Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words

This page describes “the columns (stambha)” which is Chapter 15 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.

Chapter 15 - The columns (stambha)

[Full title: The columns (stambha-lakṣaṇa)]

1-3. The characteristic features of all kinds of pillars will be stated now, (describing) in order their length, diameter, and (the application of) āya and other formulas, as well as the ornaments etc., the collection of wood, and the erection of pillars.

4-6. Jaṅghā, caraṇa, stalī, stambha, aṅghrika, sthāṇu, sthūṇa, pāda, skambha, araṇi, bhāraka, and dhāraṇa: these are the twelve successive synonyms (of the pillars) as stated by the ancients.

7-8. It (the height of the pillar proper) is (measured) from above the base (adhiṣṭhāna) to below the fillet (uttara, i.e. crowning fillet, tema or benda), and also from above the upper pedestal (upapīṭha) between the plinth (janman) and the crowning fillet (uttara).

9-10. The whole length of the pillar may be twice, one-and-one-fourth, one-and-one-half, or one-and-three-fourths of the height of the base.

11-13. The length of the pillar, which is up to twice the height of the base (adhiṣṭhāna), is stated in the cubit measurement: the twelve varieties of the height (i.e. length) of the pillar should begin from two cubits and a half, and end at eight; cubits, the increment being by six aṅgulas (i.e. half-a-cubit)[1].

14. The width of the pilaster (lit. wall-pillar) should be three, four, five, or six aṅgulas (mātras).

15-19. The width (i.e. diameter) of the pillar (proper) should be twice, three times, or four times that (i.e. the width of the pilaster); as an alternative the height of the pillar being divided into twelve, eleven, ten, nine, or eight (equal) parts, each. one (of these) may be its width which. should be smaller by one-fourth at the top; such should be the width of the pillar[2].

19-23. Its shape is described here: the square pillars are known as Brahmakānta, the octagonal pillara Viṣṇukānta; the sixteen-sided or the circular pillars are known as Rudrakānta, the pentagonal pillars are (called) Śivakānta and the hexagonal pillars Skandakānta; these shapes are stated to be (uniform) from bottom to top.

24-25. But the base (lib. bottom) of the pillars of these shapes may otherwise be square; as an alternative the base (lit. bottom), the shaft (lit. middle), and the capital (lit top) may also be square.

26-30. (When.) the whole length of the upper portion (i.e. entablature) is equal to the portion ending at the neck (i.e. capital), and the middle portion (i.e. shaft), which is uniformly fluted, is equal to that (i.e. the combined height of the entablature and the capital) and. is twice the lower portion (i.e. the base); and the remaining bottom portion (i.e. the pedestal), which should be made quadrangular in shape, is equal to the latter (i.e, the base); that pillar is called the Citra-kaṇṭha,; it should be employed in. all kinds of buildings.

31-38. At its (pillar) bottom should be made either a base (āsana), or a pedestal (pāduka), together with a cyma (ambuja); decorative devices should be furnished as crowning mouldings to the bottom and bands as the lower mouldings to the top (i.e. capital or entablature when there is one); at the bottom should be beautifully furnished the bridge moulding (pālikā); the interval and the space two aṅgulas wide on all sides should be furnished with decorative bands (paṭṭa), that is, with bands decorated with leaves, jewels and flowers; and lotuses, leaves, etc. (should be furnished) at the forepart of the middle portion (i.e. shaft), buds at the upper and lower ends of the bottom (i.e. the base or the pedestal), and as at the bottom, buds should be furnished at the upper and lower ends of the top portion (i.e. capital or entablature); (thus) furnished with all ornaments the pillar is known as the Padmakānta (Lotus-pillar).

39. The pillar (having all the aforesaid characteristics but) without the pedestal (āsana) at its bottom is called the Citra-skambha.

40-43. The capital (bodhikā)[3] and otter (component) parts (of pillars) should be made in proportion to the length of a pillar; the lower parts (i.e. pedestal and base) of pillars should be proportionate to their width; their height may be equal to, three-fourths, one-half, or one-fourth of the width, as would make it beautiful in measure.

44-47. The height of the capital (bodhikā) together with that of the bridge-moulding should be one, two, three, four, or five rods; its length and width should be proportionate to its height; one or one-and-fourth rods should be the width of the capital.

48-49. The height of the warrior’s neck (vīra-kaṇṭha)[4] should be one, three-fourths, or half a rod, and its diameter should be half of its width.

50-51. The height of the abacus (phalakā) should be one or three-fourths of a rod, and its width should desirably be two or three rods.

52. The lower portion (nimnaka)[5] should be equal to one-fourth of the length of the pillar.

53-60. The height of the pitcher (kumbha) should be one rod, half-a-rod, one-and-one-half rods, or two rods; the length of the pitcher (kumbha) above the straight neck (kaṇṭha,) should be equal to the neck (itself); equal to that should be the height of the fascia (āsya) of the tenia (tāṭika) in particular; (and) the length (of this member) is stated to he one-and-one-fourth, or one-and-one-half rods; the height of the cyma (padma) below should be made equal to the height of that, and its length should be one and one-fourth rods; the bead (hārikā) should be half of its (the cyma’s) height, and its length below (the cyma) should be the same number of rods; the height of the tenia (tāṭikā) which is equal to its (the bead’s) width should, be one rod.

