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Vastu Factors | Five Elements (Panchabhutaas) | An Architect Explains

Vaastu rests on the assumption that the Earth is a living organism out of which other living creatures and organic forms emerge, and so every particle on Earth possesses ‘live energy’. The life on Earth is possible because of the five basic and essential elements known as the ‘Panchabhutaas’.They are Aakaasha (Space), Vaayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Bhoomi (Earth). All creatures on the Earth including buildings are physically made up of these elements.

five-elements

Space (Aakaasha) – is the unending region beyond Earth in which not only our Solar System but the entire Galaxy exists. It provides shelter to the other four elements. The effective forces of Space are light, heat, gravity, magnetic field and waves.

Air (Vaayu) – the atmosphere above the Earth consists of Oxygen (21%), Nitrogen (78%) Carbon Dioxide, water vapour, Dust etc which are all essential for living things  and even fire to flourish. Human physical comfort values are directly and sensitively dependent on correct humidity, air flow, temperature of air, air pressure,  air composition and its content.

Fire (Agni) – It represents light and heat without which life will be extinct. It also represents days and nights, seasons, energy,  lightning, volcanic heat and all other aspects of the Sun and the solar system. The enthusiasm, passion, vigour in living things are because of light and heat only.

Water (Jala) – Represented by rain, river, sea and is in the form of liquid (water), solid (ice) and gas (steam, cloud). It is a combination of Hydrogen and Oxygen in the ratio of 2:1 and is perfectly neutral. Every plant and animal is composed of water in different proportions.

Earth (Bhumi) – 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, living and non-living. The Earth rotates about its axis from West to East, resulting in day and night. It revolves round the Sun once every year (365.25 days) and is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees, because of which seasons are formed. Because of the Earth’s tilt, a year is divided into 2 periods – Uttaraayana from Jan 14 – July 15, when the Northern Hemisphere (India) is tilted towards the Sun and Dakshinaayana from July 16 – Jan 14, when the Southern Hemisphere (Australia) is tilted towards the Sun. In Uttarayaana, the days are longer than the nights and vice-versa during Dakshinaayana.


WHY ARE THE ‘FIVE ELEMENTS’ AN IMPORTANT VASTU FACTOR?

All these ‘five elements’ sustain life on the planet and are neutral, unbiased and impartial to us – yet we cannot control them. 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 elements act for or against each other to create either harmony or disharmony. If there is disharmony, then  the equilibrium needs to be restored so that the cosmic energy flows harmoniously.

Surprisingly, the Vastu pundits were aware of  the ‘Five elements (panchabhutaas)’ and their effects. So, they were considered an important Vastu Shastra factor and taken into account in designing buildings.  Vastu Shastra guides us to use the five elements to our advantage to create a balanced and harmonious environment to live in. Living things – animals, insects, birds, plants and humans have for centuries manipulated the 5 elements to create comfortable dwellings or environment, as explained below.
HOW DO LIVING THINGS MANIPULATE THE FIVE ELEMENTS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE?
Animals, Birds, Insects, Plants – have natural defenses against a wide variety of unfavourable climates. They adapt their body size, shape or temperature to adjust with the hostile climate. But some creatures like termites, birds, ants not only adapt to nature, they seek to create a comfortable living environment by building a suitable home.

termit-mound Compass termites – For example, the Compass Termites of Western Australia, maintain the temperature inside their nests to within 1 degree of 31 Celcius, day and night, summer and winter, while the external temperature varies between 3 C to 42 C. This is achieved by building a wedge shaped tower mound of 3 Metres height which always points North. As the tower heats up, air inside rises drawing fresh cool air from below. Also the wind blowing across the top of the mound helps to suck in fresh air through the nest. And the termites regulate the flow of air through their nests, by blocking and unblocking the channels.

Humans- Similarly, for centuries, man has manipulated the five elements to build comfortable houses even in the most hostile environments. For example, in the Desert, where the heat of the Sun (Fire) can make it impossible to live, man has built houses with internal courtyards (Space), thick walls (Earth), slit windows (Air) and water bodies and fountains (Water) to cool the house by ensuring good ventilation and flow of air, just like the termites mentioned above. But unfortunately today, man gives precedence to the appearance and size of his house as his social position and personal ego are more important. In the process he has forgotten to manipulate the elements to create a naturally comfortable, airy house. To create comfort he is forced to use gadgets like Fans, Air Conditioners, Heaters etc which consume so much of energy and are believed to be unhealthy too.
HOW DOES VASTU SHASTRA HELP YOU MANIPULATE THE FIVE ELEMENTS?

Vaastu Shastra guides us to use the five elements scientifically, to create a comfortable and harmonious place to live or work in, which will ensure enhanced health and happiness. It lays down principles on the location, direction and disposition of the building, so that you can absorb the positive effects of the five elements throughout the day.These guidelines are explained under ‘VASTU SHASTRA GUIDELINES | DESIGNING’.

This post is about the “Panchabhutaas- Five Elements of nature” and their effects on Man. Read about another  Vastu Shastra Factor that affects us and the design of our buildings, namely:

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6 thoughts on “Vastu Factors | Five Elements (Panchabhutaas) | An Architect Explains

  • February 1, 2010 at 11:13 pm
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    Finally, Finally…I’ve been looking for this information for a long time. Thanks

  • February 10, 2010 at 5:55 am
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    You certainly gave an incredible perception on exactly how this ancient science, Vastu works. Thanks!
    Hi Kat,
    Thank you. Hope it was helpful to you.
    Admin

  • February 13, 2010 at 9:53 pm
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    You put together a very good information and supporting justifications. People should read your article to allow them to have a far better point of view about Vastu.
    Hi Essie,
    Thank you for your appreciation.
    Admin

  • February 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm
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    Well I must say, it’s about time I found a decent site with good info on Vaastu. Great job on the site and the post. Thanks

  • February 24, 2010 at 2:52 am
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    Very good postings. Was wanting since long for such logical / practical explanations. Also would be happy if alternates are provided if the mentioned practices cannot be met. For eg: In a kitchen, if a stove cannot be kept in South East, what is the alternate.
    Thanks.
    Hi B Balaji,
    I am glad that the scientific explanations of vastu principles has helped you. Since there is logic behind every Vastu “rule”, you are not under compulsion to follow the said “rules” strictly. You have to see practical aspects and accordingly place the rooms. Basically make sure there is ample light and ventilation
    Admin

  • May 11, 2010 at 5:03 am
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    You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

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