Shukra Niti by Shukracharya

by Benoy Kumar Sarkar | 1914 | 106,458 words

The English Translation of the Shukra Niti by Shukracharya: An ancient Sanskrit text possibly dating to the 4th-century BC. The text contains maxims that deal with politics, statecraft, economis and ethics and shed light on the social life, monarchy and government of ancient India as well their knowledge of early political science....

Chapter 4.4 - Social Customs and Institutions

1-2. The Brahmacārī, the Householder, the Vānaprastha and the Yati— these are the four compulsory stages of every Brāhmaṇa.

3.[1] Of the others who follow the acivities of the Kṣatriya, Vaiśya, and Sūdra—all except the last.

4-5. The Brahmacārī is the disciple who wants learning, the Householder is for maintaining all men, the Vānaprastha or the man who has retired to forests is for restraining (the passions and activities), and the Sanyāsī attempts the attainment or Salvation.

6. The castes and stages which exist otherwise should be punished.

7-8.[2] If disregarded by the king and unrestrained by his punishments, the high families become bad, the low ones become elevated.

9-10. The female Śūdra should never practise the following things without husband: recital of hymns, penances, pilgrimages, foreign travel, observance of mantras and worship of gods.

11. Women have no separate right to the use of the means for the realisation of the three-fold end, virtue, wealth, and desires.

12-13. She should get up before her husband and purify her body, then raise the beddings and cleanse the house by sweeping and washing,

14-15.[3] should then come to the yard, covered with grass, cleanse the vessels used in sacrifices by hot water,

16. then should keep them at the proper place.

17. She should make the vessels empty and fill them (again with fresh water),

18-19. should wash the vessels of the kitchen on the outside, cleanse the hearth with earth (and other things) and place fire there with fuel.

20.[4] She should study the vessels to be used and the various articles of food. Having thus finished the work of the forenoon she should bow down to the father-in-law and mother-in-law.

21-22. She should put on clothes, ornaments and jewels given by the father-in-law, mother-in-law, husband, parents and brothers, uncles and relatives.

23-25. The wife should be pure in mind, speech and action, abide by the instructions of her husband, and follow her like a pure, shadow, and be a friend in all his good activities, and servant in all his commands.

26-28. She should then cook the food, inform her husband, and then feed those who are to be fed by the food first given to the gods of the universe.

29-30. Then her husband,, and lastly herself, partake of the meals at the instance of her husband. She should then spend the remainder of the day time in studying the proper earnings and expenses (i.e., settle accounts).

31-32. Then again in the evening as well as in the morning she should cleanse the house, cook the food, and feed the husband and the servants.

33-34. She should take her food not immoderately, finish the sundry domestic duties, then spread a good bed and serve the husband.

35-36. She should He down on that bed after the husband is asleep with her mind fixed on him, not naked, not excited, without passions and by restraining senses.

37-38. She should not talk aloud or harsh, not call frequently (?) and not speak unpleasant things. Should not quarrel with anybody, and should not talk nonsense.

39. She should not be extravagant, nor act at variance with virtues and interests.

40-42. The good wife should give up words that indicate senselessness, lunacy, anger, and envy, and the contemptible vices of meanness, jealousy, excessive attachment to things of this world, vanity and boastfulness, atheism, adventurousness, thieving and pride.

43-44. Thus behaving with the husband as with a great god she gets fame in this world and heaven (?) in the next.

45. The daily duties of women have been mentioned above. The occasional functions are being narrated now.

46-49. She should give up all these things when she sees rajas i.e., when she is menstruated. She should live bashfully in an inward apartment unseen by anybody. She should have only one piece of cloth devoid of bath and ornaments, hence look thin and humble, and sleep on the ground without passions, and thus spend three days.

50-52. She should take her bath at the expiration of three nights with the clothes. She becomes pure after seeing her husband’s face. After having thus purified herself she should work as before.

53. This is the duty of women of the twice-born castes and this is desired of others also.

54. The women should be assistants in the functions of the males, viz., agriculture, shopkeeping, etc.

55-56. The woman should practise music, gentle manners, etc., according as the husband is master of these and perform the winning arts, etc., with regard to him.

57-59. When the husband is dead, the chaste woman should accompany him or observe the vow, should not like to go to other’s houses, and should always maintain brahmacarya or control of passions, should give up the daily ornamentation of self.

59-61. When the husband is gone abroad, the wife should be devoted to the adoration of the gods, wish well of the husband, put on things that indicate good, and only a few ornaments.

62-63. There is no lord like the husband, there is no happiness like the husband. The husband is the real protector of women—not all the wealth.

64-65.[5] The father gives measured things, the brother and son also give only limited things. Who does not worship the husband who is the giver of infinite (blessings)?

66-68.[6] The Śūdra is the fourth caste and hence as belonging to a caste has certain duties—except the mantras of the Svadhā, Svāhā, Vaṣaṭ, etc., but only those actions which require namas as the sign of adoration, the mantras given in the Purāṇas.

69-70.[7] People should practise their duties like Brāhmaṇas if born of women married with Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas if born of women married with Kṣatriyas and like Vaiśyas if born of women married with Vaiśyas.

71. But people born of Vaiśya women by Kṣatriyas and Brāhmaṇas should be treated as Sūdras, also men born of Śūdra women (?).

72. The man who is born of a lower male and higher female is known as the worst of Śūdras.

73. The Śūdrādhama or the worst of Śūdras should always practise his duties according to nāma mantra by repeating the name of god only) in a manner inferior to that of the Śūdra.

