Kishku, aka: Kiṣku; 7 Definition(s)


Kishku means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Kiṣku can be transliterated into English as Kisku or Kishku, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

1) Kiṣku (किष्कु) refers to the “cubit-scale” a type of physical instrument used during architectural measurement. It is used throughout Vāstuśāstra literature such as the Mānasāra, which is a 5th-century Sanskrit treatise on architectural practice.

2) Kiṣku (किष्कु, “cubit”) is the Sanskrit name for a unit of measurement, used in Vāstuśāstra literature, according to the Mānasāra II.40-53. A single Kiṣku unit corresponds to 2 Vitasti units. There are 4 different cubit (kiṣku) varieties:

  1. Kiṣku comprises 24 aṅgulas,
  2. Prājāpatya comprises 25 aṅgulas,
  3. Dhanurmuṣṭi comprises 26 aṅgulas
  4. and Dhanurgraha comprises 27 aṅgulas.

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
Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Kishku in Purana glossary... « previous · [K] · next »

Kiṣku (किष्कु): 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

Kiṣku (किष्कु).—A measure of length; two ratnis or 42 aṅgulas.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 7. 96, 99. Matsya-purāṇa 173. 16. Vāyu-purāṇa 8. 102; 101. 123.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

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

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Kiṣku (किष्कु) refers to a “cubit” and represents a type of absolute measurement, as defined in the texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—In the Indian value of measurement of length there are two different kinds of units, namely, the absolute and the relative. Of these, the first is based on the length of certain natural objects, while the second is obtained from the length of a particular part or limb of the person whose measurement is under consideration. They have been specified by R. N. Mishra, in his text in volume 1 of Kalātattvakośa.

24 aṅgulas or mānāṅgulas (inch measure) make 1 kiṣku (cubit).

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
context information

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

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Kiṣku; ancient Hindu unit of measurement of distance. 2 Ratnis or 42 Aṅgulas make a single Kiṣku.

If we consider a single Yojana to be 8 miles (~12.87km), one Kiṣku would correspond to roughly 27.72 inches (~70.41cm)

If we consider a single Yojana to be 5 miles (~8.04km), one Kiṣku would correspond to roughly 17.33 inc (~44.01cm)

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kiṣku (किष्कु).—a. [P.VI.1.157.] Vile, contemptible, bad.

-ṣkuḥ m. or f.

1) The fore-arm. fore-arm measure (= 24 Aṅgulas); Rām.5.35.18.

2) A cubit, span; अवर्धत महा- तेजाः किष्कून्राजंस्त्रयोदश (avardhata mahā- tejāḥ kiṣkūnrājaṃstrayodaśa) Mb.3.126.32.

3) An instrument for measuring lengths.

4) A cubit of 24 or 42 Aṅgulas; किष्कुः स्मृतो द्विरत्निस्तु द्विचत्वारींशदङ्गुलः (kiṣkuḥ smṛto dviratnistu dvicatvārīṃśadaṅgulaḥ) | (Brahmāṇda P. Ch.7.5.99.).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kiṣku (किष्कु).—mfn. (-ṣkuḥ-ṣkuḥ-ṣku) Vile, bad, contemptible. mf.

(-ṣkuḥ) 1. A cubit. 2. A span. 3. The fore-arm. E. kai to sound, ḍiṣku aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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