Vastutimes - Newsletter
I was planning for an extensive travel after completing my architecture, it all started when I got the chance to visit Northern India with few of my relatives.
One of strongest memories I remember is of my visit to the Taj Mahal. After months of travel, I stood transfixed before this stunning symmetric building. I found myself drawn back to visit again and again. Everything I had heard about the magical 17th century mausoleum was nothing in comparison to its presence. Years later, I found myself discussing the experience with an old architect from France in Pondicherry. He smiled and said Vastu-veda, the term that refers to sacred architectural knowledge based on astrology, astronomy and geometry.
The search for mystic meaning has given new status to the architectural theories of India, specifically temple art, & Vastu Shastra, the Indian art of arranging one's life in accordance with the forces of nature. Stretching back thousands of years, Vastu was developed as a metaphor to solve the constant search of Indian scholars to create masterpiece for each Gods abode. As an architectural discipline, however, Vastu was for many years privileged knowledge applied to the construction of palaces and religious buildings; its principles were passed on from teacher to pupil, in a preserved framework.
The term Vastu is derived from Vas and defined as Vasanti Praninah yatra or a place where living beings reside. However, the theory relates to all forms of cosmic energy, both visible and hidden. Whereas the one part represents mainly the qualities of matter and the powers it holds, the other is interpreted according to its concrete and abstract qualities in the sense of a storm, circulation or spiritual concepts.
In order to understand the character of the forces connecting matter and spirit, the relation between them, and their influence on the environment, it is important to clarify the fundamental concepts of all Indian cultures.
The underlying principle of this building science is the theme of macrocosm & microcosm. It binds human beings with their physical world and immediate environment-city, village or a house. Within the overall organization and the structure of the cosmos, everything is interlinked & integrated. Like a human body, building performs different functions--- body, head, atman and channels of communications. These should be designed with sacredness to possess life and bestow well being, happiness and peace to the occupants.
The Vedic Indian building Science is essentially the art of correct setting in order to optimize the benefits of five basic elements of nature and the influence of magnetic fields surrounding the earth. Because the world is in a constant state of change, the energy cycle is demonstrated through a support cycle. The water and all it represents enables the existence of wood, wood nourishes fire, fire leaves ashes that enrich the earth, metal is found in the earth and with it we can reach water, and so on. Each of the cycle's stages represents specific energetic qualities, and together they demonstrate the various relationships between the components of the universe on all its levels: time, location, shape, color, feelings, etc.
The elements of nature are set into an order that causes a process of intellectual cultivation and purification. There is a five fold order comprising of origination, binding, interlocking, overlapping & transcending.
For the corrective measure & rectification process the understanding that geometrical shapes are not only visual phenomena, but also concrete expression of constructional principles, is not a Vastu innovation. The analysis of shapes and proportions found in nature represented a basis for the understanding of more abstract phenomena within other cultures as well. References to distances, proportions and geometric shapes, are also found in the Bible, the Talmud, and Kabala books protected and hidden for many years. The precise proportions of the golden section, found in many natural shapes (such as the conch shell), is another geometrical phenomenon used widely in architecture. In classical Greece, Pythagoras discovered that even music is based on a precise formal construction, deviation from which produces strident tones.
Ar .Mayank barjatya