61. Below (that) should be made an ornament like the pitcher (kalaśa) extending up to the corbel (vīra).

62. At the top should be beautifully made an ornament resembling the heavenly flower.[6]

68. Below that the lower band (mūlabandha) together with lotuses should be made covering (the space of) one-and-a-half rods.

64. The lower portion of that also should be ornamented with strings (dāma) of pearls in particular.

65. (All) these are the ornaments for the upper portion; those for the lower portion are now stated.

66-67. The height of that base (lit. root of the pillar) should be one rod and its width, two rods; it should be made of the lotus-seat (padmāsana) type, and be furnished with the images of demons and lions, etc.

68. Below that should be made a pitcher (kumbha) of one or ṭwo rods (height.)

69. Above the lion should be a band (paṭṭa), a cyma (padma), or a beam (gopāna).

70-72. It (the whole base) should look like a bridge (pālikā), and the rest should be constructed in accordance with one’s taste; the bridge moulding (pālikā), etc., should otherwise be constructed at the (bottom): this (pillar) is called the Pālikā-stambha (Bridge-pillar).

72-74. The Kumbha-stambha (Jug-pillar) is described here: the height of the bridge-moulding (pālikā) at the foot of the pillar (pāda) is desired to be one rod, and its width two rods.

74-75. The height of the pitcher (kumbha) should be two rods, and its width three rods; and half of that (i.e., one rod) should be the height of the fascia (āsya).

76. At the forepart (top) of this pillar should be furnished the vestibule (nāsikā) and the cage ornament (pañjara).

77. The spear-like ornament (śakti-dhvaja)[7] should be one rod, and the height of the vestibule (nāsi) two rodḍ.

78-80. Equal to that (i.e. two rods) should be the connecting fillet (vihṛta)[8], the height of the neck should be one rod, and its width two rods; below that is stated to be the cage-ornament (pañjara) of which the height should be two rods and the width one rod.

81-82. Below that should be constructed the warrior’s neck (vīra-kaṇṭha) in such a way as would make it look beautiful: its height should be equal to the width of the pillar, and its (own) width equal to that (height).

83. Below that, the abacus (phalakā) and other members should be constructed in order as before.

84. The Jug-pillar (Kumbha-stambha) is thus described; the Koṣṭha (compartment) and other pillars will now be described.

85-86. The compartments (koṣṭhaka) at its (the Compartment pillar’s) two sides should conform to the straight-shape of the pillar; and its cage-ornament (pañjara) and fillet, and other mouldings should conform to the shape of the space covered by the compartments (koṣṭha).

87-88. The cage and other ornaments should be made at the foot and top of the compart meats (koṣṭha), but (in measure) they should be made proportionate to the diameter of the main pillar.

89. The cage (pañjara) should be made of two rods, and the neck (gala) above half of it (i.e. one rod).

90. Above that the vestibule (nāsika) and the spire (śikhara) should be made of two rods.

91. The height of the small dome (stūpikā) attached to the largo vestibule (māhā-nāsikā) should be half of that (i.e. one rod).

92-93. As an alternative, the height (i.e. length) of the main pillar (mūla-pāda) should be divided into ten, nine, or eight equal parts: of these, the (total) height of the ornaments (bhūṣaṇa) above the compartments (koṣṭha) should be three parts.

94-96. That (i.e. the same) height being divided into five parts, one part should be given to the height of the cage (pañjara); equal to that (i.e. one part) should be the height of the neck (grīva), and twice that (i.e. two parts) should be the height of the vestibule (or nose); half of that (i.e. one part) should be the height of the small dome (stūpi), and the forepart of the vestibule (nāsikā) should be equal to that (i.e. one part).

97-98. The width of the cage (pañjara) and the other ornaments should begin from two rods and end at ten, the increment being by one; what remains above should be (given to) the small pillar.

99-104. The height of the cage-liko member (pañjara) being divided into nineteen parts, two parts should be the height of the crowning fillet (uttara), and one part the height of the lower fillet (vājana); above that the cyma (padma) should be two parts, and the fillet (vājana) one part, the height of the corona (kapota) should be eight parts, and the fillet (āliṅga) above one part; equal to that should be the interval (antarita)[9] above, and the height of its crescent-shaped moulding (pratika) should be two parts; above that the fillet (vājana) should be one part, and the rest should be made according to one’s discretion.

105-106. The height of the neck (grīva) being divided into three parts, the height of the platform (vedikā) should be one part; the height of the neck (grīva) proper should be one-and-one-fourth parts, and the remaining parts should be for the neck ornaments (bhūṣaṇa)[10].

107-110. There should be seven parts above the platform (vedikā), and the height of the upper neck (gala) should be four parts and a half; above that the fillet (kampa) should be one part, and the height of the cyma (padma) one-part-and-a-half; above that the fillet (vājana) should be one part; as an alternative, the length being divided into three parts, the middle porch-like moulding (madhyabhadra) should be one part, and the compartment (prakoṣṭha) should be discreetly made of the remaining parts) at the middle.

111-113. The height of the neck ornaments (grīva-bhūṣaṇa) should be divided into six parts: (of these) two parts should be the height of the crowning fillet (uttara), and the lower fillet (vājana) should be half of that (i.e. one part); the height of the separating-moulding (i.e. the band) of the neck (gala-bhit) should be two parts, and of the fillet (vājana) one part.

114. The upper fillet (uttara) of the middle compartment (madhya-koṣṭha) should be the same (i.e., one part), and the two small pillars (kṣudra-pāda) should be beautifully decorated.

115-116. The cage-like moulding (pañjara) on the length, of the crescent (prātika) being divided into eight parts, the height of the small platfrom (vedikā) should be seven parts, and the fillet of the cyma (padma-vājana) one part.

117. The length of the platform (vedi) should be four parts, and the width of the neck (grīva) three parts.

118. The length of the (upper) vestibule portion (nāsiśālā) should be made equal to the length of the platform (i.e., four parts).

119-120. Of this length (of the upper vestibule) the width of the middle vestibule (madhya-nāsi) should be one-third, and the height of the middle vestibule (madhya-nāsi) should be half or three-fourths of its width.

121-125. The height of the several vestibules (nāsi) at the two sides should be equal to the height of the spire (śikhara), and its finial (śikhā) should extend be the crowning fillet (uttara) and be furnished with the female crocodile (kimbarī) face; the vestibule (nāsi) at the middle should be furnished with leaves, and the small (vestibule) with drips; the middle vestibule (madhya-nāsi) above the head (śiraḥ) of the bands (paṭṭikā) should extend up to the finial (śikha); and this head (śiras) should have a fillet or awning at the tipper end.

126. Above the spire (śikhara) the height of the band (paṭṭa) should be equal to the height of the crowning fillet (uttara).

127-128. Above that should be (in order) the fillet (vājana), the cyma (padma), the drip (nimna), and the pitcher (kumbha) with a staff, the cyma (padma), the fillet (vājana), and the cyma (padma) furnished with buds at the forepart.

129-130. These are seated to be the three domes (stūpi); they should be made of symmetrical parts; (and) the head (śiras) should be decorated with leaves and creepers, etc.

131-132. The caged hall (pañjaraśālā), one cyma (padma), and three finials (śikhā) should be decorated with all ornaments by the carpenter.

133-135. Above the column should be constructed an arch-ornament (toraṇa) or a fillet (vājana), and its height by the width of the main pillar should be one rod; measuring as aforesaid, the crowning fillet (uttara) and the other ornaments should be made.

186. Above that at the end of the arch, (toraṇa) the crocodile pattern (makara-patra) should be constructed.

137. Above that at the end of the arch (toraṇa) should be one rod for its head (śiras).

138. It should be furnished with the female crocodile face, and be adorned with all ornaments.

139-141. The two sides of the compartment (koṣṭha) should be furnished with small pillars; the width of the small pillar should be three-fourths of the width of the main pillar; by the width of that pillar should its ornaments be made.

142-143. The warrior’a neck with the abacas and other mouldings at the top and bottom should be of one rod: it should be made without the capital, arid be furnished with the abacus and other ornaments.

144. The length of the abacus should be two rods, and the width of the pitcher one-and-a-half rods.

145-146. The tenia (tāṭi) and upper fascia (vaktra) should be one-and-one-fourth parts, the height being divided as before: all the ornaments should be gracefully fitted thereon.

147. A fillet (vājana) should be constructed at the forehead (lalāṭa) part of the upper end of the height of the capital (bodhikā).

148. Similar fillets (vājana) should be made at the end of the pillar, and also at the two sides, and covering the fascia (mukha).

149. At the lower part an ornament shaped like the middle portico (madhyabhadra) should be constructed of one-third (of the whole height).

150. At its two sides the projection of the neck is desired to be made of one part.

151. The fascia at the bottom of the fillets (vājana) at the two sides should be shaped like a club (vajra).

152. The small fillets (vājana), etc., should be made symmetrical to the upper (i.e. crowning) fillet (vājana).

153. The middle portico and other ornaments should be made at the two sides on the top of the pillar.

154. The drip (nimnaka) should be made on. the two sides and middle at the bottom of the staff of the neck (kaṇtha-daṇḍa).

155. The wave-ornament should be made on the capital (bodhikā) and it should be decorated with all other ornaments.

156-158. The same height being divided into twelve parts, the wave-ornament (taraṅga) should be made of three parts at the bottom; above that the height of the capital (bodhikā) should be six parts in particular.

159. The smiling face resembling the serpent’s fang should be furnished with floral ornaments.

160. Above that at the top of the bead (śiras) the bead (hārikā) should be of one part.

161. The height of the head up to the end of the crowning fillet (vājana) should be one or three-fourths of a rod.

162-163. The upper part (of the pillar) looking like the young plantain stalk and resembling the flames of fire should project from that (part) both lengthwise and breadth-wise.

164. At the forepart the wave-ornament (taraṅga) in continuation of the neck should be either equal to or greater than the newck (gala).

165. The painting (citra) extending from the bottom to the top of the forehead (lalāṭa) should be one pa.rt.

166. Above that, in the neck (kaṇṭha) part should be (in order) the ear, the fillet, the cyma, and the fillet (karṇa-kampa-abja-vājana).

167. It should be decorated with leaves and creepers, etc., and also with jewels, leaves, and paintings.

168. And it should be adorned with all (other) ornaments: this is called the Puṣpa-bodhika (flower-capital).

169. (In another type of pillar) something like a pedestal and the staff (i.e. shaft), etc., should be made (as before).

170. It should be decorated with small fillets (kampa), cymas (padma), and jewelled flowers.

171. There should be the wave ornament (taraṅga), the staff (daṇḍaka), the capital (bodhikā), and the bridge-ornament (pālikā),

172-173. Therein should be made in accordance with the capacity (i.e. size) one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, or eight fascia.

174-175. Below that should be the warrior’s neck (vīra-kaṇṭha), furnished with the abacus (phalakā), the capital (bodhikā), and the interval (antarā); and it should be furnished with the images of lions, etc., for beauty as well as for support.

176-179. The height of the warrior’s neck (vīra-kaṇṭha) being divided into nine parts, (its) pedestal (pāduka) should be made of one part, and the assemblage of the other ornaments (saṃgraha) of five parts; above that should be made the bead (hārikā) of one part, and the cyma (padma) of one part; above that the fillets (vājana) should be of one part; and the assemblage of the ornaments should be furnished with two fascia (vaktra).

180. The line from top to bottom should be decorated with ornaments like the forepart of the cyma (padma).

181. It should be adorned with jewelled leaves, and the rest should be discreetly constructed.

182. The features of the assemblage of ornameats (saṃgraha) are thus described; they were formerly attached to the warrior’s neck (vīra-kaṇṭha).

183-185. Its (the warrior’s) face should be made out of the foot part (of the pillar), and below (the face) it should, be as if with uplifted arms; the same part (of the pillar) may be decorated with representations of the lion, etc., or with ornaments like the theatre[11]; this should be the fist band (muṣṭibandha)[12].

185-187. The height of the abacus (phalakā) being divided into three parts, the height of the upper joint (utsandhi) should be one part; below that the projection (kṣepaṇa) one part, and below the latter the cyma (abja) one part; or the (upper) half-portion may be one part and the cyma (abja) two parks.

188-190. The height of the pitcher (kumbha) being divided into eight parts, its cyma (padma) and fillet (kampa) should (each) be of one part; the lower and upper portions of the pitcher should be ornamented with banyan, leaves, etc.; its drip (nimna), tenia (tāṭikā), and such other ornaments should be fittingly constructed as stated before.

191-192. In each kind of the Kumbha-stambha (pitcher-pillars); as well as in the Compartment pillar (those members should be made) for all (buildings) the Kumbha-stambha (pitcher-pillars) are thus described by the ancient (architects).

193-196. Of the seven parts of height, (in another variety of pillars), above the earth, the platform (mañca) should be of three parts, and the neck (gala) above one part, the abacus (phalakā) two parts, the hall-part (śālā), the head (śiras), and the pitcher (kumbha) one part each, and the cage (pañjara), etc., should also be constructed in order.

197-200. There should be five upper parts in the aforesaid height, (namely), two parts, three-fourths part, one and a half parts, and three-fourths part: these five parts should be (the measures, respectively,) of the nock (gala), vestibule (nāsikā), the facia (ānana), and the pitcher (kumbha), which are the upper ornaments of the pillar attached to the pitcher.

Ornaments of the pitches:

201. I shall now specially describe what are called the ornaments of the pitcher.

202-207. The height of the bridge ornament (pālikā) at its (the pitcher’s) base should be divided into sis parts: (of these) the pedestal (pādukā) should be one part, and the height of the cyma (padma) equal to that (i.e. one part); fehe fillet (kampa) above that; should be half a part, and the neck (kandhara) two parts; above that the fillet (kampa) should be constructed of half a part, and the cyma (padma) of one part; as an alternative, the fillet (kampa) may be above and the cyma (padma) below made of one part (each); the (lower) neck (kaṇṭha) should be made of one part, and the rest should be as stated before.

208-211. Of the same (number of parts), the cyma (padma) above should be half a part, and the corona (kapotaka)[13] above that one part; the fillet (vājana) above should be made fittingly of half a part; above that, at the base of the pitcher (kumbha) the bridge-moulding (pāli) should be one part, and the cyma (padma) one part; above that the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, and the rest should be discreetly made with their fitting shapes.

212-219. Above that the height of the fascia (vaktra) being divided into nine parts, the plinth (janman) should be half of the pitcher (kumbha), and the fillet (vājana) should be half a part; who cyma (padma) should be made of one part, and the fillet (kampa) of half a part; the height of the neck (gala) should be two parts and a half, and ṭhe fillet (kampa) half a part; equal to that (i.e. half a part) should be the height of the cyma (padma), and the corona (kapotaka) should be made of one part and a half; the crescent (prati) should be made of one part, and (the whole) should be furnished with all ornaments; as an alternative the height of the neck (kaṇṭha) should be two parts, and the cyma (padma) one part and a half; as another alternative the height of the fascia (vaktra) should be made of one rod.

220-221. The bridge-ornament (pālikā) should be gracefully made as directed before; above that (bridge-ornament) a bud-like ornament should be made of half a rod.

222-223. The projection should then be extended from the end of the pitcher (kumbha); inside the pitcher (kumbha) a jewelled band (bandha) and partly-shown (lit. mysterious or secret) cloth (vastra-nipya) should be made.

224. The base of the pillar should be decorated with all ornaments.

225-226. Then at the end of the pitcher (kumbha) should be made the fascia (āsya) resembling something like the projection, and the vestibule (nāsikā); as an alternative, the vestibule (nāsikā) may be omitted, and it (the fascia) may be constructed above the cage-like ornament (pañjara).

227. The upper portion of the pillar ending by the bridge-ornament (prati) should be decorated with lotus (and) creeper patterns, etc.

228-229. It should be equal to or three-fourths of the main pillar in diameter, this is called the pillar of the pitcher; there should be fitted the interval (antarāla).

230-231. It (this pillar) should be made in the exterior, interior, or the interval, as also against the wall, on the topmost part, and the head-part (of a building) in particular.

232. The best architect should furnish it with large cages (pañjara), and such other ornaments.

(The general features of the columns):

233. The general features of the pillars ace now stated: the height, etc., should be made as before.

234-235, The diameter of the attached (saṃyoga) pillars, (i.e. pillars in pair) may be three-fourths, or half of that of the main pillar; but the proportion which would make it look beautiful should be followed.

236-237. The capital (bodhikā) up to the abacus (phalakā) should be measured according to the main pillar, and the bridge (pālikā) and all other component mouldings should be measured in accordance with the minor pillar[14].

238. The capital (bodhikā) and other component members should be made as before.

239. All the minor pillars should be attached to the main pillar.

240-241. The minor pillars surrounded by subsidiary pillars should be attached to the of the main pillar: they may be three-fourths, half, or any other fraction of the main pillar.

242-243. The main pillar may be furnished with one, two, or three minor pillars; the number (of minor pillars) is thus stated; their base should be shaped like the lotus-seat (padmāsana).

244. When it (the main pillar) is furnished with four minor pillars it is called the Brahmakānta.

245. When it is furnished with five minor pillars it is called the Śivakānta.

246. When it is furnished with six minor pillars it is known as the Skandakānta.

247. And when it is furnished with eight minor pillars it is called the Viṣṇukānta.

248-249. All these pillars are furnished with the bridge (pālikā) at the base instead of the pedestal; or an image of the lion should be made therein, and the pillar should be adorned with leaves and such other ornaments.

250. The wise (architect) should get (the pillar) made with stone or wood, as stated (by the ancients).

Collection of wood:

251. The collection of wood will be described (first), and afterwards the details of the wood will be stated.

252-256. Wood should be collected during the southern or the nor them solstice, and preferably during the four months beginning with Māgha (January and February)the chief architect (sthapati) accompanied by the workmen (sthāpaka) should collect wood on an auspicious moment of the auspicious conjunction (lagna) in an auspicious day during the dark fortnight; they should be furnished with axes, clubs, and swords, and other instruments, and be covered with the safety-string (rakṣā-sūtra).

257-259. The wise master should fast overnight drinking only-pure water (or milk), and getting up in the morning with his retinue should try to see some good omen on the way to the forest.

260-265. The wine-glass, meat, the bull, a jag full of water, an elephant, a courtesan, and an assemblage of the twice-born, mirrors, flower garlands, a king, a swing, an offering, a filled up pot, a fort, an umbrella, a washerman carrying clothes, the auspicious all-producing cow, and wealth, corn, and prosperity: all these are auspicious omens, if they are seen, in front.

266-269. People with, loose hair or without nose, the oil pot, a single Brāhman, a single ascetic, people wearing a skull or rod clothes (? menstruous women), people suffering from consumptive phthisis, people of defective or excessive limbs: all these arc known as the inauspicious omens, when seen in front on the road.

270-271. The skylark, the owl, the dancer, the ascetic practising breathing, and a great inspired female are auspicious when seen on the left side, but inauspicious when seen on the right.[15]

272-276. The crow, the peacock, the long-tailed, the blackwinged, the white-eyed, the lizard, the leech, the snake, the crane, the tiger, and the fox: if these pass from right to left, it is auspicious: if they pass from left to right, it is certainly inauspicious.

277-281. The owl, the vulture, the wild white-eyed, the deer, the hare, the path-worm, the vulture of variegated colour, the blood-hound, and the boar: if these pass from right to left it is certainly auspicious; if they pass from left to right, it is certainly inauspicious.

282-284. I shall also speak about the remedy in case there be (seen) no auspicious omens at the boundary of the village; the wise (architect) should then, proceed on (the journey) after having seen (the bad omens) and feed the Brahmans; if there happens to be any inauspicious omen, at the village boundary, an animal should be offered as sacrifice.[16]

285-287. If any or all of the aforesaid (animals) pass near the forest from left to right, or from right to left, and be seen on the way-while passing, it is certainly auspicious.

