Introduction of Vaastu
WHAT DOES VAASTU SHASTRA MEAN?
Vaastu Shastra, an ancient Indian science developed thousands of years ago by ancient Indian saints and rishis, puts forward rules for the construction of buildings and temples and has been practiced for centuries.
Vaastu Shastra, an integral part of Indian architecture, having its its roots extended in Indian Philosophy, maths, geology, geography, religion and takes into account, factors influencing a Site, such as topography, roads, structures around, Sun’s effects, Earth’s magnetic field, cardinal directions, Earth’s energy fields and elements of Nature.
Vaastu literally means “HOUSE” or dwelling place of human beings and consists of the following:
- Bhoomi – means the plot or extent of land where the building is proposed.
- Prasada – includes the compound wall and buildings which are built within the Bhoomi (Site).
- Yaana – means all the (chariots) vehicles parked within the Bhoomi (Site).
- Shayana – includes all the furniture and utensils in the building (Prasada).
WHAT IS VAASTU SHASTRA?
Vaastu Shastra is an ancient Indian Vedic Science of Architecture that puts down guidelines on the construction of buildings such that they are in harmony with the environment or nature. The harmony management is achieved by managing the flow of cosmic energy through and around the buildings, which in turn promotes the well-being, peace and prosperity of the inhabitants.
As per Vaastu, when buildings are in tune with the underlying cosmic principles, they become a part of the basic structure of the universe and vibrate in harmony with it. These positive vibrations are believed to have a positive effect on t by he inhabitants.
It is common sense that a properly designed house is the one which has aesthetic, hygiene, comfort, and space to move around and thereby giving pleasure of living. In such a house the inhabitants will be happy and contented, whereas, a poorly designed house will not be comfortable to live in and hence create uneasiness in the minds of the inhabitants.
Vaastu Shastra takes advantage of and manipulates the natural resources like sun, wind, air etc. and the topography of the site, the surrounding pathways, trees & plants, water sources, other structures etc. to harness the positive energy and prevent imbalance in the building and thus bring about harmony between man, nature and his built environment.
DO VAASTU SHASTRA AND FENG SHUI HAVE SIMILARITY?
Though Vaastu Shastra is conceptually similar to Chinese ‘Feng Shui’, as in both the methods an effort is made to harmonize the flow of energy (called ‘Prana’ in Sanskrit and ‘Chi’ in Chinese) through the house. The major difference is that, Vaastu gives the exact directions in which various objects, rooms, materials etc are to be placed.
Vaastu considers the various principles for Architecture, Sculpture, Mathematics, Geometry, Geology (Geopathic Stress), Geography, Religion and Philosophy. It lays down principles on all aspects of Construction such as : Site selection, orientation and location of the building on the site, space around the building, orientation and location of rooms and other element of a building, direction of the doors, location of water sources, trees to be planted, colour scheme and even the suitable date and time for Foundation Laying Ceremony and the House Warming Ceremony.
IS VASTU SHASTRA A SCIENCE OR SUPERSTITION?
The name Vaastu Shastra itself suggests that it is a ‘Shastra’. Shastra means a rational Science based on observations and facts. It takes into account the laws of nature which are governed by a set of principles. Vaastu Shastra was formulated nearly 5000 years ago and with time and generations it has evolved. Being based on practical fact it has survived the test of time indicates that it is a Science and not a Superstition.
Vaastu Shastra was formulated by our Rishis as they has the wisdom to understand the thinking of people. If they did not enforced the principles of planning very strictly, people would build according to their understanding. Since people have differing tastes and ideas on aesthetics they would create ugly and unaesthetic structures. Perhaps to prevent such a situation, the principles of Vaastu Shastra were made as strict rules. It was said that if one followed the Vaastu principles strictly, one would live a happy, content and prosperous life. And if they were not followed, the inhabitants would be sick, unhappy, quarrel with each other and even die at early age. As a result, this ‘Science’ became a ‘Superstition’.
Even today many people follow the basic Vaastu principles while designing their new house or reconstructing one, as they fear that there could be adverse effects if not followed. There are people who exploit the common man’s fears and superstitions and charge exorbitant fees by exploiting the ignorance and beliefs of the people. Such practitioners of Vaastu blindly following the standard thumb rules of Vaastu Shastra, without realising that the changed socio-economic conditions without considering the fact that each site is unique by virtue of the surrounding structures, trees, water sources, orientation, topography etc., and hence should be planned accordingly.
To really help people achieve positive energy in their buildings, one has to have in depth knowledge of Vaastu and understand the logic and reasoning behind each and every principle.
ORIGIN OF VAASTU SHASTRA
Vaastu Shastra was formulated by our ancestors nearly 5000 years ago, as a vedic science for layout and planning of buildings. This science has evolved over the centuries to improve standard of living of every human life on the earth. Vaastu Shastra is a Vedanga, a branch of Sthapatya Veda, which in turn is a part of Yajur Veda. The body of Vaastu knowledge is monumental with lakhs of shlokas, which were handed down to succeeding generations by word of mouth and through hand written monographs such as:
- Manasara Silpa Shastra (by Manasara),
- Mayamatam (by the Mayasuras),
- Viswakarma Vaastushastra (by Viswakarma),
- Samarangana Sutradhara (by Raja Bhoja),
- Aparajita Paricchay (a dialogue between Viswakarma and his son Aparajita, written by Bhuvanadevacharya) Silparatna.
- Other treatises such as Agni Purana and works by Kautilya and Sukracharya are not popular even though they preceded the above mentioned documents.
THE FIVE ELEMENTS AND PANCAHMAHABHUTAS
WHAT ARE THE FIVE ELEMENTS OR THE PANCHAMAHABHUTAS?
Basic principle of Vaastu is based on the assumption that the earth is a living organism, out of which other living creatures and organic forms emerge. Out of the nine planets in the Solar System, only Earth has life because of the presence of the five elements or Panchamahabhutas namely Aakash (Space), Vaayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Bhoomi (Earth).
The unending region, beyond Earth in which not only our Solar System, but the entire Galaxy exists. The most effective forces are light, heat, gravity, magnetic field and waves. It provides shelter to the other four elements.
The atmosphere above the Earth consists of Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Water in the form of Vapour, Dust particles etc which are all essential for living things. Human physical comfort values are directly dependent on correct humidity, proper air flow, and suitable temperature of air, air pressure and composition of air.
It represents light and heat and is essential element for existence of life. It also represents days and nights, seasons, energy, lightning, heat in volcano and the Sun and the solar system energy. The enthusiasm, passion, vigour in every living thing is because of light and heat only.
This is represented by rain water, river water, and seawater. It is in the form of liquid, solid (the ice) and gas (the steam, the clouds). It is a combination of Hydrogen and Oxygen and is perfectly neutral. Every plant and animal is composed of water in different proportions.
Earth, the third planet in order from the Sun, is a big magnet with North and South poles as centers of attractions. Its magnetic field and gravitational force has considerable effect on everything on the Earth. Its rotation about its axis and revolution around the sun brings about day and night and seasonal changes.
HOW DO THE FIVE ELEMENTS AFFECT US?
It is fact that, all these five elements are necessary to sustain life on this planet. There is an invisible and constant interaction between these elements. In an open field these elements operate freely and are in equilibrium. However, when a structure is placed in this field, the equilibrium is affected because these forces act for or against each other to create either harmony or disharmony. If there is disharmony, then it needs to be restored in such a manner that the energy flows harmoniously, making our lives well-balanced.
Vaastu can help us to understand the effectiveness of the five elements and use them to our advantage. Vaastu can guide us in creating a balanced and harmonious environment to live in.