64 Traditional Arts (Catuḥ Ṣaṣṭhi Kalā)

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In an eternal sense, 64 arts are ingredients of rasa (spiritual mellows)

Śrīla Jīva Goswāmi, commentary to Brahma Saṁhitā

There are many versions and many interpretations of Catuḥ Ṣaṣṭi Kalā or the 64 Traditional Arts. Below is an attempt for a comprehensive and inclusive list. The underlined are dealt either partly or fully in the dealth in some of our publications such as Krsna-krida and Nimitta-jnana.

  1. Gītam – Art of singing
  2. VādyamArt of playing musical Instruments (such as Vīṇā, Veṇu [flute], Mṛdaṅga, etc).
  3. NṛtyamArt of dancing
  4. ĀlekhyaArt of drawing and painting beginning from simple village arts to complex ones
  5. Viśeṣaka-chedyamArt of putting tilaka in varied forms, dots on face, forehead and cheek.
  6. Tāṇḍūla-kusuma-bali-vikārikaArt of drawing raṅgoli using colored rice and flowers in front of arca vigraha or utsava vigraha
  7. PuśpastaraṇamArt of spreading flowers and decorating in a beautiful way
  8. Dashana-vasana-angarāgaḥArt of painting different parts of the body for performances and also the art of dyeing the clothes in varied natural colours.
  9. Maṇibhūmikā-karmaArt of pearl holes and stringing them in various decorative ways onto a string or thread.
  10. Śayana-racanamArt of setting the beds for sleeping and resting of the Lord.
  11. Udaka-vādyaArt of setting and playing ‘Jalataraṅga Instrument’ (an instrument with containers filled with water at different levels).
  12. Udaka-ghātaArt of directing and stopping the water of streams, acqueducts, etc at proper intervals so that it may accumulate force to proceed; art of using the water flow for different purposes such as fountain, etc; art of splashing the water using syringe, by hand, etc.
  13. Citrāśca-yogaArt of preparing drugs and their wonderful combinations (useful for treatment of diseases, removal of poison, etc); art of controlling the urges of the body and senses by repeatedly putting the senses and the body into inconvenience; the art of performing wonderful acts such as magic, stunts, etc.
  14. Mālya-grathana-vikalpaArt of preparing flower garlands and art of entwining different natural materials such as leaves of different trees for the purpose of decoration of the walls, ceilings, stage, doors, altar, etc.
  15. Śekhara-āpīda-yojanam Art of decorating the head with flower garland, crown, cloth,turban, jewels, feathers, etc.; art of fixing the crown in different positions on the head.
  16. Nepathya-prayogaḥ  Art of disguise dressing, dressing oneself or the actors (for stage performance) with different costumes for marriage, setting up of a theatrical stage; art of setting up of toiletaries (items such as toothbrush, fragrant soaps,etc).
  17. Karṇa-patra-bhangāḥArt of decorating the ears with flowers, jewels, ivory, conch, etc.
  18. Gandha-yuktiḥArt of preparing fragrant liquids (such as water, oils), fragrant powders (sandalwood pulp, etc) and fragrant balls; art of perfume blending.
  19. Bhūṣaṇa-yojanamArt of decorating the different parts of the body with appropriate jewels and art of making new jewellery.
  20. Aindrajāla-kauchumāraśca-yogaḥArt of rectifying loss in the body that may occur due to diseases or blackmagic and reviving the body back to normal state; Art of performing magical feats (within the magical field there is an art called bahu-rupi, by which a person dresses himself in such a way that when he approaches a friend he cannot be recognized).
  21. Hastalāghavam– Art of dexterity using hands and cleverness by presence of mind;
  22. Vicitra shākapūpa bhakṣya vikāraka kriyāArt of preparing various foodstuffs.
  23. Pāṇakarasa-rāga-āsava yojanaḥArt of preparing a variety of liquid drinks such as syrups and beverages using nectar of flowers, extract of leaves, mixing spices, etc., of varieties of colors and served hot or cold at different times of the day or year and having various tastes and intoxicating effects.
  24. Sūchīvāna-karmāṇiArt of stiching clothes, sewing clothes using varieties of needles, making embroidery designs, setting mirrors or reflective studs and jewelleries, etc for different purposes.
  25. Sūtra-krīḍāArt of manipulating thin threads or strings for dancing puppets or for stringing wires on musical instruments, such as the vīṇā, sitār, eṣarāja and tambūra, etc.
  26. Vīṇā-Ḍamarūka-vādyāniArt of making musical instruments such as Vīṇā, Ḍamaruka, etc
  27. PrahelikāArt of forming sentences and phrases with hidden meanings; making and solving riddles.
  28. PratimālāArt of forming and reciting verses or sentences as a response to other person’s presentation (usually connected with an ending word, letter or connected with the theme and presenting it in a different way as a trial for memory, skill or for argument).
  29. Durvācaka-yogaḥ Art of forming and using difficult words or sentences which cannot be repeated or answered by the other party and make someone confused with such sentences or words.
