In the previous blog, I had written about the basic concept of Mandalas. Here I look into every Mandala in some more detail. Refer to my previuos blog here. http://thebigthinkg.sulekha.com/blog/post/2011/02/vastu-sastra-redefined-part-i.htm
The Sakala Mandala is an Eka Pada (single division) structure. Sakala means everything, possessing all the parts. Any structure that possesses all the parts now or eventually is an example of Sakala mandala.
Any finite undivided space or energy within a set of boundaries is an example of Sakala Mandala, as it possesses all the parts in that undivided space. An undivided space with energy elements in it is a sakala mandala.
According to Aitareya Upanishad, Atman is from where everything evolved, starting with Amba and Purusha. Atman is located at the core of the Universe. Hence every manifestation in this Universe including space is supposed to have Atman in it. Sakala Mandala is the representation of Atman.
Structure of Sakala Mandala
- A Black-hole that sucks matter from all around.
- An otherwise empty room in which sacrifices are performed, an empty room where SrAddham is done.
- An empty room where seats are placed for people to sit
- A dining room (in which food is distributed and eaten)
PAzaka Mandala (Pezaka Mandala)
The PAzaka mandala is a Dwi-pada (Two division) structure. PAzaka is the noose that is hands of Siva, Yama and other Gods. Actually pAzaka means the closed loop or ring that has the power or energy.
PAzaka thus represents a spiral or circular or elliptical loop/arm of a cosmological structure that has energy.
While energy is contained inside the borders in Sakala Mandala, the border loop contains the energy in pAzaka mandala. pAzaka represents a design pattern of one ring/loop structure that has power/energy.
It could be divided into two divisions vertically and horizontally, with dividing lines running through the centre of the loop/ring. Hence it could be represented into four parts.
Structure of pAzaka Mandala
- Two bodies of similar mass orbiting around a common centre of mass, or barycenter.
- A Public Bath place in which bath-rooms are built in the loop around a central place.
- A public worship place in which worship is carried out by many people in the loop around a place say temple.
The Pitha Mandala is a tri-pada (Three division) structure. PiTha means a pedestal or container which has energy located in the center as well as in the borders/loop around it.
It could be divided into three divisions vertically and three divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the central energy source and the energy loops on the right, left, top and bottom, forming nine parts.
Structure of piTha Mandala
- Earth with its Satellite moon is an apt example of Pita Mandala.
- Cygnus X-1 star system in which a compact object said to be orbiting a black-hole
- Two bodies with a major difference in mass orbiting around a common barycenter (similar to the Earth–Moon system)
- The pedestal of an idol (vigraha) with its parivars around is also an example of piTha mandala. (Navagraha idols)
The MahaPita Mandala is a Chatur-pada (four divisions) structure. Maha Pita means Big Pedestal or Big basket. This Mandala is characterized by two energy loops.
This structure contains more energy than Pita Mandala, as there are two orbits involved compared to a Pita Mandala, which has one orbit and an object at the centre.
It could be divided into four divisions vertically and four divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the energy loops on right, left, top and bottom, forming sixteen parts.
Structure of MahaPita Mandala
The concentricity shown in the above structure is only for easy explanation. The two energy loops may not be concentric and may be overlapping to each other. The chatur-pada division (four way division) still holds good.
As shown in the above figure, even when the energy loops are overlapping, they can be still divided into four divisions based on the principle of isolating each loop in one division.
- Cosmological structures like bi-stars which move around each other is an example of this Mandala. Epsilon Aurigae (eclipsing binary) and Sirius like two star systems which orbit around each other.
- Two bodies with a difference in mass orbiting around a common barycenter, like the Charon-Pluto system
The UpaPita Mandala (also referred to as Upa-pithika mandala) is a pancha-pada (five divisions) structure. Upa Pitaka means additional to Pita. This Mandala is characterized by two energy loops with a central space having energy.
Since it has one more loop compared to Pita Mandala and belongs to the same design pattern as that of Pita Mandala, it is called Upa Pita mandala.