288-289. Aft or reaching the forest, they should find out some tree casting pleasant and cool shade, and should rest there and try to hear some (auspicious) sounds of birds.

290-291. The snake, the skylark, the white-eyed, and the big bird: if these make some sweet sound, it is auspicious, bub in case of ominous sound, beasts should be offered as sacrifice.

292-294. The crowing of the crow on the south is most auspicious, and on the east fair, but from the north it is said to be the worst; if by chance it is heard the offering of three goats should be made on the sacrificing pole.[17]

295-299. Thereon the wise architect should endeavour to make sacrificial offerings as aforesaid: to (the evil spirits known as) asuras, rākṣasas, bhūtas, and piśācas, caragī, vidārī, pāparākṣasī, and the eight great quarter masters beginning with Indra, and ending with Iśāna [Īśāna?]: to all these the sacrificial offerings made with, a mixture of blood should be offered, and prayers should always be said.

300-304. To Mukhya, Mṛga, Aditi, Udita, Vitatha, Antarikṣa, Bhṛśa, and Pūṣan: to all these as well as to the rākṣas (demons) the offering of meat and rice should be made; and the chief architect (sthapati) should make the offering of fruits, milk, and rice to the forest god and others by (mentioning) their own names.

305-306. Thereafter the purification ceremonies should be performed, benediction should be pronounced, and auspicious utterance should be made, and afterwards the Brahmans should be fed.

307. The lord of the forest should go out at the time of the cutting of the wood.

Incantation (in this connection):

308. Om, I bow to the protector of the master and also to the rākṣas and the bhūtas.

309-310. Thereafter the chief architect together with the master should make offerings to Brahmā, and the master should make the sacrifice with fire, and worship the forest gods.

311-313. The chief architect should stand facing the east or the north and wash the axe, and Che expert carpenter, the architect, taking the axe from the hands of the master should hew the wood together with other followers.

314-316. That tree is known as female which gives cool and pleasant shade, of which the trunk is large and the top is thin, which has no sprouting horn but of which the appearance is pleasant, and which has branches looking like an open umbrella.

317-318. That tree is called male which is of uniform width at the root, trunk, and top; which has no branches; of which the appearance is pleasant, and which is cool.

319-321. That tree is neuter which, is thicker at the top and thinner at the root, which has many stoots and branches, which is too heavy to stand erect, of which the head is severed, which is hot and has spreading branches, and of the lower part of which, the eunuch is an example.

322. The male and the female trees should be hewed down at an auspicious moment of an auspicious conjunction (lagna).

323-328. It is inauspicious if the tree does not fall down by jumping upwards, or if it falls towards the east or the north; but it is auspicious if the tree falls towards the south or the west; it brings forth all prosperity if the tree falls also towards the north-east or the southwest; but the reverse would be the results if the tree falls towards the south-east or the north-west, or at the intervening quarter; if it lifts upwards before falling finally, everything turns out inauspicious.

329-330. At the falling of the hewn tree if the bull, the horse, or the elephant roar, it is the best omen, but it is inauspicious if other animals roar.

331-332. If the neighbouring trees fall by being pressed down by the tree to be cut, bad luck comes on the man (master).

333-334. The aforesaid order does not apply if the tree falls towards the oast or the north-east, but as to other order (directions), it is inauspicious.

335-339. The wise (architect) should perform some propitiatory rite in order to remedy all kinds of defects, (i.e., the bad omen) etc., (the remedy consists) in performing sacrifice with animals and in feeding the Brahmans thereafter; if a propitiatory rite be performed, all delects must be removed; and not otherwise. The death of men occurs, if the propitiatory rites be not observed to avert evil; the wise architect should, therefore, carefully try to avoid such things, and should then collect the -wood.

340. Broad nails (should be driven) into all parts of the tree when it is kept lying flat.

341-346. Keeping the foot on the ground the disc (mark) should be made on the wood while it is kept lying flat, and thereafter it should be placed on a waggon; and it should be covered over with new cloths amidst auspicious sounds; then it (the waggon) should be palled by two bulls, buffaloes, or elephants, or men, on an auspicious moment of an auspicious conjunction (lagna); reaching the workṣop (of the architect) it should be taken out of the waggon.

347. The collection of wood is (thus) stated, its varieties will now be described.

348-359. The dhūmaka (smoky tree), kṣīriṇī (milk tree), khādira (a tree of Acacia catechu class), khadira (Acacia catechu), śāka (a tree), nimba (Azadirachta Indica), śami (Mimosa suma), śākhā (sal), mṛga (deer-tree): these are the trees which are used as supports (for a building); the trees which are sawed (into planks) are stated here: the kadira (Acacia catechu), kṛtamāla (Cassia fistula), vyāghraka, (tiger-tree), āccha-dana (a tree), mṛga (deer-tree), drākṣā, śākha (sal), rudra and jambuka (rose apple tree): these trees are employed in a recumbent (horizontal) posture; the cocoanut, tāla (palmyra tree), veṇu (bamboo), mauni (species of trees)[18], kiṃsuka (Butea frondosa), pūga (Areca catechu) puṣkala, amalaka (Emblica officinalis), kiṃsiri, harita (? yellow myrobalan tree), saptaparṇa (Alstonia scholaris): all these are known as the trees which are employed (as poles or pillars) in an upright posture; these should be employed in temples and especially in human dwellings; the strongest (vyāghra) red sandal, sandal and similarly tamarind and all other trees (wood) should be employed in. the houses of the twice-born; if all these species be wanting one species should in all cases be used.

