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Angula, aka: Aṅgula; 8 Definition(s)


Angula means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

In Hinduism

Vāstuśāstra (architecture)

Aṅgula (अङ्गुल, “finger-breadth”) is the Sanskrit name for a unit of measurement, used in Vāstuśāstra literature, according to the Mānasāra II.40-53. A single Aṅgula unit corresponds to 8 Yava units. It takes 12 Aṅgula units to make a single Vitasti unit. It takes 26 Aṅgula units to make a single Daṇḍa unit.

Below follows a table of the different units of measurement in relation to one another:

  • 8 Paramāṇu = 1 Rathadhūli, chariot-dust
  • 8 Rathadhūli = 1 Vālāgra, hair-end
  • 8 Vālāgra = 1 Likṣā, nit,
  • 8 Likṣā = 1 Yūka, louse
  • 8 Yūka = 1 Yava, barley-corn,
  • 8 Yava = 1 Aṅgula, digit (finger-breadth),
  • 12 Aṅgula = 1 Vitasti, span,
  • 2 Vitasti (24 aṅgulas) = 1 Kiṣku, cubit,
  • 4 Dhanurmuṣṭi (26 aṅgulas) = 1 Daṇḍa, rod,
  • 8 Daṇḍa = 1 Rajju, rope

The smallest unit, which is paramāṇu, atom is stated ta be perceived (only) by the sages. For all practical purposes, aṅgula is the smallest unit of measurement. For this reason, it is seen to be treated in a special way in the text with regards to its universality that significantly downplays its semantic reference to the body.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

about this context:

Vāstuśāstra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vastu-shastra) refers to the knowledge of architecture. It is a branch of ancient Indian science dealing with topics such architecture, construction, sculpture and their relation with the cosmic universe.


Aṅgula (अङ्गुल): A unit of measurement of distance, according to the Vāyu Purāṇa (वायु पुराण). The following table gives some idea about their relations to each other:

8 Aṅgulas = Prādeśa (?);
21 Aṅgulas = Ratni;
24 Aṅgulas = Hasta;
2000 Dhanus = Gavyūti;
12 Aṅgulas = Vitasti;
2 Ratnis or 42 Aṅgulas = Kiṣku;
4 hastas = Dhanus;
8000 Dhanus = Yojana.
Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

Aṅgula (अङ्गुल).—Is eight times a yava. For other details see matsya p.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 7. 96; IV. 2. 121; Matsya-purāṇa 258. 18-21; Vāyu-purāṇa 8. 102; 101. 121 and 122.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

about this context:

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Śilpaśāstra (iconography)

Aṅgula: one of the two basic units of measurement, according to the Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa; the other being called Tāla. The Aṅgula is the basic unit prescribed to calculate the measurements of images. Banerjea (1941, p. 347) explains that the term Aṅgula served as a unit of measurement in India from very early times. The term is used in the Ṛg-veda (X.90), in the Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa (X.2.1–2) in which prajāpati measures the fire altar by Aṅgulas, and in the Śulbasūtras which contain the rules for construction of raised altars (vedīs and agnis).

Dave (1991, p. 349) states that according to the Kapiñjala-saṃhitā (10.58–60) an Aṅgula is classified into three types:

  1. mānāṅgula (a unit comprising of 8 barley grains or yavas),
  2. mātrāṅgula (determined by the length of the middle phalanx of the patron’s right hand)
  3. and dehāṅgula (the aṅgula of the image itself)
Source: Google Books: The Theory of Citrasutras in Indian Painting

about this context:

Śilpaśāstra (शिल्पशास्त्र, shilpa-shastra) represents the ancient Indian science of creative arts such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vāstuśāstra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Aṅgula; ancient Hindu unit of measurement of distance. 8 Yavas make a single Aṅgula and 24 Aṅgulas make 1 Hasta. Thus 768000 Aṅgulas make up for a single Yojana.