It could be divided into five divisions vertically and four divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the energy loops on right, left, top and bottom, forming twenty-five parts.
Structure of UpaPitha Mandala
The concentricity shown in the above structure is only for easy explanation. The two energy loops may not be concentric and may be overlapping to each other, but around a central energy object. The pancha-pada division (five way divsion) still holds good, as shown in the figure below.
- Two star systems that orbit around a black-hole, for example
- Two moons around a Planet. For eg., Mars and its moons (Phobos and Deimos) as shown in figure above.
Ugra Pita Mandala
The UgraPita Mandala is a shashta-pada (six divisions) structure. Ugra Pita means the fierceful/ferocious pedestal. Mandala is characterized by three energy loops orbiting around each other.
Interestingly science says that very often binary stars are formed actually due to triple-star systems, where the third star may be at a distance away from the binary stars. In such systems there is a high possibility of mass transfer from the older star to younger star (among the binaries) and accretion of mass in the younger star at main-sequence stage from the older star at the sub-giant stage. In another words, the younger star ‘eats up’ the older one by mass transfer.
No wonder Vastu sastra calls such Mandalas as ‘Ferocious’ Mandalas. (Ugra-PiTHa).
It could be divided into six divisions vertically and four divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the energy loops on right, left, top and bottom, forming thirty-six parts.
Structure of UgraPiTha Mandala
- Algol triple star system
- Some of the Yajna pedestals could be of this mandala.
The Sthandila is a sapta-pada (seven divisions) structure. Sthandila means an open ground. It also means a place where we can rest or sleep. This Mandala is characterized by three energy loops (orbits) around a central energy.
Sthandila Mandala is used for planning villages on an open ground. It is also used as a layout for resting the idols that have their eyes-opened, but not properly installed as in a temple, by sthapathis.
It could be divided into seven divisions vertically and four divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the energy loops on right, left, top and bottom, forming forty-nine parts.
Sthandila Mandala is a ‘near-complete’ Mandala in one way and hence used in human habitats. The three orbits around the center characterize ‘Deva Veethi’, ‘Manushya Veeti’ and ‘Paisasa Veethi’.
Structure of Sthandila Mandala
- Several multi-planetary systems exist in Universe with 3 planets around a star
- Courts built around garba-griha or throne of a palace could be in Sthandila Mandala, with three loops/rings/orbits around.
- Villages, in particular Hamlets are planned in Sthandila Mandala. The fields are in the Center and three major Settlements/Paths (Veethis) are planned around the fields.
The Manduka Mandala is a ashta-pada (eight divisions) structure. Manduka means and indicates the structure of Universe. Any four loop/orbital structure is called Manduka.
This Mandala is characterized by four loops/orbits. Manduka, the structure of Universe is mapped to a frog, third part of elephant’s hind-leg etc.
Manduka Mandala is the first ‘complete’ mandala in a sense, as described in the section on ‘Veethis’. This Mandala with four orbits is called Manduka Mandala, as it represents AUM and the Universe.
Manduka Upanishad, which describes the AUM says AUM is the structure of Unvierse and it is composed of four parts. The four parts are Atman, Prajna, Taijasa and Vaisvanara. I had mapped these four parts to Primordial Matter, Dark-Matter, Energy and Matter respectively, in my blogs on Aum – An Analysis.
Since this mandala has four orbits akin to the four parts of Universe as described in Manduka Upanishad, this mandala is called Manduka mandala.
Manduka Mandala could be divided into four divisions vertically and four divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the energy loops on right, left, top and bottom, forming sixty-four parts.Manduka Mandala is also called ‘Chandita’ mandala, which means mandala that is grateful/thankful etc.
Structure of Manduka Mandala
Examples of Manduka Mandala
The epi-center of a temple is not the idol/vigraha in the temple, but the Garba-griha or Sanctum sanctorum of the Primary deity of that temple. The Garba-griha represents the Brahma veethi.
It is called Garba-griha, as it is representing the divine energy, which is from where the entire Universe is said to have evolved.
The primary deity in the Brahma veethi/ Garba-griha is always a representation of one of the divine forces of the Dyu-Loka (Amba(Energy/matter), Rudra (force/space), Vishnu(particle/string)), though the diety itself could be having a terrestrial name. Purusha, which I interpret as dark matter that evolved along with Amba is not worshipped in that form, but in the form of Shiva which is the force of Purusha/dark-matter on Amba(Energy).
In other words the divine energy of Dyu-Loka is supposed to be in the Garba-griha and not in the idols of the Garba-griha. Idols represent the energy only as long as they are in the Garba-griha and not when they are outside.
Around this Brahma veethi (first orbit), a Primary Gopuram is built signifying the Dyu-Loka. This is the garba-griha of a temple. Around this garba-griha is the second orbit in which the Deva god forms are installed. The Deva god-forms are either the consort-gods or derivative-gods that represent various divine natural forces. Around these is the third orbit in which the ‘Manushya’ forms exists. The manushya god-forms are those of saints, rishis, planetary forces etc. Around these the patala god-forms exists.The patala god-forms are those of ancestors and spirits.
The Paramasayika Mandala is a nava-pada (nine divisions) structure. Parama means excessively/excellently/all encompassing. Sayika means being in regular order. Paramasayika indicates being in all encompassing order.
This Mandala is characterized by four energy loops (orbits) around a center. Sayika also at times is used to indicate ‘five’. Along with the Center and 4 paths, there are 5 parts to the ParamasAyika structure. Hence ParamaSAyika could also mean the excellent ‘five’ or the orderly 5.
The best example of Paramasayika Mandala is our Milky way galaxy. As the temples where the Gods reside are based on Mandala that depicts the Universe (Manduka Mandala), our houses and habitats are to be built on the Mandala that depicts our Milky Way Galaxy (Paramasayika Mandala).
It could be divided into nine divisions vertically and nine divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the energy loops on right, left, top and bottom, forming forty-nine parts.
Structure of Paramasayika Mandala
In the above figure of our Mily-way galaxy, the arms are spirals. In case of spirals defining a loop or orbit is different from usual orbits. Each spiral arm starting at the center could be counted as an orbit, when it spirals around in near full orbit. Any spur arms that are stranded are not counted as an orbit, though they are given their appropriate place in the veethis.
At the center of our Galaxy is a ‘Black-hole’ depicted as the eye of the spiral above. Arms of fire spiral out from the centre. It is in these arms, several stars, constellations are present including our own solar system and planet earth.
Examples of Paramasayika Mandala
Milky-way Galaxy is the best example of this mandala. The following is a mapping of our Milky way Galaxy to Paramasayika Mandala.
The above is an overlapping of paramasayika mandala with the structure of milky-way galaxy. As could be seen our solar system is located in the ‘Manushya Veethi’ in the Orion Cygnus Spur arm of the galaxy.
There are four major Spiral arms of our galaxy that start at the center. They are
- 3KPC /Perseus arm depicted in Red color
- Norma arm depicted in Green color
- Crux-Scutum arm depicted in Cyan color
- Carina-Saggitarius arm depicted in bluish-green color
There is one well known local arm
- Orion Cygnus arm in which our solar system is located (called the Local arm).
Of these the first four arms (Perseus, Norma, Crux-Scutum, Saggitarius) are full spirals making one near-full round around the
Therefore the 9 rows and 9 columns of Paramasaayika Vastu Purusha Mandala depicts the structure of Milky way galaxy appropriately.
Paramasayika Mandala – Our traditional House
Traditional Indian houses were built exactly on the Paramasayika Mandala. Examples are the Chettinad houses, most ancient village houses and mansions, palaces that exist still today.
The open courtyard becomes the MOST important part of an Indian house according to Paramasayika Mandala, as the open courtyard symbolizes the black-hole at the center of Milky-way galaxy.
There are several designs based on Paramasayika Mandala for houses like the Nalu Kattu houses, Chettinad houses, several ancient houses etc..
In general any of these houses have an open courtyard at the middle to symbolize the blackhole of our galaxy, which is considered to be a source of extreme energy.
Rooms around the open-space form the Brahma Veethi, which has high energy. Halls, large rooms, living rooms where people spent most of their time and where poojas could be done were built in this place.
Next is the Deva veethi, where dining rooms, bed rooms of newly married/elder sons were built, as Deva veethi is all about creation of matter and energy.
Next is Manushya veethi where storage rooms, granaries, treasure chests, Kitchen, bedrooms of other/elderly people etc existed, as Manushya veethi is all about biological life and evolution.
Next is the paisacha veethi which was either a garden filled with trees and/or ‘thinnais’ of high raised platforms adjacent to the street.
In case of ‘Kattu’ houses, the number of ‘Kattus’ depended on the wealth of individual. But the same veethis were distributed to several kattus, with eath kattu having a full-fledged court-yard or a smaller sized one.
The key advantage of the Paramasayika Mandala is not that it is in sync with Milky-Way Galaxy, but it traps cool-air and heat inside it depending on the climate. In winter times, it traps a warmer climate inside and in summer times, it traps cool air inside. It is the most energy efficient structure of the mandalas. It has a natural rain harvesting structure that lets water to be saved.
The difference between the Paramasayika and Manduka mandala is the structure of the Central orbit. In Manduka mandala is it symbolizes the ‘Dyu-Loka’ the ‘Garba-griha’ and hence closed with a ‘Gopuram’ on top. In Paramasayika it symbolizes the ‘Brahma” of our Galaxy, Black-hole and is left as an open courtyard.
The Asana Mandala is a dasa-pada (ten divisions) structure. Asana originally meant sitting and sitting postures. There are five basic sitting postures Sukhasana, Padamasana, Vajrasana, Siddhasana and Svastikasana.
In all these sitting postures, if we keenly observe, five loops are formed in the body. Bent Hands that touch the thigs (2), Bent legs (2) and a loop formed between the legs/toes/feet and the Genital region (mooladhara) are the five loops formed. In other words, the basic asanas (sitting postures) are about making five loops in the body.
Since this mandala is about making five loops, it is called ‘Asana Mandala’.
It could be divided into ten divisions vertically and four divisions horizontally, with dividing lines encapsulating the energy loops on right, left, top and bottom, forming one-hundred parts.
Structure of Asana Mandala
Examples of Asana Mandala
Vastu Sastras say a Well has to be built based on Asana Mandala. This means that a Well should be dug large enough to have five springs in it, so that it is near-perennial.
Lord Shiva is a Hindu God seated in Asana Mandala. In fact Shiva is the only God to be depicted in Asana posture. Shiva Lingams are installed in Asana Mandala in 5 loops/orbits. Generally a sthaniya mandala is designed (11*11, 5 loops/orbits around a center) in which the central 9 Padas, the Shiva Lingam is consecrated thus converting it to a Asana Mandala (10*10 or 5 loops/orbits)
Shiva is said to be constituted of five parts SadyojAta, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Esana. Shiva is associated with five-syllables Na ma Zi Va Ya. Hence, no wonder Shiva is associated with 5 loops/orbits Asana Mandala and Asana posture.
This mandala is formed from 5 loops/orbits around a center. Sthaniya generally refers to a town or large village. Hence this mandala is used to plan a town or village. There are several planetary/blackhole systems that satisfy this 5 loops/orbits around a center.
This mandala is formed of 6 loops/orbits. DeSya refers to an origin of country or state or a bigger region. Hence this mandala is used to plan a country. There are several steallar systems that satisfy this 6 loops/orbits.
This mandala is formed of 6 loops/orbits around a center. Ubhaya chandita means ‘On both sides of Chandita”. Compared to the Manduka Mandala (Chandita Mandala) which has four loops/orbits, this mandala has 6 loops/orbits around a center. It is called Ubhaya-chandita as this mandala is about one more loop/orbit around both sides (inside and outside) of chandita Mandala.
