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Rūpa: Strength Measure

When we start learning about ṣaḍbala, we constantly come across a word rūpa which is used in the sense of a measurement of the strength. What does this word mean? It refers to any outward appearance or phenomenon or colour, form, shape, figure. Varāhamihira (Bṛhat Saṁhitā) uses the word rūpa as a single specimen or exemplar, and indicates it to be ‘one unit of measure’. It is a means to quantify that which can sometimes be very difficult to quantify. Most things in life are very relative – things like beauty, power, wealth and vedic astrologers need some sort of a measure to compare their manifestation.

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