Kashyapa Shilpa-shastra (study)

by K. Vidyuta | 2019 | 33,520 words

This page relates ‘Mana (proportionate measurements)’ of the study on the Kashyapa Shilpa-shastra (in English) with special reference to the characteristics of Prakara (temple-components), Mandapa (pavilions) and Gopura (gate-house). The Silpa-Sastras refers to the ancient Indian science of arts and crafts, such as sculpture, architecture and iconography. This study demonstrates the correlatation between ancient Indian monuments (such as temples and sculptures) and the variety of Sanskrit scriptures dealing with their construction.

4.4. Māna (proportionate measurements)

The fourth fundamental canon of Hindu architecture is Māna, the proportionate measurements. Unless a building is proportionately and perfectly measured out, it cannot give an auspicious result (Viśvakarma Vāstuśāstra (VVS.), VII.67-70):

dedamānuṣabhūpālapaāsādeṣu gṛheṣu ca |
anyeṣu śilpakāryeṣu yanmānaṃ tacca yojayet |
mānābhāve kriyādīnāṃ na śobhā na balādikam ||

The Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa (Ch. VII) gives the origin of Māna, of which aṅgula or hasta is the standard of measurement. It is stated in this Purāṇa that people who at first used to live in caves, mountains, riverbanks, etc. began to build houses in order to protect themselves from cold and heat. Then they built kheṭas (towns), grāmas (villages) and nagaras (cities). To measure the area of the settlements, people instinctively employed their own fingers and arms. Thus the aṅgulas have come to be used as standards of measurement.

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