64 Kalas (चतुःषष्टिः कलाः)

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Kala (Samskrit: कला) or Art is a vital component of the Ancient Bharata's Education System. They are disciplines, a student acquires knowledge of, during the course of training in the Gurukula. They are called as Chatusshashti Kalas (चतुःषष्टिः कला-s) since they are 64 in number.

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

Bharatavarsha (Ancient Bharata's Sub-continent) has always attached great value to knowledge. Talking of Bharata's knowledge tradition, Kapil Kapoor says, "India's knowledge tradition is ancient and uninterrupted like the flow of the river Ganga."

Jnana (ज्ञानम् | Knowledge) has been at the center of all speculations in Bharata. There are three terms that appear in all discussions related to knowledge[1]:

  • दर्शनम् ॥ Darshana
  • ज्ञानम् ॥ Jnana
  • विद्या ॥ Vidya

Darshana literally means "a point of view" which leads to Jnana (knowledge). When this knowledge, gathered about a particular domain is organized and systematized for purposes of Chintana (चिन्तनम् | reflection) and Adhyapana (अध्यापनम् | pedagogy), it attains the status of Vidya (विद्या | discipline).

The tradition always talks of 18 major Vidyas (disciplines of knowledge) and 64 kalas (arts) while referring to the curriculum of Ancient Bharata's Education[2]

The 18 Vidyas include:

However, as far as the kalas (arts) are concerned, there are competing enumerations of 64.

Which are the 64 Kalas ?

As mentioned above, there are slight variations regarding the enumeration of the 64 Kalas (arts). The mention of these arts occur in:

Courtesy (images): Book "Sarwang" Published by Adivasi Lok Kala Evam Boli Vikas Academy, Madhya Pradesh Sanskriti Parishad
  • शैवतन्त्रम् ॥ Shaivatantra
  • महाभारतम् ॥ Mahabharata by Vyasa Maharshi
  • कामसूत्रम् ॥ Kamasutra by Vatsyayana
  • नाट्यशास्त्रम् ॥ Natya Shastra by Bharatamuni
  • भगवतपुराणम् ॥ Bhagavata Purana (Commentary)
  • शुक्रनीतिः ॥ Shukraneeti by Shukracharya
  • शिवतत्त्वरत्नाकरः ॥ Shivatattvaratnakara by Basavarajendra

The list of the 64 Kalas in some these texts have been juxtaposed in the following table:

