Further the proposition ‘by’ (in the sutra) indicates that the arithmetical operation prescribed is either multiplication or division. Let us first deal with the case of a fraction say 1/19. 1/19 where denominator ends in 9. By the Vedic one – line mental method.

A. First method

B. Second Method

This is the whole working. And the modus operandi is explained below.

Modus operandi chart is as follows:

(i) We put down 1 as the right-hand most digit 1

(ii) We multiply that last digit 1 by 2 and put the 2 down as the immediately preceding digit.

(iii) We multiply that 2 by 2 and put 4 down as the next previous digit.

(iv) We multiply that 4 by 2 and put it down thus 8 4 2 1

(v) We multiply that 8 by 2 and get 16 as the product. But this has two digits. We therefore put the product. But this has two digits we therefore put the 6 down immediately to the left of the 8 and keep the 1 on hand to be carried over to the left at the next step (as we always do in all multiplication e.g. of 69 × 2 = 138 and so on).

(vi) We now multiply 6 by 2 get 12 as product, add thereto the 1 (kept to be carried over from the right at the last step), get 13 as the consolidated product, put the 3 down and keep the 1 on hand for carrying over to the left at the next step.

(vii) We then multiply 3 by 2 add the one carried over from the right one, get 7 as the consolidated product. But as this is a single digit number with nothing to carry over to the left, we put it down as our next multiplicand.

(viii) and xviii) we follow this procedure continually until we reach the 18th digit counting leftwards from the right, when we find that the whole decimal has begun to repeat itself. We therefore put up the usual recurring marks (dots) on the first and the last digit of the answer (from betokening that the whole of it is a Recurring Decimal) and stop the multiplication there.

Our chart now reads as follows:

The Second Sutra: Nikhilam Navataścaramam Daśatah

Now we proceed on to the next sutra “Nikhilam sutra” The sutra reads “Nikhilam NavataÅ›caramam DaÅ›atah”, which literally translated means: all from 9 and the last from 10″. We shall and applications of this cryptical-sounding formula and then give details about the three corollaries. He has given a very simple multiplication.

Suppose we have to multiply 9 by 7.

1. We should take, as base for our calculations that power of 10 which is nearest to the numbers to be multiplied. In this case 10 itself is that power.

Put the numbers 9 and 7 above and below on the left hand side (as shown in the working alongside here on the right hand side margin);

3. Subtract each of them from the base (10) and write down the remainders (1 and 3) on the right hand side with a connecting minus sign (–) between them, to show that the numbers to be multiplied are both of them less than 10.

4. The product will have two parts, one on the left side and one on the right. A vertical dividing line may be drawn for the purpose of demarcation of the two parts.

5. Now, Subtract the base 10 from the sum of the given numbers (9 and 7 i.e. 16). And put (16 – 10) i.e. 6 as the left hand part of the answer 9 + 7 – 10 = 6

The First Corollary

The first corollary naturally arising out of the Nikhilam Sutra reads in English “whatever the extent of its deficiency lessen it still further to that very extent, and also set up the square of that deficiency”.

This evidently deals with the squaring of the numbers. A few elementary examples will suffice to make its meaning and application clear:

Suppose one wants to square 9, the following are the successive stages in our mental working.

(i) We would take up the nearest power of 10, i.e. 10 itself as our base.

(ii) As 9 is 1 less than 10 we should decrease it still further by 1 and set 8 down as our left side portion of the answer 8/ (iii) And on the right hand we put down the square of that deficiency 12

(iv) Thus 92 = 81

The Second Corollary

The second corollary in applicable only to a special case under the first corollary i.e. the squaring of numbers ending in 5 and other cognate numbers. Its wording is exactly the same as that of the sutra which we used at the outset for the conversion of ‘vulgar’ fractions into their recurring decimal equivalents. The sutra now takes a totally different meaning and in fact relates to a wholly different setup and context.

Its literal meaning is the same as before (i.e. by one more than the previous one”) but it now relates to the squaring of numbers ending in 5. For example we want to multiply 15. Here the last digit is 5 and the “previous” one is 1. So one more than that is 2.

Now sutra in this context tells us to multiply the previous digit by one more than itself i.e. by 2. So the left hand side digit is 1 × 2 and the right hand side is the vertical multiplication product i.e. 25 as usual.

Thus 152 = 1 × 2 / 25 = 2 / 25.

Now we proceed on to give the third corollary.

