Sri. R.K. Achari – Artist with Dexterity & Charm

Sri. R.K. Achari, son of Kshetrashilpi Parameswaran Achari who was a proponent of Bharateeya Traditional Temple construction style, is regarded as the ultimate hand in temple structure construction field.

His keystone is him being the succesor of universal creator Vishwabrahma Deva.He believes that Karma – Dharma beliefs are the greatest luck in human life and the opportunity to have born in the Shilpikula was through the Punyam acquired through his numerous previous births..

He explained that it was a coincidence that introversion came to his lifestyle among the world of lively imaginative idol creation.A work oriented life is important for the Shilpi (Architect) and it should exist for the honor & prosperity of the society, he remarked.During the Vedic times, the ancient worship procedures were derieved from the Acharyas (teachers).And that attributes for the word “Acharam” used in later periods as “that which is derieved from Acharyas”.He quoted Shilpishastram 3rd Chapter, 4th Prakarana Shlokam :-

आकार आगमश्वासि                                       (Aakaara aagamashvaasi

चाकार शास्तत्रकोववद                                   chaakaara Shaastrakovida

ररकारो देवतोल्ऩत्तत                                       rikaaro devolpaththi

आचार्या  त्रीतीयाक्षरम्                                     aachaarya thritheeyaaksharam)

He added.
The answer to the question whether the skills & sleights were acquired from the time of creation itself was a quote from Skanda Puranam (source), Nagarakandam , Chapter 5

विश्वकर्मसुताह्रिते पञ्चसृष्टिप्रवर्तिक

कृतेतुमानसासृष्टित्रेयानां दृष्टिसाधनं

द्वापरेमन्त्रसृष्टिस्याल् कलैतुकरसाधनम्

(Visvakarmasuthahrithe panchasrishtipravarthika

krithethumanasaasrishtithreyanam drishtisadhanam

dvaparemantrasrishtisyal kalouthukarasadhanam )

Extract:- (Vishvakarma clan people doing Panchakarmam (five actions) does creation using the mind in Krithayuga and Sight in Threthayuga ,Manthra in Dvaparayuga and with hands in Kaliyuga.)

The answer to the query about choosing expertise in Shilpashastra as a vow in his life took him to his childhood.His childhood ,eyes, hands and heart was filled with Devas, temples, gopura structures and alankara mandapas from the age of 14 years with his father Parameshwaran Achari.

On the journey towards the world of imagination and creativity, his initial capital was the tradition & inheritance.After laying stone for each temple, the sacred cognition provide him the awareness about the inexplicable Brahmavidya .It is the god’s blessings an artist should possess.It is the real ‘engineering work’ or ‘engineering skill’.It is here that scientific knowledge takes shape and display it’s beauty.The secrets of the Shilpasastram are the guides. Know the verse about shilpasastram showing directions.:-

मातशिल्पि पिताशास्त्रं          (Maathashilpi pithaasaasthram
अरूपं रूपमानयल्                 aroopam roopamaanayal
यदापिण्डोत्भवञ्चेय्व           yadaapindothbhavanchai va
तदा पुत्र विधिक्रमाल्             thadaa puthra vidhikramaal)

Extract:- [Shilpi is mother to the Idol and Shastra is the father.Shapeless stone (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Wood) are converted to Shapes and a son with shape is created.]

In addition to that, in another place of Shilpasasthra

शिल्पिमाता शिलापुत्रो                            (Shilpimathaa shilaputhro
दासत्वम् सर्वपूजकं                                 daasathvam sarvapoojakam)

Extract:-[An idol’s mother is the shilpi and son is the shila used for that.One who does pooja on the shila is it’s dasa (servant).]

He explained the pramanas. After a short period of silence, he answered the question about the origin of temples.

During the vedic period there was no division in the social life structure. People build forts and lived inside it as a community.When the populations rose, gurupeedams arose to control them.The gurupeedas were called as ‘Jagathpeedams”.Vedic Ainthavas (Sanaka, Sanathana, Abhuvanasa, Prathnasa, Suvarnasa Rishies) called the gurupeeda locations as Brahmapeedam (pancharam).Today also the platform where Idol installation is done is called as Pancharam.It was a place of shelter and refuge for all.

In 1856, Stuart Piggart has written about these predecessor structures of the temples.

During BC 5000 (Before 7000 years) Vishvakula Pourusheya Shreemad Jagadguru Neelakanda Acharyaswamikal of Maanthe Town in Panchala state near Himalayan valley in the Sapthasindhu, travelled to Southern Bharath with the Peedam fearing attack to it and reached Thamraparnee shore and installed it in Akkashala near Tirunelveli.This fact can be analysed only with wonder that it is still being worshipped.

Gurupeedam is the only one and unique symbol in the world of a social order that existed 5000 years back in the Sapta Sindhu of Bharata during the Vedic Age.

