From Sashi Ma: The Sangha Journey
2021 has been a very very exciting year for Ritambhara vAstu sangha. We are a group of 9 people now with Priya Ramky as our newest member. After a lifetime of vAstu experience and personal learning, I have come to a place that is both challenging and satisfying. Considering that in 1982, when I started this journey I had to knock on every door to get even a basic response, today we are able to hold vAstu classes on a regular basis with at least 10 participants. Moreover, in the field called Chikitsa vAstu, I am getting at least one request from a client on a weekly basis. This is both exciting and a huge responsibility. Along with our own activities we are also going to be involved in regular teaching assignments for MIT College of Architecture, Pune. I end this year on a note of anticipation and joy for all the affection and respect that we have received to get to this point. Our gratitude goes to our ancestors upon whose shoulders we stand on and stride forth.
Sangha member Radhika says: Each passing phase in the journey of vAstu unfolds a deeper purpose of our work to be done. With the growing participation through online courses, events and projects, we are weaving a beautiful community that keeps rippling and affirms that the Indian thought will be reinforced. I feel more and more connected to the spirit of:
लोका: समस्ता: सुखिनो भवन्तु।
(Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu)
Chandana briefs on the vAstu courses that were conducted online all around the year and the last: We have had an eventful last two years running the online vAstu courses at Ritambhara and had participants joining from different states across the country as well as abroad (S.America, Turkey, Europe, Lithuania to name a few) It has been an exciting and enriching learning experience for us as facilitators to work with each diverse group and watch the framework and online sessions unfold anew each time. Since July 2020, we anchored 11 online batches of ‘vAstu introductory course’ reaching out to a total of 112 students; 10 batches of ‘You and your space’ workshops reaching out to 96 students and 3 batches of the advanced ‘vAstu level 1: inner space & outer form’ with 30 students. And we are preparing for our very advanced Level 2 as a residency program at Kotagiri in the upcoming year 2022. We are grateful for being able to continue connecting online through the period with everyone. During our bi-monthly vAstu mandala sessions we explored a diverse range of topics such as chikitsa vastu, 3D modeling of ancient temples, art of sculpture-making etc. We hope to continue expanding the network of seekers and students over the years to come to successfully bridge the tradition and the modern so we are all equipped with greater knowledge to engage with the world.
She adds, the past two years have been fulfilling and a great learning opportunity for us at the sangha. We regularly came together to set new sankalpas and bond/ strengthen as a community. It has now come to be a space where we can individually renew our energies and collectively keep churning out new initiatives to carry forward to the world. Over the many workshops, mandala sessions, event initiatives and architectural projects that are now taking shape, we are coming closer to fulfilling our individual as well as collective roles and goals along with deepening our learning. Looking forward to a wonderful new year ahead.
Priya, our newest member at the sangha expresses: I am a quiet but curious individual with a deep interest in art and culture, which somewhere laid the foundation to pursue Masters in Architectural Conservation. Ritambhara gave me the opportunity of being exposed to conservation which helped me to understand the nuances of erstwhile artisans, heritage and explore the tradition of vAstu. I look forward to exploring, learning, researching, and also start writing about this age-old wisdom as I love to put words and help people connect with heritage and conserve it for posterity.
Madhura: Passing year gave us a lot as a Sangha, many young architects joined hands with us in taking forward this authentic wisdom of vAstu which will help integrate the traditional knowledge back into studios with a renewed approach. Our blogs reached many, making them curious and interested about the rich Indian inheritance. Various workshops made people aware about themselves, their spaces and helped them to align their bodies and mind. Chikitsa vAstu consultancy projects gave us the opportunity of listening and observing various people in order to understand their dreams, desires, fears and issues. I learnt something important- ‘To wait for people to absorb what we are saying and let them take their own step forward, positively.’
My personal take away, Our ancestral knowledge not only makes people feel positive but also brings change in thinking and lifestyle. This work gives us a different kind of peace and satisfaction which allows us to grow as an individual as well.
Shivangi: This year has given me many opportunities to connect to the traditional rituals and processes, with the togetherness of the Sangha each of these were unique experiences. The roots of the vrishkam are getting stronger and grounded and the tree is branching with colourful flowers as we are growing our network. The last year created a space within me which allows being receptive and be a listener as well as an observer. Facilitating many workshops, interacting with people from diverse traditions- strengthen the work and the knowledge base that we are teaching and constantly researching on. It has been an exciting and wonderful year to grow together as a team, with celebrating moments all around the year. To name a few of these events- Launch of our design wing Brahmasutra in month of April where we made our team commitments, Celebration of Vishwakarma Jayanti in September where we invited the traditional sthapati’s and shared their journey of profession and finally the team building and bonding get together at the Ashram at Kotagiri in October.
