Salient Features of Vastu-Sastra (Edifice Science)
"If there is a downward slope towards the East, it gives prosperity. If there is
a downward slope towards the North, it provides wealth. If this slope is towards
the West, the loss of wealth, knowledge, death and destruction takes place. A slope
towards the South, it leads to death”.
Jyotisha or Astrology consists of three main divisions- Ganita, Phalita and Samhita.
Ganita is the mathematical part, Phalita is the predictive part and Samhita is the
division under which comes Vastu, weather forecasting and such other natural phenomena.
Vastu is, therefore an integral part of Jyothisha. In fact Utapal’s commentary on
Brihat Samhita refers to Vastu Vidya as an anga or limb of Jyotisha and that Vastu
falls in the category of Samhita teaching.
In Amarkosa, Vastu is defined as a dwelling. Vastu Sashtra is the science of dwelling
HISTORY OF VASTU SASTRA : Rishis (Seers,ea=nz"Vkj%) with their dedicated work, developed
the Edifice Science for safeguarding the biochemical reactions taking place in the
Vastu dates back to the Pre- Ramayan and the Mahabharata periods. The Epics contain
description of cities with multistoreyed buildings with spacious balconies &
porticos. It is said the site-plan of Ayodhya city was similar to the plan found
in the great architectural text Manasara.
In the Mahabharata mention is made of a number of houses that were built for the
kings who were invited to Indraprashta for the Rajsuya Yajna of King Yudhisthira.
Sage Vyas says that these houses were as high as the peaks of Kailasa Mountains,
perhaps meaning that they stood tall and majestic. These houses were free from obstructions,
had compounds with high walls and their doors were of uniform height and inlaid
with numerous metal ornaments.
References are also found in Budhist literature, of building constructed on the
basis of Vastu. The Jatakas contain references to individual buildings. Lord Buddha
is said to have delivered discourses on architecture and even told his disciples
that supervising the construction of a building was one of the duties of the order.
A treatise known as Chullavagga with a commentary of Buddhaghosha is said to contain
much material on the science of architecture.
Many Puranas such as Skanda, Agni, Matsya, Garuda, Narada, Vayu, Brahamanda and
Ling deal with Vastu fairly extensively.
For instance, the Matsya-purana refers to eighteen sages (Rishees) proficient in
Vastu. Bhrigu, Atri, Vasistha, Vishwakarma, Maya, Narada, Nagnajitha, Vishalaksha,
Purandhara, Brahma, Kumara, Nindisa, Shaunka, Garga, Vasudeva, Anirudha, Sukra and
Brihaspati are the eighteen celebrated authors referred to as Vastu Sastropadesakas
or instructors in the science of vastu.
The Brihat Samhita exquisitely deals with residential and temple architecture.
It is improper to argue that for any house there should be greater open spaces in
East, North and North- East.
According to Vastu Vidya 4.32.33- divide the site into four equal parts. The North-East
is of Manusha, the South-East is a Yamya- Khanda, the South-West is of Daiva-Khanda
and North - West is a Asura-Khanda. The house has to be constructed only in the
Manushya and Daiva-Khandas. A house can be constructed in the North-East. If there
is greater open space, the owner faces troubles. Similarly, there should not be
greater open space in North-West.
For the house constructed in the North-East-Manusha-Khanda, the road should be in
the East or in the North respectively. For Daiva Khand, the house should be in the
South-West, the road would be in the South or the West. Our ancients constructed
houses on these lines. Those who have left less open spaces in the East, North and
North-East, have become wealthy industrialists.
The various Agamas also give much useful information on architecture. Notable among
them are Kamikagama, Karnagama, Suprabhedagama, Vaikhansagama and Aamsumadbhedagama.
Certain works on Tantra such as Kiran Tantra and Hayaseersha Tantra also said to
contain much information on architecture.
Other treatises like Kautilya’s Arthasastra and Sukra Niti are said to dwell on
structural aspects of architecture.