चतुःषष्टिः कलाः ॥ Chatusshashti Kala (64 Arts)
Text शैवतन्त्रम्[3][4][5] शुक्रनीतिसारः[6][7]
1 गीतम् ॥ Geeta (Singing) नर्तनम् ॥ Nartana (Dancing)
2 वाद्यम् ॥ Vadya (Playing on various musical instruments) वादनम् || Vadana (Playing musical instruments)
3 नृत्यम् ॥ Nrtya (Dancing) वस्त्रालङ्कारसन्धानम् || Vastralankara sandhana (Decoration by dress and ornaments)
4 नाट्यम् ॥ Natya (Acting, gesticulation, mimicry) अनेकरूपाविर्भावकृतिज्ञानम् || Anekaroopavirbhavakrti jnana (Knowledge of sundry mimicry and antics)
5 आलेख्यम् ॥ Alekhya (Drawing, Painting, Calligraphy) शय्यस्तरणसंयोगपुष्पादिग्रथनम् || shayyastaranasamyoga pushpadi grathana (Laying out of beds and furniture and weaving of garland)
6 विशेषकच्छेद्यम् ॥ Visheshakacchedya (Painting figures of various designs on the various parts of the body with musk paste and other fragrant substances) द्युताद्यनेकक्रीडा || Dyutadyanekakreeda (Entertaining people with gambling and various tricks of magic)
7 तण्डुलकुसुमयलिविकाराः ॥ Tandula kusumayalivikara (Preparing for use in worship various designs with grains of rice, flowers, etc) अनेकासनसन्धानैः रतेः ज्ञानम् || Anekasanasandhanaih rateh jnaana (Knowledge of different aspects of giving pleasure)
8 पुष्पास्तरणम् ॥ Pushpaastarana (Preparing a bed of flowers) मकरन्दादीनां मद्यादीनां कृतिः || Makarandadinam madyadinam krti (Distillation of wines and spirituous liquors from flowers)
9 दशनवसनाङ्गरागाः ॥ Dashana vasananga raga (Colouring the teeth and other limbs and articles of wearing apparel) शिराव्रणव्याधे शूल्यगूढाहृतौ ज्ञानम् || Shiravranavyadhe shulyagudhahrtau jnana (Extrication of thorns and relieving pain by operating on the wounds of a vein)
10 मणिभूमिकाकर्म ॥ Mani bhumika karma (Paving a floor with Precious stones) हिङ्ग्वादिरससंयोगाद् अन्नादिपचनम् || Hingvadi rasasamyogad annadi pachana (Cooking of food by intermixtures of various tastes)
11 शयनरचनम् ॥ Shayana rachana (Preparing a bed) वृक्षादिप्रसवारोपपालनादिकृतिः || Vrkshadiprasavaropapalanadi krti Udakaghat (Planting, grafting and preservation of plants)
12 उदकवाद्यम् ॥ Udakavadya (Using a pot full of water as a musical instrument and treading on water) पाषाणधात्वादिहतिस्तद्भस्मोकरणम् || Pashanadhatvadi hatistadbhasmokarana (Melting and powdering of stones and metals)
13 उदकघातः ॥ Udakaghata (Sprinkling with water cannons) इक्षुविकाराणां कृतिज्ञानम् || Ikshuvikaranam Krtijnana (Using preparations from sugarcanes)
14 चित्रायोगाः ॥ Chitrayoga (Herbal preparations for weakening of enemy) धात्वौषधीनां संयोगक्रियाज्ञानम् || Dhatu Aushadhinam samyoga Kriya jnana (Knowledge of mixtures of metals and medicinal plants)
15 माल्यग्रथनविकल्पाः ॥ Malyagrathana vikalpa (Preparing chaplets and wreathe of flowers) धातुसाङ्कर्य्यपार्थक्यकरणम् || Dhatu sankaryaparthakya karana (Analysis and synthesis of metals)
16 केशशेखरापीडयोजनम् ॥ Keshashekharapeeda yojana (Ladies hair styling) धात्वादीनां संयोगापूर्वज्ञानम् || Dhatu adinam samyogapoorva jnana (Preparation of alloys)
17 नेपथ्ययोगाः ॥ Nepathyayoga (Modes of beautifying the body with cloths and ornaments of various kinds) क्षारनिष्कासनज्ञानम् || ksharanishkasana jnana (Preparation of salts)
18 कर्णपत्रभङ्गाः ॥ Karnapatrabhanga (Painting ornamental figures on the ears) पदादिन्यासतः शस्त्रसन्धानविक्षेपः || Padadinyasata shastrasandhana vikshepa (Use and arrangement of arms by proper arrangement of legs).
19 गन्धयुक्तिः ॥ Gandhayukti (Making perfumes and cosmetics) सन्ध्याघाताकृष्टिभेदैः मल्लयुद्धम् || Sandhyaghatakrshribhedaih Mallayuddha (Duelling with various artifices)
20 भूषणयोजनम् ॥ Bhushanayojana (Making ornaments of various designs) मल्लानामशस्त्रं मुष्टिभिः बाहुयुद्धम् || Mallanamashastram mushtibhih bahuyuddha (Hand to hand fight)
21 इन्द्रजालम् ॥ Indrajala (Jugglery) बलदर्पविनाशान्तं नियुद्धम् || Baladarpavinashantam Niyuddha (Niyuddha for destruction of enemy's power and vanity)
