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. 

1 comment:

  1. I see प्रतिमाला is translated as "Preparing utensils" !
    Isn't प्रतिमाला antyaksharii?

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