by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words
This page describes “the thirty-two plans of the manasara” of the Manasara (English translation): an encyclopedic work dealing with the science of Indian architecture and sculptures. The Manasara was originaly written in Sanskrit (in roughly 10,000 verses) and dates to the 5th century A.D. or earlier.
The thirty-two plans of the Mānasāra
[these notes are extracted from the Mānasāra chapter 7 (the ground plans), verses 1-154]
It should be noted (i) that out of the thirty-two plans details are given only of seven plans, namely, first, second, third, fourth (wanting in full details), fifth, eighth and the ninth; (ii) that though the eighth plan comprises sixty-four plots and the ninth eighty-one plots, the very same forty-five (rather forty-nine, including four demonesses assigned to the outside) deities with various synonyms in some cases have been assigned to these plots, the stares of the deities varying from a half-plot, to nine plots, thus the number of deities remains constant at least in the eighth and ninth plans, while the number of plots varies; and (iii) that these plans do not apparently admit of any other shape except square or quadrangular, although other shapes have been recognized in the plans of both buildings and villages, towns and forts (see the writer’s Indian Architecture, pages 24, 49, 111, 118, 113—118, and chapters X, XI of this volume).
Mānasāra’s apparently incomplete treatment of the ground-plans is found almost in the same way in all the treatises dealing with the subject
(а) The Vāstu-vidyā refers only to the ninth plan (chapter III, 11—26).
(d) The Śilpa-ratna (VI, 1—50) makes a mention of all the thirty-two names of the plans, but summarises brief accounts not of only three as stated (tasmāt saṃkṣiṇya[?] tantrebhyo vakṣye'hamapi tat trayam || 34 ||), but in fact of the first ten plans, while even the Mānasāra gives details of the first nine plans only.
(e) The Mayamata (VII, 1—47) summarises the details only of the ninth plan, and does not refer at all to the other plans.
(f) The Agni-purāṇa (chapter 105, 1—16) does not refer to all the names even, but gives very brief accounts of the ninth and tenth plans.
(g) The Samarāṅgaṇa-sūtradhāra (XI, 1—30) also does not refer to all the thirty-two names, but gives fairly complete details of the eighth, ninth and tenth plans; but all those three are obviously square or quadrangular plans, although triangular, hexagonal, octagonal, sixteen-sided, circular, elliptical, and crescent-shaped plans, as referred to above, are admitted (XI, 20):
tryaśre ṣaḍaśre cāṣṭāśre ṣoḍaśāśre ca vṛttavat |
vṛttāyate'rdhacandre ca vāstau padavibhājanam || 20 ||
(h) The Bṛhat-saṃhitā (LII, 42—50, 55—56) also does not mention the thirty-two names at all, but gives summarised accounts of the eighth and ninth plans only. This treatise also refers to only the square or quadrangular plans.
Its commentator, Utpala, criticises the omission of circular, hexagonal, octagonal, decagonal and sixteen-sided plans of which, as he corroborates, mention is made in the Bṛhat-saṃhitā also (see the writer’s Indian Architecture referred to above); therefore, he supplies, from a Bharatamuni and other unnamed authorities, the following details of the triangular and the circular plans:—
atrācāryeṇa caturasre kṣetre vāstunaraḥ pradarśitaḥ na vṛttaṣaḍaśryaṣṭādaśāśriṣoḍaśāśroṇāṃ kṣetrāṇām | loke ca gṛhagrāmanagarāṇi dṛśyante | tadyayā | anenaivāvāryeṇoktam| tatra ṣaḍa-kṣirmeruḥ | vṛtaḥ samudranāmā ityādi || 55-53 ||
tathā bharatamuninā tryasraṃ vṛttaṃ gṛhamūktam | tasmādanyaśāstrādānīya prasaṅgādasmābhiriha pradarśyate |
ekāśītipade kṣetre kartavyaṃ vṛttapañcakam |
bāhye vṛttadvayaṃ yattatpadadvātriṃśatā yutam ||
