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Year -1 Issue 1 May 2017

For limited circulation amongst the members only

From Editor’s desk: It is a matter of great satisfaction on the occasion of
releasing the FIRST issue of the E Journal on Shilpashastra.

1st May is celebrated as World Labor day. It has its origins in the labour union
movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours
for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. But in India people
celebrate Vishwakarma Jayanti to honor all artisans and craftsmen. Their tools and
products are worshiped on this day to profess “Dignity of Labour”. Probably
Indians are more conscious about their duties rather than their rights.

Figure above shows Pooja on Vishwakarma Jayantee and products of various

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SN Topic Page
1.1.1 Editorial 1
1.1.2 Scope of Shilpashastra 2
1.1.3 Life and Work of Shilpakalanidhi Vaze 9
1.1.4 Units of Measurement in Ancient India 13
1.1.5 Human Resources for Construction 17
1.1.6 Short Technical Note –Expansive soils 20
1.1.7 Web Links for free downloads 22
1.1.8 Membership form 24


Scope of Shilpashastra

Introduction- The vast ancient Indian literature includes texts on
engineering sciences also. The information in these texts has scientific
background and can be very useful to modern scientists and engineers.
Engineering sciences were very advanced in India in ancient period (as early
as 15000 BC). More than thousand texts (Shilpasamhitas) can be mentioned
on the various engineering sciences. Out of these approximately five
hundred texts are preserved, in the form of manuscript on palm leaves, tree
barks etc, in some of the libraries of Oriental research institutes and
museums. The vast technical literature still exists as it is concealed in
religious and mythological scriptures. Modern engineers and scientists,
unfortunately, have not paid proper attention to this ancient literature
mainly due to lack of knowledge of the language i.e. Sanskrit or due to
improper translation and interpretation of this information by non-technical
academicians. There are hundreds of ancient references on engineering, only
few easily available would be quoted. The references are from ancient
Indian literature such as Vedas, Puranas, and Shilpa-Samhita(s) etc. Most of

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the practices mentioned in these references are scientific and relevant to
modern engineering.

Terms and terminology

 Shilpa - The Sanskrit word has a very wide meaning, other than
sculpture or idol. Shilpa includes many articles (things), machines,
innovations, metals, and artificial means. Shilpa -The word Shilpa is
derived from words Sheel samadhou which mean anything that please
the mind. Sage Bhrugu has given a definition of Shilpa (SV1.1)
 Shilpashastra - science which deals with creation of a Shilpa is termed
as Shilpashastra.
 Shilpasamhita means compilation of rules and procedures related to a
particular Shilpa. The exact period in which Shilpa-Samhitas i.e.
compilations were made is not known.
 Shilpdyna is one who is a master of Shilpasamhita or an engineer or
architect of modern term.
 Vidya- Vidya means a particular technique. One must have both
theoretical and practical knowledge of that subject. There are thirty-
two Vidyas related to Shilpashastra.
 Kala - Kala means an art which can be acquired by practice and
observation. Even a handicapped person can be expert in a particular
art without any theoretical knowledge. There are sixty-four Kalas
related to Shilpashastra.
Chiranjivi Shilpdyna - Matsyapooran describes eighteen divine engineers.
Ref.SV 1.2. It can be interpreted as eighteen different schools of learning,
prevalent in ancient India. Bhrugu, Atree, Vashishtha, Vishvakarma, Maya,
Narada, Nagnajeet, Vishalaksha, Purandara, Bramha, Kumar, Nandeesh,
Shounaka, Garg, Vasudewa, Aniruddha, Shuka and Bruhaspati are the
eighteen divine engineers. The structures (mainly houses, Temples, Palaces)
in different parts of the country were built according to these schools of
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thought. For instance in Northern part, central part and southern parts
structures were built according to Samhitas (Engineering practices) of
Kashyapa, Bhrugu and Maya respectively. Out of these eighteen divine
engineers Bhrugu, Vishvakarma and Maya are more known amongst the
masses. Matsyapooran describes Vishvakarma (Vidhha- old learned person),
his tools (Tape Jar a level, Binocular and books), his vehicle (Swan) and his
works (Creator of palaces all worlds). Ref. SV1.3

Sthapati is an Engineer or Architect in charge of construction. Samarangana
Sutradhara, which describes characteristics a "Sthapati"

 The Sthapati should be well-versed in the science involving the
significance of objects to be created and their specifications.
 He should know the theory and the practice; he should have the
insight and the skill accompanied with procedure.