74-75. The Yavanas have all the four castes mixed together. They recognise authority other than that of the Vedas and live in the north and west.

76. Their Śāstras have been framed for their welfare by their own masters.

77.[8] But the rules that are followed for ordinary purposes are the same in the two cases.

78-79. Inferiority and superiority depend sometimes on the qualities of the seed, sometimes on the character of the field. But excellence is due to both.

80-81.[9] Viśvāmitra Vasiṣṭha, Mātaṅga and Nārada and others became elevated by special penances not by birth.

82-83. Every caste should practise the duties that have been mentioned as belonging to it and that have been practised by ancestors, and should otherwise be punished by kings.

84. The king should differentiate the castes and stages by separate marks of distinction.

85-87. The king should always keep in his kingdom the tools and implements of the metal workers after inspecting them; and maintain artists and artisans according to need, and employ additional workers in agriculture or menial service.

88. The goldsmiths are the fathers of thieves.

89-90.[10] He should build the Gañjā [Gañjāgṛha] house (a tavern) outside the

91-93. The king should have the domestic plants planted in villages and the wild trees in the forests—the good ones at a distance of twenty cubits from one another, the middling at a distance of fifteen cubits and the ordinary ones at a distance of ten cubits and the youngest at a distance of five Cubits.

94.[11] He should nourish them by stools of goats, sheep and cows, water as well as meat.

95-102. The udumbara (Ficus glomerata); aśvattha (the holy fig tree), vata (banyan), chincha [ciñcā] (tamarind), chandan [candana] (sandal), gambhala [jambhala] (lime), kadamba (Nauclea Cadamba), aśoka (Jonesia asoka), vakula (Mimusops Elengi), bilva (bael), amṛta, kapitthaka (wood apple), rājādana (Mimusops hexandra,) āmra (mango), pannāga (Calophyllum inophyllum); tūda (Mulberry); champaka [campaka] (Michelia champaca); nīpa (a species of Aśoka); Loka (a wild date tree): amra (Spondias mangifera), sarala (pine), dārima (pomegranate), akṣoṭa (walnut), śiṃśapā (Dalbergia sissoo), vadara (jujube), nimba (Neem), jambira (lime), kṣīrika, kharjura (date), devakaraja (Pongamia glabra), phālgu (opposite leaved fig tree), Tāpichha [Tāpiñcha?] (Tamala), bhala (Semecarpus anacardiam), kudvāla [kuddāla?] (ebony), lavalī (Phyllanthus distichas), dhātrī (Woodfordia floribunda), kramuka (betelnut), mātuluṅgaka [mātuliṅgaka?] (citron), lakuca (Artocarpus lakoocha), nārikela, (cocoanut), rambhā (plantains)—these are the trees which bear good fruits.

103. He should plant those trees which bear good flowers very near the village.

104. One should lay out a fair garden to the left of the dwelling house.

105-106.[12] The trees are to be watered in the morning aud evening in summer, every alternate day in winter, in the fifth part of the day afternoon) in spring, never in the rainy season.

107-108. If trees have their fruits destroyed, the pouring of cold water after being cooked together with Kulutha, Māśa (seeds), Mudga (pulse) Yava (barley) and Tila (oil seed) would lead to the growth of flowers and fruits.

109. Growth of trees can be helped by the application of water with which fishes are washed and cleansed.

110-112. The powder of the dungs of goats and sheep, the powder of Yava (barley), Tila (seeds), beef as well as water should be kept together (undisturbed) for seven nights. The application of this water leads very much to the growth in flowers and fruits of all trees.

113-114. Those trees which bear thorns, e.g., the Khadira (catechu), etc., are known as wild and should be planted in forests.

115-122. Khadira (catechu), asmanta (oxalis), sāka (Teak), agnimatha [agnimantha], (Premna spinosa), syaunāka [syonāka] (Bignonia Indica), vabbula [bavvula] (Acacia), tamāla, (Ginnamomum tamala), sāla [śāla] (Shorea robusta), kūtaja [ kuṭaja] (Holarrhena antidysenterica), dhava (Anogeissus latifolia), arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), palāśa [palāśaka] (Butea frondosa), śaptaparṇa (Alstonia scholaris), śami (Acacia spigera), tunna [tuna] (Cedrela toona), devadāru (Pinus longifolia), vikeṅkaṭa [vikaṅkata] (Flacourtia sapida), karamanda [karamarda] (Carissa carandas), iṅgudī (Balanites boxburghh), bhūrja (Betula bhojapatra), viṣamuṣṭhi, (Strychnos nux-vomica), karīraka (Capparis aphylla), sallaki [śallakī] (Boswellia serrata), kāśmarī (Gmelina arborea), pāṭhā (Stephania hernandifolia), tinduka (Diospyros Embryopteris), vījasāraka (name of a tree not identified), harītakī (Terminalia chebula), bhallāta (Semecarpus anacardium), sampāka [śamyāka] (name of a tree not identified), arka (Calotropis gigantea), puṣkara (tree not identified), arimeda (Acacia farnesiana), pītadru (a kind of pine tree), śālmalī (Bombax malabaricum), vibhītaka (Terminalia bellerica), naravela (a plant not identified), madhuka (Bassia latifolia) and other large trees.

123-124. Expansive trees, shrubs, and creepers are to be carefully planted in villages if domestic, in forests if wild.

