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64 KALAS - 64 ARTS IN ANCIENT INDIAN CULTURE


                                 Kala means performance of Art in Sanskrit. India is a land of Sacred traditions and culture. The word Art is inseperable from India.Each era is distinctive in its culture. In the same way Indian art forms have continuously evolved over thousands of years. In ancient india,various art forms like Paintings,Architecture and Sculpture evolved. The history of art in ancient India begins with pre-historic rock paintings. They can be seen in Bhinbetaka paintings, which belong to pre-historic age. Another glimps of art in ancient Indian history can be seen in advanced town planning which can be seen in Harappa and Mohenjodaro. The use of symbolic forms in India is as old as Harappan seals. The fire altars in Vedic period, with their astronomical and mathematical significance, played an important role in evolution of later temples. It was followed by a period in history of Indian art that is important for rock-cut caves and temple architecture. The Buddhists initiated rock-cut caves and later Hindus and Jains started to imitate them at Badami, Ellora, Salsette, Elephanta, Mahabalipuram etc.



                             The wife of Sage Vedavyasa, named Vatika remained pregnant for 12 years without any child being born. The fetus was growing inside her Womb for 12 years and Vatika was experiencing extreme pain. The couple had no idea of what was happening. Vedavyasa coaxed a lot but the result was nothing. The Fetus from the Womb declared that, "I had taken 84 lakhs of births. I am determined to make this my last birth. I am practising Yoga and Meditation here itself. I gained a lot of knowledge and learned 64 kalas from all my births. I am afraid that if I come out, the worldly Maaya would take away all my knowledge. Please get Lord Krishna's assurance so that he protects me when I come out. When Lord krishna gave assurance, the child came out and Lord krishna named that boy as Shuka Deva. Thus we can read the word 64 Kalas from Mahabharath.

                                   Along with the art forms like Architecture, Painting and Sculpture, there have been evolving  Folk and Tribal art traditions in India. These art forms are expression of people belonging to different social and cultural groups of ancient India. It is an art where Life and Creativity are inseperable.



                                   Vatsyayana, lived around 2 to 6 A.D., listed 64 kalas, he listed them as 64 bahya kalas. As the lists developed over ages, what might appear to be more modern skills appeared on the list.

                                  
Lord Krishna and Balaram learned 64 kalas under the tutelage of  their Guru Sandipani Muni. After killing Kamsa, Lord Krishna and Balaram went to the Aashram of Guru Sandipani in the city of Avanthi (Ujjain).
  Lord Krishna and Balaram learned 64 kalas under the tutelage of  their Guru Sandipani Muni. After killing Kamsa, Lord Krishna and Balaram went to the Aashram of Guru Sandipani in the city of Avanthi (Ujjain). There they started learning all the 64 kalas. It took only 64 days for Lord Krishna to learn 64 kalas. With in the span of just 64 days krishna learned 14 sciences(vidyas), and 64 arts(kalas). Usually it takes two to two and half years to learn a single vidya. Thus Lord Krishna learned all the 64 kalas.


  1. Geet vidya—art of Singing.
  2. Vadya vidya—art of playing on musical instruments.
  3. Nritya vidya—art of Dancing.
  4. Natya vidya—art of Theatricals.
  5. Alekhya vidya—art of Painting.
  6. Aiseshakacchedya vidya—art of painting the face and body with color
  7. Tandula-kusuma-bali-vikara—art of preparing offerings from rice and flowers.
  8. Pushpastarana—art of making a covering of flowers for a bed.
  9. Dasana-Vasananga-raga—art of applying preparations for cleansing the teeth, cloths and painting the body.
  10. Mani-Bhumika-Karma—art of making the groundwork of jewels.
  11. Sayya-Racana—art of covering the bed.
  12. Udaka-Vadya—art of playing on music in water.
  13. Udaka-Ghata—art of splashing with water.
  14. Citra-Yoga—art of practically applying an admixture of colors.
  15. Malya-Grathana-Vikalpa—art of designing a preparation of wreaths.
  16. Sekharapida-Yojana—art of practically setting the coronet on the head.
  17. Nepathya-Yoga—art of practically dressing in the tiring room.
  18. Karnapatra-Bhanga—art of decorating the tragus of the ear.


  19. Sugandha-Yukti—art of practical application of aromatics.
  20. Bhushana-Yojana—art of applying or setting ornaments.
  21. Aindra-Jala—art of juggling.
  22. Kaucumara—a kind of art.
  23. Hasta-Laghava—art of sleight of hand.
  24. Citra-Sakapupa-Bhakshya-Vikara-Kriya—art of preparing varieties of delicious food.
  25. Panaka-Rasa-Ragasava-Yojana—art of practically preparing palatable drinks and tinging draughts with red color.
  26. Suci-Vaya-Karma—art of needleworks and weaving.
  27. Sutra-Krida—art of playing with thread.
  28. Vina-Damuraka-Vadya—art of playing on lute and small drum.
  29. Prahelika—art of making and solving riddles.
  30. Durvacaka-Yoga—art of practicing language difficult to be answered by others.
  31. Pustaka-Vacana—art of reciting books.
  32. Natikakhyayika-Darsana—art of enacting short plays and anecdotes.
  33. Kavya-Samasya-Purana—art of solving enigmatic verses.
  34. Pattika-Vetra-Bana-Vikalpa—art of designing preparation of shield, cane and arrows.
  35. Tarku-Karma—art of spinning by spindle.
  36. Takshana—art of carpentry.
  37. Vastu-Vidya—art of engineering.
  38. Raupya-Ratna-Pariksha—art of testing silver and jewels.
  39. Dhatu-Vada—art of metallurgy.
  40. Mani-Raga Jnana—art of tinging jewels.
  41. Akara Jnana—art of mineralogy.
  42. Vrikshayur-Veda-Yoga—art of practicing medicine or medical treatment, by herbs.
  43. Mesha-Kukkuta-Lavaka-Yuddha-Vidhi—art of knowing the mode of fighting of lambs, cocks and birds.
  44. Suka-Sarika-Prapalana (Pralapana) -- art of maintaining or knowing conversation between male and female cockatoos.
  45. Utsadana—art of healing or cleaning a person with perfumes.
  46. Kesa-Marjana-Kausala—art of combing hair.
  47. Akshara-Mushtika-Kathana—art of talking with fingers.
  48. Dharana-Matrika—art of the use of amulets.
  49. Desa-Bhasha-Jnana—art of knowing provincial dialects.
  50. Nirmiti-Jnana—art of knowing prediction by heavenly voice
  51. Yantra-Matrika—art of mechanics.
  52. Mlecchita-Kutarka-Vikalpa—art of fabricating barbarous or foreign sophistry .
  53. Samvacya—art of conversation.
  54. Manasi Kavya-Kriya—art of composing verse mentally.
  55. Kriya-Vikalpa—art of designing a literary work or a medical remedy.
  56. Chalitaka-Yoga—art of practicing as a builder of shrines called after him.
  57. Abhidhana-Kosha-Cchando-Jnana—art of the use of lexicography and meters.
  58. Vastra-Gopana—art of concealment of cloths.
  59. Dyuta-Visesha—art of knowing specific gambling.
  60. Akarsha-Krida—art of playing with dice or magnet.
  61. Balaka-Kridanaka—art of using children's toys.
  62. Vainayiki Vidya—art of enforcing discipline.
  63. Vaijayiki Vidya—art of gaining victory.
  64. Vaitaliki Vidya—art of awakening master with music at dawn.

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