22 कौचुमारयोगाः ॥ Kauchumarayoga (the art of beautification) सन्निपातावघातैश्च कृतं निपीडनम् तन्मुक्तिः || Sannipatavaghataishcha Krtam nipeedanam tanmukti (Attack by duellers and method of extricating oneself from these)
23 हस्तलाघवम् ॥ Hastalaghava (Sleight of hand) अभिलक्षिते देशे यन्त्राद्यस्वनिपातनम् || Abhilakshite deshe yantradyasvanipatana (Throwing of arms and implements towards some fixed point)
24 चित्रशाकापूपभक्ष्यविकारक्रिया ॥ Chitrashakapupabhakyavikara kriya (Culinary art) वाद्यसङ्केततो व्यूहरचना || Vadyasanketato Vyuharachana (Formation of battle arrays according to signals given by musical instruments)
25 पानकरसरागासवयोजनम् ॥ Panakarasaragasava yojana (Making drinks of various tastes and colours and spirituous liquors of various kinds)   गजाश्वरथगत्या युद्धसंयोजनम् || Gajashvarathagatya Yuddhasamyojana (Arrangement of horses, elephants and chariots in war)
26 सूचीवापकर्म ॥ Suchivapakarma (Weaving and needle-work of various kinds) विविधासनमुद्राभिः देवतातोषणम् || Vividhasanamudrabhih devatatoshana (Propitiation of Gods by various seats and postures)
27 वीणाडमरुकसूत्रक्रीडा ॥ Veena damaruka sutra kreeda (Making musical instruments of various kinds and working puppets by strings) सारथ्यं च गजाश्वादेर्गतिशिक्षा || Sarathyam cha Gajashvadergatishiksha (Driving horses and elephants)
28 प्रहेलिका ॥ Prahelika (Solving riddles) मृत्तिकाभाण्डादिसत्क्रिया || Mrttika bhandadi satkrya (Cleansing, etc of earthen vessels)
29 प्रतिमा* ॥ Pratima (Sculpture) काष्ठभाण्डादिसत्क्रिया || Kashtha bhandadi satkrya (Cleansing, etc of wooden vessels)
30 दुर्वचकयोगाः ॥ Durvachaka yoga (Skill in uttering tongue twisters) पाषाणभाण्डादिसत्क्रिया || Pashana bhandadi satkrya (Cleansing, etc of stone vessels)
31 पुस्तकवाचनम् ॥ Pustaka vachana (The art of reading manuscripts easily and quickly) धातुभाण्डादिसत्क्रिया || Dhatu bhandadi satkrya (Cleansing, etc of metal vessels)
32 नाटिकाख्यायिकादर्शनम्  ॥ Natika Akhyayika darshana (Dramaturgy and story writing) चित्राद्यालिखनम् || Chitradyalikhana (Picture drawing)
33 काव्यसमस्यापूरणम् ॥ Kavya samasya purana (Completion of incomplete verses or part verses) तडागवापीप्रासादसमभूमिक्रिया || Tadagavapiprasada samabhumi krya (Construction of tanks, canals, palaces and squares)
34 पट्टिकावेत्रवाणविकल्पाः ॥ Pattikavetravana vikalpa (Making ligatures, canes, arrows) घट्यादानेकयन्त्राणां वाद्यानां कृतिः || Ghatyadanekayantranam vadyanam krtih (Construction of clocks, watches and musical instruments)
35 तर्कूकर्माणि ॥ Tarkukarma (Spindle work) हीनमध्यादिसंयोगवर्णाद्यै रञ्जनम् || Hinamadhyadisamyogavarnadyai ranjana (Dyeing by application of inferior, middling and other colours)
36 तक्षणम् ॥ Takshana (Carpentry) जलवाय्वग्निसंयोगनिरोधैश्च क्रिया || Jalavayvanisamyoga nirodhaishcha krya (Putting down actions of water, air and fire)
37 वास्तुविद्या ॥ Vastuvidya (Architecture) नौकारथादियानानां कृतिज्ञानम् || naukarathadiyananam krti jnana (Preparation of boats, chariots and conveyances)
38 रूप्यरत्नपरीक्षा  ॥ Roopya ratna pariksha (Testing valuable metals and precious stones) सूत्रादिरज्जुकरणविज्ञानम् || Sutradirajjukarana vijnana (Preparation of threads and ropes)
39 धातुवादः  ॥ Dhatuvada (Alchemy) अनेकतन्त्तुसंयोगैः पटबन्धः || Anekatantusamyogaih Patabandha (Weaving of fabrics)
40 मणिरागज्ञानम्  ॥ Maniraga jnana (Colouring precious stones) रत्नानां वेधादिसदसज्ज्ञानम् || Ratnanam vedhadisadasad jnana (Testing of gems)
41 आकरज्ञानम् ॥ Akara jnana (Knowledge of latent minerals) स्वर्णादीनां याथात्म्यविज्ञानम् || Svarnadinam yathatmya vijnana (Testing of gold and other metals)
42 वृक्षायुर्वेदयोगाः ॥ Vrkshayurveda yoga (Nursing and treating plants) कृत्रिमस्वर्णरत्नादिक्रियाज्ञानम् || Krtrimasvarnaratnadi krya jnana (Preparation of artificial gold and gems) and स्वर्णाद्यलङ्कारकृतिः लेपादिसत्कृतिः ॥ Svarnadi alankara krti lepadisatkrti (Making of ornaments with gold and other metals and enamelling)
43 मेषकुक्कुटलावकयुद्धविधिः ॥ Mesha kukkutalavaka yuddhavidhi (Setting game rams, cocks, quails to fight as sport) चर्मणां मार्दवादिक्रियाज्ञानम् || Charmanam mardavadi krya jnana (Softening of leathers)