tṛtīyaṃ dvāṭaśapadaṃ caturtha tu catuṣ?ṭam |
kevalaṃ pañcamaṃ kārya? brahmā pañcasvavasthitaḥ ||
śikhyādayastu dvipadā b?hirvipkambasaṃsthitāḥ |
aryamā?āḥ surāḥ sarve padikāḥ parikortitāḥ[?] ||
iti vṛttakṣetre ekāśītipade |
vṛttāni catvāri samāni kṛtvā vāstoścatuḥṣaṣṭipadasya samyak? |
adhastadardhena ca sūryavedairvibhajyate vṛttavatuṣṭayaṃ ca ||
śikh?yādayaścaika?de niviṣṭāḥ padadvaye cāryamakādayaśca |
āpādayaśca tripadāḥ pratiṣṭhāścatuṣpadaścā? pitāpr?haḥ syāt ||
iti vṛttakṣetre catuḥṣaṣṭipade |
evameva ṣaḍaśriprabhṛtīnāṃ vinyāmaḥ kāryaḥ | tryasre [?] kṣetre ca |
tryasrāṇi pañcakṣetrāṇitrikoṇe parikalpayet ||
prācīdigaṣṭadhā kāryā koṇavarjyo tataḥ pare |
ravibhāgavibhakte te vāstudvārāṇi tāni tu ||
dvitiṃ vāyuṃ jalapatiṃ koṇeṣu triṣu vinyaset |
tataḥ śikhy?ādikān[?] sarvān[?] śeṣeṣu viniveśayet ||
dvitoye pūrvavadbhāgāḥ ṣoḍaśadviguṇāstataḥ |
tatrāpi koṇatritaye pūrvoktāna vibudhāna nyaset ||
śeṣeṣu vāstukoṣṭhasthān[?] surāśca[?] viniveśayet |
kṣetre tṛtoye catvāri sarvaśākhāsu kārayet ||
prāggatiryamasāvitrau savitā ca tataḥ param |
vivasvānindramitrau ca jayaśv?va hrastathā[?] ||
rājayakṣmā bhūmidhara āpo vatmayutaḥ sa ca |
caturthe pañcabhirbhāgaiḥ kṛtvā tanmadhyagastathā ||
pitāmaho vinirdiṣṭastryasrakṣetre'pyayaṃ vidhiriti |
A later passage in the Mānasāra (Chapter IX, 422-442) supplies the required explanation as to why (i) the full details of the fourth and fifth plans and of the eighth and particularly the ninth one have been given and (ii) the details of the other plans, especially, of the last twenty-three rather twenty-two have been altogether left out. From this passage it is clear beyond doubt that (a) these thirty-two ground-plans are not intended to be independent and absolutely separate plans, but (b) within a plan of a larger number of plots, plans of smaller number of plots may be marked and referred to by the technical epithets of the latter, and that, therefore, the details of those plans which are not described may be found out by merely multiplying the plans of which fall details are given. This would, further, explain why (i) the same number of twenty-five deities are allocated to the plan of sixteen plots (i.e. Mahāpīṭha) as well as to the plan of twenty-five plots (i.e. Upapīṭha), and (ii) the same number of forty-five deities are allocated to the plan of sixty-four plots (i.e. Caṇḍita) and to the plan of eighty-one plots (i.e. Parama-śāyika).
In plate II are given figures of the seven plans, drawn with details found in the Mānasāra, excepting those of the fourth one which have been supplemented from the śilpa-ratna. The tenth plan is also drawn from details supplied by the śilpa-ratna, Agni-purāṇa, and Samarāṅgaṇa-sūtradhāra. The triangular and the circular figures are based on the details as supplied by the commentator of the Bṛhat-saṃhitā from Bharata and others. These two figures are slightly different from those given in the Bṛhat-saṃhitā (between pages 672-673) by S. K. Dvivedi; our figures of the eighth and ninth plans are also materially different from those given by Dvivedi, whose figures do not seem to conform to the description of the Bṛhat-saṃhitā itself. Dr. B. B. Dutt’s figures of these two plans (Town-planning, pages 145-146) also do not quite conform to the description of the Mayamata on which they are apparently based. Dr. Kern’s figures of the very same two figures (J. R. A. S. 1873, pages 287, 289) are still more lacking in conformity to the description of the Bṛhat-saṃhitā on which they are based. Bhārati’s figures based on Maṇḍana’s Vāstu-śāstra need a passing mention only. T. A. Gopinatha Rao’s figures (Elements of Hindu Iconography, pages 1, 11) do not refer to these plans but to the Parivara deities in a temple.