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Students last week had guest speaker who discussed the concepts of Vastu Shastra. Dr. Manoj gives an in depth look at how temples of India are built corresponding to human physiology.
Guest Lecture: The Human Body and Indian Temple Architecture.
Participants: Doctoral Students from E4Life and CWEGE/Ammachi Labs at Amrita University
A researcher on temple architecture, Dr Manoj Gundanna is an Archeologist by profession. He earned his MA and PhD degrees in Ancient History and Archeology from Manasa Gangotri, University of Mysore. Currently, a Research Associate with Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Research Foundation, Bangalore, Dr Manoj is also a resource person with the Archeological Survey of India. He was awarded the PhD. in 2009. His doctoral work has been published by Bharathiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi under the title “Temple Architecture of South India (Salem Region)”
Dr Manoj’s research focuses on the study of ancient Dravidian temple architecture based on traditional agamas and vastugranthas besides the study of sculptures and iconography based on ancient Sanskrit texts. He has presented more than 50 research papers both in English and Kannada at various seminars and symposia. He has delivered lectures on Archeology, Music and Mythology in various institutions, religious organizations and to students of the Universities of Guelph, Mt Allison, and Concordia besides various universities and colleges of Karnataka. One of his books, Devalaya Vastu Vignana, is a reference book on Dravidian temple architecture for postgraduate students of History and Archaeology.
Dr Manoj’s interests include Kannada and Sanskrit literature, Inscription and Manuscripts. A multi-linguist, he has several compositions in Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil to his credit. Planet Prayers, a trilingual commentary on navagrahakrithis of Muthuswami Dikshitar and Siddhi Vinayakam Sada Bhajeham, an exposition in English on Muthuswami Dikshitar krithis on Mahaganapathy are among his well-acclaimed books.
Indian temple architecture consists of:
Structural Harmony, Rhythm, Fine Sense of Proportion
This is accomplished by : Use of light, sound and volume management.
It is believed that the power and purity of the structure radiates from its exact proportions and measures as specified in the texts. It is also believed that a meticulously well constructed temple radiates peace and joy; and ensures the welfare of the world and its people.
The standard text mentions “Only if the temple is constructed correctly according to a mathematical system can it be expected to function in harmony with the universe. Only if the measurement of the temple is in every way perfect, there will be perfection in the universe as well.”
Hindu Temples take their cue from the structure of Human body. The vast Hindu canonical literature on Agamic texts, Devalaya Vastu (Temple Vastu astrology) and sacred geography describe the temple as a cosmic man, the ‘Purusha’ (cosmic man).
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.
Garba-griham (main sanctum) is equated with human head; antarala (vestibule) is equated with human neck; ardha – mandapam (half-hall) is compared with human chest; maha – mandapam (main hall) is equated with the stomach; flag-post is viewed along with human male organ;and gopuram or temple gateway tower is viewed along with human feet.
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 science of Vastu is believed as part of the Indian architecture. Vastu Shastra developed during the period of 6000 BC and 3000 BC and the ancient Indian text Mayamatam represents Vastu Purusha as the presiding deity for all land structure meant for temples or houses.
Scholars have a greater understanding of the meaning of Vastu Purusham and its relation to the human body.
Attendance /No.of participants: 44
Male- 23 Female -21
List of the participants: