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Lesson 4 -- Mayan -- The Vaastu Tradition

From the words of Ganapati Sthapati: Copyright Michael Borden Sept 1999

Mayan was the father of Vastu Architecture. He was and architect a town planner of ancient India. He authored the Mayamata Vastu Shastra (architecture) ,Surya Siddhanta (a treatise on Astronomy) and the Aintiram (the grammar of astro mechanics). He was also a great poet. He was adored as 'Viswakarma' by Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata, implying that Mayan was aware of the dynamics of space and was able to apply the space mechanics to his own creations. Whatever he was able to create in visual terms, be it sculpture, building or city layout, they behaved like living organisms and pulsated with life. He was a great scientist of India who identified and quantified the vibrancy of the space enveloping the Earth and the heavenly bodies and also dwelling in each of the objects of nature.

It is Mayan who has identified Brahman as the creative energy and addresses that supreme principle as Kala Brahman (Time). This identification of Time as Brahman has earned him a significant title: the Kalajanai. It was Mayan who equated Time and Space and evolved a system of spiritual arts namely, poetry, music, dance, sculpture and architecture--all governed by the principle of energy vibrating into space and spatial form.

Sthapati says that Mayan lived at first in the Southern Hemisphere when there was a continent that included the landmass of present day India. He migrated north at the time of the deluge when that part of the continent sank beneath the ocean. He continued to teach and build and his disciples went out over the whole globe with his knowledge. There is direct evidence, found by Sthapati in his research travels, which shows that the Mayan civilization used these principles to structure their cities and temples.

Sthapati says that Mayan is the father of Indian culture. He is the founder and inspiration for an unbroken tradition of craftsmen (shilpas) that exist in India and are the builders of temples even to this day. These Shilpas hold the scientific and technical knowledge from Mayan to create divine living forms. In the olden days, shilpa teams consisting of al the various trades used to move from place to place, on being commissioned by monarchs.

Science and religion go hand in hand in the Vaastu shilpa tradition. The scientific tradition of Vaastu perceives Shakti (energy) as all pervasive and as the causal substance for all the manifestations of visual and aural (sound) phenomena in the universe. They have named their Shakti as Para-Vastu (subtle substance). This Vastu turns itself into Vaastu. This phenomenon can be equated to gold turned into gold ornaments, the shilpis acting as agents for transformation. Vastu is recognized by the Vaastu tradition as one dwelling in the inner space of individual beings as well as in the outer space that turns into forms. It is space that turns into forms, because of its self-propelled vibration, the vibrational force as the working agency. To do this is its very nature. This agency is designated as (Absolute) Time, emerging out of energetic space. This is analogous to the vibration of the stringed instrument into sound forms and this, in turn, when set to rhythmic vibration turns into musical forms. "

Absolute Time creates life," says Skanda, an ancient Puranic text.

There is also another quality of space responsible for the sound-space. It is called "Luminous space". This pervades the entire universe. This is the cosmic space wherein lie unified what are called Time and Energy as absolutes. This is filled with luminous substance (vastu) in the name of Paramanus, the minute particles of space. The luminous space is supersensitive, capable of becoming conscious of itself and vibrating into objects of which it is conscious. This action is its intrinsic nature and responsible for the forms that occur in the inner space of individuals (thought-feeling) as well as in the outer space of the universe.

The Vaastu tradition designates the inner being as Shilpi and the inner manifest subtle form as Shilpa and, as such, the whole inner and outer universes are filled with Shilpas. One Shilpa, Vidya Rahasyopanishad says that the universe is filled with shilpas (images). One Vastu-sutropanisad of the Atharva Vedic origin says that Pratimas(images) germinate from the Shilpa, meaning gross visual forms are projected outside from inner being. "The sculptor becomes the sculpture and the poet becomes the poem" is a significant statement of the Vaastu Vedins. The projected visual form has the touch of a lyric, depending upon the individual's inner culture. The sculptor is therefore a poetic carver, so far as the shilpis of the Mayonic tradition of sculpture and architecture is concerned.