125-129. Wells, canals, tanks and ponds should be made accessible, (by staircases, &c.) should have width twice or thrice the depth and footpaths round them. There should be many of these so that there may be plenty of water in the kingdom. Bridges should be constructed over rivers. There should also be boats and water conveyances for crossing the rivers.

130-131. The temples of the gods who are worshipped by a caste and houses of the preceptors who are the teachers of its arts and sciences should be situated in the front of the houses belonging to it.

132-133. The king should build temples for Viṣṇu, Śaṅkara, Gaṇeśa, Sun and Pārvatī in the squares, or the centre of the village.

134-137. (The temples are) to be of the Meru or some other of the sixteen types; to be beautiful, round, square or of some other mechanical form; to have maṇḍapas or halls, walls, gopuras or central gates; to have height twice or thrice the width, to have good images inside made according to the prescribed rules, to have wafer at the foot and to be well painted or decorated.

138-139.[13] A Meru temple is that which has one thousand domes, has one hundred and twenty-five stories, is one thousand cubits wide and one thousand cubits high.

140-141. The Mandara and other types of temples mentioned below are one-eight less than the preceding:—the Mandara, Ṛkṣamamālī, Dyumaṇi Candraśekhara, Mālyavān, Pārijātra, Ratnaśīrṣa, Dhātumān, Padmakośa, Puṣpahāsa, Śikara, Svastika, Mahāpadma, Padmakūṭa, and Vijaya, the sixteenth.

145-146. The maṇḍapa or hall of each temple to be adapted to each and one-fourth less than the temple in height. The images should be placed or set up there with the hymns appropriate to the gods that have been embodied.

147-151.[14] The characteristic of an image is its power of helping forward contemplation and yoga. The human maker of images should therefore be meditative. Besides meditation there is no other way of knowing the character of an image—even direct observation (is of no use). Images are made of sands, pastes, paints, enamels, earth, woods, stones and metals and are strong in succession.

152-153.[15] The image constructed full according to the prescribed limbs is beautiful and yields virtue, otherwise takes away wealth and life and daily increases grief.

154-157.[16] The images of gods yield happiness to men, and lead to heaven but those of men lead away from heaven and yield grief. That image is beautiful which is neither above nor below the fixed proportion. But the images of gods, even if deformed, are for the good of men.

158.[17] But the images of men, even if well formed, are never for human good.

159. Images are of three kinds—sāttvika, rājasika, and tāmasika.

160.[18] The images of Viṣṇu and other gods are to be worshipped in the sāttvika, rājasika or tāmasika form according to needs and circumstances.

161-162.[19] The sāttvika image is that which has yogamudrā or the posture of meditation, the straight back, hands giving blessings and courage and has the gods represented as worshipping it.

163-164. The rājasika image is that which sits on some vāhana or conveyance, is adorned with numerous ornaments, and has hands equipped with arms and weapons as well as offering courage and blessings (to the devotees).

165-166. The tāmasika image is that which is a killer of demons by arms and weapons, which has a ferocious and vehement look and is eager for warfare.

167-168. The hymns of Viṣṇu and other gods are being described in brief, measurements of the images and their limbs in detail.

169. An aṅgula is one-fourth of a muṣṭi (the closed fist of a hand).

170. The length of a tala is twelve aṅgulas.

171-172. The image of dwarf is to be seven tālas in height, that of men eight talas, that of gods nine tālas, that of Rākṣasas ten tālas.

173-174. The height of images varies from seven tālas (mentioned above) according to the customs of localities. But images of females and dwarfs are always seven tālas.

175-176. Nara, Nārāyaṇa, Rāma, Nṛsiṃha, Vali, Indra, Bhārgava (Paraśurāma) And Arjuna are of ten tālas.

177-178. Caṇḍī, Bhairava, Vetāla, Narasiṃha, Varāha, Hayaśīrṣa and others who are of a vehement type are to be twelve tālas.

179. The images of Piśacas and Asuras are to be always sixteen tālas in height.

180-182. Hiraṇyakaśipu, Vṛtra, Hiraṇyākṣa, Rāvaṇa, Kumbhakarṇa, Namuci, Niśumbha, Śumbha, Mahiṣāsura, Raktavīja [Raktabīja]—these are to be sixteen tālas in height.

183.[20] The bālas are to be five tālas, and the kumāras, six tālas.

184-185.[21] Images are of ten tālas in Satyayuga of nine tālas in Tretā, eight tālas in Dvāpara, and seven tālas in Kali.

136-187. If the image be nine tālas, the mouth must be one tāla, the forehead four aṅgulas, the nose likewise.

188-189. The space from the tip of the nose to the end of the hanu (jaw) is to be four aṅgulas. The throat is to be four aṅgulas. The space from throat to heart is to be one tāla.

190-191. Thence downward to the navel the space is beautiful if one tāla. From the navel downwards to the genital organ there should be one tāla.

192-193. The two thighs are to be two tālas each, the knees to be tour aṅgulas each. The two legs are to be made equal to the thighs. Tlìe bottom of the ankle is to be four aṅgulas.

194.[22] The vertical measurements of an image of nine tālas are thus given by the sages.

195. The image of seven, eight or ten tālas should be divided according to the above proportion.

197.[23] The two hands are to be four tālas each up to the ends of the fingers.

198. From the neck to the elbow the space is good if twenty aṅgulas.

199.[24] From the armpit to the elbow the distance is thirteen aṅgulas.

