In computer science, 'Divide and conquer' is an algorithm design technique. A typical Divide and Conquer algorithm solves a problem using the following three steps.

  1. Divide: Break the given problem into subproblems of the same type.
  2. Conquer: Recursively solve these subproblems
  3. Combine: Appropriately combine the answers

Are there any examples from scriptures that implemented this strategy for solving a problem?

  • THis is not a religious question
    – S K
    Feb 11 '19 at 13:16
  • @S K but not an off-topic afaik...
    – hanugm
    Feb 11 '19 at 13:18
  • If this is allowed - then the physics,chemistry and engineering of Astras, Rama-Setu etc.l would have to be allowed and that is currently off-limits.@hanugm
    – S K
    Feb 11 '19 at 14:02
  • @S K but divide and conquer is not a sole technique of cs. It comes under problem solving
    – hanugm
    Feb 11 '19 at 14:21
  • @S K if those ( physics, chemistry and engineering of astras etc., ) are discussed in scriptures, then how can it be an off topic?
    – hanugm
    Feb 11 '19 at 14:26

Searching for Sita is an example for divide and conquer technique from Valmiki Ramayana

Divide Step:

Sugreeva divides the problem of searching for Sita into four subproblems of the same nature. The four subproblems are searching for Sita in east, south, west and north. Sugreeva splits his army into four parts and sends each one in a direction to solve subproblems.

Sugreeva ordering for search in east

"Oh, Vinata, the best vanara, you are an expert in determining the tasks in consonance with time, place and probity. Hence, you along with vanara-s, whose glow shall be like the moon and sun for they shall be from the progeny of Sun and Moon, and even accompanied with a hundred thousand, say one lakh, other powerful vanara-s, shall go over Eastern direction of the earth inclusive of its mountains, woodlands and forests.

[4-40-17b, 18, 19a]

Sugreeva ordering for search in south

Sugreeva, the well-informed and brave lord of monkey troops, then beckoned Angada and the other prominent vanara-s who are valorous ones with full-fledged dash and dare, like the son of Fire-god Neela, and the exceptional vanara Hanuma, the highly vigorous son of Grandparent Brahma, namely Jaambavanta, also others like Suhotra, Sharaari, Sharagulma Gaja, Gavaaksha, Gavaya, Sushena, Vrishabha, Mainda, Dvivida, Sushena, Gandhamaadana, and the two sons of Ritual-fire called Ulkaamukha, Ananga. Sugreeva made the formidably mighty Angada as the chief of those valiant monkeys forming search party and ordered southern direction for them.

[4-41-2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Sugreeva ordering for search in west

Sugreeva ordered the superb monkey son of great-sage Mareecha, called Arcishman, to western direction, who is a surrounded with exceptional and braving monkeys, a coequal to Indra in his resplendence, endowed with brilliance and bravery and whose speed equals that of the son of Vinata, namely Garuda, the Eagle-vehicle of Vishnu. Along with him Sugreeva also ordered the greatly mighty brothers of Arcishman i.e., the other vanara sons of Sage Mareecha, known as Arcishmaalyaa-s, also called as Mareecha-s.

[4-42-3, 4, 5a]

Sugreeva ordering for search in north

"Accompanied with a hundred thousand forest-dwelling monkeys of your kind, and also with all of your ministers who the sons of Yama, the Terminator, you have to proceed. Oh, venturesome Shatabala, you scout out whole of the northern quarter that has snowy Himalayan mountains as its crown for the glorious wife of Rama.

[4-43-3, 4]

Conquer Step:

After dividing the main problem into subproblems, each subproblem is solved independently.

As commanded by the king of monkeys Sugreeva all of the elephantine monkeys essayed everywhere with post-hast for a glimpse of Vaidehi. Those monkeys have thoroughly searched at lakes, in the pens of creepers on riverbanks, in vacant lands and in crowded cities and at impassable places with rivers and mountains. All the monkey commanders explicitly commanded by Sugreeva, very carefully searched all the provinces inclusive of mountains, woodlands, and thick forests of those provinces. All the Vanara-s firmed up in finding Seetha have searched nooks and corners of earth by day, and at nighttimes they used to come together onto earth at scheduled places.

[4-47-1, 2, 3, 4]

Combine Step:

solution from the east:

Cmdr. Vinata, the great-mighty vanara, came back after searching eastern quarter as Sugreeva had advised, but without finding Seetha there.


solution from the north:

Even the valiant and matchless monkey Shatabali explored whole of the northern direction along with his army, but he too came back as Seetha is undiscovered there.


The solution from the west:

Sushena, the father-in-law of Sugreeva, searching whole of western quarter along with vanara-s, but not finding Seetha there, he came back when one month is completed, and approached Sugreeva.


solution from the south:

Thereafter, the mighty armed Hanuma, offering his salutation in bending his head low, informed Rama that Seetha the princess is constant in devotion to Rama and sound in body.


Thus finally the problem got solve using divide and conquer

Hearing the nectar-like words, saying "Seetha was found" from the mouth of Hanuma, Rama and Lakshmana felt happy.



Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .