It is fortunate occasion to discuss new vistas of Art and Architecture, the theme is based on Dimensions of Architecture in Social, Political and Economical perspective. The era of Indologists like James Fergusson, Vincent Arthur Smith, Percy Brown etc. was descriptive, and the era of Scholars like Ernest Binfield Havell, Ananda Kentish Coomarswamy, Vasudeva Saran Agrawala, Stella Kramrisch was to understand the meaning, theme and the expressions of Art creations; to them we all are grateful.
In Architecture one of the primary element is LAND, followed by construction and ornamentation. LAND plays immense Role. We shall see the impact of VIRTUES and CHARACTERISTICS of the LAND on a Country, City, Village and even a Human being.
The aspect of virtues and characteristics of land has never been discussed. This unexplored area has vast potential, yet unstudied characters, hidden in land, known as —
Contour, Color, Odor, Feature, Sound, Taste and Touch 1
Colour, Odour, Flavour, Form, Orientation, Sound and Touch 2
are discussed in various treatises of Vatu-Shastra (the Science of Indian Architecture) which should be accorded consideration.
We may enumerate a few compositions like Samaranganasutradhara of King Bhoja, Aparajitaprichchha of Bhuvana Deva, Manasara, Mayamatam, Vastuvidya which hold import. These treatises base their wisdom on Vedic Literature. Strabo believed that Environment caused the uprising & downfall of Roman Empire. The People of those times had keenly discovered the Science inherited in ‘Characters’ of land, Mantras related to it are quoted here-
The Characters of land are the part and partial of life-energy, for that reason we express our respect to the Mother Earth.
Now we must also see how some western scholars have defined the land. Strabo believed that Environment caused the ‘uprising’ and ‘downfall’ of Roman Empire. El Pensamiento Evolutivo En Anaximandro, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Ratzel, Carl Ritter, Charles Darwin, Vidal de la Blache, Andrew John Herbertson, Ellsworth Huntington, Samuel P. Huntington and many others have described the relation between Human and Nature. Griffith Taylor describe No one can Ignore
“Paramount control exercised by the environment”.
Alexander Von Humboldt, author of 40 Books on Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Geography wrote in his book that
“North Pole to South Pole there is a SOUL in Earth” 11
Ellen Churchill Semple has described that-
“Man is Product of the earth’s surface. This means not merely that he is a child of the earth,
dust of her dust; but that the earth has mothered him, set him tasks, directed his
thoughts ….. She has entered into his bone and tissue, into his mind and soul.”
Indian Science of Architecture describes more vividly the virtues and characters of the land prevailing over all
other factors in nature and that how these elements shape the Cultures, Societies, Art and Architecture.
The Late Prof. Vidyadhar Pandey decoded the meaning of the terminology of this science, for example, he explained that words like Brahmani Bhumi, Kshatriya Bhumi are used for their VIRTUES and CHARACTERISTICS and not for the present day caste system. This type of categorization is also found for Planets, Zodiac Signs, Seasons, Deities, Plants and so many. His explanations helped me to grasp the fundamentals of this science.
After extensively surveying towns, villages, industries, monuments, metropolitan cities, temples etc., in all over India, and interviewing a number of eminent scholars, managers, villagers and workers of industrial areas, for over three decades and visiting every place at least thrice in my lifetime, I would like to share some points from perspective of Indian Architecture with reference to some CHARACTERS of the Cities.
TO START WITH ALLAHABAD
The place accomplishing Grief, Mourn and Pathos. This city could not facilitate any type of business unlike Varanasi, Patna, Bharuch since ancient times. It couldn’t provide a throne to a king through out the history, though the surrounding towns and cities all nourished a ruler.
Since independence, this city has had rich Political strength as a series of Prime Ministers and Politicians like Pt. M.M. Malaviya, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri Jee, V.P. Singh, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, H.N. Bahuguna, Amitabh Bachchan, M.M. Joshi, who emerged here. Inspite of such support this city could not flourish in ‘Industries’ or in ‘Commercial Activities’ like other KAVAL (Kanpur, Agra, Varanasi and Lucknow) cities
ACCORDING TO HUEN TSANG
“To the east of the enclosure of charity, at the confluence of the two rivers, EVERY DAY THERE ARE MANY
HUNDREDS OF MEN who bathe themselves and die. The people of this country consider that whoever wishes to be born in heaven ought to fast to a grain of rice, and then drown himself in the waters. 13
As per information from Huen Tsang the approx. Number of suicides would be one lakh/year.
Such incidents have been mentioned in Aphsad Stone Inscription of Adityasena 7th Century C.E and also in Khairha Copper Plate of Yashah Karnadeva dated 1073 C.E.
Over all a truth for this city is that the city is known for being a big center for Religious suicides, till 16th century. These CHARACTERS of this city can probably be defined best by the Indian Science of Architecture. The land which is low in South-East direction and high in South-West, North-East and North-West is known as SYENAKA resulting for ‘disappearance of prosperity’ and ‘death events’.
We see the disappearance of prosperity in Industries and Commercial zones, and as the non-existence of Capital
of a king in Allahabad.
The land of Allahabad has natural slope towards South-East direction. After the construction of fort on Sangama by Akbar (1558 C.E.) the area of fort along with its nearby land was raised in the South-East affecting the results of Soka-Vastu to minimize to some extent. Since then no religious Suicide has taken place. It seems that the effect of the Vastu concern is still present in partial proportion. Impression of SORROW still pervade there. It could be well felt by going through the literature composed at that land.
The literary themes of all the scholars, like Rudyard Kipling, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Sumitranandan Pant, Mahadevi Verma, Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Upendranath Ashk, Nagarjun, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Viyogi Hari, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Ram Kumar Verma, Hari Prasad Dwivedi, Akbar Allahabadi, Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayan ‘Ajneya’, Ganganath Jha, Ram Naresh Tripathi were not Sringara, Vira, Vatsalya or Bhakti Pradhana in literatures like Ramacharitmanasa, Raghuvamsa, Gitanjali, Mudrarakshasa, Kamayani, Rashmirathi but SORROWFUL.
We probably can not expect beyond sorrowful thoughts from this city. Due to the effect of land’s CHARACTER we can easily understand why this city was religious suicide center and could not develop Industries or Big Business activities. Varanasi is the seat of Salvation and Lord Shiva lives here as Lord Visvanatha, Who gives Moksha to every one.
Here is a thought provoking question : why Lord Siva gives Moksha in Varanasi and Svarga in Kedarnath, Somnath, Rameshwaram and other Places.
Why Krishna gives Moksha in Mathura and Dwaraka and why not in Vrindavan, Gokul, Udupi or at any other place.
When God is omnipresent, then what is the relevance of centers for Moksha.
And one more thing, why Lord Narshimga or Vishnu have to protect a child, Why not Rama, Shiva, Hanumana. Rama used bow and arrow to kill Bali and Ravana as kidnappers and Krishna used ‘Sudarshana Chakra’ and helped in abducting Rukmanii, Subhadra. Regarding the weapons (Aayudhas) of the deities a novel approach of study of Iconography is required to explain the meanings inherited in weapon symbols.
POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE – LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLIES
Now we shall see how the defined CHARACTERS control Socio-Political Scenario. ‘Kshatriya Bhumi’ means the ‘Ruler Land’ or ‘Sovereign Land’. The Parliament and Legislative Assemblies can be seen on this type of land having defined topography. It is natural selection of land. We need to study the characters of land more extensively.
I have observed several Parliament Buildings and found them to be on Kshatriya land. Except for the Science of Indian Architecture, even the modern studies can not define why the Parliament Buildings are on Kshatriya land. But we can find that why the Art and Architecture of buildings like King’s Palace or Parliament on this type of land.