200. The kara or arm up to the end of the middle finger is twenty-eight aṅgulas.

201. The palm is seven aṅgulas: the middle finger is five aṅgulas.

202-203. The thumb is to be three aṅgulas and a half, should come up to the first joint of the forefinger and should have two joints. The other fingers are each to have three joints.

204. The anāmā or ring-finger and the tarjjani [tarjanī] or forefinger are to be less by half an aṅgula or a full aṅgula (than the middle).

205. The little finger is less than the ring-finger by one aṅgula.

206-207. The feet are to be fourteen aṅgulas each, the great toe is two aṅgulas or two aṅgulas and a half. The pradeśinī or that toe of the foot by which something is pointed out is of that size.

208. The pradeśinī may be two aṅgulas, the others are one aṅgula and a half each.

209.[25] The hands and legs must have veins suppressed and the ankles must be hidden.

210-212.[26] Those limbs are beautiful which are neither more nor less in measurement than the limbs of images prepared by the experts. And those, which are to please all must not be either too thin or thick.

213. It is one in a lakh that is produced beautiful in all limbs.

214. That which is beautiful according to the measurements laid down in the Śāstras is really beautiful, not any other.

215. That which is not according to the measurements laid down in the Śāstras is not beautiful, say the wise.

216.[27] That which satisfies the heart of certain individuals is beautiful to those individuals only.

217. The forehead is to-be eight aṅgulas, the two eyebrows are to be likewise.

218. The eyebrows are to be half aṅgula in width and must be bow-like in the middle.

219.[28] The two eyes are to be three aṅgulas in length and two aṅgulas in width.

220. The pupil is to be one-third of the eye and black in colour.

221. The space between the two eyebrows is two aṅgulas. The origin o^ the nose is one aṅgula.

222. The tip of the nose is to be one aṅgula. And the two nostrils together to be two aṅgulas.

223.[29] The nose maybe of two kinds—having the shape of the birds mouth (aquiline or curved) or like the flower (straight).

224. The two nostrils are to be beautiful like the niṣpāpa legume.

225. The ears are equal to the eyebrows and four aṅgulas long.

226. The fleshy portion of the ears is to be three aṅgulas and a half thick.

227. The nose-bone is to be half an aṅgula (wide and broad), ṣmooth, and high by one and a half aṅgula.

228. From the end of the neck to the end of the throat the space is eight aṅgulas.

229. The space between the two hands is to be two tālas. The space between the two nipples is to be one tāla.

230. The space between the two ears is to be sixteen aṅgulas.

231. The space between the ear and the jaw is always eight aṅgulas.

232. The space between the nose and the ear is likewise. The space between the ear and the eye is half that, i.e., four aṅgulas.

233. The mouth is one-third of a tāla, the lips are to be half an aṅgula each.

234-235. The circumference of the head is thirty-two aṅgulas. Its width is ten aṅgulas, length twelve aṅgulas.

236. The circumference of the throat is twenty-two aṅgulas.

237. The circumference of the breast is fifty-four aṅgulas.

238. The circumference of the heart is one aṅgula less than four tālas (i.e., forty-seven aṅgulas).

239. The space between the nipple and the back (or the thickness of the breast) is twelve aṅgulas.

240. The circumference of the waist is two aṅgulas in addition to three tālas and a half (i.e., forty-four aṅgulas).

241. The height of the hip is to be four aṅgulas and the width six aṅgulas.

242. At the back the posterior of females is one aṅgula greater.

243. The circumference of the forepart of the hand is sixteen aṅgulas, that of the origin of the hand is eighteen aṅgulas.

244.[30] The circumference of the origin of the arm is fourteen aṅgulas, that of the forepart of the arm is ten aṅgulas.

245. The width of the plains of the hand and plantar surfaces of the feet is five aṅgulas.

246-247. The circumference of the origin of the thigh is thirty-two aṅgulas, that of the end or forepart of the thigh is nineteen aṅgulas.

248. The circumference of the origin of the legs is sixteen aṅgulas, that of the end of the legs is twelve aṅgulas.

249-251. The circumference of the root of the middle finger is four aṅgulas, that of the roots of the forefinger and ring-finger is three aṅgulas and a half each. That of the little finger at the root is three aṅgulas.

252. The circumference of the end or forepart (of each finger) is a quarter less than that of the root.

253. The circumference of the thumb of hand is four aṅgulas, that of the thumb of the leg is five aṅgulas.

254. The circumference of the other fingers of the feet is three aṅgulas.

255. The circular ring of the breast is an aṅgula and a half, that of the navel one aṅgula.

258. One should design for all the limbs a grace that is suited to each.

257-258. One should not construct any image that has eyes directed upwards, downwards or closed, nor should design one that has vehement eyes, but eyes bespeaking satisfaction.

259.[31] The seat or stand on which the image is to be placed is to be one-third or one-half of itself.

260. The doors of the room are to be twice, thrice or four times the image.

261. The door of the temple is to be one, two, three or four cubits high.

262. The height of the wall from the floor is to be ten cubits greater than the height of the floor.

263. The height of the palace is to be double that of the doors.

264. The dome is to be equal to, twice or thrice, the height of the whole building.

265-266. The building should be constructed with stories up to one hundred and twenty-fifth and witheight corners like a lotus.

267. The building must be a chatussala [catuḥśāla] and have halls all round it.

268. That with one thousand pillars is good, others are middling or inferior.

269-270. If there is to be a dome over the palace or the hall pillars need not be constructed, the walls are sufficient.

271-272. The space inside the palace (temple) around the image or in front of it is to be six or eight times that (image).

