Thursday, 30 May 2013

64 Kalā - The 64 types of arts

We often hear in the descriptions of Lord Ganesha or Lord Krishna that they were well versed in 64 art forms or ChatuhShashthi Kala. These are 64 different art forms that are listed which are taught to all as a part of learning. A person knowing all of these along with the 14 Vidyas was known to be near perfection.

This list appears in the Kamasutra under the heading Bahya Kala or external art forms. Here is a list of these art forms.

  • गीतं - Singing
  • वाद्यं - Playing instruments
  • नृत्यं - Dancing
  • नाट्यं - Acting
  • आलेख्यं - Painting and writing
  • विशेषच्छेद्यं - Aiming at a point
  • तन्दुलकुसुमबलिविकारः - Making offerings of rice and flowers 
  • पुष्पस्तरणं - Covering with flowers
  • दशनवसनाङ्गरागाः - Cleansing teeth,clothes,etc
  • मणिभुमिकाकर्म - Arranging jewels
  • शयनरचनं - Arranging bed
  • उदकवाद्यं - Playing instruments in pots or bowls like Jalataranga
  • चित्रयोगः - Drawing using soil
  • माल्यग्रन्थानविकल्पाः - Preparing garlands of flowers
  • शेखरापीडयोजनं - Decorating crowns,etc
  • कर्णपत्रभङ्गाः - Decorating ears with flowers
  • नेपथ्ययोगाः - Dressing up for acting
  • सुगन्धयुक्तिः - Preparing aromatic perfumes
  • भूषणयोजनं - Making ornaments
  • ऐन्द्राजालं - Magic tricks
  • कौतुमारयोगः - Applying various ointments and pastes on one's body
  • हस्तलाघव - Tricks of hands ( हाथचालाखी )
  • चित्रशाकापूपभक्ष्यविकारयोगः - Preparing vegetables and sweets
  • पानकरसरागासवयोजनं - Preparing various juices
  • सूचिवयकर्म - Stitching with needles
  • सूत्रक्रीडा - Puppetry 
  • वीणाडमरुवाद्यानि - Playing Veena, Damru,etc
  • प्रहेलिका - Cracking riddles
  • प्रतिमाला - Preparing utensils
  • दुर्वाचकयोगः - Speaking in languages that others don't understand
  • वाचनं - Reading
  • नाटकाख्ययिकादर्शनं - Telling stories and acts 
  • काव्यसमस्यापूरणं - Completing incomplete poems
  • पट्टिकावेत्रबाणविकल्पः - Using arrows,etc
  • तर्ककर्माणि  - Debating
  • तक्षणम् - Carpentry
  • वास्तुविद्या - Knowledge of construction
  • रौप्यरत्नपरिक्षा - Testing jewels
  • धातुवादः - Purifying impure metals
  • मणिरागज्ञानं - Seeing the colour of precious stones
  • आकारज्ञानं - Finding quarries of minerals
  • वृक्षायुर्योगवेदः - Calculating the age of trees
  • मेषकुक्कुटलावकयुद्धविधिः - Making lambs,goats,etc fight
  • शुकसारिकप्रलापनं - Teaching parrots to speak
  • उत्सादनं - Flying kites
  • केशमार्जनकौशलं - Art of cutting hair
  • अक्षरमुष्टिकाकथनं - Guessing the words in other's mind
  • म्लेच्छितकुतर्कविकल्पः - Making arguments for deceiving someone
  • देशभाषाज्ञानं - Knowing the other languages 
  • पुष्पशकटिकानिर्मितिज्ञानं - Gardening
  • धारणमातृका - Preparing load bearing objects
  • संवाद्यं - Elocution
  • मानसीकाव्यक्रिया - Composing poems in mind
  • अभिधानकोशः - Knowing lexicography
  • छन्दोज्ञानं - Knowledge of metres of singing
  • क्रियाविकल्पः - Art of writing a treatise
  • चलितकयोगः - Building shrines
  • वस्त्रगोपनानि - Concealing clothes
  • द्युतविशेषः - Gambling 
  • आकर्षक्रीडा - Kusti or Malla Yuddha
  • बालक्रीडानकादि - Preparing toys for kids
  • वैनायकीविद्याज्ञानं - Art of vanishing problems
  • वैजयकीविद्याज्ञानं - Art of winning
  • वैतालकीविद्याज्ञानं-  Knowledge of Tantras

It thus appears from the list that these art forms cover almost all of the aspects of human life from dressing, art and craft, sports, learning and general chores. 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Marriages between Vedic and Non-Vedic tribes

I have already discussed some Exotic Tribes of India like Rakshas , Gandharva and Apsara , Yaksha, etc. We see that these tribes exactly cannot be termed non-Vedic since their origins can also be traced to Vedic rishis but their way of living, their culture and rituals are quite different from the actual Vedic people.
We see that Rakshas are non-Vedic people but in case of Ravana, he is a devotee of Shiva. Daityas are non-Vedic but in case of Bali, he is said to have performed 99 Yagyas with his Purohit Shukracharya.  The Yakshas are non-Vedic but in case of Kubera, he is worshipped as a lord of wealth.The Gandharvas and Apsaras are also seen to be in close relation with the Vedic people. The Kirata, Kimpurusha, Kinnara lived adjacent to Vedic kingdoms and in the Himalayas but not much is mentioned about them.
The Danavas and Daityas ,although belonging to the Asura group, we find that martial relations were established signifying intermixing to some extent.

