Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)
by A. Yamuna Devi | 2012 | 77,297 words | ISBN-13: 9788193658048
This page relates ‘Economics (4): Measures, Weights and Coinage’ of the study on the Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (in English) which represents a commentary on the Amarakosha of Amarasimha. These ancient texts belong the Kosha or “lexicography” category of Sanskrit literature which deals with the analysis and meaning of technical words from a variety of subjects, such as cosmology, anatomy, medicine, hygiene. The Amarakosa itself is one of the earliest of such text, dating from the 6th century A.D., while the Amarakoshodghatana is the earliest known commentary on that work.
Economics (4): Measures, Weights and Coinage
The term ‘measures’ plays an important role in trade. All the aspects of measures dealt with in trade and commerce are enlisted in Amarakośa such as–numerals^{[1]}, measures of length, weight, volume and currency are presented below:
(a) Three kinds of measures:
Māna (II. 9. 85; p. 219) –Measure: Amarakośa mentions yautava, druvaya and pāyya as kinds of measures. Kṣīrasvāmin explains that tulā etc., was measure of weight (unmāna), while aṅgulyādi was lineal measure (pramāṇa) and prastha and others are measure of volume (sarvatomāna or parimāṇa).
He justifies his explanation citing from an unknown source:
tatra tulādyunmānaṃ āṅgulyādi pramāṇaṃ prasthadi parimāṇaṃ yadāhuḥ—
ūrdhvaṃ mānaṃ khilonmānaṃ parimāṇaṃ tu sarvataḥ |
āyāmastu pramāṇaṃ syātsaṃkhyā bhinnā tu sarvataḥ |
Kṣīrasvāmin remarks in the context that Gauḍa was mistaken in identifying pautava with tulā and the rest; druvaya with prastha and others; and pāyya with hasta and so on–
pautavaṃ tulādi druvayaṃ prasthadi pāyyaṃ hastādīti gauḍo bhrāntaḥ |
Arthaśāstra denotes the superintendent of weights and measures as pautavādhyakṣa from which one can infer that pautava was the term for measure of currency which is also yautava as in Amarakośa
Thus it is inferred that yautava is measure of currency, druvaya-cubic and gravitational measure and pāyya–lineal measure.
(b) Measures of length:
Amarakośa mentions the measures of length in the Bhūmi varga and Kṣīrasvāmin gives some important notes on them.
Name of measure | Its ratio as in Amarakośa | Additional notes of Kṣīrasvāmin | Kṣīrasvāmin's comments |
Gavyūti (II. 1. 19; p. 73) | 2 krośas | — | |
Nalvaḥ (II. 1. 19; p. 73) | 400 kiṣkus | 100 hastas; hasta = kiṣku | kiṣkurhastasteṣāṃ catuḥśatī nalvamiti mālā | kātyastu nalvaṃ hastaśatamāha |
Yojanam (III. 5. 30; p. 353) | 4 krośas | yojanaṃ catuḥkrośī | |
(c) Measures of weight mentioned in Amarakośa (II. 9. 86-7; p. 219):
Upakrama (II. 7. 13; p. 165)–Deliberate commencement: Amarakośa defines Upakrama as deliberate commencement.
Illustrating the word Kṣīrasvāmin records the view of Kātya that the measures of weights were deliberately commenced from the Nanda period–
upajñāya—
ārambhaṇamupakramaḥ yatkātyaḥ yasmātpravṛtta ārambhaḥ sa upakramaḥ nandasyopakramaḥ-nandopakramāṇi mānāni |
The details of measures of weight given by Amarakośa and Kṣīrasvāmin are presented in the table with comparison from two other mathematical texts–Sadratnāmalā and Bhākṣāli.
