" VASTU SHASTRA " is a voluminous and scattered ancient indian literature dealing with knowledge of architecture, iconography and art relating to structures and buildings. It comprise of independent works which are classified under the general heading of vaastu shastra.
The word " VAASTU " has been derived from ' VASTOSHPATI ' used in ' Rig Veda ' and is meant to provide protection, hapiness and prosperity in this life as well as after death. Rig Veda says :
VASTSHPART PRATI JATI HACHASMAN TVAVESHO ATBHIVO BHAVATAH |
YAT TVAMEH PRATI NATRO JUSHSVSHAN NO BHAV DVIPAD SHA CHATUSHPADE ||
It is prayer to Vaastu purusha and means :
Oh God of structures and building, we are your devotees. Listen our prayer, make us free of disease, give wealth and prosperity, help the well being of all persons and animals living in the house.
Vastu Purusha is present in each and every plot whether it is big or small. He has a fixed and peculiar body. His head remains hanging down and his body is spread all over the length and breadth of the ground. There is an interesting story in the MATSYA PURANA in which the birth of the Vastu Purusha is narrated. By reading that story one knows why the worship of the Vastu Purusha is necessary before beginning constructing any house.
While fighting with the demon, Shiva was very much tired and began to sweat profusely. A man was born of the drops of Shiva’s sweat. He looked very cruel. He was very hungry. So he began to make penance to appease Lord Shiva and get a boon from Him.
Shiva was pleased with his penance and appeared before him. The devotee prayed to Shiva, “Oh Lord! Please permit me to eat away all the three worlds.” Shiva said, “Let it be so.” The devotee’s joy knew no bounds. He got possession on all the three worlds and first he was ready to eat the terrestrial world. Then the celestial beings, Brahma, Shiva and the demons (Rakshasas) also were terrified and caught hold of the devotee encircling him.
Forty-five celestial beings, out of whom 32 from without and 13 from within caught hold of the devotee. The Thirty-two celestial beings are :
(1) ISH (2) PAROJAYA (3) JAYANT (4) INDRA (5) SURYA (6) SADYA (7) BARISHAM (8) AKASH (9) AGNI (10) PUSHNA (11) VITATHA (12) YAMA (13) KRITANTA (14) GANDHARVA (15) BRINGAVAJA (16) MRIGA (17) PITARA (18) DAREPALE (19) SUGRIVA (20) PUSHPADANTA (21) VARUNA (22) DAITYA (23) SESHA (24) YAKSHMA (25) ROGA (26) NAGA (27) MUKHYA (28) BHALLATA (29) SOMA (30) SARPA (31) ADITI and DITI.
All these 32 celestial beings are out of the limits of the devotee whereas the following 13 Beings are within his limits:
(1) BRAHMA (2) RUDRA (3) INDRAJAYA (4) APAVATSA (5) MARICHI (6) SAVITRI (7) VIVASWAN (8) VISHNU (9) MITRA (10) SAVITA (11) PRITHVIDHARA (12) RUDRA and (13) APA.
These celestial Beings laid force on the different limbs of the devotee and sat on them as shown below:
ISH (AGNI) – head; APA - face; PRITHWI DHARA; ARYAM - Chest; AVANTSA - heart; DITI; INDRA - Shoulders; SURYA; SOMA - Hands; RUDRA; RAJAYAKSHMA - left arm; SAVITRA; SAVITA - right arm; VIVASWAN; MITRA - Stomach; PUSHA; ARYAMA - Wrist; ASUR; SESHA - left side; VITATHA; GRAHAKSHAT - right side; YAMA; VARUNA - Thighs; GANDHARVA; PURAMADAN - on the knees; SUGRIV; BHRISH - shanks; DWARIKA; MRIGA - ankles; JAYA; SHAKRA - on the hairs grown on the feet; BRAHMA - on the heart.
Being bound like that, the devotee lay down there only. Since then, he has been lying there surrounded by the celestial Beings and thus he was called “the God of Vastu or VASTU PURUSHA”.
You will be known as ‘VASTUPURUSHA’. You will tease the people, to your heart’s content, who construct buildings and temples, dig wells and tanks on the side towards which you see and in the direction towards which you hold your feet. You may trouble and even devour those people who construct the aforesaid buildings and temples etc.