44 शुकसारिकाप्रलापनम्  ॥ Shuka sarika pralapana (teaching parrots and other birds to imitate human speech) पशुचर्माङ्गनिर्हारक्रियाज्ञानम् || Pashucharmanganirhara krya jnana (Flaying of skins from the bodies of the beasts)
45 उत्सादनम्  ॥ Utsadana (Making an enemy quit his place by means of a charm) दुग्धदोहादिविज्ञानम् || Dugdhadohadi vijnana (Milking)
46 केशमार्जनकौशलम्  ॥ Keshamarjana kaushala (Cleaning and dressing the hair) घृतान्तम् || Grtanta (Churning)
47 अक्षरमुष्टिकाकथनम् ॥ Aksharamushtika kathana (Reading letters removed from one's sight and divining the nature of substances held within one's palm) सीवने कञ्चुकादीनां विज्ञानम् || Seevane Kanchukadinam Vijnana (Sewing of covers)
48 म्लेच्छितकविकल्पाः ॥ Mlecchitaka vikalpa (Knowledge of books written in the language of Barbarians) बाह्वादिभिः जले तरणम् || Bahvadibhih jale tarana (Swimming)
49 देशभाषाज्ञानम्  ॥ Deshabhasha jnana (Fluently talking in the different Bharat's dialects) मार्जने गृहभाण्डादेः विज्ञानम् || Marjane Grhabhandadeh Vijnana (Cleansing of domestic utensils)
50 पुष्पशकटिकानिमित्तज्ञानम् ॥ Pushpashakatika nimitta jnana (Decoration of vehicles with flowers and Reading good or bad omens) वस्त्रसम्मार्जनम् || Vastrasammarjana (Cleaning of clothes)
51 यन्त्रमातृका ॥ Yantramatrka (Making diagrams by means of letters arranged in different orders as mystical formulae to be worshipped or worn as an amulet) क्षुरकर्म || Kshurakarma (Shaving)
52 धारणमातृका ॥ Dharanamatrka (Remembering heard sentences) तिलमांसादिस्नेहानां निष्कासने कृतिः || Tilamamsadisnehanam nishkasane krti ((Extraction of oil from seeds and fats from flesh)
53 सम्पाट्यम् ॥ Sampatya (Splitting hard substances such as diamonds into two or more pieces of different shapes) सीराद्याकर्षणे ज्ञानम् || Seeradyakarshane jnana (Drawing of ploughs)
54 मानसीकाव्यक्रिया ॥ Manasikavya kriya (Reading the thoughts of others and bringing them out in a verse) वृक्षाद्यारोहणे कला || Vrkshadyarohane kala (Climbing of trees)
55 क्रियाविकल्पाः ॥ Kriyavikalpa (Poetry forms) मनोऽनुकूलसेवायाः कृतिज्ञानम् || Manonukulasevayah krti jnana (Knowledge of pleasing in work)
56 छलितकयोगाः ॥ Chalitayoga (Conceal body or speech) वेणुतृणादिपात्राणां कृतिज्ञानम् || Venutrnadipatranam krti jnana (Making of vessels with bamboo straws)
57 अभिधानकोषच्छन्दोज्ञानम् ॥ Abhidhanakosh chanda jnana (lexicography and prosody) काचपात्रादिकरणविज्ञानम् || Kacapatradikarana vijnana (Making of glass vessels)
58 वस्त्रगोपनानि ॥ Vastragopana (Showing off one's clothes as made of a superior texture than what they actually are) जलानां संसेचनं संहरणम् || Jalanam sansechanam saharana (Pumping and withdrawing water)
59 द्यूतविशेषः ॥ Dyutavishesha (Playing at dice) लोहाभिसारशस्त्रास्त्रकृतिज्ञानम् || Lohabhisarashastrastra krti jnana (Preparation of tools and implements from iron)
60 आकर्षणक्रीडा ॥ Akarshana kreeda (Attracting remote objects) गजाश्ववृषभोष्ट्राणां पल्याणादिक्रिया || Gajashvavrshbhoshtranam palyanadi krya (Preparation of saddles for horses, elephants, bulls and camels)
61 बालकक्रीडनकानि ॥ Balaka kreedanaka (Playing childrens' games) शिशोः संरक्षणे धारणे क्रीडने ज्ञानम् || Shisho samrakshane dharane kreedane jnana (Maintenance, entertainment and nursing of children)
62 वैनायिकीनां विद्यानां ज्ञानम् ॥ Vainaayiki vidya jnana (The Practice of charms) अपराधिजने मुयुक्ताताडनज्ञानम् || Aparadhijane muyuktatadana jnana (Punishment of offenders)
63 वैजयिकीनां विद्यानां ज्ञानम् ॥ Vaijayiki vidya jnana (Fore knowledge of the party going to win in a debate) नानादेशीयवर्णानां सुसम्यग् लेखने || Nanadeseeyavarnanam susamyag lekhane (Writing characters of various languages)
64 वैतालिकीनां विद्यानां ज्ञानम्  ॥ Vaitaliki vidya jnana (Keeping goblins and vampires under one's control) ताम्बूलरक्षादिकृतिविज्ञानम् || Tambularakshadi krti vijnana (Making and preservation of betels)