The Third Corollary

Then comes the third corollary to the Nikhilam sutra which relates to a very special type of multiplication and which is not frequently in requisition elsewhere but is often required in mathematical astronomy etc. It relates to and provides for multiplications where the multiplier digits consists entirely of nines.

The procedure applicable in this case is therefore evidently as follows:

i) Divide the multiplicand off by a vertical line into a right hand portion consisting of as many digits as the multiplier; and subtract from the multiplicand one more than the whole excess portion on the left. This gives us the left hand side portion of the product; or take the Ekanyuna and subtract therefrom the previous i.e. the excess portion on the left; and ii) Subtract the right hand side part of the multiplicand by the Nikhilam rule. This will give you the right hand side of the product.

The following example will make it clear:

The Third Sutra: Ūrdhva Tiryagbhyām

Ūrdhva Tiryagbhyām sutra which is the General Formula applicable to all cases of multiplication and will also be found very useful later on in the division of a large number by another large number.

The formula itself is very short and terse, consisting of only one compound word and means “vertically and cross-wise.” The applications of this brief and terse sutra are manifold.

A simple example will suffice to clarify the modus operandi thereof. Suppose we have to multiply 12 by 13.

(i) We multiply the left hand most digit 1 of the multiplicand vertically by the left hand most digit 1 of the multiplier get their product 1 and set down as the left hand most part of the answer;

(ii) We then multiply 1 and 3 and 1 and 2 crosswise add the two get 5 as the sum and set it down as the middle part of the answer; and

(iii) We multiply 2 and 3 vertically get 6 as their product and put it down as the last the right hand most part of the answer. Thus 12 × 13 = 156.

The Fourth Sutra: Parāvartya Yojayet

The term Parāvartya Yojayet which means “Transpose and Apply.” Here he claims that the Vedic system gave a number is applications one of which is discussed here. The very acceptance of the existence of polynomials and the consequent remainder theorem during the Vedic times is a big question so we don’t wish to give this application to those polynomials.

However the four steps given by them in the polynomial division are given below: Divide x3 + 7×2 + 6x + 5 by x – 2. i. x3 divided by x gives us x2 which is therefore the first term of the quotient

x2 × –2 = –2x2 but we have 7x2 in the divident. This means that we have to get 9x2 more. This must result from the multiplication of x by 9x. Hence the 2nd term of the divisor must be 9x

As for the third term we already have –2 × 9x = –18x. But we have 6x in the dividend. We must therefore get an additional 24x. Thus can only come in by the multiplication of x by 24. This is the third term of the quotient.

Q = x2 + 9x + 24

Now the last term of the quotient multiplied by – 2 gives us – 48. But the absolute term in the dividend is 5. We have therefore to get an additional 53 from some where. But there is no further term left in the dividend. This means that the 53 will remain as the remainder ∴ Q = x2 + 9x + 24 and

R = 53.

The Fifth Sutra: SÅ«nyam Samyasamuccaye

Samuccaya is a technical term which has several meanings in different contexts which we shall explain one at a time.

Samuccaya firstly means a term which occurs as a common factor in all the terms concerned. Samuccaya secondly means the product of independent terms. Samuccaya thirdly means the sum of the denominators of two fractions having same numerical numerator.

Fourthly Samuccaya means combination or total. Fifth meaning: With the same meaning i.e. total of the word (Samuccaya) there is a fifth kind of application possible with quadratic equations.

Sixth meaning – With the same sense (total of the word – Samuccaya) but in a different application it comes in handy to solve harder equations equated to zero.

Thus one has to imagine how the six shades of meanings have been perceived by the Jagadguru Sankaracharya that too from the Vedas when such types of equations had not even been invented in the world at that point of time.

The Sixth Sutra: Ānurūpye Śūnyamanyat

As said by Dani [32] we see the 6th sutra happens to be the subsutra of the first sutra. Its mention is made in {pp. 51, 74, 249 and 286 of [51]}. The two small subsutras (i) Anurpyena and (ii) Adayamadyenantyamantyena of the sutras 1 and 3 which mean “proportionately” and “the first by the first and the last by the last”.

Here the later subsutra acquires a new and beautiful double application and significance. It works out as follows:

i. Split the middle coefficient into two such parts so that the ratio of the first coefficient to the first part is the same as the ratio of that second part to the last coefficient. Thus in the quadratic 2x2 + 5x + 2 the middle term 5 is split into two such parts 4 and 1 so that the ratio of the first coefficient to the first part of the middle coefficient i.e. 2 : 4 and the ratio of the second part to the last coefficient i.e. 1 : 2 are the same. Now this ratio i.e. x + 2 is one factor.

ii. And the second factor is obtained by dividing the first coefficient of the quadratic by the first coefficient of the factor already found and the last coefficient of the quadratic by the last coefficient of that factor. In other words the second binomial factor is obtained thus

Thus 2×2 + 5x + 2 = (x + 2) (2x + 1). This sutra has Yavadunam Tavadunam to be its subsutra which the book claims to have been used.