273. The vehicle is to be equal to, one and a half time or twice the image.

274. Where the forms of gods are not mentioned they are to have four hands.

275-278.[32] Where there is no mention of weapons, the lower hands are to indicate courage and blessings, and the upper hands should have śaṅkha (conch), cakra (wheel), aṅkuśa (hook), pāśa (noose), ḍamaru (horn), śūla (trident), kamala (lotus), kalaśa (pitcher), sru [sruk?] (vessel used in sacrifice), lāḍḍuka (sweet balls), mātuluṅgaka [mātuluṅga] (fruit), vīṇā (lyre), mālā (garland), or book

279. Where there is a multiplicity of mouths or heads these should be sei up in a row.

280. Each should have its own throat, crown, eyes and ears.

281-3.[33] Where there is a multiplicity of hands, the necks need not be separated. The portion above elbows should be slender; flat nose should be [represented] massive. Shoulders should be in deportment as trunks.

284. The mouths of Brahma are to be placed in four directions (i.e., not in a row).

285-286. Hayagrīva, Varāha, Nṛsiṃha, Gaṇeśa are to be like men except in mouths, and Nṛsiṃha except in nails.

287-288. The images of the worshipped gods are to be made according to the above marks whether sitting on the vehicles or on their seats.

289-291. The images should always be without beards and eyelids and of sixteen years of age, have beautiful ornaments and cloths and be painted with brightest colours, covered up to the feet by clothes and adorned with ornaments.

292-293.[34] The images are not to be constructed with limbs less or greater than the fixed proportion. That with less limbs injures the householder, and that with more, the artist.

294-295.[35] The too thin image causes perpetual famines and the too thick one causes constant diseases. That with hidden joints, bones and veins ever increases happiness.

296. The sāttvika form of Viṣṇu’s image is to have hands with blessings, courage, conch and lotus.

297. The sāttvika form of Soma’s image is to have hands with deer, musical instrument, courage and blessings.

238. The sāttvika form of the image of the gold whose mouth is like that of the elephant is to have hands with blessings, courage, lotus and lāḍḍuka (sweet balls.)

299. The sātivika form of the Sun’s image is to have hands with lotus, garland, courage and blessings.

300. The sāttvika form of (Lakṣmi)’s image is to have hands with Vīṇā, Luṅga (fruit), courage and blessings.

301-302.[36] The images of Viṣṇu and other gods may have six separate forms through conch, wheel, mace, padma and other weapons.

303-304. The differences can be distinguished by noticing the upādhis (names) as well as the union and separation of limbs.

305-306.[37] If there be an absence of one or two marks in the images made by painting, drawing, or of sands; earth and pastes, there is no offence.

307-308.[38] So also defects of measurement are not to be noticed in the following images—those made of natural Vāṇaliṅgas [Bāṇaliṅgas] (stones of the Nerbudda Valley) or Chandrakantas [Candrakāntas] or of gems found in the Gaṇḍaka river.

309.[39] One should consider the defects of proportion in the images of stones and metals only.

310-311. The artist should construct images with white, yellow, red, and black stones according to the ages and with others according to one’s option.

312-313.[40] The white colour is of sāttvika type, the yellow and red of the rājasika, tamasika type is of black colour—if the other marks described above are attendant.

314. Images are to be of gold, silver, copper and bronze in the Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali yugas respectively.

315-316. Śaṅkara’s image is to be of white colour. Viṣṇu’s to be black that of the Sun, Śakti (Pārvatī or Śaṅkara’s wife) and Gaṇeśa to be copper-coloured (red).

317. The images may be of iron or lead according to one’s purposes—say the sages.

318-319. For purposes of worship, whether temporary or permanent, the images should be constructed according to the marks fixed for palaces, &c., not others (without the proper marks) which are the destroyers of happiness.

320.[41] The marks of images are known from the relations between the adorer and the adored.

321-323.[42] Through the strength of the virtues of the worshipper who has his heart always fixed on God the defects of images go for nothing in a moment. The particular vehicle of a deity should be placed in front of the canopy before him.

324-326. Garuḍa has two hands, beautiful eyes, bills and wings, human form, the mouth like bills, a crown, and a bracelet with a charm, has his palms closed (in devotion), head bent low, and eyes fixed towards the lotus feet of the adored.

327. The birds that have become vehicles of gods can assume any forms they like. So also the lion, the bull and other animals.

328. The vāhana or vehicle should be placed in the hall before the image.

329-330. These are always to be made according to their names and forms, well adorned and in meditative posture in the hall before the god.

331-334. The tiger has the form of a cat, yellow colour, black marks (stripes), huge physique and no manes. The lion has a thin waist, large eyebrows, big eyes, a young appearance, manes, grey colour and black marks.

335. The difference between the lion and the tiger is only in manes and marks, not in appearance.

336-339. Gaṇeśa is to have an elephant’s face, man’s form, long ears, big belly, thick but very short neck, thick legs, thick hands, long trunk, left tooth (tusk) suppressed, his own vehicle, and the trunk bent towards the left like a slightly curved rod.

340. The image is to be made with joints, bones and veins hidden and according to the proper measurements.

341-342. The trunk is to be four tālas and a half. The head is to be ten aṅgulas, the eyebrows four aṅgulas.

343. The nose is the upper lip. The end of the trunk is to have a puṣkara.

344. The length of the ear is ten aṅgulas and the width eight aṅgulas,

345. The space between the two ears is two aṅgulas in addition to one tāla.

346. The circumference of the head is thirty-six aṅgulas.

347. The circumference of the head round the eyes is also thirty-six

348. The circumference round the bottom of the eyes at the origin of the trunks is two aṅgulas in addition to two tālas (twenty-six aṅgulas).

