By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Dasatala, DaZatAla, Dashataala
Worship of deities is done after their symbolic representations are imbued subtle presence through appropriate rites such as Āvāhana - inviting, Prāṇapratiṣṭhā - infusing life. These images are generally installed in temples for public worship are prepared strictly according to the principles of mūrtiśilpaśāstra or the text of making mūrti-s. The basic unit of length used in the sculpturing images is called ‘tāla’ (or span). Tāla is defined as the measurement of the palm of the hand from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist and is equal to the length of the face from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin. This tāla is again divided into 12 equal parts, each part being designated as ‘aṅgula’. While sculpturing the images, standards are prescribed on the basis of tāla (and the aṅgulas). Hence this system is called the ‘tālamāna’ paddhati or system. Daśatāla literally means ‘ten spans’. If an image is to be ‘daśatāla,’ it simply means that the total height from the bottom of the feet in the standing posture to the top of the head should be ten tālas.
Types of Daśatāla Measurements
The daśatāla measurement is divided into three varieties:
- Uttama - superior. The proportion of this measurement is 124 aṅgulas.
- Madhyama - middling. The proportion of this measurement is 120 aṅgulas.
- Adhama - inferior. The proportion of this measurement is 116 aṅgulas.
Significance of Daśatāla Measurement
The daśatāla is the most preferred scale for making the images of the major deities and their female counter parts. It is prescribed for the icons that are worshiped for getting various benefits.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore