Introduction To Vastu Shastra | An Architect Explains

Vastu Shastra literally translated means the Science of Buildings’ since ‘Shastra’ means  a ‘Science’ and ‘Vastu’ means ‘all places of dwelling’ and ‘Vaastu’ means the actual physical manifestation of the dwelling. Both terms ‘Vastu’ and ‘Vaastu’ are from the root ‘Vas’ which means ‘to dwell, live, stay, abide’ (cognate with the English past tense was). So Vastu Shastra basically means Architecture (Art & Science of buildings). There are four categories of Vaastu-
BHOOMI – The earth/site, the principal dwelling place on which everything else rests.
PRASADA – Structures on the earth.
YAANA – Movable objects like Vehicles
SAYANA – Furniture

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As these categories suggest, the principles of Vaastu Shastra extend from the macro level to the micro level – site selection, site planning and orientation, zoning and disposition of rooms, proportional relationships between the various parts of buildings, the character of buildings and the minute details like furniture.


WHAT IS VASTU SHASTRA?

Vastu Shastra is an ancient Indian Vedic Building Science which lays down guidelines on the construction of buildings, so that they are in harmony with the natural environment by managing the flow of cosmic energy (prana) through and around them, which in turn promotes the well-being, peace and prosperity of the inhabitants.

According to Vastu Shastra, when buildings and forms 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.

Common sense tells us that a properly designed house is one which is aesthetic, hygienic, comfortable, easy to move around and thereby a pleasure to live in. Naturally the inhabitants will be happy and content in such a house, whereas, a poorly designed house will be unaesthetic and not comfortable to live in and hence create irritation in the minds of the inhabitants.

Vastu Shastra takes advantage of and manipulates the natural resources like sun, wind, air etc. and the topography of the site, the surrounding roads, trees, water sources, structures etc. to channel positive energy and prevent imbalance in the building and thus bring about harmony between man, nature and his built environment.

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ARE VASTU SHASTRA AND FENG SHUI SIM
ILAR?

Though Vastu Shastra is conceptually similar to Chinese ‘Feng Shui’ in that it also tries to harmonize the flow of energy, (also called life-force or ‘Prana’ in Sanskrit and similar to ‘Chi’ in Chinese) through the house, it differs in that, Vastu gives the exact directions in which various objects, rooms, materials etc are to be placed.
Also, Vastu shastra incorporates Architecture, Sculpture, Mathematics, Geometry, Geology, Geography, Religion and Philosophy and lays down principles on all aspects of Construction such as – Site selection, orientation and location of the building on the site, space to be left on all sides of the building, orientation and location of each and every room and element of a building, direction of the front door, location of wet areas, water sources,   trees to be planted, colour scheme and even the best date and time for having the ‘Foundation Laying Ceremony and the ‘Griha Pravesham’ or ‘House Warming’ Ceremony.

vastu-mandalIS VASTU SHASTRA A SCIENCE OR SUPERSTITION?

Vastu Shastra as the name suggests is a ‘Shastra’ or a rational Science based on observations, facts, laws of nature and governed by a set of principles. It was formulated by our ancestors nearly 4000 years ago and has evolved over centuries and generations. The very fact that it has survived the test of time and has shown itself to be practicable, indicates that it is a Science and not a Superstition.

The ancient Rishis who formulated Vastu Shastra, in all their wisdom knew that unless they enforced the principles of planning very strictly, people would build according to their whims and create ugly and unaesthetic structures, since people have differing tastes and ideas on aesthetics. (This can be seen today – on any street, you may find just 1 or 2 aesthetically designed houses while the rest can be termed ugly or monstrous. Also the space left around each house is too little for the inhabitants to get proper light or ventilation). Perhaps to prevent such a situation, the principles of Vastu Shastra were made strict rules. It was said that if one followed the Vastu principles strictly, one would be happy, content and prosperous whereas if they were not followed, the inhabitants would be sick, unhappy, quarrel with each other and even die early. As a result, this ‘Science’ became a ‘Superstition’.
superstition
Even today most people insist that we, Architects, follow the basic Vastu principles when designing their house, as they fear that there could be adverse effects if not followed. This is because  there are people to exploit the common man’s fears and superstitions – the self proclaimed Vastu Consultants. They charge exorbitant fees by exploiting the ignorance and beliefs of the people. Not all, but most of them give solutions by blindly following the standard thumb rules of Vastu Shastra, without realising that the socio-economic conditions have changed in cities today from those of earlier times and 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 create a positive energy in a building, one has to study Vastu Shastra in depth and understand the logic and reasoning behind each and every principle and only then apply them to the specific site and building.


MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I am not a Vastu Specialist but in my experience as an Architect, I have applied the principles of Vastu logically in the buildings that I have designed as well as in my own house and I can say with certainity that they do make a positive difference to the state of mind of the inhabitants. These Vastu principles are based on common sense and when applied correctly, create a well-designed, well-ventilated, bright, hygienic, beautiful building that stands apart and is noticed by others. Naturally the inhabitants are happy to be in this building and are proud of it as it adds value to them. My aim is to explain Vastu Shastra scientifically with whatever knowledge I have, so as to make you realise that it is a ‘Science’ which can bring positive effects to your lives by its correct application.

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5 thoughts on “Introduction To Vastu Shastra | An Architect Explains

  • April 21, 2009 at 10:57 pm
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    If you ever want to see a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this article for four from five. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn google to find the missed parts. Thanks, anyway!

  • July 25, 2009 at 5:38 am
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    thanks for the information … its hard to find someone talking about vastu shastra from a scientific point of view

  • September 25, 2009 at 5:59 pm
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    Thank you for a great info. Please be kind to advice me if the Vastu Shastra differs from Country to Country? I mean Indian Vastru Shastra can be applied in USA??

    Thank you.

  • May 31, 2010 at 9:09 pm
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    Dear Mr Mansabdar,
    Vastu shastra being an ancient indian science, it’s guidelines are specific to India and even within India, the guidelines vary in the north, south, east or west because the angle of the sunlight, wind direction, monsoons etc vary from place to place. So when applying vastu principles to a house in another country, what you need to do is to understand the essence of vastu first. Briefly I can just say that if the house gets a lot of constant light and morning sunlight throughout the year, then it will have good vastu.
    Admin

  • November 10, 2010 at 12:06 am
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    Dear Indian colleague architect,,, thanks for your all efforts,, me too having same thougth about vastu as you have….I am now in Malaysia teaching architecture in a Institute …just looking soem materials about vastu to refer our Indian old building science to my local and African students ….
    I am going to compare with Green building idea in 21st centruary, vastu idea 5000 year old….( as you showed Indian high raised temple and current towers style….
    for us all technics is old…..out side India.
    today is is my first day in your site…
    will get back to you..
    thanks
    take care
    Ar UK BHOOBALAN

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