349. The circumference of the end of the trunk and of the puṣkara is ten aṅgulas.

350. The length of the throat is three aṅgulas, its circumference is thirty aṅgulas.

351. The circumference of the belly is four tālas.

352. The length of the belly should be made six or eight aṅgulas by the artists.

353. The tusk is six aṅgulas in length, the circumference of its origin is also that.

354. The lower lip is six aṅgulas. The puṣkara is to have a lotus.

355-356. The circumference of the origin of the thigh is thirty-six aṅgulas. That of the end of the thigh is twenty-three aṅgulas.

357. The circumference of the origin of the legs is twenty aṅgulas.

358. The circumference of the origin of the hand is greater than that of the end by one or two aṅgulas.

359. The space between the eye and the ear is four aṅgulas.

360-361. The space between the ends of the eyes, centres of the eyes and the origins of the eyes is ten, seven and six aṅgulas. respectively. This is the opinion of experts with regard to Gaṇeśa’s image.

362. The height and thickness of the breasts of women is five aṅgulas.

363. The circumference of the waist of women is two aṅgulas in addition to three tālas.

364. The limbs of the female have all to be made up in seven tālas.

365. In the image of seven tālas the face is to be twelve aṅgulas.

366. The height of bālas (or infants) varies.

367.[43] The neck of the śiśu (very young child) is short and the head thick.

368. The head does not grow in the same proportion as the limbs below the neck.

369. The whole body below the neck is to be four times and a half of the face.

370-371. The body from below the neck to the śiśna (genital organ) is to be twice the face. From the sakthi (or thighs) to the end the space is two times the face. The hands are two times and a half of the face.

372. There is no rule about the thickness but it should be made according as it looks beautiful.

373. The child begins to grow daily and very fast after the fifth year.

374.[44] The female has all the parts of her body fully developed in her sixteenth year, the male in the twentieth.

375. Then each deserves the full measurements of the seven-tāla-type.

376. Somebody acquires beauty even in childhood, others in young or old age.

377. The length of the throat below the face is three aṅgulas. The heart is nine aṅgulas.

378. The belly and abdomen (vasti) each is eighteen aṅgulas.

379. The knees are to be three aṅgulas each, the legs eighteen aṅgulas each.

380.[45] The space from the ankle to the encl is to be three aṅgulas in the image of seven tālas.

381. The throat is to be of aṅgulas of the number of Vedas (four), the breast ten aṅgulas.

382. The belly is to be ten aṅgulas, the abdomen ten aṅgulas.

383. The thigh is to be twenty-one aṅgulas, the knees four aṅgulas.

384. The legs to be twenty-one aṅgulas. From the ankle to the end the space is four aṅgulas.

385.[46] This is the proportion of limbs in an image of eight tālas.

386-387. The face as well as the breast are thirteen aṅgulas each. The belly as well as the abdomen are ten aṅgulas each.

388. The end from the ankle as well as the throat are five aṅgulas each.

389. The thighs as well as the legs are twenty-six aṅgulas each.

390.[47] In an image of ten tālas there should be a maṇi at the head, measuring one aṅgula.

391. In an image of ten tālas the hands are to be fifteen aṅgulas.

392.[48] In the images of less height (i.e., eight or seven tālas) they are to be less by two aṅgulas in each case.

393. Grace should be given to each image according to fitness.

395. In the image of ten tālas the feet are to be fifteen aṅgulas.

396-397.[49] In the images of greater height the skilled artist should give one aṅgula more to the face and other limbs per total increase of one tāla.

398-99. The images of Asuras, Piśācas and Rākṣasas are to have long thighs and legs, to be ferocious, cruel and vehement or sometimes very lean and thin.

400.[50] In the images of less height the feet are to be less by one aṅgula.

401-2.[51] In all measurements the middle finger is not to be less than five aṅgulas or greater than six.

403-4. The artist should always design the appearance of the young; very rarely that of the infant, but never that of the old.

405-6. The king should always set up such gods in the kingdom, and should every year perform festivals in their honour.

407. He should never keep in the temple images broken or made according to false measurements.

408.[52] He should also repair carefully the gods and temples.

409-10.[53] He should always worship the gods and see the entertainments in their honour but never apply his mind to self-enjoyment.

411-12.[54] The king should also celebrate the festivals that are observed by the people, and should enjoy happiness when they are happy and be aggrieved when they are in grief.

Footnotes and references:


The first three stages are compulsory of all others.


The king should maintain the several classes in their proper āśramas and punish them if they go astray. The performance of one’s own duties in life according to caste and stage should be rigidly enforced.




In this routine of duties and daily work one notice the virtues of a civilisation based mainly on domestic life and the rights and merits of persons notes citizens but as members of a family. Before the woman goes to pay respects to the superiors she must finish all the drudge work. So she must rise very early. Here is a very graphic account of the ordinary social (and material) life of the Hindus.


Up to 64, the duties and functions of the twice-born have been mentioned.


In any religious service, the Śūdra cannot pronounce the mantras: svadhā, svāhā, vaṣaṭ given in the Vedas. He has right to pronounce only—namas the Mantra mentioned in the Purāṇas. Thus he has right only to the study of Purāṇas.

svadhā, svāhā, vaṣaṭ—exclamations used on presenting an oblation to the manes.