The Seventh Sutra: Sankalana Vyavakalanābhyām

Sankalana Vyavakalan process and the Adyamadya rule together from the seventh sutra. The procedure adopted is one of alternate destruction of the highest and the lowest powers by a suitable multiplication of the coefficients and the addition or subtraction of the multiples.

A concrete example will elucidate the process.

Suppose we have to find the HCF (Highest Common factor)

of (x2 + 7x + 6) and x2 – 5x – 6

x2 + 7x + 6 = (x + 1) (x + 6) and

x2 – 5x – 6 = (x + 1) ( x – 6)

the HCF is x + 1 but where the sutra is deployed is not clear.

The Eight Sutra: Puranāpuranābhyām

Puranāpuranābhyām means “by the completion or not completion” of the square or the cube or forth power etc. But when the very existence of polynomials, quadratic equations etc. was not defined it is a miracle the Jagadguru could contemplate of the completion of squares (quadratic) cubic and forth degree equation. This has a subsutra Antyayor dasake’pi use of which is not mentioned in that section.

The Ninth Sutra: Calanā kalanābhyām

The term (Calanā kalanābhyām) means differential calculus according to Jagadguru Sankaracharya.

The Tenth Sutra: Yāvadūnam

Yāvadūnam Sutra (for cubing) is the tenth sutra. It has a subsutra called Samuccayagunitah.

The Eleventh Sutra: Vyastisamastih Sutra

Vyastisamastih sutra teaches one how to use the average or exact middle binomial for breaking the biquadratic down into a simple quadratic by the easy device of mutual cancellations of the odd powers. However the modus operandi is missing.

The Twelfth Sutra: Śesānyankena Caramena

The sutra Åšesānyankena Caramena means “The remainders by the last digit”. For instance if one wants to find decimal value of 1/7. The remainders are 3, 2, 6, 4, 5 and 1. Multiplied by 7 these remainders give successively 21, 14, 42, 28, 35 and 7. Ignoring the left hand side digits we simply put down the last digit of each product and we get 1/7 = .14 28 57! Now this 12th sutra has a subsutra Vilokanam. Vilokanam means “mere observation” He has given a few trivial examples for the same.

The Thirteen Sutra: Sopantyadvayamantyam

The sutra Sopantyadvayamantyam means “the ultimate and twice the penultimate” which gives the answer immediately. No mention is made about the immediate subsutra.

The illustration given by them.

The proof of this is as follows.

The General Algebraic Proof is as follows.

Let d be the common difference

Canceling the factors A (A + d) of the denominators and d of

the numerators:

It is a pity that all samples given by the book form a special pattern.

The Fourteenth Sutra: Ekanyūnena Pūrvena

The Ekanyūnena Pūrvena Sutra sounds as if it were the converse of the Ekadhika Sutra. It actually relates and provides for multiplications where the multiplier the digits consists entirely of nines. The procedure applicable in this case is therefore evidently as follows.

For instance 43 × 9.

i. Divide the multiplicand off by a vertical line into a right hand portion consisting of as many digits as the multiplier; and subtract from the multiplicand one more than the whole excess portion on the left. This gives us the left hand side portion of the product or take the Ekanyuna and subtract it from the previous i.e. the excess portion on the left and

ii. Subtract the right hand side part of the multiplicand by the Nikhilam rule. This will give you the right hand side of the product

The Fifthteen Sutra: Gunitasamuccayah

Gunitasamuccayah rule i.e. the principle already explained with regard to the Sc of the product being the same as the product of the Sc of the factors.

Let us take a concrete example and see how this method (p. 81) can be made use of. Suppose we have to factorize x3 + 6x2 + 11x + 6 and by some method, we know (x + 1) to be a factor. We first use the corollary of the 3rd sutra viz.

Adayamadyena formula and thus mechanically put down x2 and 6 as the first and the last coefficients in the quotient; i.e. the product of the remaining two binomial factors. But we know already that the Sc of the given expression is 24 and as the Sc of (x + 1) = 2 we therefore know that the Sc of the quotient must be 12. And as the first and the last digits thereof are already known to be 1 and 6, their total is 7. And therefore the middle term must be 12 – 7 = 5. So, the quotient x2 + 5x + 6.