 That person is said to be an expert in workmanship who knows how to
sketch the ground plan, draftsmanship, the horizontal and vertical
measurements, the details of ground work of the plot, the 14 kinds of
sketch lines, the cutting of the logs and stones etc., and seven kinds of
circular sections; well finished joining of the joints and proper
demarcation of upper, lower and outer lines.

 A Sthapati should know eight-fold workmanship, the draftsmanship
and sketches of various kinds, and variety of carpentry, stone-
masonry and gold-smithy. The engineer equipped with these merits
invokes respect. One who knows the fourfold engineering with its eight
constituents and who is pure in his mind gets status in the assembly of
engineers, and is endowed with a long life.

Extent of Shilpashastra

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Sage Bhrugu divided the entire knowledge related to Shilpashastra into
three Volumes. He further included three Shilpashastra to each of these
volumes. The entire knowledge is further divided into thirty-two Vidyas and
sixty-four Kalas. Yantra shashtra (Machines) is common to all volumes and it
is considered as 10th Shastra. The organization of Shilpashastra is shown in
tables 1.1 to 1.3.

Table 1.1 - Extent of Shilpashastra

Engineering Science- Shastra

1. Biological Sciences- Krishi 2. Water Resources- Jala

3. Mining & Metallurgy- Khani 4. Water Transport- Nauka

5. Surface Transport- Ratha 6. Air or Space Transport- Vyomayan

7.Habitats - Veshma 8. Forts & Castles- Prakaara

9. Town planning- NagarRrachana 10. Machines - Yantra

Table 1.2 – Thirty-two Techniques -Vidya

Technique- Vidya Technique- Vidya

1.Plantation- Vrikshya 2.Cattle Handling- Pashu

3.Human resources- Manushya 4.Water Supply- Sanchetan

5. Dewatering- Samharan 6.Water Storage- Stambhan

7.Gemology- Druti 8.Calsination- Bhasmkaran

9.Compound Making- Sankaran 10. Separation- Pruthhakaran

11.Raft making- Tari 12.Boat making- Nau

13.Ship building- Nauka 14. Horse riding- Ashwa

15.Roads- Patha 16.Hill roads- Ghantapath

17.Bridges- Setu 18.Training Birds - Shakunta

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19.Aeronautics- Viman 20.Tents- Vaso

