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The learned people of ancient South India strove to master the 64 arts of life, what we might refer to as branches of knowledge or fields of study.

[A string inserted through the holes binds the leaves into a stack. Each bundle is a book]

Translating the list to English was tough, and some words were beyond my limited understanding. But here is a crude attempt at listing the 64 aaya-kalaigal:

  1. Grammar (required for verse and prose)
  2. Style or Metre (required for verse)
  3. Calligraphy
  4. Mathematics
  5. Vedas
  6. History
  7. Law (local and foreign)
  8. Astrology
  9. Tenets of Righteousness
  10. Yoga
  11. Religious Invocations (mantras)
  12. Interpretation of Omens
  13. Sculpture
  14. Medicine
  15. Anatomy
  16. Ancient Epics
  17. Etiquette
  18. Presentation and Bearing
  19. Gentle Speech
  20. Drama
  21. Percussion Instruments (vernacular: nadam)
  22. Percussion Instruments (vernacular: mrudhangam)
  23. String Instruments
  24. Wind Instruments
  25. Ability to discern various sounds (human and non-human)
  26. Music Modes
  27. Music Critique
  28. Archery
  29. Kanaga Paritchai (No idea what this refers to)
  30. Chariot driver
  31. Elephant rider (mahout)
  32. Equestrianism
  33. Gemmology
  34. Geomorphology (study of landforms)
  35. Warfare (strategy, tactics, and code of war)
  36. Wrestling
  37. Trapper (of men and beasts using wiles and lures)
  38. Seeking positives in negatives
  39. Technology
  40. Appreciation of Paganist Arts
  41. Ability to tame Temptations
  42. Secrets of Charming
  43. Alchemy
  44. Perceptiveness
  45. Kavuthiga Vaadham (No idea what this means)
  46. Palmistry
  47. Kaluzham (No idea what this means)
  48. Stoicism (etiquette for expressing/sharing loss)
  49. Knowledge of Clairvoyance*
  50. Knowledge of Levitation*
  51. Knowledge of Interstellar Travel*
  52. Knowledge of Astral Travel*
  53. Thannurukarathal (No idea what this means)
  54. Knowledge of Celestial Magic*
  55. Sleight of Hand (aka magic)
  56. Fire tantras (invocations)*
  57. Water tantras (invocations)*
  58. Prana (Air) tantras (invocations)*
  59. Third Eye (Sight) tantras (invocations)*
  60. Sound tantras (invocations)*
  61. Flow tantras (invocations) – as in ethereal and corporeal flows*
  62. Lifting the Veil tantras (invocations)*
  63. Katka thambanam (no idea what this means)
  64. Black magic*

*One can debate or accept that mankind lost much knowledge to history. But many modern discoveries draw from ancient knowledge. For example, there are stone carvings that show space travellers. Another example and not one in the realms of conspiracy theorists: scientists are working on (or have already perfected) a machine that can “see” the human aura—an ability that many (including this writer) believe ancient man possessed via use of the Third Eye.

But let’s leave speculation and stick to history as we know it.

Next week: Village Administration

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019