The Vastupurusha Mandala

The Vastupurusha Mandala is the geometric matrix upon which each limited space is situated. It represents the living cosmos manifested on earth in the architecture.

The Vastupurusha Mandala has two main components: The square grid and the image of the Vastupurusha. The square symbolizes the archetype of both the manifest und unmanifest space. It also represents the immeasurable energetic potential of space. The archetypal square grid stands for the subtle energies of the cosmos in their perfect, never changing symmetry and balance.

The Vastupurusha embodies the living consciousness of space. He is symmetric only along one mirror axis, and even this symmetry is broken by his inner anatomy. Moreover, the energies of his body parts have different qualities. In contrast to the homogenous distribution of energy inside the square grid, the Vastupurusha’s energies are heterogenous. Therefore the Vastupurusha sets up the foundation for change and evolution in life. The fact that he represents the consciousness in every organic and inorganic object as well as in all the manifested and non-manifested objects of the universe illustrates clearly the Vastupurusha┬┤s active participation in all life processes.

Vastupurusha, the Vedic demigod and chosen ruler over all the architectonic objects is depicted by the outline drawing in the Vastupurusha Mandala. He is lying flat on his belly, arms and legs bent to the side. He fits exactly into the square in such a way that his head and feet, as well as his elbows and knees are in the corners of the square.

As mentioned in the introduction, the legend tells us that Vastupurusha, a space consuming demon, was wrestled to the ground by the demigods of the cosmos a long time ago.These demigods are the symbol of the different aspects of forces and elements in nature like gravitation, magnetism, fire, water and so on. These deities can be visualized as sitting upon the head, torso, trunk, arms and legs of Vastupurusha to keep him in this position. The image of Vastupurusha can be interpreted in two ways in interpreting the Vastupurusha Mandala. On the one hand, the significance of specific areas of the mandala is determined by the qualities of the deities dwelling in these areas. Ishan (Ishan is one of the many names of the highest Vedic deity), for example, occupies the head area of the Vastupurusha. Consequently, the mandala has the qualities of spirituality and absolute purity in this field. On the other hand, the qualities of a section of the mandala depend on the particular function of the body part of Vastupurusha where this section is placed. Therefore the head area in our example is given additional qualities such as intelligence and the ability of planning.

The Vastupurusha Mandala

In North India the Vastupurusha is pictured with his belly to the ground, whereas in South India he is lying on his back. The reason is that north-indian school of Vastu was founded by the architect of the demigods Vishvakarma, whereas the south-indian school can be tracked back to Maya Danava, the architect of the demons. The demigods see the Vastupurusha from above, whilde the demons see him from below.