Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words

This page describes “the opening of the dwelling house (griha-pravesha)” which is Chapter 37 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 37 - The opening of the dwelling house (gṛha-praveśa)

1. Now I shall describe the ceremonies of opening the (new) houses [viz., gṛha-praveśa].

2. All the Jāti (and other classes of) buildings should be (made) with the aforesaid features (and be opened in the same way).

3-4. Of the months of the north and the south solstices, Mithuna (May and June), Dharma (November and December), Kanyā (August and September), and Mīna (February and March) should be avoided (for the opening ceremonies).

5-6. (On some day of the other months) of the auspicious fortnight and planet (nakṣatra), and on some auspicious moment and constellation (lagna), and when the moon is both in the sthira-rāśi[1] and in the bright fortnight, the first entry (into a new house) should be made.

7. Both the chief architect (sthapati) and the actual builder (or the principal assistant, sthāpaka) should lead the ceremonies of opening of the house.

8. In front of the house (to be opened) should be built a pavilion (maṇḍapa), a shed (prapā), or a pinnacled structure (kūṭa).

9-10. It should be in a line with the length of the house and measure five, seven, or nine cubits (in length), and be furnished with sixteen or twelve columns.

11. The structures of various descriptions should be adorned with various cloths and ornaments.

12. The structure thus made should be besmeared with the holy cow-dung.

13-14. Inside the structure or in the courtyard (madhyaraṅga); at its sides or north-east corner, the ceremonies of sowing seed (aṅkurārpaṇa) should be optionally carried out by the architect as said before.

15. The architect should make the ordinary offerings (bali) inside the house (vāstu).

16. The master builder (sthāpati) should worship the eight immortals (gods) beginning with Āpa-(vatsa).

17. The chief assistant (sthāpaka) should make offerings to the four (gods) beginning with Ārya.

18. Brahmā and the other gods also should be worshipped as usual.

19. The sacrifice to the Spirit of the house (Vāstupuruṣa) should then be performed for the satisfaction of the Vāstu deities.

20-21. Then the house should be purified by lighting fire on all sides of it and by washing it all through, and then the pronouncement of benediction (puṇyāha, lit., good day) should be made.

22-23. The master builder (sthapati) together with his assistants (sthāpaka) should wash with the five products of the cow (pañcagavya)[2]; the feet should be washed (thoroughly) with these five things separately.

24. The Washing ceremonies (ācamana) should be performed according to rules, and then they should enter into the pavilion (maṇḍapa).

25. A circular mark (maṇḍala) should be made in the square plot (sthaṇḍila) on the floor (prastara) with the holy śāli (grain) powder.

26-27. Nine pots should be filled with pure water; the pots should be tied around with a string and be covered with new cloths.

28. They should be furnished with cocoanut and other fruits, with bunches of holy grass and leaves.

29. Twenty-five squares (figures) should be marked and paddy (raw unhusked rice) should be spread on them.

30. The kuśa grass should be spread on the paddy in the order stated before.

31. Upon the paddy should be placed the nine pots beginning with that of Brahmā.

32-33. The images of gods should be made, preferably with gold, and they should be adorned with their different garments, and be worshipped with their different incantations (mantra).

34-35. The master and his own housewife should fast by drinking pure water (? plain milk) in the night, and then again fast during the day following.

36. Both the housewife and the master should touch the (main) column of the house with their own hands jointly.

37-38. Then the ceremonies of the safety-string (rakṣābandha, binding for the sake of safety) of the riding animals of those gods and also of other chief attached animals should be performed, and benediction (svasti) should be pronounced.

39. The adhivāsana (purification) rites should be observed during the day time or the night,

40. All the germinated seeds (pālikā) should be placed on the square (sthaṇḍila) figure.

41-42. The wise architect (sthapati) should worship Brahmā and other gods with their own separate incantations (mantra) which begin with the mystic syllable om (praṇava) and end at namaḥ.

43. The deity of one’s heart (Hṛllekhā) should be worshipped by the wise (architect) according to rules on the middle pot.

44. They (the deities) should be entertained with perfumes and flowers, and be offered incense and lamp.

45. They should be offered also milk padding, milk and such other things, and also betel, etc.

46-47. The sacrifice with holy fire should then be performed in the square plot (sthaṇḍila) as also in the east, amidst dancing, singing, beating of drums, pronouncement of victory (jaya) and all other auspicious sounds.