In the direction where you lay your head and back and those who lay foundation stone without worshipping you or without satisfying you with ‘Homa’ and the like. Then the Vastu Purusha was quite satisfied. Since then the worship of Vastu-Purusha has been in vogue and it has become compulsory for those who want to construct any kind of building.
Vastu Purusha, being arrested like this, said to the Gods, “Oh, Celestial Beings! you have all caught hold of me and tied me on all the sides. How long shall I be like this, in this position hanging my head down like a prisoner? What shall I eat?”
Listening to those words, the celestial Beings said, “Today is Bhadrapada Shukla Triteeya Saturday and ‘Visakha Star’; So you lie down here on the ground changing your position once in three months, i.e. from ‘Bhadrapada’ to ‘Kartik’ you lie down putting your head in the Eastern direction and your feet towards the West.
During the months of ‘Margashira’, ‘Pushyam’ and ‘Magha’, you lie down towards the South looking towards the West and put your feet towards the North; during the months of ‘Phalgun’, ‘Chaitra’ and ‘Vaisakh’ put your head towards the West and feet towards the East, looking towards the North; in the months of ‘Jyeshtha’, ‘Ashadha’ and ‘Sravana’, put your head towards the North and the feet towards the South and look towards the East. Whatever side you may turn, you will have to lie down on the left side only.
Everything in this world is made of five fundamental elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky. Principles of Vaastu Shastra are mainly dependent on the arrangement of; five essential elements of the world i.e. Earth, Water, Fire, Air; sky in their proper order and proportions to have better living conditions in a building.
There is a correlation and a complex pattern relating to human behaviour and built environment around him. Various unseen forces affect human body vertically, horizontally, diagonally and perpendicularly. For example :
The Ancient Science of Indian Architecture had become an unknown subject for the present day generation. Although, it had been described in great details by past masters; the present generation does not have even the basic knowledge about its fundamentals.
Few thumb rules have been in propogation casually here and there in their distorted versions and are treated by common man as superstitions and are practised by the so-called faithhealers in the name of vibrations out of the sixth sense and what more injustice can be there to such a great science?
ROOTS OF INDIAN ARCHITECTURE :
Every living being in the Universe desires to get rid of the adversities and troubles and wants to avail the various comforts and happiness of life. During that course every creature, right from the smallest insect upto the human being wants to have a comfortable dwelling place where it can live happily.
Man, being the most advanced living being in nature, his dwelling place too should be the best among all. This need of a comfortable dwelling place, known as "house", alongwith other requirments of life was very well identified by our forefathers long back and India has the honour of being the first country in the world to boast of the origin of this "Science of House Building", known as Vaastu Shastra.
Shri Maithilisharan Gupta, a noted Hindi poet has written in Bharat - Bharati: When the entire world was in its infancy! We, the Indians, were old enough in the knowledge of almost all the subjects of life. When others were wandering in the forest without even clothes, we were living in palatial houses seemingly touching the moon in the sky.
Whatever knowledge is spread in the world, we are major contributors to it. If our ancestors had not laid down the tracks of growth with their knowledge, science would not have grown in the world. The mysteries about which the rest of the world was ignorant, we had unfolded them all in our country Hindustan.
Professor Max Mullar once quoted in his speech, "If somebody asks me that which is the country where the man has answered the most complicated problems in various fields of life and science with his mental ablities and growth, I will say that it is the country known as "INDIA".
Our Vedas are supposed to be the oldest available literature on the earth. Vedas contain the descriptions of GRIH, GEH, HARMYA, SHAALA, BHAWAN, AAGAR, and SADAN, all being synonymns of the word "House". It does mean that our ancestors used to live in well developed houses even in the Vedic period to which belong the roots of Vastu Shastra.
ORIGINATORS, TEACHERS AND PREACHERS :
According to the ancient literature, there had been the following eighteen (18) originators, teachers and preachers of Vaastu Shastra :
Not only houses, but temples, palaces, forts, market places, army buildings, horse stables and buildings for keeping different domestic animals were all used to be constructed on the principles of Vaastu Shastra.
The Historical Background:
In the Vedic period, people built homes, temples and hermitages with a view to have a peaceful and harmonious living. But, in the modern world people build concrete clusters, mainly for the high rate of return. This race to make buildings not in line with the ancient bye laws of nature has led the world into pollution, environment and ecological problems with no peace of mind under any kind of shelter.