360-861. The lower part of a tree should be used for the base (of the column), and its upper part should be for the capital; the part other than these (i.e. the middle part) is known to be that which touches (i.e. makes) the body (i.e. shaft of the column).

Erection of columns:

362. The erection of pillars in all kinds of buildings, namely, temples and others, is now described.

363-364. All pillars should be erected at a uniform distance (from one an otter); if one pillar be attached at the end of another pillar the (very) object of building will be destroyed.

365. The lines drawn by the inner and outer sides of the buildsing (where within are erected columns) should be straight lines.[19]

366-367. The inter-columnation should be (measured) from the centre of (two) pillars; from the outer extremity (of pillars), and from the inner extremity (of pillars); there would be no defect if in accordance with the practice in a country it is (measured) half a diameter.[20]

368-371. The erection (āvāhana, lit. invocation) of the column should be performed at an auspicious moment of an auspicious conjunction (lagna) on an auspicious day of the bright fortnight in the months of Puṣya (December and January), Caitra (March and April) and Vaiśākha (April and May), during the northern solstice, or in the months of Āṣāḍha (Jane and July), Śrāvaṇa (July and August), Āśvī (September and October), and Kārtika (October and November), during the southern solstice; but in case of want (i.e. necessity), this may be performed during the other months also.4

872-373. All the ceremonies from the commencement (aṅkurārpaṇa) to the end of erection (of the pillar) should duly be performed (including) the washing (of the column) with water; and the preparation of the site should be carried out.

374-377. In connection with pillars erected in the north-east, or the south-west corner, or iṇ the interspace, above that part (i.e., the base) of these pillars which is the (real) strength of the building, a supporting slab should be made of one, one-and-one-half, or two rods, and its thickness, width, and length should be as one likes.

378-381. For the stone pillar, the supporting slab should be made of stone, and for the wooden pillar it should be of wood; but as an alternative all the supporting slabs may be made of stone, and they should be square (four cornered) in shape; a supporting slab (generally) should be one, two, or three cubits broad; in the centre of the base (ādhāra) there should be a recess to insert jewels therein.

382-385. A porch (or pavilion) should be constructed in front of the main building; at the point where the porch ends a column should be posted by holding it up; a caṇḍita plan (of sixty-four plots) should be marked covering a sthaṇḍila plan (of forty-nine plots),[21] with the (powdered) seed of vrīhi and other grains, and therein a pillar should be erected facing the west or the north.

386. As an ornament a jug (bo be placed before the pillar) should be covered with new cloths and be decorated.

387-388. The śirīṣa (Acacia sirissa), and other grains, and the seed of cotton should be wrapped inside a piece of cloth with, some string, and thereafter be tied to the ear of the pillar.

389-394. In front of it (i.e., the pillar to be erected) a sthaṇḍila plan should be marked with pure (powdered) rice (śāli) and filed grain (lāja), and the kuśa, grass should be spread on it with, their tips towards the east or the north; in the same way the aforesaid plans (known as) pīṭha or upapīṭha should be marked; thereon the wise (architect) should place for worship the jug (mentioned above) completely filled with water, and covered over with string, leaves, grass, and new cloth, etc., and in front of it a sthaṇḍila plan should be marked and jewels, iron, etc., should be brought in there.

395-397. The wise architect should wash his feet and perform the ācamana rite (washing the mouth, etc., with some incantation), and should make a trident mark on his forehead with holy ashes or sandal; thereafter the winding up (sakalī-karaṇa) ceremony should be performed, and benediction should be caused to be pronounced (by Brahmans).

398-404. Brahmā and all other gods should be worshipped at the place where the pillar is to ho erected; the deity of one’s own heart should specially be worshipped (supposing Him to be) installed in the jug; all the female deities should be invoked over the water of the jugs; after invoking and worshipping (all those deities) with perfumes, flowers, and entire unhusked pounded ride (akṣata), etc., the (closing) ceremony called ratnādhivāsana (showing precious stones) should be performed by addressing all those deities by their own names; they (the deities) should be worshipped with perfumes, flowers, and burning of incense, and with dishes, etc., and (lastly) the wise (architects) should also perform the holy sacrifice with fire in front of them towards the east[22].

405-409. Thereafter the architect should proceed to the pillar and touch its base; he should tie it with four strings coloured with gairika (a kind of red chalk, ochre); he should offer (to it) a gold-needle, together with kuśa grass, clarified butter, and dried milk; and thereafter he should worship it with incense, light, perfumes, and flowers, and (lastly) he should meditate on the pillar (thinking) it to be as (strongly posted as) the Himalaya mountain, and touch it with his hand.

