The Fraud of Vedic Maths

Hartosh Singh Bal in Open Magazine:

6519.rope-trickIn 1965, a book titled Vedic Mathematics was published in English. Since then, the subject has become an industry that shows no sign of diminishing. In its latest manifestation, parents who know no better are shelling out serious money in the hope that their children will become scientific geniuses. They really shouldn’t bother. The subject amounts to nothing more than a few cheap parlour tricks, and there is nothing Vedic about it. But the story of how it came to be makes for a fantastical tale.

Bharti Krishna Tirthaji was born in 1884 with some talent for science and mathematics. But he eventually paid heed to a passion for Sanskrit and philosophy, and joined the Sringeri math in Mysore to study under its Shankaracharya. In 1925, he became a Shankaracharya himself. All through these years, he’d kept up his interest in science and mathematics. Many scholars before him had dismissed the Atharva Veda as arcane and difficult to understand, but Tirathji decided to spend time studying it in the belief that he could excavate the knowledge that he felt must lie there.

After eight years of ‘deep’ contemplation, he claimed to have found 16sutras which explained all of mathematics. He, it is said, then wrote 16 volumes on Vedic mathematics, one on each sutra. Mysteriously, just before their publication, the manuscripts were lost. But in 1960, the last year of his life, Tirathji managed to rewrite one volume which was published in 1965 as Vedic Mathematics.

As stories go, this is not a bad one, but the evidence does nothing to support it.

More here.