Sashikala Ananth holds a degree in architecture from the School of Architecture, Madras University. Sashikala has researched the classical Indian science of Architecture – Vaastu, for over thirty years. From 1982 to 1992, she was a student of Sri V. Ganapathi Sthapati, a leading authority on the Vaastu Shastras, from whom she learned both textual knowledge and practical field application.
She was part of a team that made the 1991 award-winning film A Shilpi Speaks that explains the traditions of the sculptor. Her books on Vaastu include The Indian Tradition of Design Based on Vaastu Shastra; The Penguin Guide to Vaastu (Penguin India), and Vaastu: A Path to Harmonious Living (Roli Books). She also translated Sri Ganapathi Sthapati’s book on iconometry, Shirpa Chennool, from Tamil into English under the title Pratima Mana Lakshanam.
Sashikala has studied the Vaastu texts extensively, assimilating traditional wisdom and exploring its field application. She and her husband T.V. Ananthanarayanan have been students of Yoga and Vedanta for the last 35 years; this combination of Yoga, Vaastu and Vedanta have helped them to move into a position of mentoring young minds to understand and reflect upon the wisdom of the Indian tradition. They now live in the Nilgiris, where they are setting up a meditation centre in a small village close to Kotagiri, and where Sashikala works on projects incorporating the wisdom of Vaastu in creative and harmonious ways with the modern lifestyle.
Abstract of the talk
History and content of the Vaastu Shilpa Shastras
- Firstly I will trace the history of building in India. This will cover the cave temple, the village settlement, city culture and design of houses, temples, mansions, vehicles and furniture.
- Next there will be a mention of the texts in existence. The Sanskrit texts will be listed.
- Etymology of the words Vastu and Vaastu will be explained. These words are specific to the field of sculpted form and enclosing space, shilpa and vaastu.
- Next comes the overview of the texts, in particular Manasara and Mayamata. Description of chapters and their application in the field. There are five subdivisions in the Vaastu Shastra: Prasada Vaastu or Sacred building, Grama and Nagara Vidhanam or village and town planning, Shala Vidhanam or residential architecture, Sayana Vaastu or furniture design and Yana Vaastu or vehicle design. The viswakarma’s handbook has simple methodologies for sculpting and building. A brief explanation will be given regarding the relationship between Shilpa or sculpture and Vaastu or architecture.
- There are 5 types of designers in the community of the Viswakarma; Manu Maya Twashta Shilpi and Viswagyan.A brief mention of their area of expertise will be given.
- Vaastu Purusha Mandala and the cosmology of space will be described. The mythology also has practical application for aligning the energies of every built space.
- Design parameters and building techniques will be covered, in particular the principles of Pada Vinyasa, Bhogadyam Sukha Darsham and Ramya. Knowledge and expertise of the traditional designer in the areas of metallurgy and building material preparation will be mentioned briefly with examples.
- Some examples of buildings will be explained with slides.
- A brief outline of sacred geometry and calculation for benefits or Ayadi Poruttam will be given. This would conclude the lecture.