THE LEGEND OF VASTU PURUSHA:
According to Hindu mythology, in the beginning, Brahma, the creator of the Universe, experimented with the creation of a new creature. He created a large cosmic man, who grew rapidly as he began to devour everything in his path to satisfy his insatiable hunger. When he became so big that his shadow fell on the Earth creating a permanent eclipse, the gods Shiva and Vishnu begged Brahma to do something before everything was destroyed by this Creature.
Brahma realised his mistake and called the Astha Dikapalakas, the Gods of the eight cardinal directions. Together, they overpowered the monster and held it flat against the earth. Then Brahma jumped in the middle and held the monster down.Then the Monster cried "You created me like this. So why am I being punished?" Brahma offered him a compromise and made the Monster immortal with the boon that he would be worshiped by any mortal that builds a structure on earth. He was named Vastu Purusha.
Vastu Shastra gives the directive principles regarding construction of buildings so as not to displease the Vastu Purusha. These principles are explained with the help of the diagram called the Vastu Purusha Mandala.
THE VASTU PURUSHA MANDALA:
The diagrams shown above, known as Vastu Purusha Mandala, is a metaphysical square plan that illustrates how the Vastu Purusha was pinned down by Brahma and 44 Gods - face down, with his head to the North-East and his feet towards the South-West.
The diagram is divided into 9x9 = 81 parts. The positions of the 45 gods (32 in the external enclosures and 13 in the internal enclosures) who are holding down the Vastu Purusha are shown. These symbolic Gods rule various aspects of life and have certain inherent qualities.
The function of the rooms placed in each area of the house was according to the nature of the deity ruling that particular area.
According to Vastu Shastra, if the house is designed as per the Vastu Purusha Mandala, a perfectly balanced environment which ensures enhanced health, wealth and happiness is created, because the ancient Vaastu pundits figured out that when the different rooms were placed according to the Vastu Mandala, good disposition to the Sun, proper ventilation and lighting and privacy would be ensured.
POSITIONING OF DIFFERENT ROOMS IN A HOUSE ACCORDING TO VASTU PURUSHA MANDALA:
Humans perform different activities depending on the time of the day. The ancient Vastu pundits divided the 24 hours into eight parts, representing the eight cardinal directions. They designed and oriented various rooms of a house towards the Eight cardinal directions, such that at any given time of the day depending on the activity, the inmates were able to get the useful rays of the Sun, according to the position of the sun through the day. This has been explained here:
North-East: The period between 3 am and 6 am, just before sunrise is called Brahma Muhurta. At this time, the Sun is in the North-Eastern part of the house. These hours are ideal for Yoga, meditation, or study as it is very quiet and peaceful. Therefore, the N orth-East corner is the best position for the Puja Room or meditation room.
East: From 6 am to 9 am, the Sun is in the eastern part of the house. This is the time for bathing and preparing for the day, so East is a good location for a bathroom used for bathing purposes only.
South-East: The time between 9 am to 12 in the noon, when the Sun is in the South-East part of the house, is the best time for preparing food to be eaten later in the day. Therefore, the kitchencan be located here.
South: After lunch it is time for rest, so the time between noon and 3 pm is called Vishranti, the resting period. The Sun is now in the South, and hence the best position for a bedroom.
South-West: After rest, from 3 pm to 6pm is the time for studying and work, and the Sun is now in the South-West section of the house, the ideal location for a study or library.
West: The period between 6 pm and 9 pm is the time for eating, sitting or reading. The Sun is in the West and this is the best location for dining room or sitting room.
North-West: The time between 9 pm and midnight, when the Sun is in the North-West part of the house is the time to sleep. This part is a good location for another bedroom also.
North: The time between midnight and 3 am, when the Sun is in the Northern section, is the time of darkness and secrecy. The North is the best place to hide valuables and to keep them protected.
An aspect that needs particular mention is that even modern architectural experts have been mesmerized by the significant planning that was involved in the construction of towns and cities in ancient times. Therefore, the rich traditions of Vastu Shastra have been in place for thousands of years and have always been regarded with utmost importance.
Engineer Rameshwar Prasad
(B.Tech., M.Tech., P.G.D.C.A., P.G.D.M.)