21. Huts- Kutti 22.Temples- Mandir

23. Houses- Praasad 24. Forts- Doorg

25. Castles- Koota 26. Moats- Aakar

27. Warfare-Yuddha 28. Markets-AapaNa

29.Palaces-Rajgruha 30.Public places-Sarwajanawas

31.Gardening-Vanopawan 32.Temple arts-Dewalaya

Table 1.3 – Sixty-four Arts/ Skills (Kala)
Skill- Kala Skill- Kala
1.Ploughing- Siradyakarshan 2. Tree climbing- VriksharohaNa
3.Sugar Making- YawadiKshuvichar 4.Cane arts- VeNutruNadikruti
5.Horse ridding- GajaAshwasarathya 6.Dairy- Dugdhadivichar
7.Animal Training- Gatishikshya 8. Saddle making- PayataNkriya
9.Removal of skins- Pashucharma 10.Leather Tanning- Charmamardawakriya
11.Shaving- Kshurkarma 12.Tailoring- Kanchukadisiwan
13.Cleaning of pots- Gruhabhandadi 14.Laundry- Vastrasamarjan
15.Amusement- Manokul sewa 16.Writting Scripts- NanadeshvarNan
17.Baby sitting-Shishusanrakshana 18.Punishment-Sayuktadan
19.Seting Bed-ShayyastaraN 20.Flower garlands-Pushpadigranthan
21.Food & Nutrition-Annapachana 22.Extaction of work from water, wind and
fire-Jala vayu agni sanyog
23.Gemology -Ratnadisdyana 24.Slag removal-Kshyariskashan
25.Testing of chemicals-Kshyara 26.Removal of oils-Snehaniskashan
27.Brick making-Ishtikabhajan 28.Combination of metals with herbs-
29.Glass making-Kachapatradikaran 30. Smitthy- Lohabhisar
31. Making metal pots- Bhanda kriya 32.Grading of gold- Swarnadidarshan
33.Powder making-Makarandadikruti 34.Metal alloys - Sanyog dhatudyana
35.Floats & Buoys- 36.Rope preparation- Sutradirajjukaran
37.Cloth to mast- Patbandhan 38.Navigation-Naukanayan
39.Ground leveling-Samabhumikriya 40.Breaking stones- Shilarcha
41.Tunneling- Vivarkaran 42.Making Arches- Vrutakhanda andhan
43.Canal Building- Jalabandhan 44.Ballons- Vayabandhan

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45.Birds training- 46.Gold plating-
Shakuntashiksha SwarNalepadikriya
47.Leather Tents- Charmapatabandhan 48.Soil selection- Mrutsadhan
49. Grass Roofing- TruNadyachhan 50.White washing- ChurNopalepa
51.Painting-VarNakarma 52.Carpentary- Darukarma
53.Soil conditioning -Mrutkarma 54.Drawing and Painting- Chitradyalekhan
55.Sculpture- Pratimakaran 56.Foundations- Talkriya
57.Roof construction- Shikharkarma 58.Wresling-Mallayuddha
59. Weapons-Shashtranipatan 60. Missiles –Astranipatan
61.Military formation-Vyuha rachana 62.Surgery-Shalyadruti
63.Wound Dressing-Vrananirakaran 64.Garden layout-Vanopawan Rachana

Reasons for loss of ancient technical literature

There were more than 20,000 texts on these subjects but by 20 th centaury
the number diminished to less than 1200. Reasons for loss of ancient
literature on Shilpashastra-s can be summarized as below.

 Natural - Limited life of the writing materials, such as Barks of trees
(Bhurjapatra), Palm leaf (Talapatra) and paper. Many texts were
destroyed by white ants, moisture and fire.
 Language – Most of the texts are written in Sanskrit. Scientists and
engineers did not know this language. Sanskrit scholars did not know
 Secrecy – The knowledge was encrypted in religious texts and the
texts were not available to all sections of society.
 Foreign aggression - Most of the texts were destroyed during foreign
aggression and some very important texts were taken to other
countries by scholars.
 Improper interpretation – Some texts (Vastushashtra) were wrongly
interpreted and lost its utility.
 Neglect by modern engineers - Authors of books on engineering
completely ignored the ancient Indian references.
 Religion – There is a misconception that ancient texts are for a
particular religion. Hence the governments did not include these
subjects in the education systems.
 Irrelevance – Most of the educated class thinks that the ancient Indian
texts are outdated or irrelevant.

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 Absence of technical data - None of the ancient texts includes technical
data, formulae or specifications as those are provided in foreign texts.

नानाविधानां िस्तुनां यंत्राणां कल्पसंपदा ।

धातुनां साधनांच िास्तुनां शिल्पसंज्ञीतं ॥

SV0.1- Definition of Shilpa

भृगुरवत्रिवशिष्ठच विश्वकर्ाव र्यस्तथा ।

नारदौ नग्न्जितच्चैि वििालाक्षः पुरंदराः ॥२॥

ब्रम्िा कुर्ारौ नंहदिः िौनको गगव एिंच ।

िासुदेिो शनरुध्दष्च तथा िुकबृिस्पती ॥३॥

अष्टादिैते विख्याता िस्तुिास्तोपदे श्काः

र्त्सस्यपुराण अ २५२

SV0.2 - Eighteen Devine Engineers

कंबासूत्रांबुपात्रंििशतकरतले पुस्तकं ज्ञांनसूत्रं ।

हंसारुढंत्रिनेिः शुभमुकुटत्रशराः सर्वतार्ृध्दकाया ॥

त्रैलोक्यंएनसृष्टं सूरगृिं राििम्याहदव िम्याव ।

देर्सौसूिधारोजगतत्रिलत्रहतः पातुर्ोत्रर्श्वकमाव ॥

र्त्सस्यपुराण अ २५३

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SV 0.3 - Description of Vishwakarma


Life and Work of Shilpakalanidhi Vaze


(Source- A Hindi article published in weekly Shilpasansar, Vol. 1 ,16 March
1955,pp 182-196.

