The science of Vastu Shastra is a living tradition in India and is in no danger of becoming extinct. Indian Vastu Shastra is becoming popular amid populaces to reform their lives in a positive manner. Indian Vastu Shastra is essentially an art of harmonizing with nature. This encompasses constructing and architecting a house in accordance with Mother Nature. Vastu Shastra is the science of manifestation of energy into matter or material form. This unique and supreme science of India lay dormant during all the alien rules, but today it is reemerging spectacularly. But only few are gifted with the knowledge of Vastu Shastra and we Indians are honored to have Ganapati Stapati.
Sthapati was born in 1927 to sculptor Sri Vaidyanatha Sthapati and Smt. Velammal, the custodians of the very supreme science of Vaastu Shastra that dealt with cosmic principles of Universal creation, which the shilpis extended to their creations on earth in Pillayarpatti, a village near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India. He was born to the clan of Vishwakarma caste (a Hindu hereditary caste of artisans and architects). His family tradition claims descent from the architects who created the Brihadeeswara Temple of Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, India. Inheriting a rich family legacy dating back to 1000 years and more, it took no time for the young Sthapati to imbibe the nuances of his traditional skill and the science ruling it. The culturing of the mind even at a very young stage left a remarkable imprint in the young mind, urging him to explore more and more about the spiritually enriched tradition. 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, Tamil Nadu, India. He resigned this post after the death of his father. He succeeded his father as the Principal of the Government College of Architecture and Sculpture, Tamil Nadu in 1961. His career of 27 years as the Principal was not only an era of dedicated service but of a ‘tapasya’, during which no other force could deter him from his devoted service to his tradition, which he actualized by imparting a systematic training to the young students of the institution. In the process, which was a slow yet steady uphill task, aided by efficient official support and governmental benevolence, he could elevate the status of the Institution to a full fledged College of Traditional Architecture and Sculpture. This college has since then produced several graduates in Temple architecture and sculpture, who are proficient enough to carry on this traditional skill. Sthapati has earned a number of titles and awards, including Padma Bhushan.
Far from being highly successful in his career as a Sthapati, Dr. Ganapati Sthapati has also some unique credentials that add more glitter to his crown. Through his unique but purely tradition-oriented concept of Temple architecture, he has revolutionized the conventional principles in the Hindu religion, characterised by the existence of the Saiva and Vaishnavite groups, with both of them worshipping separately at the Siva and Vishnu temples. This division of the religion which was deep-rooted in Hinduism since several centuries got a turnaround with Dr.Sthapati’s concept of Shiva Vishnu Temple where the presiding deities of Shiva and Vishnu are roofed under the same temple that too within a single enclosure adorned with one Rajagopuram. The Indians of America have honored him by felicitating him with the titles, ‘Viswakarma Jagadguru’, ‘Pranava Vedi‘ and ‘Vaastu Vijnani’ for bringing about this unification, not even attempted by any of the religious vanguards.
His contribution as an architect
Sthapati served as architect for several buildings and sculptures, which includes
- Sculpture of Tamil poet and saint Thiruvalluvar—Thiruvalluvar Statue at the southern tip of India at Kanyakumari, TN, India (measuring 133 feet (40.5 m) in elevation)
- 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
- Projects in India and other countries
- Buddha statue in Hussainsagar Lake, Hyderabad
Valluvar Kottam, designed and constructed by V. Ganapati Sthapati, in Chennai, India
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. He appointed Dr. Jessie J. Mercay as Chancellor.
Sthapati has authored a number of books on the science and technology of Vastu Shastra and has conducted numerous seminars. Below are the books by Sthapati
- Building architecture of Stha-patya Veda
- The scientific edifice of Brihadeeswara temple, Tanjore Tamil Nadu
- Significance of vimānam & gopuram
For several centuries the common belief was that Vaastu was a religious science confined to the construction of temples and the creation of deities within it. But Dr.Sthapati through his scientific studies of Vaastu shastra has revealed the world that Vaastu is not only an architectural science but a science of the cosmology, which says that the whole world is the manifestation of the Supreme Space energy (Akasa). This scientific explanation has revolutionised the Vaastu architecture and irrespective of caste and creed or country, people are now after building their houses and offices according to this science so as to lead a blissful life.