The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Physiognomy of Men and their indications (purusha-lakshana) which is chapter 243 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 243 - Physiognomy of Men and their indications (puruṣa-lakṣaṇa)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Fire-god said:

1. O King! Ethics were described by me to Rāma. I shall now describe the characteristics of men and women [i.e., puruṣa-lakṣaṇa] as described by Samudra to sage Garga formerly.

Samudra said:

2-7. I shall describe the good and bad characteristics of men and women. O Virtuous one! A man having (the signs and features symbolised by the terms) ekādhika[1], dviśukla (two whites), trigambhīra (three depths), tritrika (three triads or nine virtues), tripralamba (three elongated organs), a spreading in three, threefolds (of skins), trivinata (having bends at three places), trikālajña (knowing the three periods of time) and trivipula (broad organs at three places) would be possessing good characteristics. Similarly, (one possessing) four marks (on four different parts of the body), or four equal parts of the body, or cubits four frontal teeth (of commendable size), dark complexion of four, in four (parts of the body), sweet smells at the four (joints of the body) and four (specific organs) of short stature, five (parts of the body) small and long, six (parts) raised, eight bones (strong), seven (parts) glossy, nine (parts) clean, nine (parts like) the lotus, ten (parts like an) array and of the form of the fig tree, fourteen pairs (of parts) equal and sixteen eyes is commended.

8-15. (The term) ekādhika stands for virtue together with (the goals of life) righteousness, attainment of riches and pleasures. (The term) dviśukla (signifies) the whiteness of teeth and the eyes except the two pupils. (The term) trigambhīra (denotes) depth in the ear and navel and (the term) tritrika the virtues of absence of envy, compassion, forbearance, endowed with auspicious deeds, purity, desire, liberality, ease and valour known as one triad of virtue. (The term) tripralamba (denotes) a person that would have the testicles and arms long. One who has spread by his radiance, fame and fortune on the quarters, country and his own class (is said to be) trikavyāpī. A person that has three folds on the belly (is said to be) trivalimān. Listen to me. I shall describe the man having three bends. (He is the person) that bows to the gods, brahmins and preceptors. One who knows the suitable time for (the practice of) virtues, attainment of riches and pleasure is said to be the knower of three periods. One who has a broad chest, forehead and face (is said to be) trivistīrṇa. The two hands and two feet bearing (the marks of) banners, umbrellas etc. (are deemed to be bringing good). The fingers, chest, back and hip that are equal are commendable. The commendable height (of the human figure is) four cubits. Four (frontal) teeth having moon-like lustre (is meant by caturdaṃṣṭraḥ [=caturdaṃṣṭra?]). I shall describe the four black things. The two pupils of the eyes, the two eye-brows, the beard and hair (are the four) black (things).

16-26. The absence of bad smell in the nostril, mouth, perspiration and armpits (is caturgandha). The four short things are short penis, neck and the two shanks. The finger-joints nails, hair on the head, teeth and skin (are the five) minute, (parts). The two cheeks, two eyes, forehead, nose and the space between the breasts (are the five) long parts. The chest, shoulders, nails, nose, face and the back of neck (are the six) [? raised?] parts. The seven parts that are glossy are the skin, hair on the head, teeth, hair on the body, one’s sight nails and speech. (The eight bones that are strong are those in) the two knees, two thighs, back, bones of the hand and nose. The nine parts that are clean are the two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, penis, anus and face. The ten (parts of the body) of men of the lustre of a lotus that are commended are the tongue, two lips, palate, eyes, hands, feet, nails, tip of the penis and face. The hand, foot, face, neck, two ears, heart, head, forehead, belly and back, the ten that are broad (like an array) are praiseworthy. One is said to be of the form of a fig (tree) if the inter-space between the two middle and index fingers of the extended arms is equal to the height. The two feet, ankles, buttocks, sides, groins, testicles, breasts,ears, lips, thighs, shanks, hands, fore-arms and eyes are the pairs of fourteen organs that are equal in general for a man. One that sees with the fourteen branches of learning and the two eyes is said to be having sixteen eyes. One with extremely dry body with exposed veins and emaciated, smelling badly (is deemed to be) unfortunate. The person with contrary (characteristics) and pleasing look is commendable. The voice of a lucky man is sweet. His gait resembles that of an elephant in rut. He has two hairs from the same root. It gives protection from fear at once.

Footnotes and references:


These terms are explained below in verses 7ff.

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