Of Weight and Value
Yoga and Total Health|October 2021
The human mind has the power to create value and also to strip value
Devdutt Pattanaik

One of the most peculiar things about the Harappan civilization is its obsession with weights and measures. They had binary measuring systems and decimal measuring systems. They also had pans for measurement. The people of Indus were particular about measurement. The weights and volumes were standardized and uniform and did not deviate much, spanning a period of 500 years. This indicates a strong trading culture and an obsession with fairness and balancing things to avoid conflict. But weight and value are not the same thing. The difference becomes an important role in later literature.

You can weigh food but it is hunger that determines value. The more we want something, the more valuable it gets. The less we want something, the less valuable it gets. In the Buddhist, Jain and Hindu stories, King Shibi saves a dove from an eagle. The eagle then demands that the king provide him with food because the dove was its natural food. The king offers his flesh equal in weight to that of the dove. To his surprise, he finds no matter how much flesh he cuts from his body and places on the pan, the dove's weight turns out to be more. He is forced to cut out most of his flesh. Even when he is reduced to his bare bones, he still is not able to balance the pans.

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