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Lesson 8 -- Vaastu Purusha Mandala

Copyright 2003-2009
From lectures and writings of Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati
All rights reserved by Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati.

The concept of the Vaastu Purusha Mandala (VPM) is basic for the Vaastu designer. The VPM is the underlying pattern from which all manifestation generates. The Vaastu designer uses this pattern as the starting point for any built form. The following material contains a story that is mythological as far as I can tell. Sthapati has never emphasized this story or used it as a basis for understanding the functioning of the VPM, at least with me. In the context of my study sessions the VPM has always been an actual model of the basic pattern for creation. This pattern contains inherent energies that create the rise and fall of expressed form. It is a scientific fact, as he would put it, or if you wish, a scientific theory.

Some of the following should be familiar to you from lesson 1.

I would like to make a special reference to the popular view of the Vaastu Purusha Mandala as met with in the ancient shastras such as Brihat Samhita (5th century B.C.), Vaastu Vidya, Agamas and also Puranas. Puranas, in Vaastu context, are considered as the historic epics of ancient India. The Puranas are of course, replete with moral themes couched in story forms, in mythological terms, in the course of narration of which, certain historical events and the cultural life of the people of those times are also recorded. Such things need deeper study and proper interpretation, particularly of technical material that we come across in the body of the Puranic literature

The Vaastu Purusha Mandala as expressed in the texts mentioned above signifies the emergence of primordial Space and Spatial forms from out of the Primordial Energy, held as the Ultimate and the Absolute. Though it is not openly stated as such, this is the significance. It may be stated that the explosion of Energy with enormous heat and the consequent emergence of "akasa" or "Akasha bhuta" is the Indian Big Bang theory.

According to Brihat Samhita, which is held to be earlier that the Vaastu Shastras, there is a story of a Bhuta, a demonic force, producing heavy uproar, spreading the entire void with what is normally called celestial space or Akasha. It is further said that the celestial luminaries, called the 'devas', frightened by the monstrous form and dinning noise of the Bhuta, exerted their might on it and pushed it down. The demon fell on the ground with an uproar and with his face down on the earth. The devas occupied parts of the body of the demon. Not being able to bear the weight of the devaganans, the demon concealed himself in the belly of Lord Shiva and prayed to Him with his head on the North East corner. Releasing him, Lord Shiva gave him a boon that he would be the guardian deity of the built forms and he would be worshiped by all human beings when they commence building activities and on the occasion of entering the house ceremoniously. This kind of story is found today in almost every text we have inthe name of Vaastu Shastra.

It is said that this demon is called Vastu Bhuta, sometimes as Vastu Nara, and is living within the framework of a square with his limbs folded but spreading the entire space. (see photo that will come separately as an attachment in another email transmission)) In this mythological story what is implied is that it is the abstraction of the space and its qualities in a miniature form but also it means that this miniature space is the first manifest form of the unmanifest energy. That the Vaastu Purusha is all-pervasive is signified in the spreads and folds of various limbs within the square plot. The devaganas occupying the various parts of the body add another dimension to the concept of the Vaastu Purusha as the miniature universe. The celestial beings such as Surya, Agni, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera and similar other Divine Beings are brought into the complex of the Vaastu Purusha layout. In this particular miniature universe one would find them to be the forces of nature having assumed material form. We also have the subtle qualities expressed by various celestial bodies (planets and sun) represented on various parts of the Vaastu Bhuta. All manifest forms of the unmanifest flooding the universe have got certain specific qualities of good and bad integrated solidly in the manifest material form. The gross nature as well as the subtle nature is not free from positive and negative qualities. For instance, a wind, when gentle, is a breeze and gives a soothing effect to all the animate beings on the Earth. The same wind, when it intensifies into a tornado or hurricane, produces disastrous effects on hunam settlements. The universe where we live is filled with "good" and "bad" energies which we try to meet or avoid by our intellectual efforts. One such intellectual creation is the "building" meant for our protection against negative effects of the forces of nature, physical and subtle.

There are two basic types of Vaastu Purusha Mandala, one of 8 x 8 = 64 squares and the other of 9 x 9 = 81 squares. If you can't open it let me know. Here's a description of what a VPM looks like. It's simple: Just make a square and divide it into 8 equal parts each way, vertically and horizontally. Also, make a square and divide it into 9 equal parts each way. Graph paper is good for this. ) The 8 x 8 VPM is called Mandukapada. The 9 x 9 is called Paramasayika or Chanditapada. The Manduka is said to be "Sukshma" (subtle) and the Paramasayika is "Sthula" (gross).


