Vastu is a Sanskrit word meaning a dwelling or a house with a corresponding plot of land.
Vastu shastra is the science of construction or architecture, an ancient doctrine based on an archaic view on the laws of nature and their effect on human dwellings. The designs of vastu shastra are based on directional alignments.
It is a primitive feature of our tradition, extensively used in the planning and construction of buildings such as ancient temples and minarets. It covers a wide variety of domains including poetry, dance, sculpture, etc but essentially focuses on mapping human dwellings.
Earlier Vastu was restricted essentially to temple architecture, it is now undergoing a stage of revival under the influence of late V. Ganapati Sthapati, instrumental in the restoration of the tradition in modern Indian society since the 1960s.
Shilpa Shastra is the doctrine dealing with sculptures – their forms, statues, icons and stone murals.
The doctrine of Vastu Shastra is however concerned primarily with architecture – building houses, forts, temples and apartments.
Besides all these, Vastu helped create great architects and town planning experts. It is believed that Vastu, the sage lived in India approximately 2000 years ago and he was the person who presided over the planning and building of new towns and cities.
The Five elements
According to vaastu shastra, the universe is made up of five elements Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space known as the pancha maha bhoota. Out of all planets and entities, ours has life because of the presence of these five elements and their integration and impact on everything else living as well as non-living.
EARTH is the only planet to support life and is an integration of living and non-living things subsiding with each other. Earth plays an important role in the universe and helps in the synthesis and evolution of humans and other beings.
WATER is a part of every plant and animal and plays a pivotal role in the nurturing of lives. Almost all things are made up of water. Human blood is mostly water. It is represented by rain, steam, rivers, seas and makes up for 70% of the universe.
AIR is a very powerful source and an essential element supporting life. Human physical comfort values are directly dependent on air flow, humidity, temperature, pressure, composition and no human being or animal can do without it.
FIRE represents light and heat which together account for day and night, four seasons, energy, enthusiasm, passion and vigour.
SPACE provides shelter to all the above elements. It is the primary conductor of energy sources within the universal context – physical energies such as sound and light, social energies such as psychological and emotional, and cognitive energies such as intellect and intuition.
There is an invisible and constant relation between all the five elements. Any person can improve his condition by properly designing their buildings understanding and evaluating the effect of these five natural forces. Vaastu shastra combines all the five elements of nature and balances them on the same pedestal with the person and the material. It takes advantage of the benefits bestowed by the five elements of nature to create a congenial environment fostering spiritual well-being and enhanced health, wealth, prosperity and happiness.
Vastu is an immensely powerful tool with a profound implication on our lives.
Vastu, like nature, has the ability to both create and destroy. Because of this extraordinary power, it is essential to have its correct and complete knowledge.