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What was the height of Lord Rama and that of Lord Krishna according to Ramayana and Mahabharata?

Please answer along with the scripture quotations.

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  • Are you only interested in height or general rang roopa?
    – sbharti
    Aug 11 at 1:11
  • @sbharti only height Aug 11 at 5:31
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+100

It is very difficult to calculate the exact height of Lord Rama considering that Lord Rama belonged to Treta Yuga and various physical and living entities change based on Yuga Dharma.

But even if we apply today's Kaliyuga measurement system, the height of Lord Rama should be greater than 12 feet.

Now let's do the calculation:

- Height of Lord Rama as 4 Kishku:

In Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kanda Sarga 35, Hanuman is describing the form and characters of Lord Rama to Goddess Sita. There he uses the term "चतुष्किष्कुः" / "Chatuskishku" while describing Lord Rama which means the height of Lord Rama is 4 Kishkus.

त्रिवलीवांस्त्र्यवनतश्चतुर्व्यङ्गस्त्रिशीर्षवान्।
चतुष्कलश्चतुर्लेखश्चतुष्किष्कुश्चतु स्समः।।5.35.18।।

He has three folds in the skin of his neck and belly. He is depressed at three places. He is undersized at four places. He is endowed with three spirals in the hair of his head. He has four lines at the root of his thumb. He has four lines on his forehead. He is four Kishku high. He has four pairs of limbs equally matched.

- Measurement of 1 Kishku:

Now we have to find a scriptural source that describes how much is 1 Kishku. In this case, I'm here using reference from this chapter of Brahmanda Purana.

Eight Bālāgras make one Likṣā (the egg of a louse). Eight Likṣās make one Yūkā (a louse). They call the combination of eight Yūkās one Yava (a grain of barley). Eight Yavas make one Aṅgula (finger-breadth). Twelve Aṅgulaparvans (finger-joints or finger-breadths is called a Vitasti (a span). It should be known that twenty-one finger breadths make one Ratni. Twenty-four Aṅgulas make one Hasta. Two Ratnas or forty-two Aṅgulas, it should be known, make one Kiṣku. Learned men call ninety-six Aṅgulas, a Dhanus. It is remembered that the unit Dhanus is taken up in calculating Gāvyūtis. A Dhanus consists of two Daṇḍas with the fingers placed like a tubular vessel. Persons who know calculation call three hundred Dhanus units a Nalva.

From the above passage, it is clear that 2 Ratnas or 42 Angulas form one Kishku. This means the height of Lord Rama would be 4 x 42 = 168 Angulas.

- Calculation of Height:

Angula literally means the size/width of a finger. But how to determine the exact value of Angula. Also if the body size is different then the size of the finger can also be different. But the above passage of Brahmanda Purana gives us some hint about how big could an Angula be. It says:

Eight Yavas make one Aṅgula

This means that 8 grains of barely when combined makes 1 Angula. If we search in Google we find that modern-day barely grains are about 2.7-3mm in size. This means 1 Angula = 2.16 - 2.4cm. Even in our hands if we measure the width of a finger (adult man) we find it is greater than 2 cm.

Thus height of Lord Rama by this calculation:
168 Angula * (2.16 to 2.4cm) = 3.6288m to 4.032m = 12ft to 13ft

Another approach: Let's assume that there is something wrong with this barely grain approach like sizes of barely grain might vary etc.. In the same Brahmanda Purana passage we find:

Twenty-four Aṅgulas make one Hasta.

Now, hasta literally means a hand. If we keep our fingers from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow it is approx 24 Angulas. We can just try it. This same unit of measurement in English (from the tip of the finger to elbow) is also called Cubit and it is still used in villages to measure lands.

