(Last Updated on : 05/07/2014)
Vastu Shastra is a logical Indian science that deals with the ancient tradition of architecture. It is the science of construction and the traditional Hindu architectural
system where the emphasis is laid in the directional alignments. The origin of Vastu Shastra is steeped in legends. It is said that Lord Brahma
was the first recipient of this knowledge from Lord Shiva
as a part of the Vedas
, just like He received the knowledge of Jyotish. And then the knowledge of Vatu Shastra was gradually spread through the munis, seers and sages of ancient India
. However, traditionally the foundation of Vastu is ascribed to the mythical sage Mamuni Mayan.
Etymology of Vastu Shastra
The expression Vastu Shastra has its root in the Sanskrit
term Vastu which means any really existing or abiding substance or essence. In the context of this ancient science of architecture, Vastu also mean the site or foundation of a house, site, ground, building or dwelling-place or habitation. The term Shastra however means science, doctrine or teaching.
Principles of Vastu Shastra
Vastu Shastra follows the principle that postulates that in the world everything, substance, man and animals, are made from the Panchmabhoot that is the five basic elements: earth, water, fire, wind and sky. These five elements have close relationship with man and his environment. Nature has given them their proper place according to merit. Hence it is necessary that man, too, grant a proper place to these elements in the space where he resides. Hindu philosophy
considers nature and God synonymous; hence, it becomes all the more significant to build a home according to the principles of Vastu Shastra so that man can exist harmoniously with nature.
In ancient times several principles, pertaining to Vastu Shastra, were followed. For instance, maximum use of wood was made in the construction of buildings. Wood is a bad conductor of electricity and as such does not interfere with the power in environment. With their divine vision the sages and seers created Vastu Shastra so that a man should live a happy and prosperous life with his family.
Vaastu Shastra, as is practised presently, is based on the 125 verses contained in Brihat Samhita of Varahamihira
. This very point indicates the vital link between Jyotish and Vaastu. There are two main branches of Vastu: Manav Shilpa Shastra
relating to construction of buildings and Deva Shilpa dealing with the principles of constructing temples etc. Maanav Shilpa deals with all types of buildings constructed for residential and other purposes like colleges, hospitals, factory buildings, hotels, offices, commercial complexes etc.
Vastu Purusha Mandala
An integral part of Vaastu Shastra is formed by Vastu Purusha Mandala which refers to the diagrammatic and mathematical concepts to generate designs. It comprises metaphysical plan of the building including the supernatural forces. Purusha
refers to power, energy, soul or cosmic man while Mandala means any chart or plan symbolically representing the cosmos.
Impacts of Vastu Shastra
It is believed that both positive and negative forces prevail in nature. Vastu Shastra helps in generating the positive forces within the building. The ultra-violet rays of the morning sun are beneficial for human body and enter a building from North-East side of that site. Hence, Vastu Shastra advices that this particular side should not be blocked by constructions, such as, toilets, septic tanks or storerooms. Besides these there are several norms that can help an individual built a house where he or she will be able to derive mental peace.
While applying Vastu Shastra one must remember that it is important to follow its norms while buying a plot of land or a building. According to this science the earth is divided primarily into East, West, North and South and the sub directions South-east, South-west, North-west and North-east. Every direction has its own importance in Vastu Shastra. Based on these eight directions the principle of Ashtak-sutra (eight principles) has been formulated. Each of these direction are said to be controlled by a particular Hindu god
. Based on this notion Vastu Shastra advices what kind of construction should take place in each of these directions.
Besides these Vastu Shastra also deals with numerous norms that can guide an individual to select and buy a proper plot or house. Several ways are suggested to deal with accursed buildings, auspicious and inauspicious omens and others. Whether there are problems with a Junction plot, L type plot, building material or the flat system, Vastu Shastra has all kinds of solutions to problems related to such elements. Unifying science, art, astronomy and astrology, it can be said that Vastu Shastra is perfect as an ancient mystic science for designing and building.