Temple Architecture - Karimnagar
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, the Vastu Purusha Mandala. In fact, the Vastu Purusha Mandala, the site plan, is his body; and, it is treated as such. His height (or spread) extends from the South West corner (pitrah) to the North-East corner (Isana). The Vastu Purusha Mandala also depicts the origin of the effects on the human body. All symbolism flow from these visualizations.
Purusha means ‘person’ literally; and, it 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 earth mandala having astronomical reference points. Further, the Vastu Purusha Mandala is also the cosmos in miniature; and, the texts believe “what obtains in a microcosm, obtains in macrocosm too (yatha pinde thatha brahmande).”
Similarly, it believes that ” Everything is governed by one law. A human being is a microcosmos, i.e. the laws prevailing in the cosmos also operate in the minutest space of the human being.” In the end, nature, the man and his creations are all one.
“The Vastu-Purusha-mandala represents the manifest form of the Cosmic Being; upon which the temple is built and in whom the temple rests. The temple is situated in Him, comes from Him, and is a manifestation of Him. 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.”
Vastu-Purusha-mandala is not necessarily an actual picture of Man, encased in numerous cells or squares. As the scholar Stella Kramrisch explains: It is a diagrammatic representation, through symbols, of the field of co-ordinates, inter-sections, currents, the flow of energies in the subtle body of a human being. The Purusha, in these diagrams, is a term of reference. It serves as a means to locate several parts, within the whole. The body here is but a sphere of coordinated activities; and, each part being associated with a particular function.
“The Hindu temple typically involves a multiple set of ideas. Perhaps Hindu traditional architecture has more symbolic meanings than other cultures. It is highly articulated. The temple is oriented to face east, the auspicious direction where the sun rises to dispel darkness. The temple design includes the archetypal image of a Cosmic Person spread out yogi-like, symmetrically filling the gridded space of the floor plan, his navel in the center, and it includes the archetype of the cosmic mountain, between earth and heaven, of fertility, planets, city of the gods, deities, etc.). One encounters these simultaneous archetypal themes and meanings conveyed (and hidden) in the semi-abstract forms in many Hindu temples. 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 Brihat Samhita text (4th century CE) says the temple should reflect cosmic order. To understand the uses of recursive geometrical forms involving self-similarity on different scales (fractals) in the Hindu temple complex we will need to explore some of these deep images and their uses.
Sahasra chakra is regarded as the seat of consciousness. An aperture on top of the head, called Brahma randra, leads to it. In the structure of the temple, the Brahma randra is represented in the structure erected on top of the sanctum. The flat-roof (kapota) of the sanctum is overlaid by a single square stone slab known in the texts as Brahma-ranhra-shila (the stone denoting the upper passage of life). The sanctum is viewed as the head; and right on top of the head is the passage through which the currents of life ascend to the tower through this stone slab.
In a way of speaking the Vastu Purusha and the Chakreshwari of the Sri Chakra represent the same principles. They embody and preside over all the aspects of their domain, which is universal. They not merely resolve the internal and external contradictions but also usher in complete harmony of existence.
Just as the Sri Chakra is the unfolding of the Bindu at its center, the temple is the outpouring or the expansion of the deity residing in Brahmasthana at the center.
Both the forms employ the imagery of an all-enveloping space and time continuum issuing out of the womb. In the case of Sri Chakra, the Bindu is dimension-less and is the imperceptible source of energy. The idol, the Vigraha, in the Garbagriha at the Brahmasthana represents the manifestation of that imperceptible energy or the principle; and it radiates that energy.
Colors of stone
As regards their color, the stones are of four basic colors: white, red, yellow, and black. Some of them could be tainted with traces of other colors. Stones of white color are regarded as the best for temple construction. The next in the order of preference is the red, yellow, and black colored stones. . It is preferable to use uniformly the stones of the same color.
The Kashyapa Shilpa mentions seven categories of white stones: white as milk, as the conch, like jasmine, like the moon, like a pearl, as an alum and as the kundapushpa (a variety of jasmine). The white stones with traces of blue or light brown or bee-like black lines are considered good for temple construction.
The red-colored stones are of five types: Red as red hibiscus flower (japa kusuma), as kinsuka(bright red), as the indragopa insect, as parijatha flower, as the blood of a rabbit, and as pomegranate flower.
The yellow color of the stones is of two types: yellow as the Banduka flower, and as koranti flower.
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