Kṣīrasvāmin's comments are as follows–
tathā dvekṛṣṇale rūpyamāṣa ityapi darśanāt |
āsmin kāle ādya ityeke yadāhuḥ māṣakaṃ sapta kṛṣṇalāḥ |
ākṣe ṣoḍaṣamāṣake māne dvau vartete yatsmṛtiḥ—
pañca kṛṣṇalako māṣaste suvarṇastu ṣoḍaṣa |
kurudeśe prasiddho visto hemapalaṃ yanmālā—
palena hi suvarṇasya kuruvistaḥ |
Name of measure | Amarakośa | Kṣīrasvāmin | Sadratnāmalā | Bhākṣāli |
guñja | 5 ādyamāṣaka | Guñja = raktika | 2 yavas | |
Akṣa or karṣa | 16 guñja | 16 māṣas | ||
pala | 4 karṣa | 4 karṣa | ||
suvarṇa bista | 1 gold akṣa | |||
kurubista | 1 gold pala | |||
Tulā | 100 palas | 100 palas | ||
Bhāra^{[2]} | 20 tulās | 2000 palas | 2000 palas | |
Ācita | 10 bhāras | 20000 palas, śākaṭa = bhāra and ācita (āta eva śākaṭākhyopyāci ta iti punarācitaśabdena dyotayate) |
||
1 māṣaka | 10 grains / 7 kṛṣṇalas / 5 kṛṣṇalaka |
5 guñjas | ||
Kākinī (III. 5. 9; p. 346) |
¼ māṣaka or ¼ paṇa; kākiṇī nāma māṣakacaturthabhāgaḥ paṇacaturthabhāga ityeke | |
|||
rūpyamāṣa | 2 kṛṣṇala | |||
suvarṇa | 16 māṣas |
(d) Measures of Money:
Amarakośa mentions only kārṣika and paṇa kinds of coinage. Kṣīrasvāmin defines them as followskārṣāpaṇa and kārṣika are silver karṣas while the copper karṣa is paṇa. and approximately they are equal to 80 śvetakas–karṣasaṃbandhinā paṇyate vyavahriyate'nena rūpyarūpakeṇa kārṣāpaṇaḥ | karṣaḥ pramāṇamasya kārṣikaḥ | tāmramayaṃ karṣapramāṇaṃ tu rūpyaṃ paṇaḥ | tanmūlyaṃ copacārādaśītiḥśvetakāḥ |
(e) Measures of capacities/volume (II. 9. 88-9; p. 220):
Amarakośa mentions only the names of the measures of capacities such as–āḍhaka, droṇa, khārī, vāha, nikuñca, kuḍaba and prastha. Kṣīrasvāmin gives their ratios and remarks that this ratio is for measuring dry substances while the same measure are doubled for liquids.
also he adds that these measures also vary from place to place–
parimāṇa viśeṣā ete yadāhuḥ-
palaṃ praku ñcakaṃ muṣṭiḥ kuḍavastaccatuṣṭayam |
catvāraḥ kuḍavāḥ prasthaścatuḥprasthamathāḍhakam |
āṣṭāḍhako bhaved droṇo dvidroṇaḥ śūrpa ucyate |
sārdhaśūrpo bhavetkhārī dviśūrpā goṇyudāhṛtā |
tāmevabhāraṃ jānīyādvāhobhāra catuṣṭayam |
śuṣkameyetvidaṃ mānaṃ dviguṇaṃ taddraveṣu tu |
tatra deśabhedātsaṃkhyānyathātvaṃ tathā kvaciccaturāḍhako bhaved droṇaḥ ṣoḍaśa droṇā khārī viṃśatidroṇaḥ kumbhaḥ daśakumbho vāhaḥ |
The ratio of measure of volume is compared with other texts as presented below:
Name of measure | Kṣīrasvāmin | Mallinātha | Kauṭilya | Caraka | Bhākshāli^{[3]} |
1 pala | Prakuñcaka muṣṭi (a handful) |
Nikuñca = 1 / 4 māna |
|||
1 kuḍaba | 4 palas | 4 palas | |||
1 prastha | 4 kuḍabas | 4 mānas (kuḍabas) |
4 kuḍabas | 4 kuḍabas | |
1 āḍhaka | 4 prasthas | 4 prasthas | 4 prasthas | 16 kuḍabas of liquid or 4 prasthas of liquid or grain | |
1 droṇa | 8 āḍhakas / 4 āḍhakas |
4 āḍhakas | 4 āḍhakas | 4 āḍhakas of grain | |
1 śūrpa | 2 droṇas | 2 droṇas | |||
1 khārī | 1½ śūrpa / 16 droṇas |
½ droṇa / 2 goṇī / 2 vāha / 8 śūrpas |
16 droṇas | 4 droṇas | 720 prasṛtis of grain |
1 kumbha | 20 droṇas | 20 droṇas | |||
1 goṇī or bhāra | 2 śūrpas | 2 kumbha | 2000 palas | 1 khārī | |
1 vāha | 4 bhāras / 10 kumbha |
½ āḍhaka / 2 śūrpas / 4 śūrpas |
10 kumbha |
Footnotes and references:
[2]:
The weight bearable by a man.
[3]:
Bhākshāli manuscript considers these as measures of weight, p. 121.