Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha - Revitalizing Vedic Mathematics

(1884 - 1960)

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha, fondly known as Bharati Krishna, graced the world from 1884 to 1960. Regarded as the Father of Vedic Mathematics, he dedicated his life to resurrecting the ancient Vedic Mathematical system, drawing insights from Sanskrit texts that had been dismissed by other scholars. According to him, this system, rediscovered through sixteen profound Sutras, encompasses all facets of mathematics, both pure and applied. The elegance of the methods he presented, grounded in simple Sutras, distinguishes this system with a unity not found in conventional mathematical approaches. Bharati Krishna's groundbreaking discoveries are poised to revolutionize global mathematics education, yet his primary life focus extended beyond academia, aiming to aid individuals, foster world peace, and nurture spiritual renewal.

Born on March 14, 1884, in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India, as Venkataraman, he hailed from erudite and devout parents. Displaying exceptional brilliance from a young age, he excelled in his studies, particularly in Sanskrit, earning him the title 'Saraswati' for his mastery of the language. At the age of twenty, he achieved a remarkable feat, completing a master's degree in seven subjects from the American College of Sciences, New York. Proficient in fourteen languages, Bharati Krishna Tirtha's academic prowess set an unprecedented world record.

Driven by a profound spiritual inclination, he embarked on a journey to Sringeri Math in Mysore in 1908, seeking the guidance of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Maharaj Shri Satchidananda Shivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati Swami. Despite assuming the role of the first Principal at the National College in Rajmahendri, influenced by nationalist leaders, he returned to Sringeri in 1911. For the next eight years, from 1911 to 1919, he immersed himself in asceticism, studying advanced Vedanta philosophy and Brahma-sadhana under Shri Nrisimha Bharati Swami. During this period, Bharati Krishna Tirtha achieved spiritual self-realization in the forests of Shringeri.

In 1919, he embraced the holy order of Sannyasa in Varanasi, initiated by H. H. Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shri Trivikrama Tirthaji Maharaja of Sharadapeetha, adopting the name Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha. Installed as Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the Govardhan Math in Puri in 1921, he later founded the Shri Vishwa Punarnirmana Sangha in Nagpur in 1953, dedicated to world reconstruction.

Bharati Krishna's deep meditation retreats from 1911 to 1919 in Shringeri revealed the super-normal perceptual state of Siddhis, leading to the discovery of sutras later associated with Vedic Mathematics. Unfortunately, the original sixteen volumes he wrote during this time were lost in 1956. Undeterred, he rewrote an introductory volume in a month and a half. Published in 1965, this book covers various mathematical topics, including Multiplication, Division, Squares, Square Roots, Cubes, Cube Roots, Factorisation, Equations, H.C.F, L.C.M., Decimals, Fractions, and more.

While the remaining fifteen volumes, lost to time, delved into advanced topics like Subtractions, Mixed Additions and Subtractions, Ratios, Proportions, Percentages, Averages, Interest, and even fields beyond conventional mathematics like Dynamics, Hydro Statistics, Pneumatics, Applied Mechanics, Solid Geometry, and Astronomy. Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha's succinct word-formulae encapsulated the vast subject of Mathematics, marking an unparalleled discovery in the annals of mathematical history.

Dakshinamurthy is a scholar and researcher of Indic themes and a contributing writer of The Verandah Club

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