Axel Michaels axel.michaels at YAHOO.DE
Thu May 27 12:39:11 UTC 2010

My calculation for aratni tries to objectify what is given as a relational measurement in the Sulvasutras. The problem is the one Patrick had: If, for example, we take a'ngula/i as "the thumb's breadth" or "Daumenbreite" and mearure it with approx. 1.905 cm (thus A.K. Bag, The Knowledge of geometrical figures; G. Pillai, The Way of the Silpis, J. Eggeling, SB III, S. 309, et al.), and if we then apply the relational measurements of the Sulvasutras, we get too large measurements: a purusa would be 228 cm; which would be too much even if we consider that this means a man with streched arms. Given the fact that the average male body height in India is c. 167 cm (see Karve Anthropometric Measurements of the Marathas, p. 17), this measurement cannot be realistic. 

The other problem is that in the sacrificial context the measurements are related to the yajamAna, i.e. not standardised. In MAnSulvS 1.4.1, however, it is asked what one should do if the yajamAna is crippled. Then follow standardisations according to botanical criteria, i.e., tila, yava etc. If we take these as the standard, we approx. get the measurement I had calculated for aratni.

All this is based on research that I made 30 years ago; perhaps there are better solutions to this problem.

Axel Michaels

P please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.

Von: Jean-Michel Delire <jmdelire at ULB.AC.BE>
Gesendet: Mittwoch, den 26. Mai 2010, 16:17:46 Uhr
Betreff: Re: [INDOLOGY] AW: [INDOLOGY] aratni

Dear Patrick,

I don't think this botanical explanation by Pr. Michaels is appropriate. Georg Thibaut, who was the first to edit the Baudh.'Sulb., expressed the view that the very peculiar value of 34 tila for an a'ngula is related to the existence of an approximate value to the square root of 2 (Baudh 'Sulb. I.61) which uses the 34th part of an a'ngula (JASB, vol.44, 1875, p.227). In a recent article (Centaurus, vol.47, 2005, p.60), I also showed that the value of 14 for an a'ngula is related to the unattested approximate value of 7 + 1/14 to the diagonal of a square of side 5 and to the attested common and gross procedure for transforming a circle into a square (Baudh.'Sulb.I.60 for instance).

Best regards,

Jean Michel Delire

>according to Baudh SulvS I.16 together with I.7 and I.3 one aratni would come to 45.7 cm given that the measurement for one angula is 3/4 inch. (c. 1905 cm). This calculation is based on botanical consideration, i.e. 1 angula = 34 tila (sesam indicum) or 14 aNu (panicum miliaceum). According to my perhaps outdated view (see my Beweisverfahren in der vedischen Sakralgeometrie, 1978, pp. 156-7) the differences depend on whether the seeds are taken with or without husk and measured by breadth or length.
>Best wishes, Axel
> ------------------------------
>Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels
>Acting Director Excellence Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", Sprecher des SFB 619 ("Ritualdynamik")
>Universität Heidelberg, Südasien-Institut, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, D-69120 Heidelberg
>Tel. +49-6221-548917 / Fax +49-6221-546338 
> --
>Emails: sek-michaels at (SAI office) -- Axel.Michaels at (official and personal) -- michaels at (Cluster mail)
>Von: Patrick Olivelle <jpo at UTS.CC.UTEXAS.EDU>
>Gesendet: Sonntag, den 23. Mai 2010, 15:44:17 Uhr
>Betreff: [INDOLOGY] aratni
>Friends: here is a question. I am trying to get the measurement of the Sanskrit aratni. Both M-W and Bohtlingk gives the old measurement "ell" -- which is said to be 45 inches (1.14 meters). This surely cannot be if the measurement is from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Apte gives the measurement as 24 angulas (i.e., about 47 cms.). The latter is also the measurement given by Basham in his Wonder.
>Thanks for any comments.

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