Introduction- Through this article I am trying to acquaint the readers
about the life and work of Vaze. Full name of Vaze is Krushanji Vinayak
Vaze. He was born on 16th December 1869, in a poor but learned family of
Konkan. Due to extraordinary intelligence he completed his primary and
secondary education in early age. At the age of 16 he joined Government
engineering college, Pune and obtained L.C.E. degree in 1891.After
graduation he joined Public works department, Mumbai.

Due to the cultural and religious background Vaze felt that the education he
obtained was Non-Indian and therefore incomplete. In his article in Vedic
Magazine Lahore, he wrote;

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“In December 1891, I passed my L.C.E. Examination of the University of
Bombay. I was much surprised to find that during the whole course of my
training in engineering in Poona Engineering college, the highest institution
in Bombay Presidency there was no mention of any Indian author or text or
formula of Engineering subjects. It could not satisfy my mind saying that
there was no indigenous Engineering in India worth to mention in
Engineering colleges. I had known eminent men admire buildings like Taj-
Mahal, sculpture like that at Elora and Ajanta, forts like those of Bharatpur
or Gwalior and canal like those of the Indus or Jamuna, guns like the
Mahakali, Mulkh-Maidan of Bijapur or the Iron –pillars of Ashoka.I therefore
made up my mind to see how the matters stand. Being poor, I served
Bombay Government honestly and creditably and devoted all my spare time
and resources in the prosecution of the study. As the texts were not
generally known, I concluded that the must be with the artisans who had
kept them as their secret. I therefore, directed my search amongst those
men and during thirty years I know the names of about 400 texts of which I
read fifty and got copies and studied 20. During my two years furlough, I
found that the public libraries in India contained no texts I have not read
and this was the utmost that a poor man like me can do.

Vaze served government in a dignified way and retired also with the same
dignity. Vaze had deep knowledge of ancient Indian warfare. During First
World War in 1916, he offered his service for taking part in the war in any
capacity. As soon as his request was turned down by the authorities, he took
voluntary retirement. After retirement he decided to share his knowledge of
religion, Shilpashtra and other subjects. With encouragement from
Lokamanya Tilak, he authored many books and articles. He gave many

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Shri Vaze was intelligent rationalist. He had a firm belief that religion and
behavior are interdependent and our ancient knowledge cannot be fully
understood without basic knowledge of Hindu religion. He therefore wrote
eight books on Hindu religion for future generations. Shri U.K. (Babashaeb)
Apte, in the biography of Vaze, gave him a title “Maharastracha Smrutikar”.

Vaze’s contribution to Bharatiya Shilpashastra

In my opinion this contribution is more important than his contribution on
Hindu religion. He was the first to describe the extent of Shilpashastra as per

Vaze earnestly desired that Curriculum of Civil engineering should include
Hindi Shilpashastra. He through, staff and students of Pune Engineering
college , tried hard but could not succeed. To remove the paucity of
reference material on the subject, he published many books and articles as
given below.

1-Shilpa ShkshyaNache Mahatva (Marathi) or Importance of education of
Shilpashastra. This 50 page short book contains description of 32
engineering techniques (Vidyas).

2-PrachinHindi Shilpashastrasar (Marathi)-This 216 pages book has 14
chapters in addition to introduction.