Vastu Shilpa Shastra, the ancient mystic science and the art of designing and constructing buildings finds its origin in Stapatya Veda, which in turns is a part of Atharvana Veda, one of the four Vedas. Vedas are not new to the other parts of the world and there have been people of all levels who have appreciated the depth, inspirations and insight of Vedic thoughts for many years. Our saints knew various mysterious and mystics of this vast universe even before western scientist could start finding them out. One of the systems discovered by them was VASTU SHASTRA.
SHASTRENANEN SARVASYA LOKASYA PARAM SUKHAM
CHATURVERG PHALA PRAPTI SHLOKSHCH BHAVEDYUVAM
SHLIP SHASTRA PARIGYAN MRITYOAPI SUJETAAM VRAJET
PARMANAND JANAK DEVANAMI DIMIRITAM
SHILP VINA NAHI JAGTISHU LOKESHU VIDYATE
JAGAD VINA NA SHILPANCH VARTATE VASAU PRABHO
Meaning – Because of VASTU SHASTRA, the whole universe gets good health, happiness and all round prosperity. Human beings attain divinity with this knowledge. Followers of VASTU SHASTRA get not only worldly pleasure but also experience heavenly bliss. With the above shloka, it is very much clear that VASTU SHASTRA is universal. It is not confined to any particular group of people in the development of all human being irrespective of any caste, creed or religion.
Every creature in this world tries to arrange for a place in which to live comfortably, enjoying all the luxuries and happiness of this world getting maximum benefits of heavenly boons.
Every one is aspirant of having sound health, beautiful wife, healthy children, wealth, means of earning through business, profession or state service, high reputation in society and over all mental and spiritual peace. The sea animals and amphibians prepare a dwelling place on the sea shore, the birds build nests in the trees, the insects make a hive, and human beings are ambitious of making a house on the earth where all the liabilities towards this world and towards heaven can be fulfilled without any disturbance and trouble.
Therefore, aware of the need of a house and in order to avoid troubles, man wants to construct a house on such a ground where he can feel all sorts or happiness and can lead a peaceful life free of troubles and enemies, thereby deriving spiritual peace.
With this aim in his mind he sets out in search of the learned wise persons who can guide him in selection of a site (plot) of his choice, and also in construction of the house. He wants to know the proper auspicious time, and principles (laws) of construction of the house.
Also he has in mind the colony or city, neighborhood, sources of water, natural environment, means of transport, etc. while selecting a plot for building a house, at the same time he thinks of his own interests and profits. The external features of the plot can be known with the help of persons living around or nearby the flat. But the quality and nature of the land can be judged only by Shastra. Therefore the selection of a site and the plan of the building is materialised only after consultation and seeking advice of expert astrologer and Vastu Specialist.
There are saying like
Nadi Shotriyo Raja Devagyo Na Chikitasak Tatra Vaso Na Kartavaya
A place where there is no river (Source of water - pond or well etc.), scholar, astrologer, ruler and medical expert, should not be selected for living thereon, it should be rejected.
Dushta Bharya Shath Mitra Bhratiyaschottar Dayak;
Sasarpe Ch Grahey Vaso Mirturev Na Sanshaya.
If there is house in which lives an unfaithful wife, a foolish friend , an outspoken servant and a snake, the owner of such a house may die any moment.
If such things are associated with the house constructed by some one, the life of the inmates becomes troublesome and unhappy, and there is always a fear of death.
Therefore everyone is curious to know as to what is Vaastu Shastra, and what principles and methods regarding construction of buildings have been given by the ancient saints and seers on the basis of their experience and commands in the divine scriptures. With the help of Vaastu Shastra and Shilpshastra, knowledge about the better and auspicious way of construction of a house, the positions and direction of gates, doors and rooms etc. in it, is gained so that a house may be built which will provide all round prosperity and happiness to the inmates. Thus Vastu Shastra provides some principles and rules on the guidelines of which suitable and comfortable buildings for residence, temples etc. are built and towns, colonies are planned.
Engineer Rameshwar Prasad
(B.Tech., M.Tech., P.G.D.C.A., P.G.D.M.)