If we consider a single Yojana to be 8 miles (~12.87km), one Aṅgula would correspond to roughly 0.66 inches (~1.67cm)

If we consider a single Yojana to be 5 miles (~8.04km), one Aṅgula would correspond to roughly 0.41 inc (~1.05cm)

More conversions based on the Aṅgula:

2 Aṅgulas = 1 Golaka or Kalā;
  (1 Golaka = 1.32 inches or 3.35cm when a Yojana is 8 miles),
  (1 Golaka = 0.83 inches or 2.1cm when a Yojana is 5 miles);

4 Aṅgulas = 1 Dhanu-graha;
  (1 Dhanu-graha = 2.64 inches or 6.17cm when a Yojana is 8 miles),
  (1 Dhanu-graha = 1.65 inches or 4.19cm when a Yojana is 5 miles);

8 Aṅgulas = 1 Prādeśa or Dhanu-musti;
  (1 Prādeśa = 5.28 inches or 13.41cm when a Yojana is 8 miles),
  (1 Prādeśa = 3.3 inches or 8.38cm when a Yojana is 5 miles);

12 Aṅgulas = 1 Vitasti or Tāla or Mukha;
  (1 Vitasti = 7.95 inches or 20.12cm when a Yojana is 8 miles),
  (1 Vitasti = 4.95 inches or 12.57cm when a Yojana is 5 miles);

21 Aṅgulas = 1 Ratni;
  (1 Ratni = 13.86 inches or 35.20cm when a Yojana is 8 miles),
  (1 Ratni = 8.66 inches or 22cm when a Yojana is 5 miles);

42 Aṅgulas = 1 Kiṣku;
  (1 Kiṣku = 27.72 inches or 70.41cm when a Yojana is 8 miles),
  (1 Kiṣku = 17.33 inches or 44.01cm when a Yojana is 5 miles);

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

In Buddhism


Aṅgula, (Vedic aṅgula, lit. “limblet” see aṅga for etym.) 1. a finger or toe M.I, 395 (vaṅk’ aṅgulaṇ karoti to bend the fingers, v. l. aṅguliṇ); A.III, 6 (id.); J V 70 (goṇ° adj. with ox toes, expld. by C. as with toes like an ox’s tail; vv. ll. °aṅguṭṭha and °aṅgulī). — 2. a finger as measure, i. e. a finger-breadth, an inch Vin.II, 294, 306 (dvaṅgula 2 inches wide); Mhvs 19, 11 (aṭṭh°); DhA.III, 127 (ek°).

—aṭṭhi (? cp. aṅga-laṭṭhi) fingers (or toes) and bones DA.I, 93. —aṅguli fingers and toes DhA.III, 214. —antarikā the interstices between the fingers Vin.III, 39; Miln.180; DhA.III, 214. (Page 7)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

aṅgula : (nt.) an inch; a finger-breadth. (adj.), (in cpds:) measuring so many inches.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

about this context:

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Aṅgula (अङ्गुल, “the finger-measure”).—The basic Jaina units of measuring lengths is aṅgula or finger-measure. The practical unit of finger-measure is an utsedhāṅgula (UA – used for measuring heights of bodies and idols), which is 1/7,68000th of an utsedha-yojana.

  1. utsedhāṅgula,
  2. ātmāṅgula,
  3. pramāṇāṅgula

These three finger-measures (aṅgula) were used for measuring heights of bodies and idols, lengths of items of utility and lands, land and sea distances as well as astronomical distances.

Source: Prakrit Bharati Academy: Jainism - the Creed for all Times

Relevant definitions

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Ātmāṅgula (आत्माङ्गुल).—A type of aṅgula (‘finger-measure’) used as a Jain unit of measurement;...
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1a) Yava (यव).—The food of Naimiṣeyas; havis of, in a śrāddha.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 1. 1...
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Kiṣku (किष्कु).—A measure of length; two ratnis or 42 aṅgulas.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 7. ...
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Relevant text

Search found 6 books containing Angula or Aṅgula. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the 20 most relevant articles:

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