Now, this one Hasta can also vary from person to person. If we take average data from our era it comes that it is about 47cm to 52cm. In the same link it says that a cubit rod dated 2650BCE was found which used 1 cubit as about 52cm. Lord Rama is often described as Ajanabahu (whose hands reach knees) so he certainly had long hands. That factor isn't accounted here at all. Even by this 1 hasta = 52 cm calculation also we get the height of Lord Rama as:

168 Angula = 7 *24 Angula = 7 Hasta = 7 * 52cm = 3.64m = 12ft

If we account for Lord Rama's hand as Ajanabahu (long hand which reaches knees), 7 times his hand will be much greater than this. So, height could reach up to 14 to 16 ft also.

- Measurement systems not reliable:

The above measurement systems used aren't that reliable to compare with now considering that the measurement is taken from Brahmanda Purana and as Puranas were told during the end of Dwapara the measurement would more suitably fit for the measurement of that time. Like it is possible that 8 barely grains were somewhat bigger during that time and people's fingers were also somewhat bigger and it would still satisfy 8 barely grains = 1 Angula. Similarly one can have slightly longer hands and slightly bigger fingers and it would still satisfy 24 Angula = 1 Hasta.

Sizes change as per yuga dharma: In Mahabharata there is a section when Bhima meets Hanuman where Hanuman explains to Bhima about characters of Yuga there he explains that during each Yuga sizes of living entities and even plants and rocks and grounds can change as related to Yuga dharma:

Thus addressed, that mighty monkey said with a smile, 'That form of mine neither you nor anyone else can behold. At that age, the state of things was different, and do not exist at present. In the Krita age, the state of things was one; and in the Treta, another; and in the Dwapara, still another. Diminution is going on this age; and I have not that form now. The ground, rivers, plants, and rocks, and siddhas, gods, and celestial sages conform to Time, in harmony with the state of things in the different yugas. Therefore, do not desire to see my former shape, O perpetuator of the Kuru race. I am conforming to the tendency of the age. Verily, Time is irresistible.'

The above statement by Hanuman is very important. In it, Hanuman says "Diminution is going on this age." From it, we know that sizes of body decrease from Krita to Treta to Dwapar to Kali. Hanuman further says "and I have not that form now." So, Yuga Dharma is acting in some magical way and even immortal's size like Hanuman gets effected due to each changing yuga and like everything else body of Hanuman should also conform to change of body size based on Yuga. He even says that even the ground, plants, rocks, and rivers conform to the change of Yuga and thus these all things also change based on Yuga Dharma. So, it might actually be foolish to try to find the 16ft/32ft skeletons of Treta/Satya yuga considering that when even the rocks conform to the change of Yuga, those skeletons also certainly should conform to the change of Yuga.

So, this whole Yuga dharma changing is not some simple usual event. Drastic changes take place and by some magical means (Mahamaya) or by some other means and everything conforms to the Yuga Dharma. The potency of Mahamaya is so powerful that she can delude even the sages and learned ones. Durga Saptashati says:

महामाया हरेश्‍चैषा तया सम्मोह्यते जगत्।
ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवी भगवती हि सा॥
बलादाकृष्य मोहाय महामाया प्रयच्छति। (Durga Saptashati, Markandeya Purana)

It is by her the world is deluded. Verily she, the Bhagavati, the Mahamaya forcibly drawing the minds of even the wise, throws them into delusion.

So, Mahamaya can throw the mind of even the mind of 'Gyanis' what to say of most of the people today.

Thus concluding, the size of Lord Rama even by today's measurement should be greater than 12ft. As Lord Hanuman says that "Dimunition is going on" in the Mahabharata and says that "even the plants conform to the change of Yuga". So, Comparing the size of barley grain (when the Purana was told - end of Dwapara) and today's grain size, today's size also should be slightly smaller than the barely grains of Dwapara end.

Regarding the height of Lord Krishna as he was born in the end of Dwapara and now we are in very beginning of Kali-yuga we can guess that height of Lord Krishna wouldn't be that much drastically different as compared to today. Lord Krishna lived for 125 years and here people in Kali Yuga nowadays also live at around 90-100 years. This means that in the sandhi period of Dwapara and Kali (during the time of Lord Krishna) it was already being influenced by Kali Yuga dharma (shortened life span and height). So, Lord Krishna would certainly be somewhat bigger than most of the man today but there won't be drastic height difference. Regarding the height of Lord Krishna, it is my own analysis and hence it might be the opposite of what is contained in scripture. I'm trying to find exact scriptural references for the height of Lord Krishna also.

