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Temple Architecture-Devalaya Vastu – Part Three ( 3 Of 9


Vastu Purusha Mandala

Before we proceed further, let us briefly discuss the concept of the Vastu Purusha Mandala. The faith that Earth is a living organism, throbbing with life and energy; is fundamental to the Vastu Shastra. That living energy is symbolized as a person; he is the Vastu Purusha. The site for the proposed construction is his field; Vastu Purusha Mandala. In fact the Vastu Purusha Mandala, the site plan, is his body; and it is treated as such. His height extends from the South West corner (pitrah) to the North East corner (Agni).The Vastu Purusha Mandala also depicts the origin of the effects on the human body. All symbolisms flow from these visualizations. Purusha means „person‟ literally and refers to Universal Man. Purusha is the body of god incarnated in the ground of existence, divided within the myriad forms. He is also that fragmented body simultaneously sacrificed for the restoration of unity. Vastu Purusha is associated with the Earth and its movable and immovable basic elements of nature, such as the earth, water, fire, air and space; just as a human being does. The Vastu purusha mandala is in some ways a development of the four pointed or cornered

” In the end.. Vol. and the texts believe “what obtains in a microcosm. Further. obtains in macrocosm too (yatha pinde thatha brahmande). the man and his creations are all one. The vastu-purusha-mandala is both the body of the Cosmic Being and a bodily device by which those who have the requisite knowledge attain the best results in temple building. and should be strong enough to support heavy weights. Accordingly. the nature. upon which the temple is built and in whom the temple rests. the South West cell represents warmth and heat. A human being is a microcosmos. the base (adhistana) for the muladhara should be stable and strong.” Similarly. the Vastu Purusha Mandala is also the cosmos in miniature. The South West corner (nairutya) where the Vastu Purusha has his legs corresponds to the Muladhara chakra and denotes the earth principle.On the Vastu Purusha Mandala.” (Stella Kramrisch. I) The Vastu Purusha is visualized as lying with his face and stomach touching the ground. Svadhistana chakra is in the lower stomach region near the kidneys. it believes mandala having astronomical reference points.e. Just as the legs support the weight of the body. The temple is situated in Him. It is related to water principle (apa). His head is at North East (ishanya) and his legs are at the South West corner (nairutya). The Hindu Temple. i. even according to the atmospheric cycles the South West region receives comparatively more heat. Just as the feet are warm. the laws prevailing in the cosmos also operate in the minutest space of the human being. comes from Him. the South West portion of the building is the load bearing area. and is a manifestation of Him.Therefore . “The vastu-purusha-mandala represents the manifest form of the Cosmic Being. to suggest as if he is carrying the weight of the structure. it is to the South and to the West .”Everything is governed by one law.

because it is related to Agni. Vishuddaha chakra is near the throat from where the sounds come out and reverberate in space. The rays of sun reach here first and cleanse the atmosphere.The word OM is uttered through throat. It is for sewerage (utsarjana). Manipura Chakra is at the navel. Further. the fetus is fed with the essence of food and energy through the umbilical chord connected with its navel. It is believed that Vastu Purusha breaths through this open area. The limbs of Vastu Purusha. other than the above are also related to the construction of the building. The ajna chakra is between the eyebrows. While in the womb of the mother. North East is cooler. The central portion of the building is to be kept open. The echo of that sound vibrates in the hallow of the bone-box of the head and in the space in brain. . the lotus is the base (Adhistana) of Brahma.This direction is related to open spaces (akasha). The cooking area is recommended in South East. Atmospherically. The head of Vastu Purusha is in the North East corner (Ishanya).the wet areas like bathroom etc are recommended in the south or in the west portions of the building. The puja room Devagraha is recommended in the North east portion of the house. and so should be ones head.Thus navel connects Brahman with Jiva or panda or life. Liver (yakrt) is towards South East. Anahata chakra is near the heart. and relates to energy or fire or tejas. It is related to vayu air regulated by lungs. This region represents Space (Akasha). The lung region of the Vastu Purusha should be airy. The Vastu Purusha Mandala shows Brahma at the navel of the Vastu Purusha. It is left open and unoccupied. .