A Śūdra Woman may be married to Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriya and Vaiśya and would give rise to Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya and Vaiśya offsprings, respectively. It is the character of the husband that establishes the character of the issue to a marriage.


The home and characteristics of the yavanas are described here. It is mentioned that however much they weight differ from those who follow the system of castes and stages in matters of ācārya, śāstra and pramāṇa, sages, moral codes and authority, they are at one with them in rules of ordinary business-morality, vyavahāranīti and the standards of daily life.


This is an instance of the kṣetra or field being good, not the seed or birth.


Liquor-houses and other houses for indulgence in intoxication should be kept village and there keep the drunkards. And should never allow drinking of liquor in his kingdom in the daytime.


Ordures and dungs have always been recognised as good manures.


In these lines we get some of the agri-flori-horti-cultural ideas prevalent in those times.


The temple described as having:
(i) 1,000 domes.
(ii) 125 stories.
(iii) 1,000 cubits height.
(iv) 1,000 cubits width.

The is the temple having
(i) 875 domes.
(ii) 110 stories.
(iii) 875 cubits height.
(iv) 875 cubits width.

Thus one gets the following table:—

Type   Domes Stories Height
in Cubits
in Cubits
1. meru ... 1,000 125 1,000 1,000
2. mandara ... 875 110 875 875
3. ṛkṣamālī ... 766 96 766 766
4. dyumaṇi ... 670 84 673 670
5. candraśekhara ... 586 74 586 586
6. mālyavān ... 513 65 513 513
7. pariyātra ... 449 57 449 449
8. ratnaśīrṣa ... 393 50 393 393
9. dhātumān ... 344 44 344 344
10. padmakośa ... 301 36 301 301
11. puṣpahāda ... 263 32 263 263
12. śīkara ... 230 28 230 230
13. svāstika ... 201 25 201 201
14. mahāpadma ... 176 22 176 176
15. padmakūṭa [padmakuṭa] ... 154 19 154 154
16. vijaya ... 135 17 135 135


Worship of images is here mentioned as only a means to an end. The image is the concrete embodiment of the divinity and helps the mind to fix itself on it by meditation.


The image must be rightly made according to the proportions of its limbs. The sanction that compels artists to be very careful is, as usual, of a religious nature. The artist must not bungle with the work entrusted to him.


Here are some very serious injunctions against the construction of human images. Human beings must not be painted or sculptured.


Images of gods, even deformed, are allowable but not those of. human beings even though well proportioned.


Each of the gods may be worshipped in the three forms. Each form is to be selected according to the purposes of the worshipper. The forms are being described below.


Characteristics of sāttvika image:—

(1) yogamudrā—The eye fixed upon the tip of the nose as in meditation
(2) svastha—straight posture, unbending.
(3) varābhayakara—Hands displayed as giving blessings and courage to the worshippers.
(4) devendra—The Gods must be worshipping the image.


bāla—Boy under five years of age.
kumāra—an infant. The terms are however used as synonyms.


aṅgula, = ¼ muṣṭi;
12 aṅgula, = 1 tāla;

The following are the measurements in tālas described in the above lines:—

A. Ordinary.
(1) vāmana ... 7 Tālas
(2) mānuṣa ... 8 Tālas
(3) deva ... 9 Tālas
(4) rākṣasa ...10 Tālas
(5) strī ... 7 Tālas
(6) kumāra ... 6 Tālas
(7) bāla ... 5 Tālas
B. Special.
(1) nara nārāyaṇa ... 10 Tālas
(2) caṇḍī ... 12 Tālas
(3) bhairava hiraṇakaśipu, vṛtra ... 16 Tālas
C. According to the ages.
(1) satya ... 10 Tālas
(2) tretā ... 9 Tālas
(3) dvāpara ... 8 Tālas
(4) kali ... 7 Tālas


The measurements of the image of 9 tālas described above are given below

sukha ... 1 tāla
lalāṭa ... 4 aṅgulas.
nāsā ... 4 aṅgulas.
nāsāhanu ... 4 aṅgulas.
grīvā ... 4 aṅgulas.
grīvā to hṛdaya ... 1 tāla
hṛdayas to nābhi ... 1 tāla
nabhi to meḍhra ... 1 tāla
uru ... 2 tālas.
jānu ... 4 aṅgulas.
jaṅghā ... 2 tālas.
gulpha ... 4 aṅgulas.
Total 108 aṅgulas or 9 tālas


Of course this is to be the measure of the hands in the case of the nine tālas-type.


kūrpara—armpit. So the distance from the armpit to the neck is seven aṅgulas.


The hands and legs must not be disfigured by prominent veins and arteries. The ankles also must not be protuberant or prominent.


Measurements of other limbs of the image of nine tālas

(1) bāhu ... 4 tālas
skandha to kūrpara ... 20 aṅgulas
kakṣa to kūrpara ... 13 aṅgulas
kara ... 28 aṅgulas
(2) karatala ... 7 aṅgulas
(3) madhyama ... 5 aṅgulas
(4) tarjjani [tarjanī] ... 4 aṅgulas
(5) aṅguṣṭha ... 3½ aṅgulas
(6) anāmā ... 4½ aṅgulas
(7) kaniṣṭha ... 3½ aṅgulas
(8) pāda ... 14 aṅgulas
(9) aṅguṣṭha ... 2 or 2½ aṅgulas
(10) pradśinī ... 2 or 2½ aṅgulas
(11) Other fingers of the foot ... 2 or 2½ aṅgulas


Individuals may be satisfied with certain images according bo their idiosyncrasies and peculiar tastes and predilections.