3-Kashyapashilpam (Sanskrit)- Out of the main 18 Shilpasamhita,
Kashyapashilpam is the oldest. This 278 pages book has 88 chapters. Three
orientalist, Steila Kramerish,Losch Hans and Dr.MahuyaN of annamalai
University used this reference book for their subsequent works

4-Prachin Hindi Shilpashatra-Part-1- Vaze wished to publish his entire
research in 11 volumes. This 200 page book forms an introduction part. This
book has 14 chapters; Vaze expired on 31st March 1929 due to minor

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illness. His proposed books remained unpublished. Vaze published small
books when his bigger books were under publication. These books are;

05- Aryashilpa Yantrashastra-Published by B.R.Kshyirasagar,Kalika Prasad
Press Pune 2, Pages 46

06- Aryashilpa Vastushastra-Published by B.R.Kshyirasagar,Kalika Prasad
Press Pune 2, Pages .

07- Aryashilpa Chitravidya Published by B.R.Kshyirasagar,Kalika Prasad
Press Pune 2, Pages .

08- Aryashilpa Dhanuvidya-(Marathi), Published by B.R.Kshyirasagar,Kalika
Prasad Press Pune 2, Pages 38.

09-Prachin Hindi Yuddhavidya(Marathi),Published by Sayaji Sahitymala,10th
book, Book seller- Tukaram Book depot, Madhavbagh, Mumbai 4, Paged
144.The book contains 14 chapters.

10-Prachin Hindi Shilpashastra Part 4-Town Planning- Published by
Ichalkaranji Granthmala,Budhwar, Pune 2, Pages 184. This book was
published after the death of Vaze. The book contains 13 chapters and

In addition to above mentioned books Vaze wrote many popular articles in
various magazines and News papers.

1-Bombay Engineering Congress: A study of building construction in ancient
Indian manuscripts, 1923, paper no.70.

2-Annals of Bhandarkar oriental research Institute Pune: Hindu temples and
Samarangansutradhar, Vol 8, pp 205-207.

3- Vedic Magazine Lahore: Ancient Indian Engineering Philosophy, a)
Building Construction- May 1922 to June 1923, b) Amenities – Jun-1923, c)
Workshops-Jul 1923, d) Physics in ancient India- Sept.1925, d) glossary of

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technical terms- Aug.1923, e) Yantrashastra- Oct-Nov.1923, f) Warfare-
Sep.1923-Jul. 1924, f) Town planning – Jun 1924-Oct.1927.

Vaze gave popular lectures in many cities like Nagpur,Pune,Devas. After his
retirement he served many institutes as honorary lecturer in Tilak Maha
Vidyalaya Pune, Samartha Vidyalaya Talegaon, Tilak Rastriya Vidyalaya

He was founder member of P.W.D. Overseer Association and was President
of the association for many years. He authored some Marathi books on
commerce also.

From the above information, reader must have realized the unique qualities
of Late K.V.Vaze. Reader would agree with me that the correct memorial of
Vaze is to acquaint Indian readers with his work.

I hope and pray that people of free India would be inspired by Vaze’s work
and preserve his literature for future generations.

of Measurement in Ancient India

(From Praachin Hindi Shilpashastrasaar)

By Late K.V. Vaze (1932)

Ancient India had an elaborate system of measurement for time, length,
angle and mass. With these basic units other units such as area, volume,
speed, acceleration etc were developed.

Time: Unit of measurement of time was devised first. The smallest units

 Nimish- time to close or open the eyes
 Matra- time to pronounce an vowel
 Truti- time to create sound with thumb and middle finger

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The highest unit was “Kalpa” (unimaginable). Three systems of time
measurement are available in ancient texts and are shown in a table below.

Units of Time
Kashyapa Bhrugu Maya
Nimish Matra Truti
Kashta = 18 Akshar =2 Matra lava= 2 Truti
Kala = 30 Kashta Lava =2 Akshar Nimisha = 2Lava
Kshyan = 30 Kala Kshyan = 2 lava Kashta = 5 Nimish
Muhurta = 12 Vipul = 30 Kala = 30 Kashta
Kshyan Kshyan
Ghat I = Pala = 60 Vipal Nadik a = 40 Kala
Ahoratraa = 24 Ghatika = Muhurta = 2
Ghati 50Pala Nadika
Pakshya = 15 Ahoratra = Ahoratra = 30
Ahoratra 60Ghatika Muhurta
Maas = 30 Maas = 30 Maas = 30 Ahoratra
Ahoratra Ahoratra
Vatsar= 12 Maas Abda = 12 Maas Vatsar = 12 Maas

Ghatika Yantra –to measure a time span of one Ghatika (approximately
≈1000 seconds)

Length: Units of measurement of length are more or less same in al the
three samhita. Yawa- yawa means a barley seed. Width at its middle portion
is one yawa. Angula is length of middle portion of middle finger of the
engineer or architect in-charge (Hence this varies from 15 to 20 mm). The
ancient units of length are described below.