and the four months of sleep : dhanur. set up the east door. While taking up construction of a structure. Oct : south-south-east.] Vastu and directions . I think. For instance: If Leo is ascending. When the moon is passing the meridian. mina. When Taurus is ascending is the proper time for placing a door in a temple of Mahadeva. mithuna and kanya). They cannot be generally applied. might have something to do with the onset of monsoon . June : north-north-east . now. Aug : east . rectum of the Vastu Purusha fall in this portion. July : east-north-east . vrishabha. tula. digging in the sector where Vastu-purusha‟s head lies is not recommended. and therefore varies from person to person and from site to site. is presided over by air vayu. [ There is a belief that the vastu purusha is awake during eight months of the year and is asleep in the other four months (eight months of wakefulness: mesha. The store room is recommended here. The schedule for erecting the doors is also based on this concept. as it is impractical. Sept : east-south-east . makara and kumbha. this concept of purusha sleeping may have only astrological significance. When Leo is ascending is the proper time for placing a door in a temple of Vishnu. The Organs like spleen. vrichika.Apr : north-north-west. winter and such seasonal constraints. Perhaps the four months of non-activity as recommended. Some others say that the vaastu purusha sleeps in vaastu chakra on the left side and rotates clockwise during twelve months with his head towards: Jan: west-south-west. perhaps because the spleen in the body does the work of storing and restoring blood. May : north . Nov : south . if Kubera set up the north door. hardly anyone goes by this schedule. set up the south door. If the moon is passing the meridian. vayuvya. When Kubera is ascending is the proper time for setting a door in Ganesa's temple. Mar : west-north-west . Even otherwise. if Taurus set up the west door. Feb: west.The North West. kataka. simha. and Dec : south-south-west. a door may be set up for any one.

The general guidelines are. Pillars are not recommended on sensitive parts of Vastu Purusha. the South West should be heavier and North East where gods dwell should not be so . like the horoscope is another way of illustrating the intersection where the sky and earth meet at the horizon. The sensitive organs like brain. at the equinox points. .These areas are also related to various planets and their position. and the head should be lighter and secure.perhaps to suggest that he carries the burden on his back. and the zenith and nadir The Vastu Purusha lies with his back up. study are recommended in and towards east and adjoining directions.The vastu purusha mandala. just as in the case of a hill or a tree. eyes. The head of the Vastu Purusha is in the North East and it should be kept free of pillars.-North east and South East. ears tounge are in the head. Activities like worship. they are the inlets and outlets.The base should be heavy and the apex be lighter. .

The temple design includes the archetypal image of a Cosmic Person spread out yogi-like. To understand the uses of recursive geometrical forms involving self-similarity on different . and it includes the archetype of the cosmic mountain. deities. **** “The Hindu temple typically involves a multiple set of ideas. The Brihat Samhita text (4th century CE) says the temple should reflect cormic order. After sun set the South West and North West are warmer. etc. The temple is oriented to face east. of fertility. his navel in the center. the earth and others rotate around it. city of the gods. planets. between earth and heaven. and that which purifies mind is Thirtha. There are rules of shape and proportion in the authoritative texts of Hindu tradition (shastras and agamas) which give birth to a variety of complex temple designs. the dining hall and work space represent the sun aspect. A vastu is temple.). bedrooms and store house are recommended here. A brick and stone construct is house. It is highly articulated. symmetrically filling the gridded space of the floor plan.Sun is at the centre of the solar system. One encounters these simultaneous archetypal themes and meanings conveyed (and hidden) in the semi-abstract forms in many Hindu temples. The Vastu follows the same principle. Perhaps Hindu traditional architecture has more symbolic meanings than other cultures. the auspicious direction where the sun rises to dispel darkness. It is said that. The middle house . although water is everywhere that which cleanses the body is water.

” Thus the grid at the spatial base and temporal beginning of the temple represents the universe. there are self-similar squares within squares within squares. As shown in the illustration. the Vastupurusha mandala…. stands upon the diagram of the vastupurusha. It is a „forecast‟ of the temple and is drawn on the levelled ground. The geometric configuration “of central squares with others surrounding it is taken to be a microscopic image of the universe with its concentrically organized structure. It is also more– it simultaneously symbolizes the pantheon of Vedic gods– “each square [is] a seat of particular deity.scales (fractals) in the Hindu temple complex we will need to explore some of these deep images and their uses. “The form of the temple.” The gods altogether make up the composite body of the Purusha. it is the fundament from which the building arises. where the whole world is present in terms of measure. It is the place for the meeting and marriage of heaven and earth. . The vastupurusha mandala is a microcosm with some fractal qualities. all that it is and signifies. and is accessible to man. and to recreate this origin is to construct a cosmos which offers a return to the transcendent oneness. Whatever its actual surroundings… the place where the temple is built is occupied by the vastupurusha in his diagram. with its heavenly bodies.”(25) The cosmic person became the universe.