48-49. In the square plot (sthaṇḍila) or the sacrificial pit (kuṇḍa) eighteen offerings (āhuti) should be made of each of the (following) five things: samidh plant, clarified butter, boiled rice, sesame seed, and fried rice.

50-51. The mystic formula of the personified Energy (śaktibīja) should be pronounced beginning with om and ending at svāhā; and the finishing offering should be made with the śakti incantation (mantra), known as the Gāyatrī.

52. The ceremony of sprinkling water should be performed with the water of the same pot as was used for the purificatory (adhivāsa) coremonies.

53-55. Amidst the pronouncement of victory (svasti) and all other auspicious sounds, both the architect (sthapati) and his assistant (sthāpaka) should sprinkle (this water) on the riding animals (vāhana, of the gods), etc., as well as on the doors of the main building (veśma), and on each and every house.

56-57. Then the (other) auspicious rites of the house (—opening) should be carried out by ornamenting and adorning it with various cloths, banners, flags, and decorating it with garlands of flowers.

58-60. The architect (sthapati) should be clad in the best dress, ornamented on the five limbs, besmeared with white sandal, decorated with gold and sacred thread, and be furnished with new white garments and a scarf across the neck and the chest (uttarīya).

61. He should (again) wash his feet, and perform the rite of gathering together all things.

62. Then he should offer (to the deity) incense and lamp (light) together with perfumes, flowers, and unhusked rice (akṣata).

63. To the beat of their powers the Brahmans should pronounce benediction (svasti).

64-66. The votary (yajamāna) together with his followers if he like, should circumambulate the house amidst the pronouncement of victory (jaya) and various other auspicious sounds.

66-67. Then, standing before the door of the house or while walking round, he should salute with joined palms the goddess (of prosperity) Lakṣmī and her Lord (Govinda), and pray for the boon he wishes to have.

68-69, The prayer (for asking the boon) should be as follows:—

‘Oh Lakṣmī, I bow to Thee and prithee to fulfil the desire of the master of the house for sons, grandsons, wealth, and long life, etc.’

70-71. After having pronounced this prayer both the architect (sthapati) and the assistant (sthapaka [sthāpaka?]) should give the residue of the dishes offered to the gods to the votary (i.e., the master of the house).

72-73, On the occasion of entering iṇto the house, fees (dakṣiṇā) together with betel should be given to the architect (sthapati) and his assistants (sthāpaka) and especially to the Brahmans.

74-79. He (the master) should circumambulate the village accompanied by them (the architects) and his own wife, taking with him rice, milk, water, various heavenly ornaments, perfumes, garlands, clothes, in the midst of the chanting of the Vedas by the twice-born, and amidst singing, dancing and music, and taking umbrella (chatra), chowries, jugs completely filled with water and fees (dakṣiṇā), etc., and mounting together with the friends of the votary on horses, elephants, etc., and being followed by retinues.

80. Then he should enter into the house admist all auspicious sounds.

81. Then together with friends and relations he should feed the Brahmans.

82-83. After entering into the house in this way, the master should give with his own hand clothes, ornaments, and conveyances, etc., to the assistant architects (sthāpaka) and others.

84-85. Then the architect (sthapati) and his assistants (sthāpaka) should say to the master: ‘You are settled (lit., received) in this house,’ and then should leave him.

86-89. It will be auspicious and the master will attain all desired success if he enter into the house after he has circumambulated the house together with (lit., mounting on) the vehicle (goose?) of Brahmā, in company of those artists, elephants, horses, camels, etc., and various other retinue, various soldiers chariots, chowries, collection of feathers, and amidst the beating of the drum (dumdubhi [dundubhi?]) and kettle drums (bheri).

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the thirty-seventh chapter, entitled: “The opening of the dwelling house.”

Footnotes and references:


The rāśi or signs of the zodiac are divided into three classes, namely, cara (moving), sthira (fixed) and ubhayātmaka (combined); vṛṣa, siṃha, vṛścika, and kumbha are stated to be the sthira-rāśi.


Five products of the cow, a liquid mixture prepared of five holy things for washing purposes.

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