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By Subhendu Sen

Subhendu Sen, a Vedic Maths teacher, has recently disclosed a new method of subtraction using Nikhilam sutra of Vedic Mathematics. Using this method, any complex arithmetical subtraction can be solved very easily.

I was writing a lesson on subtraction when I felt an invisible force prompting me to do a complex subtraction in a way that I had never heard of or done earlier. After I finished the subtraction using the new method, I sat numb for a few minutes. What or rather who compelled me to attempt this new method? I was surprised to say the least! Quickly I solved a number of complex subtractions using this method. It was a cakewalk! I nearly jumped with joy. I searched all the known sources and I didn't find this method in use anywhere else. So, I decided to share it--through a web based seminar--as my gift, first to the student community on Teacher's Day of India, celebrated on 5th September, 2009, the birthday of Dr. Radhakrishnan, noted educationist and the second President of India. Now, it's time to share it with you. There are two kinds of subtractions in arithmetic: (a) simple and (b) complex. Simple subtraction is when all the numbers in the bottom line (subtrahend) are smaller than the ones in the top line (minuend). Like this one: 56789 45678 --------We love to do these kinds of simple subtractions, because there is no carry-over, no adjustments. Just a simple subtraction. So, let's solve it: 56789 45678 --------11111 We can write the answer from left to right if we get simple subtractions, though we are taught to write the answer from right to left in conventional method. In Vedic Mathematics most of the sums are solved from left to right. Why do we need to learn answering from left to write? Vedic Mathematics is meant for mental calculations using our Brain Calculator (I call it, BCalC). It teaches us how to 'operate' and use our BCalC. We need to input data to our BCalC in a particular fashion. Our BCalC then processes it and outputs the answer to our brain. It also depends upon how trained our BCalC is. If it is well-practiced and well-trained, it will output the complete answer. Otherwise, it will output slowly. Whatever way it outputs, it's up to us whether the say the answer or to write it. When we say, we say from left to right. That's the reason why we need to learn finding the answer from left to right.

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Complex subtraction is when some of the numbers in the bottom line, are bigger than the numbers in the top line excepting the first one from the left. Like this one: 45678 36789 --------We hate this, but, we do get these kinds of subtractions most of the time. We can't avoid it. So, it's better to learn how to handle complex subtractions easily. The best way of handling complex subtractions would be to convert it into simple subtractions. Thank Jagadguru Swamy Bharati Krishna Tirtha Maharaj-ji (an educationist, mathematician and philosopher, who rediscovered Vedic Mathematics). Because of him, we have come to know about a sutra or formula, which is called, Nikhilam. With the use of Nikhilam sutra, we can convert a complex subtraction to a simple one. Nikhilam sutra says: All from 9 and the last from 10. It may sound meaningless now, but when I will explain this sutra with an example, you will know how powerful is this. The sutra is talking about two steps and obviously from left to right: 1) All from 9 : means, all the numbers of the bottom line to be subtracted from 9 except the last one and 2) The last from 10 : means, the last number of the bottom line from the left to be deducted from 10. The sutra doesn't talk about the first number from the left. So, I do a little modification in the meaning of Nikhilam sutra and make it a 3 step formula rather than 2 steps, like this: 1) -1 : that is, add an additional -1 to the first bottom line number 2) All from 9 3) The last from 10 This sutra applies to complex subtractions. Each subtraction is actually a combination of small small individual subtractions. Like this: 4|5|6|7|8 3|6|7|8|9 ---------------Though the main sum is 45678 - 36789, it is actually a combination of individual subtractions like: 4-3, 5-6, 6-7, 7-8 and 8-9 respectively from left to right. In each of these individual subtractions, whenever we get the top number bigger than the bottom number, we consider it as a simple subtraction and in other cases, if the top number is smaller than the bottom number, we consider this as a complex one. Ok? Now, let's apply the Nikhilam sutra to a complex subtraction. Nikhilam sutra is best explained with subtractions which look like this:

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1|0|0|0|0 |5|6|7|8 ---------------It's a complex subtraction, because, except the first individual subtraction from the left, all other individual subtractions are complex. So, now we will apply the 3-part Nikhilam sutra to this sum: 1) -1 : add an additional -1 to the first bottom line number: 1|0|0|0|0 |5|6|7|8 -1 ---------------2) All from 9 except the last one: 9 9 9 1|0|0|0|0 |5|6|7|8 -1 ---------------3) The last from 10 : 9 9 9 10 1|0|0|0|0 |5|6|7|8 -1 ----------------So now, our individual subtractions have become: 1-1, 9-5, 9-6, 9-7 and 10-8. Wow! All of these are simple subtractions, arent' they? I can't stop myself from doing this simple subtraction. Can you? 9 9 9 10 1|0|0|0|0 |5|6|7|8 -1 ----------------0 4 3 2 2 See, how Nikhilam converted a complex subtraction to a simple one? Let's have a look at another one: 4|0|0|0|0 3|4|5|6|7 -----------------