The blessings of the Divine and universe at each challenging point is helping us to rise each day and giving strength to our ideals. My gratitude to the team, to the Guru and the universe which allows us to stop and reflect on our actions and thoughts.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम्
(Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya
Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya
Glanir Bhavati Bharata
Ritambhara Design Wing- Brahmasutra
On the auspicious occasion of Ugadi, this year, the Ritambhara vAstu sangha got together under the guidance of Ar. Sashikala Ananth to establish the consultation, designing and execution vriksham, Brahmasutra. It is yet another step forward in our effort to revive the traditional methods of designing and execution as a synthesis of astrology and vAstu in the sthapatya culture. Brahmasutra, is a professional Architectural Consultancy and Project Management Firm, deeply rooted in the ethos and ideology of Ritambhara.
Sowmithri, shares his insight as an Astrology expert in the team:
स्रीपुत्रादिक भोगसौख्यजननं धर्मार्थकामप्रदं
जन्तूनां लयनं सुखास्पदमिदं शीताम्बुधर्मापहम् ।
वापीदेवगुहादिपुण्यमखिलं गेहात्समुत्पद्यते ।
गेहं पूर्वमुशन्ति तेन विबुधा: श्रीविश्वकर्मादय: । | ५।।
Srīputrādik bhogasaukhyajananan dharmārthakāmapradam
Jantūnāam layanam sukhāspadamidam shītāmbudharmāpaham ।
Vāpīdevaguhādipuṇyamakhilam gehātsamutpadyate ।
Gehanm pūrvamushanti ten vibudhāh shrīvishvakarmādayah । | 5।।)
Source: Vishwakarma Prakash Classic
The greatness of home
A house is where we are blessed with a wife and a son,
A house where dharma artha kama is fulfilled,
A house which is a person’s abode,
Moreover a house which gives shelter from cold, rain and summer,
Also we get the pleasure of a well or water reservoir. And the idea of originating from a temple happens from home, that’s why Lord Vishwakarma and others wishes to have a home first.
He says, this is what I realised after I began my journey with Ritambara and Brahmasutra under the mentorship of our guiding force Madam Sashikalaji. There are million buildings being built across human habitats but only few turn out to be as Homes. This can happen only if we follow the guidelines of Jyothisha and Vaastushastra as laiddown by our rishis since ancient times.
May this journey of mine will contribute to the well-being of society.
Anand: What is Brahmasutra?
It is very important to understand the core idea behind the consultancy wing called Brahmasutra. To me, it is a much needed and effective tool to spread the essence of Vāstu Shilpa Shastra in its original form without entanglements of ‘Phala-shruti’ or fear-inducing predictions.
Vāstu-Shilpa Shāstra is such a repository of traditional wisdom, where one can find great semblance between the various facets of life and its manifestations through geometry and form. Unlike many modern sciences, Vāstu-Shilpa Shāstra does not limit a single aspect of building design but is much more comprehensive. It connects spatial design with the Dharma, its rituals, metaphors and inherently sacred geometry of this universe.
Brahmasutra and the practice that we are attempting through this consultancy wing is exploring, imbibing and practising this essence prescribed in the ancient texts. By removing all their unnecessary (avadambar) and fear-mongering aspects of prevalent vAstu practices we are trying to design and construct buildings and spaces which resonate with people and their connect with our Vedic culture (SanAtana Dharma). At Brahmasutra we listen carefully to our clients, not only through their spoken words but also through the entire expression of their personality, which is unique yet so universal.
House or a building is necessarily an expression of the inner space (ChidAkAsha) of the inhabitants or YajamAna and it must resonate with them. The sacred measurements ayAdi is applied to help to achieve this and further enrich their lives and make them harmonious.
The design tries to incorporate all the aspects of natural and material sciences their true essence expressed as coexistence. Aligning energies within the building is an extremely important aspect of the design. The respect to the Bhoomi, the mother earth and the bhutAkAsha, the sky above, within which one is constructing or defining once abode, is central design intent at Brahmasutra, be it Chikitsa vAstu (Healing Design) or Srishti vAstu (New Construction).
kalpayati yena vṛttiṃ yena ca loke praśasyate sadbhiḥ।
sa guṇastena ca guṇinā rakṣyaḥ saṃvardhanīyaśca॥
The skill that sustains livelihood and which is praised by all
should be fostered and protected for your own development.
Privileged to be enlightened by my guru in Ritambhara, about the science behind vAstu forming the premise for the architect to explore the most suitable design for vasati nirmAna and the beautiful union of the sthapati and the yajamAna to create and manifest on the bhUmi what is conceived in the Atman, led me to join hands with the sangha to be a founding pillar of Brahmasutra.
Donning the role of the desi, I hope to imbibe in myself and set in motion this traditional process of transforming a vision into reality.
Conclusion: We thank the divine, our ancestors, all those who have taught us several things and our wider network of seekers and students for being a part of this journey. We look forward to many years to learning, exploring and working together. We wish you all a very happy new year.
Featured illustration and Blog Compilation Credits: Priya Ramky & Shivangi Gadia