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Units of Length
No Unit Equivalent No Unit Equivalent
to to
1 Yawa 2.5 mm 7 Danda= 4 Hatsa 2m
2 Angula = 6 to 20 mm 8 Velu = 10 Hasta 2.5 m
8 Yawa
3 Graha = 4 8 cm 9 Rajju(Chain) =10 20 m
Angula Danda
4 Mushti=2 16 cm 10 Krosh =200 Rajju 4 km
5 Vitarit 25 cm 11 Yojan=4 Krosh 16 km

=12 Angula
6 Hatsa = 2 50 cm

Area: The smallest unit of area is Aasan which is an area of a square of
length of one Hasta. The biggest unit was Rajjya. The various units of area
are shown below.

Units of Area
No Unit Equivalent No Unit Equivalent
to to
1 Aasan 0.25 sq.m 6 Vati = 5 20
2 Gocharma = 16 4 sq.m 7 Kutumba = 4 80
Aasana Vati
3 Kakni = 64 256 sq.m 8 Gram = 100 One town
Gocharma Kutumba
4 Masha = 4 Kakni 1024 sq.m 9 Janapad = 100 One city
5 Vartanika = 4 4096 sq.m 10 Rajjya = 100 One state
Masha Janapad

Volume: Different units are mentioned in the ancient texts for liquid and
solids. The smallest units for solid and liquid measurements are “Chimoot”
and “Aachamna” These units are described below.

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Units of Volume
Solids Liquids
Chimoot Aachamna ~ 2.5 cc

Panchamul = 4 Chimoot Pali= 12 Aachamna ≈ 30 cc

Mushthi = 4 Panchamul Drona = 80 Pali ≈ 2.4 Litre

Kudav = 4 Mushthi Kumbha =20 Drona ≈50 Litre

Prashtha = 4 Kudav Waha = 10 Kumbha ≈ 500 litre

Adhak = 4 Prashtha

Drona = 8 Adhak

Shoorpa =2 Drona

Khari = 1.5 Shoorpa

Waha=8 Khari

Weights: Grains of rice, black gram, Gunja or linseed were used as weights
of small things. These weights were called Tandul, Mash, Gunj (Ratti, the
seeds of Abrus precatorius) and Sasharp respectively. The internal relation
was as below;

15 Sasharp = 5 Gunj =8Tandul =1 Mash

Units of weight
Unit Equivalent Unit Equivalent
Gunja 200 mg Mash 1 gm
Karsh 16 gm Pala 64 gm
Tula 6.4 kg Bhar 128 Kg
Uchit 1280 kg Gunja/ Ratti

Angle: Measurements of angles was used in astronomical calculations.
These are explained below. The smallest unit was Vikala.

Units of Angle

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Unit Equivalent
Vikala 1 minute
Kala= 60 Vikala 1 Degree
Rashi= 30 Kala 30 Degrees
Valay = 12 Rashi 1 Circle= 360 Degrees

Currency: Following Sanskrit terms were used for currency;

Ancient Currency
Kawdi - Kawdi was smallest currency.
Ganda= 4 Kawdi Damdi = 4 Ganda
Paisa = 4 Damdi Anna =4 Paisa
Pawli = 4 Anna Rupayya= 4 Pawli
Hona= 4 Rupayya Nishka = 4 Hona
Tamrapana =1 Paisa Roupyapana= 1 Rupayya
Suwarnapana= 16 Roupyapana Gold was 16 times costlier than

Silver (but 75 times at present)

Sanskrit terms and their meaning

 Artha - useful
 Dhana - thing which increases
 Dravya- Fluid, which changes from hand to hand
 Laxmi - Wealth (currency- notes or coins)


Human Resources for Construction

Buildings of a monumental scale inevitably require a large number of artisans. The
team usually led by of four experts who are said to have their mythological origin
from Brahma, the supreme creator of the world.

