Part II: The 14 Vidyas & 64 Kalas of Ancient India

In my previous post, I wrote about the 14 Vidyas (fields of education). This post is about the 64 Kalas (communication, performing arts, domestic sciences) . The Vidyas and the Kalas comprised of the education system in ancient India (1500- 600 B.C).

The 64 Kalas have always fascinated me because of the following reasons:

While the Vidyas form a true academic base, the Kalas comprise of an eclectic mix of useful trades and skills. The Kalas are gender neutral. All the Kalas are applicable to both sexes and are considered equally useful skills for both men and women to have. Indeed, the male God Ganesha is considered to be a practitioner of all 64 Kalas, including knowing how to apply makeup, how to cook, the art of literary criticism, and… flirting The Kalas show us the skills and perspectives needed to make a well-rounded individual. These skills go well beyond the range of just an academic education. Most of the Kalas are relevant even today, with some of them being extremely topical: the art of mixing drinks, slam poetry, etc.

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