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  • Wait, if everything shrinks over age, including rocks and river. So does even atoms and Earth shrink?? If yes then the shrinkage is meaningless as it becomes totally relative. The world in Treta yuga would be exactly like in Dwapara yuga or Kali yuga, cause everything shrinks there's no reference point here. Aug 12 at 10:35
  • Also another problem is if you refer to my answer, then you'll see that in the links, kishku is actually 24 angulas in many places. So it would make Lord Rama 6ft tall which is reasonable, also barley grain sizes varies a lot. Aug 12 at 10:36
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    @MrGreenGold in my view earth, atoms won't shrink as Yuga Dharma mainly applies only to Bharata Varsha (Indian subcontinent region) but Hanuman hasn't spoken directly about if earth shrinks or not. It's not meaningless as there are plenty of sages who survive all 4 chaturyugas and they can directly see yuga dharma changing.. "kishku is actually 24 angulas in many places. " many places meaning where? In both Vayu and Brahmanda Purana 1 Kishku is defined as 42 Angula... 24 Angula is 1 Hasta not 1 Kishku...
    – Tezz
    Aug 12 at 10:40
  • Wait wait, if Rishis live through Chatur yugas their bodies will also shrink, how will they know they are shrinking??? Moreover if Earth and Atoms won't shrink how do rocks shrink?? The size of rock depends on molecular strength. and for 24 angulas being one kishku please refer my answer Aug 12 at 12:09
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    Mr green gold when rishis live for many yugas they do yogic tapas by which they conquer aging. When prana remains in sahsarara there aging rate gradually starts to slow and when attained perfection in yoga you remain as eternal being in same body and attained mastery over willful exit of body. You have to learn the traditional systems how they work with a guru parampara before you even conclude the chaturyuga is exaggerated. Aug 13 at 8:42
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Adding partial answer (only for Rama as of now).

As per Valimiki Ramayana: Sundara Kanda: Sarga 35, Lord Rama's height was four cubits (चतुष्किष्कुः):

त्रिवलीवांस्त्र्यवनतश्चतुर्व्यङ्गस्त्रिशीर्षवान्।

चतुष्कलश्चतुर्लेखश्चतुष्किष्कुश्चतु स्समः।।5.35.18।।

Translation

चतुष्किष्कुः he is four cubits in height

He has three folds in the skin of his neck and belly, is depressed in the middle of his soles and the nipples, undersized at four placesthe neck, penis, shanks and back, has three spirals on his head, has four lines under his thumb, has four lines on his forehead, he is a person with four cubits in height and symmetrical arms, cheeks and thighs.


This alternate translation translates four cubits to 96 inches:

He is four cubits high (96 inches).

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Partial Answer: Lord Rama

Valimiki Ramayana: Sundara Kanda: Sarga 35: Verse 18, Lord Rama's height is given as four Hindu cubits or four kishku(चतुष्किष्कुः):

त्रिवलीवांस्त्र्यवनतश्चतुर्व्यङ्गस्त्रिशीर्षवान्।

चतुष्कलश्चतुर्लेखश्चतुष्किष्कुश्चतु स्समः।।5.35.18।।

Translation

चतुष्किष्कुः he is four cubits in height

He has three folds in the skin of his neck and belly, is depressed in the middle of his soles and the nipples, undersized at four placesthe neck, penis, shanks and back, has three spirals on his head, has four lines under his thumb, has four lines on his forehead, he is a person with four cubits in height and symmetrical arms, cheeks and thighs.


1 kishku = 24 angulas
1 angula = 1.763 cm
Therefore 4 * 24 * 1.763 = 169.248 cm

So approximately 170 cm which is 5'7" feet tall. As this is a conservative estimate amd assuming even Valmiki was speaking approximately, one could reasonably assume Lord Rama was close to 6'0" tall.

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