The style of marriages also seem to be influenced by different communities. Let's see the 8 types of marriages in Hindu customs-

  • Brahma Vivaha - Where the parents of the bride and groom decide the marriage and with the consent of all.
  • Prajapatya Vivaha - Where the bride and the groom are married off at a young age. The responsibility of the bride lies on the groom's father and not on the groom himself till both of them attain the right age. Prajapati directly means one who takes care, Possibly that's why this type is called Prajapatya since the father takes are of the bride.
  • Daiva Vivaha - Where the bride is poor and her marriage is performed as a charity by rich people.
  • Arsha Vivaha - This type is applicable for those communities where the groom has to pay an oblation to the bride to get her. 
  • Asura Vivaha - Where the bride is not suitable for the groom but still they marry. Asura communities seem to have such type of marriages. 
  • Gandharva Vivaha - This is proper love marriage where the consent of parents is not necessary. Gandharvas and Apsaras used to marry the person of their choice. 
  • Rakshas Vivaha -  This type involves abduction of the bride if she is ready for marriage. The Rakshas tribes used to marry in this way. 
  • Paishacha Vivaha - The bride is intoxicated and is not in her senses while marrying. That's why it was called Paishacha vivaha on the name of Pishacha. 
( The tribe names are given to marriage styles but they being given due to peculiar behaviour of those tribe is just my view. )

As I mentioned earlier, the intermixing of these tribes with Vedic people has happened. The Puranas provide valuable information about the kings and rishis who married brides from other tribes. Most of the marriages are from Apsaras and Naga. This seems credible when it comes to geography. The Nagas have lived in the Indian subcontinent but others have lived either far in Himalayas ( Yakshas, Kinnara, Kimpurusha,etc) or far south ( Rakshas) or far east ( Kirata). Less information is available about the martial relations of other exotic tribes like Vidyadhara, Charana, Siddha, Pishacha, Vanara, Pannaga, etc. So a natural interaction would be between people who live next to the Vedic people. Let's view them - 

  • Pururavas Aila and Urvashi - Pururavas was a Chandravanshi king. Urvashi bore 6 sons from him.
  • Prachetas and Pramlocha - Soma was the son of Atri. His adoptive daughter was Pramlocha who was married to Prachetas, a descendant of Dhruva.
  • Trinavindu and Alambusha - Trinavindu was the king of Vaishali kingdom and a Chakravarti Samrat
  • Agnidhra and Purvachitti - Agnidhra was the grandson of Swayambhuva Manu.
  • Raudrashva and Ghrutachi - Raudrashva was a king in the Puru dynasty of Hastinapur.
  • Vishwamitra and Menaka - Although they didn't marry, they bore a daughter Shakuntala who married Dushyanta. Their marriage took place by Gandharva Vivaha.
  • Ruru and Pramadvara - He was a rishi. Pramadvara was daughter of Vishvavasu Gandharva and was brought up by Sthulakesha rishi.
  • Vatsaka and Mishrakeshi - Vatsaka was a Yadava prince.
  • Rucheyu and Jwala - Rucheyu was the son of Raudrashva, the Puru king. Jwala belonged to the Takshaka tribe of Nagas.
  • Arjuna and Ulupi - This couple is quite well known from Mahabharata.
  • Shantanu and Satyavati - Shantanu was the great grandfather of Pandavas and Satyavati was Vyasa's mother.
  • Yadu and Dhumavarna's daughters - Yadu was the son of Yayati and Dhumavarna was one of the Nagas who married his 5 daughters to Yadu.
  • Purukutsa and Narmada - Purukutsa was an Ikshavku king. Son of Mandhata.
  • Kusha and Kumudvati - Kusha was Rama's son. 
  • Somashrava - He was a disciple of rishi Yajnavalkya. His mother was Naga princess and father was Shrutashrava rishi. 
  • Yayati and Sharmishtha - Sharmishtha was the daughter of Vrishaparva Daitya. 
  • Yayati and Devayani- Devayani was the daughter of Shukracharya, the priest of Danavas and Daityas
  • Vishrava and Kaikesi - Vishrava was a descendant of Pulastya and father of Ravana. Kaikesi was daughter of Sumali Rakshas.
  • Bhima and Hidimba - Hidimba was a Rakshasi who met the Pandavas after they fled the Lakshagriha in Varnavati. Ghatotkacha was their son.
Apart from this, there were many inter- marriages between the non-Vedic tribes too. For example, Ravana's maternal grandfather Sunali married an Apsara, Daitya Hiranyakashapu married an Asura princess, daughter of Hiranyakashapu called Sinhika was married to a Danava, Shachi, Indra's wife was the daughter of Danava Puloman., etc.
But strangely, we don't find any Vedic princess being married to a non-Vedic groom.

From this, we can conclude that the ancient people were not that averse in marrying with non-Vedic tribes. Although the names given above are less, at least we can establish that Vedic kingdoms had alliances with these non-Vedic tribes and kingdoms which had the capacity of influencing the politics of the land. In the case of Arjuna and Ulupi, the Naga kingdom to which she belonged supported the Pandavas during the Mahabharata war. Similar was the case with the Rakshas tribes who supported the Pandavas because of Hidimba and Ghatotkacha.