64 Skills

Saandheepani, the Guru for Lord Krishna and Balarama taught them 64 arts or skills. These skills are referred at many places in the scriptures. A close observation reveals the depth and diversity of knowledge ancient Indians had and the kind of education provided in those days.

  1. Geetham – singing
  2. Vaadhyam – playing on musical instruments
  3. Nrithyam – dancing
  4. Naatyam – drama
  5. Aalekhyam – painting
  6. Viseshaka-cchedhyam – painting the face and body with colored unguents and cosmetics
  7. Tandula kusuma bali vikaaraa: – preparing auspicious designs on the floor with rice and flowers
  8. Pushpaastharanam – making a bed of flowers
  9. Dasana vashanaanga-raagaa: – coloring one’s teeth, clothes and limbs
  10. Mani bhoomikaa karmaa – inlaying a floor with jewels
  11. Sayyaa rachanam – covering a bed
  12. Udaka vaadhyam – ringing water-pots
  13. Udhaka ghaatha: – splashing with water
  14. Cithra yogaa: – mixing colors
  15. Maalya grathana vikalpaa: – preparing wreaths
  16. Sekhara aapeeda yojanam – setting a helmet on the head
  17. Nepathya yogaa: – putting on apparel in a dressing room
  18. Karna pathra bhangaa: – decorating the earlobe
  19. Sugandha yukthi: – applying aromatics
  20. Bhooshana yojanam – decorating with jewelry
  21. Aindhra jaalam – jugglery/magic
  22. Kouchumaara yoga: – the art of disguise
  23. Hasta laaghavam – sleight of hand
  24. Chithra saakaapoopa bhakshya vikaara kriyaa: – preparing varieties of salad, bread, cake and other delicious food
  25. Paanaka rasa raagaasava yojanam – preparing palatable drinks with red color
  26. Soochee vaaya karmaa – needlework and weaving
  27. Soothra kreedaa – making puppets dance by manipulating thin threads – Puppet show
  28. Veenaa damaruka vaadhyaani – playing on a flute and a small X-shaped drum
  29. Prahelikaa – making and solving riddles
  30. Pratimaalaa – capping verses, or reciting poems verse for verse as a trial of memory or skill
  31. Dhurvaachaka yogaa: – uttering statements difficult for others to answer
  32. Pusthaka vaachanam – reciting books
  33. Naatika aakhyaayikaa dharsanam – enacting short plays and writing anecdotes
  34. Kaavya samasyaa pooranam – solving enigmatic verses
  35. Paththikaa vethra baana vikalpaa: – making a bow from a strip of cloth and a stick
  36. Tharku karma – spinning with a spindle
  37. Thaksanam – carpentry
  38. Vaasthu-vidhyaa – architecture
  39. Roupya rathna pareekshaa – testing silver and jewels
  40. Dhaathu vaadha: – metallurgy
  41. Mani raaga jnaanam – tinging jewels with various colors
  42. Aakara-jnaanam – mineralogy
  43. Vriksha aayur vedha yoga: – herbal medicine
  44. Mesha kukkuta laavaka yudhdha vidhi: – the art of training and engaging rams, cocks and quails in fighting
  45. Suka saarikaa pralaapanam – knowledge of how to train male and female parrots to speak and to answer the questions of human beings
  46. Uthsaadhanam – healing a person with ointments
  47. Kesa maarjana kousalam – hairdressing
  48. Akshara mushtikaa kathanam – telling what is written in a book without seeing it, and telling what is hidden in another’s fist
  49. Mlecchitha kutharka vikalpaa: – fabricating barbarous or foreign sophistry
  50. Dhesa bhaashaa jnaanam – knowledge of provincial dialects
  51. Pushpa sakatikaa nirmithi jnaanam – knowledge of how to build toy carts with flowers
  52. Yanthra maathrikaa – composing magic squares, arrangements of numbers adding up to the same total in all directions
  53. Dhaarana maathrikaa – the use of amulets
  54. Samvaachyam – conversation
  55. Maanasee kaavya kriyaa – composing verses mentally
  56. Kriyaa vikalpaa: – designing a literary work or a medical remedy
  57. Chalithaka yogaa: – building shrines
  58. Abhidhaana kosa cchandho jnaanam – lexicography and the knowledge of poetic meters
  59. Vasthra gopanam – disguising one kind of cloth to look like another
  60. Dhyootha visesham – knowledge of various forms of gambling; (so) aakarsha-kreedaa – playing dice
  61. Baalaka kreedanakam – playing with children’s toys
  62. Vainaayikee vidhyaa – enforcing discipline by mystic power
  63. Vaijayikee vidhyaa – gaining victory
  64. Vaithaalikee vidhyaa – awakening one’s master with music at dawn
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