# Explanation needed for the word 'angula'

Dr.RM.Krishnan poo at GIASMD01.VSNL.NET.IN
Sun Oct 10 12:13:28 UTC 1999

```At 10/10/99 7:20:00 AM, you wrote:
>Priority:               normal
>Date sent:              Sat, 9 Oct 1999 15:51:23 +0200
>Send reply to:          Indology <INDOLOGY at LISTSERV.LIV.AC.UK>
>From:                   Toke Lindegaard Knudsen <tlk at MATH.KU.DK>
>Subject:                Explanation needed for the word 'angula'
>To:                     INDOLOGY at LISTSERV.LIV.AC.UK
>
>> Dear list-members,
>>
>> Can anyone tell me whether the word 'angula', which is used for a
>> measure of length in the Brahmanas and Sutras (and possibly also
>> many other places), literally means 'finger'?  I am curious as to
>> whether this unit was intended as being the breadth of a finger.
>>
>> Any help would be appreciated.
>>
>> Sincerely,
>> Toke Lindegaard Knudsen
>
>'Breadth of a finger'  -- yes. 24 fingers make a cubit.
>KSA
>
>
I know an equivalent system for measuring lengths in the Tamil tradition,viz.,

8 aNu = 1 thErth thukaL
8 thErth thukaL = 1 panjizhai
8 panjizhai = 1 mayir
8 mayir = 1 nuNmaNal
8 nel = 1 peruviral
12 peruviral = 1 chaN
2 chaN = 1 muzham
4 muzham = 1 kOl
200 kOl = 1 kUppIdu
4 kUppIdu = 1 kAtham

The meanings are:

aNu = atom, thErth thukaL = chariot dust, panjizhai = cotton filament, mayir = hair, nuNmaNal = fine sand, kaduku =
mustard seed, nel = paddy, peruviral = thumb (this is called 'angula' in sanskrit), chaN = extreme distance between the
thumb and the little finger, when an average person extends his fingers of a hand.(This is nearly around 8 inches in the
modern British System.) muzham = distance between the tip of the middle finger to the elbow point of an average
person, kOl = stick, kUppIdu = calling distance, kAtham = large distance unit.

Hope the above will be useful. (My transliteration may not be alright; but it serves the point. 'zha' is the special
stressed L in Tamil.)

With regards,
RM.Krishnan

```