This mandala is formed of 7 loops/orbits. Bhadra is an attendant of Siva. Bhadra Mandala means mandala of attendants.
It is formed of Asana Mandala (five loops/orbits) surrounded by Mahapita mandala (two loops/orbits) on four sides, thus making the seven loops/orbits. Bhadra Lingas are installed in Bhadra Mandala manner.
First Linga is installed in the Center (inside the 1st orbit) of Sthaniya Mandala of 5 orbits. With the Linga occupying the first orbit and the centre completely, the mandala becomes Asana Mandala, with Linga in first orbit. Around this 2 orbits of MahaPita Mandala is drawn and on four sides the Main linga, four lingas are installed. Thus the seven orbit structure is formed that is called the Bhadra mandala.
Bhadra indicates the stars in constellation of Pegasus. Pegasus constellation is actually a combination of andromeda galaxy and pegasus galaxy. The stars in Pegasus constellation being part of physically different galaxies and surrounded by different stars look like the ‘attendant’ mandala or Bhadra Mandala.
This mandala is formed of 7 loops/orbits around a center. Maha Asana means a Great Asana or Great Seating posture or Great Seat in the Great Yajnas.
While the Asana Mandala is for Shiva the MahAsana mandala is for Sakthi. It is mentioned in the Lalita Sahasra Nama, which occurs in the Brahmanda Purana as a discussion between Sage Agastya and Lord Hayagreeva, where Hayagreeva says Devi resides on the Maha-Asana of MahaYantra.
If we carefully analyse, the SriYantra it is made of 7 loops/orbits around a Central Dot (Bindu). The seven loops/orbits are Sarva Aasa Paripuraka, a sixteen-petal lotus , Sarva Sankshobahana, an eight-petal lotus , Sarva Saubhagyadayaka, composed of fourteen small triangles, Sarva Arthasadhaka, composed of ten small triangles, Sarva Rakshakara, composed of ten small triangles, Sarva Rogahara, composed of eight small triangles , Sarva Siddhi prada, composed of 1 small triangle and Sarva Anandamaya, composed of a point or bindu. I have not counted the Square here, as it is not really part of the Mandala and symbolizes the doors of temple in which the Yantra is installed and Devi resides.
This mandala is formed 8 loops/orbits. Padma is used in general to indicate a blossomed (open) state as well as the Lotus flower. It is used to indicate the most respected, most honorable. Padma Garbha means most respected, most honorable Uterus.
Lord Vishnu is depicted as having come out of the Most respected Uterus (Sree Garbha Parameswara, Padma Garbha sarira brthu). He is described as one who came from the Yoni of ‘Atma’ on his own and who appeared with splendour when he was born from the Most respected Garbha and he makes up everything in Universe. He is said to be growing from this Padma Garbha (Most honorable Uterus) and makes up the core of everything in this Universe. I had interpreted Vishnu as the ‘String’ that makes up everything in this universe in my blogs on Rudram.
Hence this mandala symbolizes the Mandala of Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is depicted as growing out of Lotus flower for this reason.
Also Lord Vishnu in the form of Narayana is associated with Ashtakshara mantra, the eight letter mantra. And this mandala has eight orbits in it, each orbit signifying a letter of mantra.
This mandala is formed of 8 loops/orbits around a center. Tri-yuta means three that are united. If Asana Mandala is for Shiva, Maha-Asana mandala is for Shakti and Padma-Garbha mandala is for Vishnu, then Tri-Yuta is for these three United.
As the name signifies the 8 loops around a center has the Asana Mandala (5 loops), Maha-Asana mandala (7 loops around a center) and Padma-Garbha Mandala (8 loops). Hence this mandala is called Tri-Yuta (United three) mandala.
This mandala is formed of 9 loops/orbits . Karna Ashtaka means eight orbits with an ear. The ear lobe forms the 9th loop/orbit, while Ashtaka indicates the eight orbits.