  30. Pustaka-vācanamArt of reading the books melodiously; Art of reading the books very quickly (yet understand it fully) depending upon the subject matter at hand.
  31. Nāṭaka-ākhyāyikā-darśanamArt of scripting, rehearsing and acting out dramas of varieties of forms such as mime show, etc.
  32. Kāvya-samasyā-pūraṇamArt of completing a verse or constructing a verse (when provided with only a part of the full code/sutra); art of solving crossword puzzles..
  33. Paṭtikā-vetra-bāṇa vikalpaḥArt of weaving cane into baskets, making arrows from cane, etc.
  34. Tarku-karmāṇiArt of spinning threads on the spidle or charkha and making clothes.
  35. TakṣaṇamArt of carpentry (working with wood) for making toys, furnitures, plough, etc.
  36. Vāstu-vidyāArt of engineering (Shilpa shastra) for construction of temple, palace, house bridges, etc.
  37. Rūpya-ratna-parīkṣhāArt of examining authenticity of valuable jewels such as gold, silver, pearls, etc., through test of color, luster, weight and reactions.
  38. Dhātu-vādaḥArt of metallurgy (examining stones, soil, metals, etc., cleaning them and making different rustless materials using their combinations, etc.); art of studying the soil to find minerals.
  39. Mani-rāga-ākāra-JñānaArt of identifying pearls of different colours, group and setting them on the ornaments.
  40. Vṛkṣa-āyurveda-yogaḥArt of studying the different species of plants, to crossbreed and get different types of fruits and flowers; treatment of trees, plants for their kapha, pitta and vāta disorders; art of gardening according to nakṣatra, directions etc.
  41. Meṣa-Kukkuṭa-Lāvaka-yuddhavidhiḥArt of knowing the mode of fighting from rams, cocks (kukkuta vritti) and frail fightings; art of engaging rams, cocks and frails in fighting.
  42. Śuka-śārika-pralapanamArt of teaching parrots and other birds to speak and to answer the questions of human beings.
  43. Utsādanam –Art of healing by influencing another’s mind and thus inducing them to act according to one’s desire (sometimes this is called hypnotism or practical psychology).
  44. Keśamardana/Dehamardane-ca-kauṣalyamArt of performing body massage using pressure, medicated oils, etc; art of washing hair, dyeing it in different colors and curling it in different ways.
  45. Akṣara-muṣtikā kathanamArt of conveying secrets or to convey the meanings of scriptures through certain mudras (folding fingers in different ways); art of telling what is written in someone’s book without actually seeing it.
  46. Mlechita-vikalpaḥArt of telling secret news through twisting the words or adding some letter to each word so that others nearby do not understand although the same language is being spoken.
  47. Deśabhāśā-vijñāna Art of speaking and understanding the languages (of various countries) of humans but also that of animals and birds.
  48. PuṣpaśakatikāPreparing different items from flowers such as carriages, airplanes (Pushpaka vimana), etc.
  • Nimitta-jñānamArt of foretelling events by seeing signs– previously published by Centre for Traditional Education.
  1. Yantramātruka-jñānamArt of making and attaching machine or tying animals to different transportation carriages; art of composing magic squares, arrangements of numbers adding up to the same total in all directions.
  2. DhāraṇamātṛkāArt of memorizing, remembering and recalling things without the help of nay exernal items or device.
  3. SampāṭyamArt of cutting diamonds and other valuable stones; (also interpreted as) art of reading loudly in a very pleasing way.
  4. Mānasī-kāvyakriyāArt of questioning and answering immediately by composing poetry within the mind which requires vast knowledge and expertise of scriptures and practice of memorization of multiple conditions simultaneously (also called ashtavadhana vidya)
  5. Abhidāna-kośa-chandojñānamArt of replacing words with synonyms, one word for a sentence, etc through extensive mastery of dictionary and the language itself; art of forming verses with proper meters.
  6. KriyākalpaArt of planning before performing any act; art of formulating various ways to achieve a task; art of understanding the psychic movements of another person.
  7. Chalitaka yogaḥArt of satisfying one’s desires (desires are very difficult to fulfill; but if one desires something which is unreasonable and can never be fulfilled, the desire can be subdued and satisfied); art of making even an enemy one’s friend or transfer the direct action of a physical element to other things.
  8. VastragopanāniProtection of cloths from insects, mites, fungus, etc.
  9. Dyutaviśeṣa-ākarṣa krīḍāArt of playing different games and attractive sports in challenging spirit.
  10. Bāla-krīḍanakāniArt of engaging children with toys and various games.
  11. Vaijayakīnām-vidyāArt of winning over opponents in any situation.
  12. Vyāyamakīnām-ca-vidyāArt of performing various bodily exercises to make it strong, flexible and alert.
  13. Vaināyikī-vidyāArt of being disciplined (yama and niyama) and practice of sadachara (good conduct).
  14. VaijayaḥArt of gaining victory.
  15. Vaitāliki vidyāArt of waking up one’s master by singing
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