INDUSTRIES – ECONOMICAL PERSPECTIVE
I surveyed more than hundred Industrial Areas in India and Abroad. Millions and Billions of rupees get stuck and then eventually converts into waste in making building and buying machineries, But when zoning of Industrial area is not done on required type of land, the entire industry and industrial estate results into failure. The land possessing other factors but lacking the desired characteristic, will not succeed, whereas, the desired character of land, acts as facilitator and it is crucial for sustainable development. Having All facilities, the industrial area or Industry may be ruined due to land factor. We can improve the economy by selecting the proper land, planning and designing with the Science of Indian Architecture.
There seem to be no successful industrial area which is anti to this science.
If it is successful, whether planned or unplanned, it follows the fixed prescribed land pattern. Indian Architecture clearly defines and gives techniques for the Industries and Industrial Areas. So this Science can improve economic worth of any nation.
Here the Science of Indian Architecture is universal and fit for any place, any time. We have studied and explored many dimensions in Architecture likewise, now we need to explore the character of land and its effect in order to cover all the required dimensions of Architecture. The significance and fixed pattern of the Science of Indian Architecture can be seen any where in the world. It is omnipresent.
During my research, all the business centers, markets were in accordance with the desired characteristics of the land. The ones deviating from the defined set of rules were lacking success. We can see how the land is effective which is intensively discussed in the Sthapatyam (Journal of the Indian Science of Architecture & Allied Sciences), the issue 5 of Volume 1 for 2014, pp. 403-453
Now discussing on the effect of land, on civilizations and vis-a-vis changes.
The image below shows the old civilizations which were found between 30° Strip of Latitude. Civilization means the stage of human, social, development and organization which is considered most advanced technically, educationally, in any aspects. The period of these civilizations goes back to 3000 to 10,000 years.
Now we can see this thirty degree Strip of Latitude moving up in North. And now-a-days this zone is more advanced in all manners with respect to other areas on the earth. The characteristics of the land due to change in Electromagnetic Field of Earth is main reason for these changes. According to Milankovitch, Earth’s Axis is 23°27′ and the notable point is that it changes upto 31°39′ in approx 40,000 yrs.
We can understand that the change of 8° in Axis leads to many changes, like Magnetic North and South, the Angle of Sun rays etc. Another important change which we see is that THE ORBIT OF THE EARTH WILL CHANGE INTO THE COMPLETE CIRCLE. This leads to change in the whole Environment and Electromagnetic Field of Earth. In this way the VIRTUES and CHARACTERISTICS of the Land changes dramatically. And we find its impact on the Earth’s Surface and we see the civilizations corresponding accordingly, and alteration in habitats. This hypothesis needs more research with the involvement of Indian Architecture to explain the civilizations and future change in magnetic field of earth and its impact on 30°strip of latitude.
Quality and characteristic of land, which are natural and omnipresent should be experimented in letter and spirit. If we don’t plan and do zoning according to this science the project is not going to sustain neither develop.
With scientific temperament in Modern Planning, the rules, regulations and the pre-defined characteristics of land, given in Ancient texts of Indian Architecture must be taken into consideration and the Development of Cities and Towns should be processed by including those precepts. Need of the hour is, better and deeper understanding of this untaped aspect of Architecture, which is latent but has obvious manifestations.
- Manasara, 3.8
- Mayamatam, 2.4
- Satapatha Brahmana, 184.108.40.206
- Khadiragrihyasutra, 4.2.7
- Gobhilagrihyasutra, 4.7.2
- Apastambagrihyasutra, 7.17.1
- Manavagrihyasutra, 2.11.4
- Atharvaveda, 12.1.12
- ibid., 12.12.6
- ibid., 12.1.42
- COSMOS, London, 1864
- Influences of Geographic Environment, New York, 1911, p. 1
- Si-Yu-Ki, Buddhist Records of The Western World by Samuel Beal, London 1884, p. 233
- Vastuvidya, 2.16-17
- Apara, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’
- Sandhyagita, Mahadevi Verma
- Janachakra, Nagarjun
- Vastuvidya, 2.23-24
- ibid., 2.27-28
- Isanasivagurudevapaddhati, 23.19-19 1/2
- Vastuvidya, 2.24-24 1/2
- ibid., 2.3-3 1/2
- ibid., 2.5