This is a very simple and easy but absolutely certain and effective process.

The Sixteen Sutra :Gunakasamuccayah.

“It means the product of the sum of the coefficients in the factors is equal to the sum of the coefficients in the product”.

In symbols we may put this principle as follows: Sc of the product = Product of the Sc (in factors).

For example (x + 7) (x + 9) = x2 + 16 x + 63 and we observe (1 + 7) (1 + 9) = 1 + 16 + 63 = 80.

Similarly in the case of cubics, biquadratics etc. the same rule holds good.

For example (x + 1) (x + 2) (x + 3) = x3 + 6×2 + 11 x + 6 2 × 3 × 4 = 1 + 6 + 11 + 6 = 24.

Thus if and when some factors are known this rule helps us to fill in the gaps.


Research has documented the difficulties students face in algebra and how these can often be traced to their limited understanding of numbers and their operations (Stacey & MacGregor, 1997; Warren, 2001). Of growing concern is the artificial separation of algebra and arithmetic, since knowledge of mathematical structure seems essential for a successful transition. In particular, this mathematical structure is concerned with (i) relationships between quantities, (ii) group properties of operations, (iii) relationships between the operations and (iv) Relationships across the quantities (Warren, 2003). Thus it has been suggested by Stacey and MacGregor (1997) that the best preparation for learning algebra is a good understanding of how the arithmetic system works. An understanding of the general properties of numbers and the relationships between them may be crucial, and students need to have thought about the general effects of operations on numbers (MacGregor & Stacey, 1999). This study sought to test the hypothesis that arithmetic knowledge can improve algebraic ability by applying a Vedic method of multiplying arithmetic numbers to algebra, based on the similarity of structural presentation.

Vedic mathematics has its origins in the ancient Indian texts, the Vedas, an integrated and holistic system of knowledge composed in Sanskrit and transmitted orally from one generation to the next. The first versions of these texts were possibly recorded around 2000 BC, and the works contain the genesis of the modern science of mathematics (number, geometry and algebra) and astronomy in India (Datta & Singh, 2001; Joseph, 2000). Sri Tirthaji (1965) has expounded 16 sutras or word formulas and 13 sub-sutras that he claims have been reconstructed from the Vedas.

The sutras, or rules as aphorisms, are condensed statements of a very precise nature, written in a poetic style and dealing with different concepts (Joseph, 2000; Shan & Bailey, 1991). A sutra, which literally means thread, expresses fundamental principles and may contain a rule, an idea, a mnemonic or a method of working based on fundamental principles that run like threads through diverse mathematical topics, unifying them. As Williams (2002) describes them:

We use our mind in certain specific ways: we might extend an idea or reverse it or compare or combine it with another. Each of these types of mental activity is described by one of the Vedic sutras. They describe the ways in which the mind can work and so they tell the student how to go about solving a problem. (Williams, 2002, p. 2).

Examples of the sutras are the “Vertically and Crosswise” sutra, which embodies a method of multiplication with applications to determinants, simultaneous equations, and trigonometric functions, etc. (this is the sutra used in the research reported here – see Figure 3), and the “All from nine and the last from ten” sutra that may be used in subtraction, vincula, multiplication and division.

Barnard and Tall (1997, p. 41) have introduced the idea of a cognitive unit, “A piece of cognitive structure that can be held in the focus of attention all at one time,” and may include other ideas that can be immediately linked to it.

This enables compression of ideas, so that a collection of ideas or symbols that is too big for the focus of attention can be compressed into a single unit. It seems as if the sutras nicely fit this description, with the mnemonic or other memory device being used as a peg to hang the collection of ideas on. Thus the theoretical advantage of using the sutras is that they allow encapsulation of a process into a manageable chunk, or cognitive unit, that can then be processed more easily, sometimes using a visual reminder, such as in the

Vertically and Crosswise sutra. Here the essential procedure is signified holistically by the symbol ê5ê, unlike the symbol FOIL that signifies in turn four separate procedures. It might be possible for a symbol such as to be used in much the same way for FOIL, but this may appear more visually complex, and it is not usually separated from the accompanying binomials like this. In this way sutras often make use of the power of visualisation, which has been shown to be effective in learning in various areas of mathematics (Booth & Thomas, 2000; Presmeg, 1986; van Hiele, 2002). Such visualisation accesses the brain’s holistic activity (Tall & Thomas, 1991) and intuition, and this assists in providing an overview of the mathematical structure.

