• k a r a s s o w i t s c h . c a •
The Importance of the Mānasāra
P.K. Acharya embarked on modernizing the Mānasāra to support architecture in India culturally and in praxis. He was too early in the Modern period for such an effort to function fully. The proof is the creation of ambiguity and the failure of the Swastika Mansion demonstration project which could not take hold. The work of that most knowledgeable scholar is not a failure. Even as a ‘failed’ experiment it is chock full of the knowledge sought, its scholarly merit bearing upon its ability to get people asking the right questions. The approach has limitations which are known to us today but not of a nature where any blame could be assigned. P.K. Acharya’s work was brilliant and its devotion gave an impulse to the Mānasāra toward an ongoing role in the world. The question therefore is: How can this treasure trove be brought to us today and for fruition in the future of architecture?
If we find the way to a personal relationship to this knowledge, we know that what we have found is true. We need to develop conditions for an experience of this to see how it is true. How do we ‘taste’ that? We can turn back to the original Mānasāra, and register what it says about humankind’s duty in which architecture presences humanity’s place and role in Nature, filling in where ‘ambiguity’ stands as a place–holder.
Such a rendering of the Mānasāra will help to contribute to an evolving the architectural profession, beyond its current technicist materialistic reductivism. It would assist us in finding a heartfelt way to presence architecture in its inevitable advancement toward human unity in allowing access to the essential relationship of spirituality and architecture. The Mānasāra brings forward to us today the opportunity for an own intrinsic value for an architectural profession, rather than one derivative of technology, historicity and narrow and lesser consciousness of materialist values.