During the passage of time,expatriation and increase in human population, any one could reach gurupeedasthanams during times of sorrows and distress without leaving the culture of gurupeedams.They were called Kshetras since they saved people from the above mentioned injuries (Kshathah Traayate ithi Kshetrah).

He tried to recollect his memories when he was asked how he would rate his experiences about his works in this field during the last fifty years.

I was only influenced in my career only by Shilpasastram, vasthushastram and concepts in mayavasthu and instructions of paramparyasthapathi.

Temple Structures such as Garbhagraham, Mandapam, Idols, Sthoopikas, Medakal, Chuttumathil, Akamathil, Puramathil, Gopuravathil, Malikas, Devalayam Vidyalayam, Padithurakal, Houses and more than a hundred temples designed and construction completed. Some projects are going on.

He was asked about the relation between Temple (Kshetram), Idols (Vigraham) and Architect (Shilpi).

It would be right to say that the spaces of the mind could not be used much for structures other than temples, idols and temple structures over these years.

It is because Temple is the body and Devan is the Soul (Athma).Sreekovil (Garbhagraham, Sanctum sanctorum) is the mind. Vigrahas (Visheshal Grahikkunna Vigrahangal) are progeny created from the womb of the Shilpi’s soul.So Shilpidukham becomes Shilpadukham too.

According to ‘Mayavasthu’,

“शिल्पिपूजा शिलापूजा                          (‘Shilpipooja shilaapooja
शिल्पि दु:खेन दु;खित                             shilpi dukhena dukhitha
शिल्पेन कल्पितं दैवं                               shilpena kalpitham daivam
शिल्पि ब्रह्ममयं जगद्”                         shilpi brahmamayam jagad)

Extract:- (Conducting Pooja to Shilpi is similiar to offering pooja to God’s idol.If Shilpi is given sorrow, the idol (God) also gets sorrow.Since Shilpi is doing brahmasrushti, he is present everywhere in the universe.

The answer to the question about Chathurvarnyam was quick.

During the vedic times, today’s caste system was absent.Also with regard to Shilpis, no one would say that varna system was present among shilpis.Because people required Viswakarmas for building huts to palaces , from cutting the umbilical cord at birth of child to doing death ceremonies, from digging grave to breaking the pot.That is why they were called as Viswakarmas.

He summarized the answer to the questions about the main temples constructed.Thazhakara Subrahmanya Kshethram & Gopuram, Mavelikkara Padinjarekkara Ganapathikshethram, Gurukshethrangal, Ponnaramthottam Devikshetram, Peringara Ganapathikshethram, Kollam Amrithakulam Shivakshethram, Kureeppuzha Kadavoor Devikshethram, Vechoochirakkunnam
Devikshethram, Kasaragode Badiyadukka Shivakshethram, Thattarambalam Devikshethragopuram, Venmany Punthala Gurukshethram, Podiyadi Shasthakshethravum Gopuravum, Structures of Vasthuvidya Gurukulam and ongoing projects of different temples.He said to a query that he is training his aides along with his younger son to preserve the tradition.He continued answering to the question about awards and accolades received after a short period of silence.

I have received numerous awards and accolades.Cannot tell all the givers. Ponnadas and about 22 gold coins received from the hands of Thiruvathamkoor Marthandavarma, Ranibhai Thamburatti, Chakkulathukavu Thirumeni, Vellappally Nateshan, Akkeeraman Bhattathiri, Amrithanandamayi Madam, Poornaswaroopananda is being preserved as treasure.The opinion of the creator of maximum number of temples living in present times is that all his success can be attributed to Mookambika Devi, Bhivaneshvari and Yogeeshwaran Appooppan.

Sri. R.K. Achari who creates poetry in stones and woods and designed numerous houses based on interests is also the founder of R.K. Constructions. He was opening up his mind in a special interview allowed to Devamritham Magazine.

He concluded his words with the slokha said by Vedavyasa in Mahabharatham (Jayam) moolam.

“विस्वकर्म महाभागे छन्देशिल्पप्रजापति
कर्त्ताशिल्प सहस्राणां त्रिदशानां मोहवर्द्धका
भूषाणां च सर्वेषाल्कर्त्ता शिल्पिवतांवर:
योदिव्यानिविमानानि त्रिदशानां महाकर
मनुष्योपजयन्ती तस्य शिल्पान्महात्माना:
पूजयन्तिचयां नित्यं विस्वकर्माण अव्यय: ||”

(Viswakarmma mahaabhaage chandeshilpaprajapathi
karthaashilpa sahasraanaam thridashaanaam mohavardhakaa
bhooshaanaam cha sarveshaalkartha shilpivathamvarah
yodivyanivimanani thridashanaam mahakara
poojayanthichayam nithyam vishvakarmmana avyayah || )

Extract:- Viswakarmajars are the creators (srishtavu) and prajapathi of machines (yanthrahs) and ornaments as well as King of Art and craft experts.People respect him everyday as they do pooja to god.