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The Importance of the Mānasāra


Using P.K. Acharya's Work for a Next Step.

There is no way to claim an unbiased translation to English. English is too different and too far down the road from the time of the Mānasāra’s writing, as it is far down the road from the time of the original language. It must sing to resonate like a living descendent. P.K. Acharya’s project for the expression of the Mānasāra in the Modern epoch has the advantage of using modern scientific methodology as strictly as possible. His translation espouses a 19th C western historicity combined with a First Machine Age sense of empowerment, while expressing relevance to the cultural milieu to the British Empire in India. P.K. Acharya intended to provide this as impeccable scholarship.

The original source manuscripts of the
Mānasāra are widely scattered and of widely varying character so that a compilation of the original writings — the comparative analysis of contents and its documentation and recording of valuations, decisions and process — are an essential step which is here superbly executed. The compiled original text is, therefore, either appropriate, or where it may not be, the scientific historical record allows a researcher documentary evidence for the work of its modification. Thus we have three aspects in our work of re-rendering the Mānasāra which must be interrelated and brought as a programme.
1) the original is a written manifestation of the knowledge of essence in architecture.
2) P.K. Acharya uses explicit, well documented and still understood methodology for his English rendering.
3) the needs of our contemporary architectural practice and the ‘ambiguities’ of P.K. Acharya’s rendering combine to provide a number of aspects for and of our technicist times and those of the Mānasāra for an orientation for developing a new rendering.

There are has two main divisions of content in the present Mānasāra:
1) the translation, which includes the dictionary and encyclopedia, and
2) architectural illustrations and a demonstration project to illustrate extensively the schematic and building forms, and design and construction details (5:—).
The dictionary and the encyclopedia document P.K. Acharya’s interpretation of the Sanskrit texts, to formally support his architectural design diagrams of the Illustrations of Architectural and Sculptural Objects (5:—).
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michael@karassowitsch.ca 2013