Having described the proportions of the erect posture [???] Śukrācārya is going to describe the horizontal measurement of each limb.




puṣpavat—Having the shape of the tilapuṣpa which is very straight.


So the whole hand is to be conical—the origin 18 aṅgulas in width and the end 10 aṅgulas.


All these regulations have been framed according to the standard of aesthetic erection prevalent in those times. Even a superficial study of these canons of Hindu art is sufficient to convince people of their love of exactness, accuracy and mathematical rigidity in the management of secular affairs. Connoisseurs of art would do well to take note of these rules laid down by Sukrācārya.


śaṅkha, cakra—For Viṣṇu.
pāśa—For Varuṇa.
mālā—For Sun.
ḍamaru-śūla—For Śiva.
mātuluṅga—For Lakṣmī.
vīṇā, pustaka—For Saraswatī.
laḍḍuka—For Gaṇeśa.


All the hands must issue from the same neck.


The sanction for the observance of the canons of art cannot be stricter than what is given here.


The last two lines provide the religious or spiritual sanction to the rules of art. Here we get the social and economic.


Every sāttvika form may have two types—one described in lines 226-300, and the other with weapons in each hand in the place of courage and blessings. The rājasika and tamasika forms also have two types each. So each image may have six possible forms.


The temporary images need not be executed with particular care, it seems


Like the temporary images, these natural stone images also are to be leniently examined.

The rivers Nerbudda and Gaṇḍaka are mentioned as being sources of stones and gems used in the sculptor’s art.


Those which are to be durable and which require human skill for the execution require to be tested very minutely and must satisfy the conditions of good art as elaborated above


Having described the stones to be used according to the Yugas, Śukrācārya now fixes the metals for each.


The character of the image may be known from the attitude of the worshipper and the purposes of his worship.


Even if the image be ill executed the worshipper by his virtues and devotion can make up for the deficiencies.


The limbs below the neck develop in size with years, not the head. Hence the head must be thick from the beginning.


Here are the ideas about growth, development, puberty, &c., of human beings that prevailed in Śukra’s times.


The measurements of the seven-tāla-type:—

(1) mukha ... 12 aṅgulas.
(2) grīvā ... 3 aṅgulas.
(3) hṛdaya ... 9 aṅgulas.
(4) udara ... 9 aṅgulas.
(5) vasti ... 9 aṅgulas.
(6) sakthi ... 18 aṅgulas.
(7) jānu ... 3 aṅgulas.
(8) jaṅghā ... 18 aṅgulas.
(9) gulphādha ... 3 aṅgulas.
Total ... 84 aṅgulas


The measurements of the eight-tāla-type:—

(1) mukha 12 aṅgulas
(2) grīvā ...... 4 aṅgulas
(3) hṛdaya ... 10 aṅgulas
(4) udara ... 10 aṅgulas
(5) vasti ... 10 aṅgulas
(6) sakthi ... 21 aṅgulas
(7) jānu ... 4 aṅgulas
(8) jaṅghā ... 21 aṅgulas
(9) gulphādha ...... 4 aṅgulas
Total 96 aṅgulas


Measurements of the ten tāla type:—

(1) mukha ... 13 aṅgulas.
(2) grīvā ... 5 aṅgulas.
(3) hṛdaya ... 13 aṅgulas.
(4) udara ... 13 aṅgulas.
(5) vasti ... 13 aṅgulas.
(6) sakthi ... 26 aṅgulas.
(7) jānu ... 5 aṅgulas.
(8) jaṅghā ... 26 aṅgulas.
(9) gulpha ... 5 aṅgulas.
(10) maṇi ... 1 aṅgulas.
Total ... 120 aṅgulas.


Thus in the image of nine tālas, hands......—13 Aṅgulas.
Thus in the image of eight tālas, hands......—11 Aṅgulas.
Thus in the image of seven tālas, hands......—9 Aṅgulas.


This is expressed by the following table

  Eleven-tāla-type. Twelve-tāla-type. Thirteen-tāla-type
(1) mukha ... 14 15 16
(2) grīvā ... 6 7 8
(3) hṛdaya ... 14 15 16
&c. &c. &c. &c.

But the total heights in these cases do not amount to 11 tālas, 12 tālas, &c.

The lines, therefore, do not give the measurements of the whole image of 11, 12, or 13 tālas, but only that of the pāda or foot. That is, the foot is to be lengthened by one aṅgula if the image be lengthened by 1 tāla.


The line 400 is to be taken with 1 395 They give the measurements of the feet of images of ten tālas and less then ten tālas

L. 396 also gives the measurements of the foot pāda in the case of images of greater height, though the construction seems to point to not only the measurements of the foot but also other limbs of images of greater height

The idea is that if the image be shortened by one tāla, the foot will be shortened by one aṅgula; and if the image be lengthened by one tāla, the foot will be lengthened by one aṅgula.


For the images of seven, eight, nine, or any number of tālas, length of of the middle finger is fixed between five and six aṅgulas.


The king should always be on the watch for the repair of old temples, palaces and images.


Amusements and entertainments on the occasions of the festivals are consecrated to the gods—should not be regarded as means of self-enjoyment,

Here is the very spirit of Hindu Sociology which make every thing human, an offering to the gods and the whole life a perpetual consecration to their service.


The festivals are not all to be of a religious nature. The king should sympathise and take part in the folksongs and popular festivals also.

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