This mandala is formed of 9 loops/orbits around a center. Ganita means mathematics of numbers. Like the numbers that range from 1 to 9 around a zero, Ganita mandala has 9 loops/orbits around a center.
This mandala is formed of 10 loops/orbits. Surya viSalaka means the sun’s wide orbits (our own sun is called surya) or sun’s wide reach. As the sun’s wide reach is formed of 10 loops/orbits, this mandala has 10 loops/orbits. And Indeed our solar system has 10 main loops/orbits around it, though if we count the dwarf orbits it would be numerous.
Note that this mandala is not talking about the Sun at the center and only orbits of Sun.
This mandala is formed of 10 loops/orbits around a central object. Susamhita means that are well united. The Sun and the 10 loops/orbits around the Sun that are well United forms the Susamhita Mandala.
This mandala is formed of 11 loops/orbits. Supratikanta means “One that is attractive in form or shape”. The eleven loops of the Mandala resemble the eleven Rudras. Rudras are the eleven forces that manifest themselves in various ways in this Universe and I had mapped them to eleven dimensional space in my blogs on Rudra.
The most attractive of all forms and shapes is the formless, shapeless space with its eleven dimensions.
For eg., a nine-storey building structure is built on supratikanta mandala, amongst many other ways possible (Saura, Raurava, Chandita, Bhushana, Vivrita, Visva-Kanta).
This mandala is formed of 11 loops/orbits around a central object. VisAlaka Mandala means ‘wide reaching place’. Visalaka could indicate the whole Universe as the force of Rudra emanating from a point in the Universe and migrating south, reaches the whole of Universe.
Visalaka also could indicate a Planetary system in which Yakshas live according to Mahabharatha.
This mandala is formed of 12 loops/orbits. Vipra means who is awakened, learned, spirited from inside. Vipra Garbha means the source/uterus from which this awakening, arousal is happening. This is the mandala from which the awakening happens.
This mandala is formed of 12 loops/orbits around a center. ViveSa means capable of discrimination.
This mandala is formed of 13 loops/orbits. Vipulya means the property of being large, abundant, long etc. Bhoga means enjoyment. Hence this mandala is about large enjoyment or activity that consumes resources. This mandala signifies the transformation of matter into newer elements/life-forms due to high consumption, as it is the first sub-division in the Manushya Loka.
This mandala is formed of 13 loops/orbits around a center. Vipra-kunta means the mandala of the awakened state. This is the mandala in which the awakening has happened in large numbers (lot of newer life forms/matter) is also the first sub-division in Manushya Loka.
This mandala is formed of 14 loops/orbits. Visalaksha means wide-eyed. This is the mandala in which a large eye is formed. This is the second sub-division in Manushya Loka. This in my view symbolizes the awakening of consciousness (opening of eyes) in life-forms.
This mandala is formed of 14 loops/orbits around a center. Vipra-bhakti is the bonding to the awakened. This is also the second sub-division in Manushya Loka. This in my view symbolizes the bonding of awakened and
This mandala is formed of 15 loops/orbits. Visveswara indicates the forces of rudra present all over the universe along with its impact on various constituents of Universe. While Supratikanta is only about space, Visveswara mandala is about space, matter and time. This is the third sub-division in Manushya Loka.
This mandala is formed of 15 loops/orbits around a center. This is also the third sub-division in Manushya Loka.
This mandala is formed of 16 loops/orbits (16 petaled water lily). This is also the fourth division in Manushya Loka.
Next in Series..
I would be blogging about the Gods of Mandalas, their significance, the perceived ‘Energy flow’ and their relevance to our current house architecture.
- Architecture of Manasara series – P.K.Acharya
More posts by this author:
- Vastu Sastra Redefined – Part I
- Learning physics through Vedas and puranas – 3
- The Mantra Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Pranava Japam
- Top-level Summary of Hari,iSa,Asvins
- An analysis of Sabda and vak – Part 5