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Let's apply the 3-step Nikhilam sutra on this sum: 9 9 9 10 4|0|0|0|0 3|4|5|6|7 -1 ----------------0 5 4 3 3 See how simple this is? But, there is a twist. Let's understand that twist with the following sum: 5|0|0|0|0 3|4|0|9|0 ----------------Let's apply the sutra here: 9 9 9 10 5|0|0|0|0 3|4|0|9|0 -1 ----------------Correct, right? No, it's wrong. Here, the last individual subtraction we have considered as 'the last' is, 0-0. In Vedic Mathematics, if we get the last individual subtraction as 0-0, we will not consider that as 'the last' one! Our last will be the one, where we will actually do some subtraction. In this case, it is the second last from the left, ie, 0-9. So, we will consider this as the 'last'. But, look at the other individual one, 0-0, that is third from the left. Should we consider that as a subtraction? Yes, because there are 'valid' subtractions 0-4 and 0-9 respectively before and after it. So, we should not make mistakes in defining 'the last'. So, here we apply the sutra correctly and write the answer: 9 9 10| 5|0|0|0|0 3|4|0|9|0 -1 ----------------1|5|9|1|0 So, now, we can easily solve complex subtractions using Nikhilam sutra, which look like a particular type, ie, in the top line we get one digit from 1 to 9 in the beginning and a series of zeros after that and in the bottom line we get any number, which is, obviously, less than the top line number. Though we would love to solve these kinds of complex subtractions (as we have learned it now), we do not get this particular type of subtractions most of the time. Though, we can solve any complex subtraction using the existing Nikhilam sutra directly, but we can use a much easier method. Life is not simple. But, we can make it simple, if we know the tricks that can make it so. As I told earlier, the best way to handle complex situations, whether it is about life or subtractions, is to convert it into a simple sum using some kind of formula.

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Let me give you the new method, by which you can convert any complex subtraction to a simple one. Let's first do the unsolved complex subtraction that I have mentioned in the beginning of this article: 4|5|6|7|8 3|6|7|8|9 ----------------Our objective is simple. We will start from left and whenever we get a simple individual subtraction (the top number is bigger than the bottom number) we will simply do it: 4|5|6|7|8 3|6|7|8|9 ----------------1 And, whenever we get a complex individual subtraction (the top number is smaller than the bottom number), we will give it a zero first, then do a reverse subtraction, ie, deducting the smaller number from the bigger number (we love it!). Fortunately, our next individual subtraction, 5-6 falls under complex subtraction. So, we first give it a zero for being complex, and do a reverse subtraction, ie, 6-5 (instead of 5-6), to make things simple. Like this: 4|5|6|7|8 3|6|7|8|9 ----------------1|0 1 We are quite fortunate today, because all the balance individual subtractions are complex ones. Have we started to love complex subtractions too? So, let's make them all simple: 4|5|6|7|8 3|6|7|8|9 ----------------1|0|0|0|0 1|1|1|1 ----------------Now forget the top two lines, our original subtraction, and concentrate on the lower two lines: 1|0|0|0|0 1|1|1|1 ----------------Wow! Can we not use the 3-step Nikhilam sutra to solve it now? Yes! Let's do it: 9 9 9 10 1|0|0|0|0 1|1|1|1 -1 ----------------0 8 8 8 9

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That's it! 8889 is the answer of the complex subtraction 45678 - 36789. Isn't it simple? Let's do another one. This time let's handle a more complex one: 4|6|4|5|0|5|3|2|1|9|3|1|0 3|7|5|6|0|3|6|8|9|0|4|2|4 ------------------------------------------------Oh! Complex subtractions? We love it now! 4|6|4|5|0|5|3|2|1|9|3|1|0 3|7|5|6|0|3|6|8|9|0|4|2|4 ------------------------------------------------1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 3 6 8 1 1 4 -------------------------------------------------Let's forget the top two lines, and concentrate on the bottom two lines of our new subtraction: 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 3 6 8 1 1 4 -------------------------------------------------We now have to visually bifurcate this new sum in such a fashion, so that we can apply 3-step Nikhilam sutra easily: 1 0 0 0 0 | 2 0 0 0 | 9 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 | 3 6 8 | 1 1 4 --------------------------------------------------We can now see three easy-looking subtractions in a row! We can do it now, right?. So, let's do it: 9 10 9 9 10 9 9 10 0 0 0 | 2 0 0 0 | 9 0 0 0 1 1 0 | 3 6 8 | 1 1 4 -1 | -1 | -1 ----------------------------------------------------0 8 8 9 0 1 6 3 2 8 8 8 6 1 The final answer is: 889016328886. With a little practice, we can do huge complex subtractions in seconds using this new method. If we practise more, we can write the final answer directly by calculating the rest of the processes mentally. Maybe, at a later time, we can answer verbally! So, with this new method, we do not need to worry about the carry-overs and other complexities of subtractions. We have learnt how to convert a complex subtraction into a simple one. Now, we love subtractions. Don't we? It would be great if you put this new method in practice. I don't think you can write in this fashion in your exam paper now because you may not get proper marks if you do that. But, you can use this method while doing your rough work. Get the answer from there and write it in the answer sheet. Maybe it's a naughty idea, but you may continue doing it this way, till your teacher or school accepts this method. 9 0 1

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It's unfortunate that Vedic Mathematics is not yet accepted as an 'official' method of solving sums, even in India! But, we can hope for the best! _______________ To watch a video where Subhendu demonstrates and explains this new method of subtraction, please go to his website: http://www.MathsVedic.com. He also offers a free 7-day introductory email course on Vedic Mathematics from his website.

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UsefulNot usefulSubhendu Sen, a Vedic Maths teacher from Nerul, Navi Mumbai, India has disclosed a new method of arithmetical subtraction using vedic mathematics.

Subhendu Sen, a Vedic Maths teacher from Nerul, Navi Mumbai, India has disclosed a new method of arithmetical subtraction using vedic mathematics.

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