Vastu Shastra – An introduction

 

Vastu Shastra is the sacred holistic science of architecture and construction. The principles of Vastu have been derived from one of the ancient sacred books of Hinduism the Sthapathya Veda which is a part of Atharvana Veda one of the four main Vedas. Vastu refers to mansion or abode and Shastra refers to Science or knowledge. Vastu Shastra is found in manuals on all aspects of architecture namely spatial geometry, design, measurements, layout, ground preparation etc. They incorporate traditional Hindu beliefs by integrating architecture with nature and utilising symmetry, geometric patterns (yantras) and directional alignments. A few of the manuals also include information on astrology and rituals. This mystic science balances all the elements of nature with man and his materials to create a holistic structure radiating positive energies and subduing negative influences.

Origin

Observing the Harappa and Mohenjodaro civilisations historians concluded that Vastu Shastra developed between 6000 BCE and 3000 BCE as temples, houses, cities and towns had the principles of Vastu Shastra integrated in them. The ancient sages realised that the forces radiated by the five elements or Pancha Mahabhootas namely air, water, fire, earth and space and their influences such as the magnetic field, the effect of the sun, rainfall, winds, gravity etc if properly balanced could create a flow of positive energy which could induce happiness, harmony and prosperity. Great importance is given to the four main directions and the other sub directions and scientific research on their unifying factor with science, art, astrology and astronomy was carried out by the great sages channelizing positive energies in a mystical way. The correlation between the planets, the directions and the structure design were closely studied. Since Vastu was considered a part of the Vedas which were derived through meditation by the sages most of the great sciences including Vastu may have evolved from the cosmic mind itself.

Mention in the Scriptures

In ancient India religion was the main focus in society so temples were the focal point of art, education and culture. They were powerful centres of energy which could deeply influence and transform people. Hence Vastu Shastra for temple architecture may have been the beginning which was then subsequently made use for in houses, villages and towns. It was a purely technical subject and was dealt with by the Sthapathis (architects) and their subsequent heirs for generations. These are mentioned in Skandha Purana, Agni Purana, Vishnu Purana, Matsya Purana and Garuda Purana. Some of the Shastras where Vastu has been passed down to generations are Kashyapa Shilpshastra, Vishwakarma Prakash, Praman Manjaree, Vrihad Sanhita and Samraangan Sutradhar. The cities and houses designed have also been mentioned in the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana where the site plan of Ayodhya was said to be similar to the plan found in the architectural text Manasara.

References in Buddhism

Buddhist literature too mentions the designing of Viharas (monasteries), part monastery and residential(Ardha yogas), residential buildings (Prasadas, Harmyas and Guhas) and Lord Buddha was said to have himself ordained the construction and supervising of the buildings based on Vastu Shastra as one of the duties of the disciples of the order.

Proof of the positive aspects of Vastu Shastra

The Vastu of every place depends on the geographical position of its area. This is the reason why some countries are considered advanced and prosperous while others are backward.

Japan

According to the principles of Vastu Shastra Japan is considered most auspicious as it is surrounded by deep water in the North and the East. Japan gets full benefit of the sun’s rays as its eastern side is open and widely spread. This accounts for its richness and prosperity. But the South and South East of Japan has sea in the place of fire as per Vastu Shastra due to which it suffers from earthquakes and was bombarded by atom bombs during the world war.

Africa

As per the principles of Vastu Shastra the South and Southeast of this continent have unlimited water, the North east corner is interjected while the North west portion is projected making the conditions inauspicious. This is said to be why Africa is backward and poor. But the Mediterranean sea exists to the North which is favourable hence there is lush vegetation there.

UK and London

According to the principles of Vastu Shastra London is ideally situated. The East and North West have many gardens. The North East corner facilitates the presence of many universities. The boundary of England stretches more towards the East and North direction. Britain has the Atlantic Ocean on the West, in the North it has the North Sea which goes right upto the Arctic Ocean and this is the reason for the past dominance of Britain over the rest of the world.

USA

The land of USA is extended more towards the North East which is considered auspicious. The map of America shows more inclination towards east side than the west. The North East has huge lakes and the land becomes richer as one progresses towards the North East direction.

Egypt

The river Nile flows in the East which has resulted in the establishment of a great civilisation bringing it name and fame on account of the world famous pyramids.

India

India slopes towards the East which is considered auspicious and favourable to the country. The presence of the Himalayas in the North and North East is considered to be against the principles of Vastu leading to poverty in the country. Presence of water bodies in the South West and South East of India is also considered unfavourable leading to attacks from foreign empires. Even within the country there are structures like Taj Mahal which have attained world renown while similar beautiful architectural wonders within the country have remained obscure and unknown. The reason for this is said to be because of Vastu Shastra. Similarly the Tirupati Balaji temple which is the most prosperous temple in India is said to be totally Vastu compliant. The Lord is in the South West, the kitchen is situated in the South East, the godown for grains and other storage material is on the North and North West and the Water Tank is in the North East. The entire temple and its precincts is square in shape due to which its axis and the Earth’s axis are perpendicular to each other. Only one fourth of the area of the total precinct is occupied by the main temple and there is an open area on the East and North side. The city of Mumbai has water in the North East and fire (Atomic Power plant) in the South East. These Vastu principles make it one of the most powerful and prosperous cities in India. Most of the industrial houses in India are seen to be Vastu compliant leading to their success and prosperity.

Conclusion

Studies conducted have shown that nations and cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, New York etc are compliant to the principles of Vastu Shastra leading to their prosperity and success. A number of nations around the world are now turning to this ancient science as they have realised the effects of positive energies in enhancing the quality of life and combating the effects of negative influences.

References

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