Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Pramana or body measurements or quantities or configuration or dimensions are measured in 3 ways.
1. Anjali pramana – measurement of Volume
2. Anguli Pramana – measurement of length
3. Sankhya Shareera – counts, or numbers.
Anguli means finger. The length, breadth, and circumference of the structures of the body are measured with the help of anguli pramana. The Anguli Pramana is calculated on the basis of ‘Swa Anguli Pramana’ or the length equal to the length of the transverse measurement of one’s own middle phalanx (middle segment of bone) of the middle finger (madhyama anguli). Thus, Anguli pramana is the unit of measurement of the length of the body parts and structures.
Read related: Anjali Pramana: Volume Measurement As Per Ayurveda
Below mentioned are the measurements of various structures and parts of the body as measured using anguli pramana (Ref – Charaka Vimana 8) –
Note – The height, width and length are given in Anguli pramanas in the tabular column below. To avoid repetition the term ‘anguli’ is not mentioned against the number which indicates measurement.
Note: Cir = Circumference
The height of Sarva Shareera given as 120 anguli is the reference from Sushruta. Dalhana, commentator of Sushruta Samhita tells that the height of the body with both upper limbs raised is 120 angulis.
Vyama (No 30) – Distance between right and left fingertips when both the arms are completely abducted
Sushruta has mentioned the dimension of Stree vaksha (chest of female) as 18 angulas
Read related: Sankhya Shaareera: Count Of Body Parts As Per Ayurveda
Significance of Anguli Pramana
Anguli pramana gives us an accurate measurement of the body parts. When they are in normal proportions, they indicate good health. Anything less or more than the mentioned norms would suggest abnormality and pathology. It indicates that there is a proportional imbalance in body dimensions. This would indicate that the person whose anguli pramana is being measured is not at the best of his or her health.