Naveen Kumar (नवीन कुमार) (moebiuscurve) wrote,
Naveen Kumar (नवीन कुमार)
moebiuscurve

Teaching Mathematics by associating it to religious texts...

Here is an excerpt from an article by C Musili from a journal "Selected Articles from Resonance- A journal of Science Education: Mathematical Analysis" of Indian Academy of Sciences:-
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One of the exciting characters in the epic Mahabharatha, one that has fascinated me most since my childhood, is Nakula (the fourth of the Pandava brothers). Especially intriguing was his ability to travel in rain on a horse, without getting wet. Generally speaking, not everyone is aware of this great skill of Nakula as against the common knowledge that he could tame and train any kind of horse to any degree of perfection. None of the host of Sanskrit or Telgu pundits/scholars I asked over decades, could offer a plausible explanation. In fact, most of them looked surprised and wondered why I was seeking justification instead of leaving it aside as the product of fertile imagination!

In this article, I would like to present a simple mathematical model as a possible motivation based on which Veda Vyasa might have attributed this extraordinary talent of Nakula. This will of Course imply that Veda Vyasa was a mathematician! Surely. Why not? Even an applied topologist for that matter!


The Model

Assume that rain is falling on the floor sharply at points both of whose coordinates are rational numbers (with respect to a chosen set of coordinate axes). This means that it is raining rather densely. The simple theorem in topology about the arcwise connectedness of the complement of a countable subset of the Euclidean space ℝⁿ (n≥2) {R^n (n>=2) for Unicode disabled} now implies that Nakula (shrunk to a point) can travel continuously from one dry point P to another dry point Q without getting wet. In fact, he can even travel smoothly, for example along a suitable arc joining P and Q. There are uncountably many such circular arcs joining P and Q, implying that the choice is indeed abundant......

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So on and he continues to explain Real Numbers, Countable & Uncountable Sets and so on....


Similarly, can an annotated Mahabharatha (or any other old religious book) or even books like Harry Potter, be written with mathematical annotations to miracles/magic performed (or rewrite the book entirely). Surely subjects like Geometry, Topology, symmetry, Limits, Continuity, Cantor sets, Real & Complex Analysis etc would find its use there. We can only hope, probably this would inspire a few to take up subjects like mathematics & other sciences...
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