and right on top of the head is the passage through which the currents of life ascend to the tower through this stone slab. nasika. The fifth and the sixth (visuddha and ajna cakaras. Nasika (nose) is any noseshaped architectural part and so on. pada.In the structure of the temple. called brahma randra. Pada (foot) is the column. through the Brahma randra. The first three centres (muladhara. The names of the various parts of the temple are the very names used to denote the various parts of human body! Look at the following technical names: paduka. the kalasha. sikha.” (Stella Kramrisch. The garbhagrha represents the head and the image. sira. in fact. it equally symbolises the body of man on the microcosmic palne. Gala ot griva (neck) is the part between moulding which ressmbles the neck. . placed in position by a hollow rod that juts out of the centre of the tower and runs through the vase. The Hindu Temple. one of the explanations is the hallow tube represents the central channel of energy the shushumna that connects to the Sahasra. svadhisthana and mainpura situated respectively near the anus. The flat-roof (kapota) of the sanctum is overlaid by a single square stone slab known in the texts as brahma-ranhrashila (the stone denoting the upper passage of life). Sirsa. jangha. anghri. uru. griva. it is through this tube that the lanchana„tokens‟ (cereals and precious stones) are introduced. karna. it is.If the temple symbolises the body of god on the macrocosmic plane. the seat of consciousness. Interestingly. leads to it. sex-organ and navel0 are below the ground level. The temple also represents the subtle body with the seven psychic centres or cakras. kantha. jangha (shank) is parts of the superstructure over the base. gala. I) Sahasra chakra is regarded the seat of consciousness. situated at the root of the throat and in between the eyebrows) are on the sikhara area. the brahma randra is represented in the structure erected on top of the sanctum. The sanctum is viewed as the head. This symbology tries to impress upon us the need to seek the Lord within our heart and not outisde. Vol. the antrayamin (the indwelling Lord). carana. The garbhagrha represents the anahata cakra (the fourth psychic centre in the region of the heart) and the topmost part of the kalasa point to the sahasrara (seventh and the last centre situated at the top of the head). An aperture on top of the head. the kalasha placed on top of the vimana is not imbedded into the structure by any packing it with mortar or cement.

. they have somehow seemed to have acquired distinct forms. They not merely resolve the internal and external contradictions. In the case of Sri Chakra the Bibdu is dimension-less and is the imperceptible source of energy. while the Mandala might be a figure of any shape. For instance.The expressions Mandala. but commonly a square. In a way of speaking the Vastu Purusha and the Chakreshwari of the Sri Chakra represent the same principles. the ground plan and the vertical plan are cast in two dimensions and in three dimensional representations of the structure. Just as the Sri Chakra is the unfolding of the Bindu at its centre. which is universal. Though all the three mean the same. Mandala is explained as that which gathers the essential detail (mandam laati).The Chakra and Yantra too perform similar functions. and it radiates that energy. The idol. an act of bringing together all significant details. Whether you call it Chakra or Mandala or Yantra. It also brings together the outer and the inner faculties or energies. the temple is the outpouring or the expansion of the deity residing in Brahmasthana at the centre. Yantra is a three-dimensional projection. but also usher in complete harmony of existence. Like Chakra. the Mandala too denotes visualization. the Vigraha. They embody and preside over all the aspects of their domain. While both Chakra and Mandala are lenier representations. Chakra and Yantra are synonymous. those details might pertain to the world or the body or the structure of the building or whatever. In the Vastu Purusha Mandala too. Chakra suggests a circular form. it represents a sphere of influence and brings together and energizes all its components. Both the forms employ the imagery of an all – enveloping space and time continuum issuing out of the womb. in the Garbagriha at the Brahmasthana represents the manifestation of that imperceptible energy or the principle.

the combat of the devas with the asuras.[There is an theory that suggests that the board of chess was inspired by the 64 celled Vastu Purusha Mandala. The combat which takes place in the game of chess thus represents. all other meanings of the game deriving from this one. the diagram which also constitutes the basic lay-out of a temple or a city. of the „gods‟ with the „titans‟.” (Please check: ( http://www.php3 ] . or of the „angels‟ with the „demons‟ in its most universal meaning. It states “The form of the chess-board corresponds to the „classical‟ type of Vastu-mandala. It has been pointed out that this diagram symbolizes existence as a „field of action‟ of the divine powers.

SKR Rao Vastu -. The Hindu Temple.. Astrology and Architecture : A collection of essays by various authors Pictures are from internet. by Stella Kramrisch.References. Devalaya Vastu by Prof. .