410. The best teacher (i.e. architect) should then carry-out the adhivāsana ceremony for the pillar.

4H-423. Thereafter (the architect), getting the chief carpenters to raise the pillar with their hands, should, circumambulate the building together with his own followers, amidst all auspicious sounds should reach the place where the pillar is to be erected, dismount it from the hands in the west, and place it in the pit made for the purpose; (thereafter) they should go round the pit and insert into it the jewels used for the adhivāsana ceremonies: gold should be inserted at the centre and copper in the east, iron should be inserted in the south and brass in the west, and silver should be inserted in the north, the ruby (padma-rāga) in the middle, the topaz (puṣpa-rāga) in the east, the opal (gomeda,) in the south-east, the sapphire (mahānīla) at the south and the emerald (marataka) in the south-west, the lapis lazuli (sphaṭika) should be inserted at the west and the coral (pravāla) at the north-west, the pearl (mauktika), at the north, and the diamond (indra-nīla) at the north-east.

424-425. The architect together with the workmen should post the pillar thereon amidst the pronouncement of benediction and all other auspicious sounds by the Brahmans.

426-429. (Thereafter) the architect should bring all the jugs of the adhivāsana ceremony, circumambulate the pillar, and sprinkle it with water (therefrom) by pronouncing the incantations; then he should offer incense and lamp (light) to the pillar adorned with clothes and garlands, should worship it with perfumes and flowers, and present dishes to it (with the following incantations).


430-481, Oh pillar, Thou art the great Meru[23] mountain for this building; may the sun, the moon, and all other gods protect thy high peak,

432. After having pronounced this incantation, the wise (architect) should apologise (for possible deficiencies is the worship).

433-435. The wise architect should in this way erect pillars for (all kinds of buildings such as) palaces (prāsāda), pavilions (maṇḍapa), auxiliary temples (prākāra), and gate-houses (gopura), the dwellings of the twice born, as well as of the subordinate castes.

435-437. The ancient sages and also Brahmā and other gods have prescribed the installation of the pillar; if anybody omit it (the ceremonies) he must suffer some misfortune; therefore, the best architect should not omit this (in the installation) of pillars; the architect, the master, and the Brahmans, all concerned in the ceremony of erecting the pillar, should carry out the worship in accordance with the rules as stated before in connection with the erection of pillars in their own buildings, forts, etc.

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the fifteenth chapter, entitled: “The description of the columns.”

Footnotes and references:


According to the Suprabhedāgama (XXXI-28) the most common proportion of pillar and base is two to one; but according to Kāśyapa the length of the pillar may be three times the height of the base, or six to eight times that of the pedestal (see the writer’s Dictionary, pp. 646, 644).


According to Kāśyapa the diameter of the pillar may be ⅐th, ⅛th, ⅑th, or ⅒th of its height; if it be made of wood or stone ⅓rd or ¼th of its height, or ⅙th if it be a pilaster joined to a wall (see the writer’s Dictionary, p. 644).


It also implies the crowning member of the capital, which is placed upon the abacus (phalakā) and under the table of cornices (see the writer’s Dictionary, p. 441-442).


This member is generally marked by a human figure and is placed between the corbel (bodhikā) and the abacus (phalakā).


This is otherwise called kaṇṭha or neck and is placed between the abacus and the pitcher.


This is otherwise called mandaru.


This is a projecting ornament looking like an emblematic spear; it is placed above the vestibule (nose).


This is a moulding placed between two others: in this respect it serves the purpose of a fillet.


Or string-courses carved with the rail pattern (see the writer’s Dictionary, pages 565, 567.)


Generally the neck is not further divided as here (see Ram Raz’s Essay, plate VI, and Gloss, Grecian and Roman Architecture, plate XV.)


It is sometimes used as a crowning moulding or the part of the capital which supports the abacus (see the writer’s Dictionary, page 316).


This type of band is not included in the various types of bands of which details are given elsewhere (see the writer’s Dictionary, pages 20-41).


For a detailed account of this moulding see the writer’s Dictionary, pages 109-110.


Compare Suprabhedāgma (X.XXI-56) quoted in the writer’s Dictionary (page 647, see also page 648).


Both vyānaka and dāsīsmara are of doubtful sense, the latter may have analogy with jātismara meaning one who can recall the conditions of former life.


The text is clumsy, it is unavoidably necessary to supply a negative particle in line 282.


The following lines 295-422 are read in different sequence in the various texts (see note under text).


Including Agati Grandiflora, Bucanania, Latifolia, Butea Frondosa, Terminalia Catappa, Artemisia Indica, and the mango tree.


It really means that columns, when in rows, should be is a straight line.


There seems to be no fixed inter-columnation, but it may be two, three, four, or five diameters; architects are allowed to exercise their discretion, but they are required to be particularly careful -with regard to beauty and utility (see the writer’s Dictionary under Stambha, p. 645).


See the details of those plans under chapter VII (pp. 33, 37-38).


There are three classes of worship: the first class one comprises sixteen items (ṣoḍaśopacāra) as distinguished, from the two inferior ones daśopacāra with ten items and pañcopacāra with five items.


To this fabulous mountain, the task of upholding the north is ascribed.

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