The Vaastu Shilpa tradition is denoted by various names, such as, Vaastu-vidya, Shilpa-vidya, Sthapatya-Veda, Artha-Veda and Vaastu-Veda. It is really a Veda by itself as viewed by the contents and treatments of the subject matter. Though the available texts on Vaastu are all basically technological in treatment, they are rooted in the science of Time and Space. They look upon gross matter as the manifest form of the unmanifest subtle energy, controlled by absolute time. From the Skanda purana: "Time creates all beings, Time sweeps away all that were created. Everything rests in the hands of Time; but that Time rests with Him."

Vastu is Energy. Vastu is the Unmanifest. Vastu is the substance of all substances. Vastu is the Purusha, the "Vastu Purusha" or "Vastu Brahman". Vastu is subtle and Vaastu is gross.

Vaastu is Energy manifest. Vaastu is embodiment of energy. Indwelling energy is "Purusha" or "Brahmin", hence, embodied energy is "Vaastu Purusha" or "Vaastu Brahman". Vaastus are all living organic forms, including human forms.

Space is "akasa", the primal element of the universe. There are two such spaces, the inner space and the outer space. This space exists in all objects. Nothing in the universe is inanimate. That which happens within the individual space also happens in the universal space. They experience, vibrate and take form.

We talked about space being filled with the minutest particles called Paramanu (subtle particle of energy). Every Paramanu is a minute space possessing energy. Paramanu is cubical in form. It is absolute or an abstraction of all visual and aural (sound) phenomena of the universe or the ultimate "existence".

We said space is luminous, as the particles are always emitting light. This is called foetus or sperm, the basic material for the emergence of subtle forms in the micro. as well as macro-spaces. This is the live material that has metamorphosed itself into the manifest world. All objects of the universe are space turned into spatial forms.

Space, whether individual or of the universal, possesses a unique quality of experiencing. It is hypersensitive. It is capable of giving form to its experience. For the experience to take form, the space goes into self-spin. It vibrates. This effortive force of the space is called "Kala" or "Time". "Kala" literally means "that which emerges from within". This happens to be the intrinsic quality of space. Space is sensitive enough to order and control this vibration into rhythms and to evolve itself into the desired form: rhythmically structured and aesthetically rendered.

In art, "Kala" becomes "Tala" (measured beat). In the physical world, the Kala-measure is produced by the dancer by the beat of her foot on the ground. The same is produced by the musician by his hands. Tala is rhythm, a well-defined time-space. The dancer produces bodily forms by dancing "in tune" with this time-scale or the frequency of vibrations. Rhythmic time-measure produces musical forms. Poetical compositions are also governed by time-measure called matra-kalam or akshara-kalam. This is called "speech rhythm". This concept of rhythm-bound spaces is extended to art and architecture. Hence architecture is called frozen music since time is stilled in such visual forms. Time is stilled, yet, the object is vibrant. It is an object where time is stilled in Brahman. Hence all forms created by the shilpi, following the measure of the divine being, have become worship worthy because they are the forms (geometrical patterns) of the Spirit, reproduced in its own time-scale. They are pratimas (replicas) of the subtle forms experienced in the heart. They are living organisms.

The measurements used by the shilpi represent the vibrational measure of universal space. It is measure that is responsible for form: poetical forms, dance forms, musical forms, imagic forms and building forms. These, as found in the Shilpi tradition are all spiritual and hence divine. Even God is bound by measure. He is a measured Being. He exists only in measured form.

These rhythms in abstraction are discovered to be numerical measures or mere numbers. They are the spatial measures for the shilpi to shape his experiences into the forms desired. They are spatial forms produced by the time-scale. Time changes itself into form. Time and Space are equated in the Vaastu Science. Mayan, the celebrated authority on the Vaastu shilpa tradition, is the discoverer.

Lesson 5