The Mayamata is a Vastusastra, i.e. a treatise on dwelling, and as such it deals with all the facets of gods' and men's dwellings, from the choice of the site to the iconography of the temple walls. It contains numerous and precise descriptions of villages and towns as well as of the temples, houses, mansions and palaces. It gives indications for the selection of a proper orientation, right dimensions, and of appropriate materials. It intends to be a manual for the architect and a guidebook for the layman. Well-thought-of by traditional architects (sthapati-s) of South India, the treatise is of great interest at a time when technical traditions, in all fields, are being scrutinized for their possible modern application. The present bilingual edition prepared by Dr. Bruno Dagens, contains critically edited Sanskrit text which is an improvement over the earlier edition by the same scholar and published as No.40 of Publications de I'Institut Francaisd' Indologie, Pondicherry. The English translation, also published earlier, has now been revised with copious notes. The usefulness of the edition has been further enhanced by adding an analytical table of contents and a comprehensive glossary. In the series of Kalamulasastra early texts on music, namely, Matralaksanam, Dattilam and Brhaddest, have been published. The medieval texts on music, specially, the Sribastamuktavali (No.3 in the series) and the Nartananirnaya (No.17 in the series), bring us upto the 15th and 16th century. In the case of architecture, despite the IGNCA's endeavour to publish portions of the Brhatsamhita, the Agnipurana and the Visnudharmottara-Purana, first this has not been possible. Instead, our scholars were able to complete work first on a late but important text, namely, Silparatnakosa. We hope that the sections on architecture in the Brhatsamhita, the Agnipurana and the Visnudharmottara-purana which predate the medieval texts, will be published soon, alongwith revised and re-edited texts of Manasollasa and Aparajitaprccha. The Mayamatam is the fourteenth and fifteenth volumes in the Kalamulasastra series of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
About the Author(s)
Dr. Bruno Dagens (b.1935) is an eminent Sanskritist and archaeologist. He is a member of the Ecole Francais d'Extreme-Orient. Dr. Dagens taught Sanskrit at the University of Louvain (Belgium) and did archaeological research in Afghanistan and Cambodia. He also worked, since 1977, at the Institut Francais d'Indologie, Pondicherry for quite a few years. Besides articles and research papers on the Archaeology and Iconography of monuments in Afghanistan and Cambodia, two earlier editions of the Mayamata and one edition of the Saivagamaparibhasamaryari (a compendium of Saiva doctrines and rituals), Dr. Dagens has authored Architecture in the Ajitagama and the Rauravagama (Sitaram Bharatia Institute of Scientific Research, New Delhi 1984). "The Mayamatam is an important treatise on Vastusastram dealing exhaustively with the construction of temples and human dwellings-from the choice of the site, iconography of temples etc. It is intended as a manual for the architect and a guide book for the lay man." K.Kunjunni Raja, Adyar Library Bulletin-95 "The work under review has a total of 36 chapters with Sanskrit definitions and easily understandable English translation,aided by relevant footnotes at various places. The example diagrams (36 in all) given for relevant topics ease the reader's mind and bestow upon him clear material for study of the principles enunciated in the original. Every minute detail, needless to stress, has been well-attended in the various chapters." R. Santhanam, The Times of Astrology, Dec.-95