An interesting – yet a much needed analysis had been recently done
highlighting the similarity between Harappan and Gupta period artifacts,
thereby establishing the continuity of
the Harappan tradition till the times as late as a couple of millennia ago
from whence we have a recorded history.
It has been found in the research by Prof R. Balasubraminian
that the Iron Pilar at Delhi conforms to the measurement scales
used in the Harappan sites.
This means that there had been a continuity
of engineering tradition from the Harappan to the Ganga civilization.
Papers by Prof. R. Balasubramanian (October 2008) can be read at
* On the continuity of engineering tradition from Harappa to Ganga civilization
* On the mathematical significance of the dimensions of the Delhi iron pillar
* Analysis of terracotta scale of Harappan civilization from Kalibangan
It has been found that the standard measure of amgulam (inch in Indian system)
used in making the artifacts in Harappan sites
and in the iron pillar is roughly equal to 17.5mm.
The basis of measurement used here seems to be
108 amgulam = 1 dhanus.
The height of the Iron pillar is exactly 4 dhanus of this pramana.
In this context, I wish to highlight some more issues that must be looked into,
because any further research on the other measurements
in the Harappan sites is likely to give rise to differences
in this scale of measurement.
The reason is that there had been different scales
depending on the things measured.
But the truth is that the system of measurement
as it existed until the advent of the British –
had been there for thousands of years –
for as long as civilization exited in Arya vartha
that spread in the south of Himalayas.
This system started with Vishwakarma (yesterday was Vishwakarma Day)
who devised this system
when civilization exited near North pole in the previous manvanthra
which ended exactly 12,22,61,109 years ago.
(manvanthra kalpa of the previous manvnthra = 17,28,000 +
27 chathur maha yugas = 11,66,40,000 +
Kritha to Dwapara yuga = 38,88,000 +
Bygone years of Kali Mahayuga = 5,109 )
This period was followed by the growth of Himalayas
and humans shifted towards Himalayas as North pole became colder.
This also coincided with the southern lands (Lemuria?)
pushing north ward and raising the Himalayas.
The southern land mass in the south of Himalayas was inhabited by humans,
whereas those who shifted from the North pole were the Devas.
The proof for this comes from Vishvakarma Prakashika.
Vishwakarma says that while 'paramanu'
(the atom that can been only with spiritual eye –
8 paramanu = 1 renu which is a spec of dust)
was the basic unit of measurement for the devas,
he would recommend
'Salivrihi' grain as the basis for measurement for humans.
The width of 8 salivrihi = 1 amgula (inch)
There are 5 types of Salivrihi (Sweta, maha, rakta, saugandita and hema)
of which 'rakta-Sali' has been followed by the architects
of later period of Vishwakarma.
This Sali vrihi is the grain of barley.
It is also probable that the Sali-vahana sahaptha
derived its name from the use of the scale based on salivrihi grain.
From Puranas and Uttara Ramayana by Valmiki
it is known that Vishwakarma once built the places in the Meru
(north pole around which the sun was circling)
built the abode for Shiva in the North pole.
Later when Shiva made Himalayas his abode,
Vishwakarma again built His place at the Himalayas.
It was he who built the abode for Indra (Amaravathy)
He was asked by the demons (ancestors of Ravana)
to build the city of Lanka
in the style of Amaravathy!
The Indra as mentioned here perhaps belonged to another manvanthra of the past,
for we have details of the artifacts and vimanas (aero-planes)
of an unknown era in the books of Bharadwaja and in Samarangana Sutradhara.
Vishwakarma (perhaps the lineage of Vishwakarma) was involved in all those times.
Maya's name comes in the later part of Vishwakarma
or in the period of Mahabharatha.
Maya is associated with Thripura.
Many of his important books that were with us till the British came, were now lost.
It is said that many were taken away by the Germans
but many are still in the libraries of Nepal.
With Maoists in hold of Nepal and doing a Karunanidhi in their land
with a short sightedness,
the last of the books of Hindu wisdom can be expected to be lost soon.
