Master Architect – Remembered !

Master Architecht Ganapati Sthapati Passes Away

CHENNAI, INDIA, September 8, 2011 : Renowned sculptor and architect V Ganapathi Sthapati passed away on Tuesday evening. He was 84. The architect, known for his mastery of the Vasthu Shilpa Shastra and a Padma Bhushan awardee, passe

d away due to multiple organ dysfunction at a private hospital in the city.

Sthapati’s famous works of architecture and design include the Valluvar Kottam in Chennai and the 133-feet high statue of Thiruvalluvar off the coast of Kanyakumari, which he designed to signify the 133 chapters of the ancient Tamil ethical treatise Thirukkural.

Sthapati is also known for his design and oversight of the construction of the Tamil University in Thanjavur. His death comes even as work on the famed Iraivan Temple in Hawaii (at the headquarters of Hinduism Today magazine), which he designed and directed, moves towards completion. Sthapati is also remembered to his contributions to the modern understanding of the Agama Shastras with respect to Shilpa and Vasthu Shastras. He had served as the principal of the Government College of Architecture and Sculpture and has been known for pushing measures to bring academic acceptance to the traditional architectural codes and disciplines of India. He is survived by wife Dakshnavathi.

Sthapati was born in 1927 to sculptor Vaidyanatha Sthapati and Velammal in Pillayarpatti, a village near Karaikudi. He hailed from a family of sculptors. His ancestors built the famous Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur. He authored many books on the philosophical principles of Sthapatya Veda and offered practical examples of the rhythm and creation of rhythm-bound forms that give rise to structures.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi condoled the master builder’s demise. “I offer my condolences to the family of Ganapathi Sthapathi. His death is a great loss to the world of architecture and sculpture,” the former CM said.

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More About Ganapati Sthapati

USA, September 9, 2011: As of his passing, this is a summary of Wikipedia’s article about Ganapati Sthapati:

Vaidyanatha Ganapati Sthapati (1927-2011) was a Sthapati and head of the College of Architecture and Sculpture in the Vastu Shastra tradition ascribed to the sage Mamuni Mayan.

Sthapati was born in 1927 to sculptor Sri Vaidyanatha Sthapati and Smt. Velammal in Pillayarpatti, a village near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India. He was born into a Vishwabrahmin family. His family tradition claims descent from the architects who created the Brihadeeswara Temple of Tanjore, TN, India.

Sthapati attended Dr. Alagappa Chettiar College, Karaikudi, and graduated with a degree in mathematics. After his graduation, he became a Sthapati at Palani Murugan Temple, Palani, TN, India. He resigned this post after the death of his father, who had served as principal of The School of Architecture and Sculpture at Mamallapuram from 1957 to 1960. He succeeded his father as the Principal of the Government College of Architecture and Sculpture.

From the 1980s, Sthapati campaigned to restore and elevate the status of traditional Hindu architecture in modern Indian society, by affiliating courses to the University of Madras and offering degree courses, bringing about a revival of Vastu Shastra.

After retirement from government service, he established the Vaastu Vedic Trust and the Vaastu Vedic Research Foundation, aimed at research, development, and globalization of Vaastu Shastra. He is also the head of the professional guild named “V. Ganapati Sthapati & Associates.” Dr. Sthapati initiated the development of The American University of Mayonic Science and Technology as an authorized institution to teach this body of knowledge in the western world.

Sthapati served as architect for several buildings and sculptures, foremost among them:

* Sculpture of Tamil poet and saint Thiruvalluvar–Thiruvalluvar Statue at the southern tip of India at Kanyakumari, TN, India

* Design and Construction of University buildings including the Administrative block and library for Tamil University in Tanjore.

* Design and Construction of Valluvar Kottam in Chennai, TN, India.

* The Rajagopuram of Sri Ramar Temple and Sri Ganesh Shiva Durga Temple at The
* Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago complex Lemont, Illinois, USA.

* Sri Murugan Temple, Nadi-Fiji islands.

* The San Marga Iraivan Temple, Kauai, Hawaii.

* Granite sculpture of the Madhavi–heroine of the Tamil epic Silappathikaram, erected in an Art Gallery in Poompuhar, Chennai, TN, India.

* Buddha statue in Hussainsagar Lake, Hyderabad.


Symbolism of Vinayaga

A detailed exposition of the sacred symbols associated with Ganesha is
given by Swami Subramuniya in his modern classic “Loving Ganesha”

Ganesha has 108 names including, Ganesha and Ganapati (“Lord of the
Ganas or hosts” in Tamil) and Pillaiyar (“Sacred Child” in Tamil).

There are 32 forms of Ganapati in various colours and postures, with
differing numbers of arms, holding different symbols. Shown below, for
example is ‘Bhakti Ganapati” where bhakti means devotion.

Of the many symbols associated with Vinayaga here are a few mentioned
in the Vinayagar Agaval:

The Elephant Head
The elephant is also the symbol of the stage when existence begins: the
“unmanifest”. Whereas in contrast the human part of Vinayaga is what
can be physically seen.

The Trunk
Similarly the trunk is often curved in the shape of the symbol Aum,
which is the vibration that existed before the manifest universe. Aum
precedes both human thought and speech.

The Stomach
Vinayaga’s stomach contains the material universe as we know it. It
represents abundance.

The Tusk
The single tusk on the face stands for single pointed concentration and
focus considered an essential quality of the mind. The broken tusk in his hand is a writing implement, in keeping with Vinayaga’s role as the patron of literature and the great scribe.

Vinayaga, as the scribe, is said to have written down the Mahabharata
epic for the blind poet Vyasa.

The Mouse
The mouse represents the all pervasive, all knowing nature of Ganesha:
it can carry him into every corner of the mind. The other Gods have
mounts which symbolise speed. Ganesha is slow but diligent.

Three Eyes
Vinayaka’s three eyes include the two physical eyes that we see with,
but also the third spiritual eye located in Hindu mythology on the
forehead of all beings, human and otherwise. With the third eye one
sees the reality behind the seeming.

The Noose
Swami Subramuniya says of the noose “Loving Ganesa’s provident mind,
like the noose, draws close those He loves most dearly and reaches out
to encircle and save strayed ones in extraordinary ways.”

The Goad
Swami Subramuniya says of the Goad, “Loving Ganesha’s deliberate mind
prods dullards on in their birth karmas whenever they tarry. with His
ankusha He goads forward all souls that are moving too slowly.”

The Fruits
The fruits represent represent the earth’s abundance and fertility and
also the sharing of these. Ganesha generally holds a whole variety of
other sweet things, representing the sweetness of life: rice pudding,
modhaka balls.