The VPMs consist of concentric square belts going around the central core called the Brahmasthanam or Brahmapadam. (Look at your enclosures or your drawings. See the outermost ring of 28 or 32, depending on which VPM style, this outermost ring is called Paisachila padam. It is the realm of the elements. The next ring of squares in is 20 and 24 squares respectively. This is called Manusha Padam, the realm of human beings. The next ring is of 12 and 16 squares respectively. This is called Deivika Padam, the celestial realm. The innermost group of squares 4 and 9 respectively is called Brahmanpadam, the Divine realm.

There are actually 32 types of VPMs ranging from 1 x 1, 2 x 2, 3 x 3, 32 x 32. They are classified under 2 categories, one of even numbers and one of odd numbers. The 8 x 8 and 9 x 9 patterns are basic and the other patterns spring from multiples and fractions of these two. The Manduka Vaastu Purusha Mandala (and all even numbered VPMs) is used for the design of temples. The Paramasayika Vaastu Purusha Mandala (and all odd numbered VPMs) is used for all other structures.

A structure is laid out with respect to the plan of the VPM. The walls and columns are to be found on the grid (energy) lines and grid (energy) line crossings respectively. (Best to use "center line" layouts) The vast space, looking limitless or formless, is really a space bounded by four walls of space. It is a well-defined space, which is square. The building plan derives its shape from this square called the VPM. Any free space, when bounded by three lines or more becomes a limited space. This is form. Of all the forms nature has created, the square is perfect geometrically and spiritually. Do not forget that the VPM is basically a space of the spirit or energy particle. The inner structure or configuration of spaces as exist in nature, inside the mandala, is also repeated.

What is the meaning of apportioning the space into Brahmna Padam, Deivika Padam, Manusha Padam and Paisachika Padam? Vaastu Science holds that the two outer belts alone are meant for living purposes, not the center two. This is because once the unlimited space (material or spiritual) is limited into a form, the space enclosed becomes a space with qualities of the cosmic space, the positive and negative effects or qualities being included. There is a general pattern of energy existing and spreading from the center. The central space of 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 is a field of centralized or nuclear energy. It is a space of intense energy or heat. Anybody turning this space into a room for long term occupancy (throughout the day or night) will have the body scorched in due course. This space is ruled out for any ongoing living purposes.

It is from this central core that the energy comes into the house and dissipates into all eight directions in the built form (north, south, east, west and their intermediate directions, northeast, etc.). The flow of energy should not be impeded or blocked by walls or pillars or any feature.

The ring that exists next, around the nuclear field, called the Deivika Padam, is lesser in terms of energy or heat and hence it is treated as a walk way area inside the house.

The last two rings of squares, Manusha and Paisachika, are cooler yet. The word "manusha" implies that it is a space of material substance (it also means "manas" --place of crystallization of consciousness from molten state) "Paisachika " means a well consolidated and hardened core or mantle, fit for human habitation.

According to Mayanic science, these principles can be applied to the Earth itself. Originally the Earth was a primary substance without any identity. When it started taking shape it became a cube of 8 x 8 paramau-size from which it rose to the present size of a sphere of 7,926.57 miles in diameter. (Sthapati says that if the Earth stopped rotating it would become cubical in form.) Vaastu science designates the Earth as an 'egg'.

All visual forms in nature have three stages of evolution traditionally: formless, mixed or egg state and form state. The Earth falls under the mixed or egg state. We can say that the Earth's diameter is divided into 8 digits adding up to 7,926.57 miles. Now if we bring into this the notion of the VPM we find the outer belt (Paisachika Padam) of well-cooled and consolidated life supporting material. This is the crust or mantle of the Earth. If we divide 7,926.57 by 8 and then by 2 (1/2 is for each side) we get that he crust or Paisachika Padam of the Earth is about 500 miles thick. Twice this is the size of the inner core of fire the Brahmasthan of the Earth at the center of our planet.

So, is it becoming clear that house building is building a little universe with all the qualities therein? The Sthapatis consider the building a little universe created on Earth.

Lesson 9