Coming to the main issue that I want to write in this post,
there had been different systems of measurement used for different purposes
and unless the researchers take cognizance of this and
seek guidance from Sthapathis (sculptors trained in shilpa sastra),
confusion will prevail,
hampering the efforts to connect not only the Harappan but
the far olden archeological findings
which can be detected in submerged Dwaraka,
Poompuhar and Kumari.
The entire sub-continent used the same Hindu system of measurement.
What was used in Chidambaram temple will be the same as
what was used in any findings related to Shiva (Pasupathy) in the Harappan sites.
But what is used for Vishnu related sculptures is distinct
from what is used in Shiva related sculptures.
For instance the Iron pillar at Delhi has a height of 4 dhanus
-each dhanus measuring 108 times the amgula used for 'pillars' dedicated to Vishnu.
Vishnu has 4 hands and 108 is the sacred number for Vishnu.
Likewise, the measurement differed basically on three categories
for all types of constructions and manufacturing
and deity-related constructions too had some basic differences
on the basis of factors that distinct for respective deities.
Any analysis of artifacts or even lay-outs in archeological sites
must take this into consideration so that right perspectives are gained.
For instance in the case of erecting pillars such as the one at Delhi
(Vishnupadam is the name of the place
where the iron pillar is raised as a symbol of victory),
the measurement used must have been 'matrasaya'
of the amgula of 6 (not 8) barley grains.
This amgula measurement is used in
making weapons like bows,
furniture like cots and couches,
stables for elephants, horses,
ploughs and other agricultural appliances,
stahmbhas (pillars) and yupastahmbhas in yaga shala,
ships, flags, umbrellas
and such other instruments and tools of everyday use.
The 'madhyama' measurement of 7 barley width
was used in measuring
drenches, moats, watersheds,
sub-tarraean water reservoirs,
store houses of armory,
rock-cut temples and trenches.
The 'prAsaya' measurement of 8 barley grains
was used in buildings, houses, palaces,
temples, doors, gardens, forests,
chariots, streets etc.
So the researcher must employ the proper 'mana'
depending on the article of site he is measuring.
Regarding distances, there had been different types once again.
The popular form of measurement of distances was 'yojana'.
We find different measurements for yojana in
Mayamata and Vishwakarma prakashika.
While Maya says that one yojana is equal to 32,000 hastas
(1 hasta /muzham = 24 amgulas), Vishvakarma says
that one yojana is equal to 16,000 hastas.
From the huge disparity, we can guess
that each of them meant the yojana for a separate purpose.
One interesting observation is that
the application of the system that was prior to the advent of the British in India
exactly fits in measuring the distance between India and Srilanka
as told in Valmiki Ramayana.
The system in vogue prior to the British is this.
24 amgula = 1 muzham (hasta)
4 muzham = dhanus
2 dhanus = 1 danda
50 danda = 1 koopidu
4 kooppidu = 1 yojana.
Or the distance at which a call can be heard.
From valmiki Ramayan we know that Hanuman traveled for 100 yojanas
for crossing the sea.
That is, the Nala-Sethu was built for 100 yojanas.
(Nala belonged to Vishwakarma lineage)
The sound travels a distance of 300 metres = 1 yojana
For 100 yojanas 300 x 100 = 30,000 mt = 30 km
This is the distance of Ram- sethu!
The same yojana is calculated differently if it is about the time!
1 yojana = 1 kaadam which is meant in terms of time = 7-1/2 ghatis.
1ghati = 24 minutes.
7-1/2 ghatis = 180 minutes = 3 hours.
But this measurement is used only for time- based distances.
This is not applicable in measurement of distances.
It is therefore necessary to know the scales and
their exact applications.
Without knowing them,
it is not advisable to measure the sites and artifacts
of archeological importance.
But any analysis on these lines is sure to throw up
interesting links to our remote past –
at least from the beginning of this Chathur yuga
which began 38 lakh years ago!