The sutras also aid intuitive thinking (Williams, 2002) and being based on patterns and mnemonics they make recall much easier, reducing the cognitive load on the individual (Morrow, 1998; Sweller, 1994). The sutras were originally envisaged as applying both to arithmetic and algebra, and Joseph (2000) and Bhatanagar (1976) have explained that since polynomials may be perceived as simply arithmetic sequences, the principles apply equally well to them. This research considered a possible role of the vertically and Crosswise sutra for improving facility with, and understanding of, the expansion of algebraic binomials and the factorisation of quadratic expressions.


The research employed a case study methodology, using a single class of Year 10 (age 15 years) students. The school used is a co-educational state secondary school in Auckland, New Zealand and the class contained 19 students, 11 boy’s and 8 girls. The students, who included 9 recent immigrants, were drawn from several cultural backgrounds, and accordingly have been exposed to different approaches and teaching environments with respect to learning mathematics. This also meant that nine of the students have a first language other than English and these language difficulties tend to hinder their learning (for example, three of the students are on a literacy program at the school).

Two anonymous questionnaires (see Figure 1 for some questions from the second) were constructed using concepts we identified as important in developing a structural understanding of binomial expansion and factorisation, such as testing the concept of a factor and the ability to apply a procedure in reverse. Questions included: multiplication of numbers; multiplication of binomial expressions; factorisation of quadratic expressions; word problems on addition and subtraction of like terms; and expansion of expressions in a practical context. Some questions also involved description of procedures and meanings attached to words. In particular, the second questionnaire contained items on the use of the Vedic method applied to binomial expansion and factorisation.

The lessons were taught by the first-named author in 2003 in a supportive classroom environment that encouraged student-to-student and teacherstudent interactions. Students were assured that the teacher was genuinely interested in their mathematical thinking and respected their attempts, that it was fine to make mistakes and that understanding how the mistake occurred was a learning opportunity for everyone concerned. Students were encouraged to explain and check the validity of their answers, and positive contributions were praised.

The first teaching session comprised work on multiplication of numbers and revision of work on algebra that the students had learned in Year 9 (age 14 years). Substitution, collection of like terms and multiplication of a binomial

expression by a single value were revised, using, for example, expressions such as 5(x – 4), (p + 2)4, and k(4 + k). Students were also reminded of the meanings of words such as term, expression, factor, expansion, coefficient and simplify. Diagrammatic representations of 3(5 + 6) and k(4 + k) using rectangles were drawn and discussed, and then students drew similar rectangle diagrams representing multiplications such as (3 + 5)(2 + 5) and (k + 2)(k + 4) (see Figure 2). Following a review of factorisation of expressions such as 15p + 10, the FOIL (First, Outside, Inside, Last) method of expanding binomials was taught, where the First terms in each bracket are multiplied together, then the Outside terms, the Inside terms and then the Last term in each bracket, to give four products. Finally factorisation of quadratic expressions, followed by a “guess and check” method for factorising quadratic expressions was covered. The students did not find these topics easy, especially factorising of quadratic expressions. This took a total of four hours, after which, questionnaire one was administered.

Students were then exposed for one hour to the Vedic vertically and crosswise method, where initially they practised multiplying two- and three-digit numbers with this approach. Subsequently, the next three hours were spent expanding binomials and factorising quadratic expressions with the vertically and crosswise method. This method (see Figure 3) involves a sequence of four multiplications, the answers to each of which are placed into a single answer line. The middle two terms are added together mentally to supply the final answer.


The first question (1a) in each questionnaire was a two-digit multiplication.

In the first, it was 37 × 58, and the second 23 × 47, and in this second case the question asked that this be done by the vertically and crosswise method. The aim was to check students’ facility with arithmetic multiplication and to see if the vertically and crosswise sutra was of assistance in this area. In the event 11 of the 18 (61%) students who completed both questionnaires, correctly answered the question in the first test, and 13 (72%) in the second, with only one student not using the sutra in that test. There was no statistical difference between these proportions (c2 = 0.125). When asked to explain what they had done using the Vedic approach, students who were able to write down the final answer were often able to write something like student 4’s explanation for 1c), 32 × 69:

2 times 9 is 18 3 times 9 +

2 times 6 is 39 + carried 1 = 40

3 times 6 + carried 4 = 22

Expansion of binomials

A summary of the results in the first of the algebra questions (Q2 – see Figure

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