Some of more important works on the science of dwelling are Mayamata, Manasara and
Samarangana Sutradhara. Manasara is a comprehensive treatise on architecture and
iconography. According to Dr. P.K. Acharya, the Editor of Manasara, this book is
considered to be the source of all presentations of architecture in Purana and Agama
as well as in more specialized texts such as Brihat Samhita and Mayamata. In fact,
this treatise itself is identified as a vastu sastra, the first Vastu being the
The Manasara represents the universality of vastu tradition and contains also the
iconography of Jain and Buddhist images. The work is universally accepted all over
India. Mayamata occupies a very important place amongst the various treatises on
Vastu. It is said to have originated from South India. Mayamata is the best known
among the ancient treatises dealing with architecture and iconography. Samarangana
Sutradhara also deals with architecture in detail. It even speaks of mechanical
devices called yantras.
Our ancients have provided us with wonderful knowledge about planning and construction
and we need to discipline our senses to make use of this knowledge for the betterment
of mankind at large. According to Prof. B. Suryanarayan Rao “Vastu refers to the
form of construction of the house and the energies or forces called into existence
by the arrangements made and the materials used in the construction. The subtle
chemical results, affected by the conjunction of various materials, though not seen
by the naked eyes, are still there and any evil tendencies produce danger, disease
or death to the occupants.”
Vastu can provide us all the vital information required to make our lives healthy
and peaceful. It is unfortunate that the town planners of today have absolutely
no knowledge nor inclination to take the assistance of the science of Vastu.
The morning rays of the Sun are a known source of positive energies and probably
our seers wanted these rays to flood the house and benefit the inmates. It is also
precisely for this reason that the bathroom where one takes one’s bath every morning
is also recommended in the East. Similarly, the placement of the shrine in the North-East
where we offer our prayer in the morning and the kitchen in the South-East where
the traditional house-wife is most of the time busy, are also related to the fact
that the morning rays are as much required by the house-wife in the kitchen as by
the master of the house in the shrine.
Another aspect of the specific achievement of the Hindu thought is reflected in
the position one is supposed to sleep. It is normally recommended for people to
sleep with their heads to the South. The human body is said to have the ability
to acquire the property of the magnetism because there is a large percentage of
iron in the blood circulating all over our body. It is also known that the earth
is a huge magnet with its poles having attracting and repulsive powers as is evident
by the pointing of a compass needle. The feet for the most part of the day are in
contact with this huge magnet. The South polarity is said to be induced in the feet
and consequently North polarity in the head. This arrangement of poles in human
body is natural to it and therefore conducive to health.
Brihat Samhita has much to say about gardens. Gardens or parks are recommended on
the banks of rivers and lakes. Neem and Ashok trees are recommended in one’s garden
and rear houses. Offices, residences, hospitals, complexes, apartment blocks, public
buildings, layouts and towns become better places to live in if they have gardens
in and around. The ancients gave much importance to laying of gardens and maintaining
them. Gardens enhance the Vastu strength of a building. They also give happiness
and delight both to the residents and the guests to the house.
Phalita Jyotisha: Coming to Phalita Jyotisha, the fourth house in a horoscope is
generally looked into for property and inheritance.
The lords of the second, fourth and twelfth in Kendras and Trikonas ensure smooth
affairs pertaining to property and houses. The fourth lord in lagna or in the seventh
gives the native a house without any difficulty. On the other hand if the lord of
the fourth is in the eighth, afflicted or debilitated, it deprives the person of
his land and houses. Property is also indicated if Venus is posited in the fourth
house. When Mars occupies the fourth the person will own a house but will not be
happy on that account. If Sun is in the fourth house, inheritance is indicated.
If Ketu is in the fourth, the person is deprived of properties. It is to be remembered
that these results get modified by aspects and conjunctions of other planets.
Importance of Muhurta (Muhurta Shastra) : Muhurta is another important part of house
building. It comes into play at four stages of construction viz., digging of well,
laying of foundation, placing of maindoor frame and finally the first entry into
new house or Grihapravesam.
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