India’s Cultural Heritage Explored
Amritapuri students, interested in learning more about India’s rich cultural heritage, recently had the opportunity to attend two very distinguished lectures.
On January 6, 2012, Sri. K.P. Umapathy Acharya from the Viswakarma Institute of Sacred Architecture, Tamil Nadu, spoke to the students about temple architecture.
“The temple architects of India, or Sthapathis, were traditionally highly skilled,” he stated.
“They were well-versed in the Vedas, Silpa Shastra, Vastu Shastra, Puranas and Itihaasas. Traditionally belonging to the Vishwakarma community, they had knowledge about music, etymology, surveying, geology, economics, painting, sculpture and materials management.”
Himself from a renowned family of temple architects and sculptors, Sri. Umapathy has dedicated his life to reviving sacred and ancient Indian architecture.
“Each side of a temple was constructed in such a way, so it could accumulate energy,” he further explained.
“For example, when we enter a temple, we bow down our head while walking up some steps; then we receive energy stored in the energy grids. The temple steps were constructed with utmost care. In a temple, each and every surface had some specific energy.”
The basic rules to make a Vigraha – a sacred image or sculpture – were mentioned, including those related to Mana (vertical height), Pramana (width), Parimana (circumference) and Unmana (thickness).
“Our ancient sculptors gave importance to these measurements and because of that, the statues have the Chaithanya or power in them,” he stated.
On January 5, 2012, in yet another distinguished lecture, Dr. Narahari Achar, Professor of Physics, University of Memphis, USA, spoke to students about the Mahabharatha war.
“There is a general misconception among many western and Indian scholars that the Mahabharata war is pure fiction,” he stated.
“Even among those who consider the war to be a real event, there is no consensus regarding the date when it happened,” he added.
Dr. Achar pioneered the use of software to study astronomical alignments described in Vedic texts. Using astronomical references made in the Mahabharata text, Dr. Achar calculated that the Kurukshetra war must have occurred in 3067 BCE, or nearly 5000 years ago.
Dr. Achar’s work has been corroborated by independent astrophysicists and mathematicians from several universities abroad.
“Dr. Achar is one of the few authorities in the world who has worked in this area,” stated Br. Biju Kumar, Chairperson of the Department of Cultural Education on campus, which arranged both talks.
January 21, 2012