Mayamatam mentions five types of workers. There are different nomenclatures in
different texts. These nomenclatures are explained below. Ref. Fig 1 and table 1

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शिष्यकाशभज्ञकुिला आचायावश्चेशतशिग्नल्पन:।
स्थपशत: सूत्रग्रािीच तक्षको िधवहकरतथा ॥
भिंशत शिग्नल्पनो लोके प्रख्याता: स्िस्िकर्वशभ:। र्यर्त अ ५

SV F1 - Five types of workers

Table F1 -Construction workers
Text 1 2 3 4 5
Kashyapa Shilpadnya Devadnya Vidhidnya Paur Nrukar

Bhrugu Sutradhar Ganitadnya Purandnya Karu Karmakrut

Maya Sthapati Sutragrahi Takshyak Vardhaki Karmi

English Engineer Assistant Mason Artisan Laborer

The fifth class (laborers) is illiterate and does not possess any construction tool.
Good physique is only necessary. The forth class (artisan) should have minimum
one skill. The third class (mason) should know minimum one technique. The second
class (engineering assistant) should know minimum one Shastra. The first class
(engineer in chief) should know all Shilpa Shastras. Details of each class are
explained below. Ref. SV F2

स्थपशत: स्थापनािव : स्यात सिविास्त्रवििारद:।
न िीनांगोऽशतररक्तांगो धाशर्वकश्च दयापर: ॥
गग्नणतज्ञ: पुराण्ज्ज्ञ: सत्सयिादी ग्नितंहिय: ॥ र्यर्त अ ५
SVF2- Qualities of Sthapati

‘Sthapati’ should always be sound in knowledge of shastras and should be efficient
in practical in practical would of karma it is very important for him to be wise
discrete + disciplined. What is desirable or needed further is the vastu samya
knowledge, a sense of proportion based on the symptoms or maifestations.

18 www.vishwakarma.journal Issue No. 1-1
The Sthapati, according to Sumarangana Sutradhara, must know Vaastushastra,
the theoretical basis including mathematics, astrology, chandas or meters, crafts
and the working of mechanical devices.

Sthapati is also called Vishwakarma (person who knows about all works in the
world). He has to get the work done with four types of subordinates.

The importance of knowledge, both theory and practice is underlined, as the
knowledge of only Shastra without knowing the application, makes the Sthapati like
a coward in the battlefield. In addition, if the Sthapati practices without the
knowledge of the Shastra, he is misled easily like a blind person…. (Chapter VIII)

The Sumarangana Sutradhara elucidates further that the Sthapati must practice
without greed, anger, jealousy and bias. He is also required to be proficient in the
eight skills of drawing, painting, carving, woodwork, stonework, metalwork, and
masonry and sculpting.

The Sthapati is the Guru of the other three experts. His supremacy in the hierarchy
of the team is explicit. His persona, in fact, incorporates the roles and skills of the
entire team. Thus, the underlying division of the architectural team is clear, with
the Sthapati on one side and the other three led by the Sutragrahin, on the other.

Sutradhar is one who has good reputation, intelligent, master on one technique,
son or student of Sthapati. In due course Sutradhar becomes Sthapati. Ref. SVF-3

सूनार्ादृढबुविश्च िास्तुविद्याग्नधधपारग: ।
स्थपतेस्य शिष्यो िा सूत्रग्रािी भिेत्ससुत:॥ र्यर्त अ ५
SVF-3 - Qualities of Sutradhar

The attributes of the Sutradhar are talent, dexterity in all kinds of work, lack of
greed and calm. He was the vital link between the concept and the physical form.
The remoteness of the Sthapati from the actual construction process sometimes
resulted Sutradhar surpassing the superlative position of the Sthapati. In fact, after
the Gupta period of Indian history many monuments bear the inscriptions of the
Sutragrahin and not the Sthapati.

19 www.vishwakarma.journal Issue No. 1-1
Devadnya (or Ganitadnya) is the persons estimate quantity and time for the work.
This is termed Estimator or draftsman in present times. He should respect these
and keep satisfied.

Takshyak is a person who knows the use of building tools and works as per
Sthapati’s orders and also cuts stones or wood logs etc. Ref. SVF-4.

स्थापत्सयाज्ञानुसारी च सिवकर्ववििारद: ।
सूत्रदं डप्रपातज्ञो र्ानोजर्ानप्रर्ाणविद्॥
िैलदाविवष्टकादीनां सूत्रग्रािीििात्तु य:।
तक्षणात्सस्थूलसूक्ष्र्ाणां तक्षक: स च कीशतवत:॥
र्यर्त अ ५
SVF-4 - Qualities of Takshyak

Nrukar means servant who uses his two hands without using his head. In short he
is persons to only do work assigned to him.

Short Technical Notes

Ancient references on Expansive Soils

Expansive soils are those soils which swell or shrink on addition or reduction
of water content. Expansive soils India are commonly known as Black Cotton
soils. The damage to structures constructed on such stratum is much more
than the damage caused due to earthquakes.
Around 1950 the subject of expansive soils attracted worldwide attention of
scientists and engineers. Many institutes of higher education have
introduced this subject in their curriculum.
But World’s First Reference describing expansive soils is found in Bhrugu
Samhita, which mentions that a “soil which cracks when exposed to sun
rays, which is made porous by wind or insects, devoid of water, muddy soils,
was worst for construction purposes”. In other words the sage has described
the properties of expansive soils.

20 www.vishwakarma.journal Issue No. 1-1
पंकग्नक्लजना रविकरहृता िातनाकीटिुष्टा ।
तोयाभािा विषतरुयुक्ता कंटकंविता िा ॥
श्वेता रक्ता च पीताच कृ ष्णा भूस्तु चतुविवधा ।
तेषार्ाद्यास्त्रयोग्राह्याश्च्तुथी िग्निवता बुधै: ॥
भृगुसंहिता अ.४
Description of Expansive soils in Bhrugu Samhita

Jalashastra –Water Resources Enginnering

 King Bhagiratha was the world’s first irrigation engineer, who developed a
network of rivers and canals in north India.
 Sage Kashypa reclaimed the water-logged land of Kashmir by dewatering
and hence the land is known as "Kashypa Mir" or Kashmir.
 Varahmihir was the first hydrologist to develop a science (Dakargal) to
predict underground aquifers, based on surface indicators, such as trees,
plants, creepers, grass, terrariums, hibernating animals etc.
 Ancient text "Kadambini" describes forecasting of rains based on certain
natural symptoms. (Insects, birds, animals, flora of trees etc.)
 Varahmihir developed method to predict rain fall, based on astronomy.
 Sage Vashishta and Sage Bhrugu were the first divine engineers to describe
properties of flowing and steady water respectively.
 Vedic hymns praise the deity of water.
 Water mills (arhihatt) were first developed in India and later the technique
was used by Persians (Persian well)
 Kautilya gave guideline for construction of dams, canal, wells, pollution
prevention etc.
21 www.vishwakarma.journal Issue No. 1-1
 An ancient lexicon "Nighantu" mentions one hundred meaningful names of

The Persian wheel

Important ancient Indian books on Mathematics

Bhasha Lilawati
Bhaskariya Bijaganitam
Brahma Sphuta Siddhanta
Ganit Kaumudi
Ganit sara sangraha
Ganit Ved
Grahaganitadhyaya of Bhaskaracharya
Hindu Ganit
Indian mathematics
Jain Ganit
Kuttakara Siromani of Devaraja
Vedic Mathematics

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Web Links for free downloads








Contents of next issue-July 2017

 Krushee shastra –Biological sciences –Part 1-Vrukshya Vidya

(ancient Botany).

 Tanjore Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore (TN).

23 www.vishwakarma.journal Issue No. 1-1
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