*The शब्दकल्पद्रुमः ॥ Shabdakalpadruma mentions प्रतिमाला ॥ Pratimala (Capping verses) instead of प्रतिमा ॥ Pratima (Sculpture)


Discussion

The Ancient Bharat's education model aimed at facilitating the four basic duties of a person viz. Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Livelihood), Kama (Family life) and Moksha (Attainment of eternal peace).[8] The tradition talks of 18 major vidyas (theoretical disciplines), and 64 kalas (applied or vocational disciplines/crafts).These "crafts" have a direct bearing on day-to-day life of the people and most of them are still a part of the Bharat's life.[2] It is interesting to note that these crafts are still important means of livelihood. There is a close relationship of these crafts with ordinary life.[9]

It is also significant that no opposition is set-up in the Bharat's tradition between "art" and "craft." For the craftsmen, the craft is not only their profession, it is also their worship. These crafts were taught, are still taught, by a teacher to his disciples, for the learning of a craft requires watching the teacher at work, starting by doing odd, little jobs assigned by the teacher and then the long practice, abhyasa (अभ्यासः), on one's own. Only after considerable experience the learner refines his art and then may set-up on his own.We can see this even today in Bharat's dance, music and even automobile-repair. This is one reason why the craftsman is held in high esteem as a sadhaka, a devotee whose mind attaches with great reverence to his object. His training is a form of tapa (तपः), a dedication and the primary virtue he has to acquire is concentration, ekagrata (एकाग्रता).[9]

The Bharat's tradition is replete with texts even for the crafts, which are "practical" disciplines.In each discipline, there are Schools; in each School there are thinkers and texts. In fact, one may talk of three kinds of texts — primary texts (Shastra) which lay down the foundational principles, samgraha texts (compendium of all Schools in that discipline) and commentary/expository texts (tika । टीका). These three kinds of texts are available in most disciplines — this is the way knowledge is organized and presented for purposes of pedagogy. However, it is true in the case of crafts just as it is true in the case of vidyas that the knowledge resides in the teacher, the guru. This is the root of the great reverence attached to the gurus in the Bharat's tradition as he is the source and the ultimate authority in the given domain of knowledge.[9]

References

  1. Kapoor Kapil and Singh Avadhesh Kumar, Bharat's Knowledge Systems, Vol.1, NewDelhi: D.K.Printworld, Pg.no.11
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kapoor Kapil and Singh Avadhesh Kumar, Bharat's Knowledge Systems, Vol.1, NewDelhi: D.K.Printworld, Pg.no.18
  3. Vachaspatyam
  4. Shabdakalpadruma
  5. Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana (Part II), English redition: C.L.Goswami, Gorakhpur: Gita Press, Fourth Edition (1997), Pg.no.294 (annotation)
  6. श्रीमत् शुक्राचार्य्यविरचितः शुक्रनीतिसारः, १८९०: कलिकाताराजधान्याम्, द्वितीयसंस्करणम् ।
  7. B.D.Basu, The Sacred Books of the Hindus, Vol XIII The Sukraniti, Allahabad: The Panini Office, Bhuvaneshwari Asrama, 1914. Pg.no.157
  8. Pt. Shri Durgadutta Tripathi, Sixty-four Arts of ancient India, Edited and Translated by – Dr. A.S. Nene
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Kapoor Kapil and Singh Avadhesh Kumar, Bharat's Knowledge Systems, Vol.1, NewDelhi: D.K.Printworld, Pg.no.19