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Vastu shastra (also vastu veda and vastuvidya, “science of construction”, “architecture”) is an ancient doctrine which consists of precepts born out of a traditional view on how the laws of nature affect human dwellings. The designs are based on directional alignments. It used to be applied in Hindu architecture, especially for Hindu temples, and covers other domains, including vehicles, vessels, furniture, sculpture, paintings etc. The foundation of Vastu is traditionally ascribed to the sage Maamuni Mayan (Mahaa-muni Maya, a daanava/demon reformed by tapasyaa/austerities) in South India, and Vishvakarman in North India.

While Vastu had long been essentially restricted to temple architecture, there has been a revival of it in India, in recent decades, notably under the influence of late V. Ganapati Sthapati, who has been campaigning for a restoration of the tradition in modern Indian society since the 1960s. While the fields are related, Shilpa Shastra explicitly deal with sculpture – forms, statues, icons, stone murals etc. The doctrine of Vastu Shastra is concerned primarily with architecture – building houses, forts, temples, apartments and other buildings.

There are many principles in Vaastu Shastra. To mention a few which involve certain mathematical calculations, Maana is used for proportional relationships in a building and Aayaadi specifies conditions for maximum well being and benefits for the residents of a building. Below are some of the basic theories in vaastu sastra.

Five elements

According to vastu sastra, the world comprises five basic elements known as the pancha maha bhoota. Out of the eight planets, ours has life because of the presence and balance of these five elements. The five elements are as follows.

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 effects on everything on the Earth, living and non-living.

WATER (Jala)

– This is represented by rain, river, sea and is in the form of liquid, solid (ice) and gas (steam, cloud). It forms part of every plant and animal. Our blood is mostly water.

AIR (Vayu)

– As a life supporting element, air is a very powerful life source. 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)

– Represents light and heat which account for day, night, the seasons, energy, enthusiasm, passion and vigour.

SPACE (Akasha)

– The Akasha provides shelter to all the above elements. It is also considered the primary conductor of all 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. Thus, the person can improve their conditions by properly designing their buildings by understanding the effectiveness of these five natural forces. Vaastu Sastra combines all the five elements of nature and balances them with the person and the material. It takes advantage of the benefits bestowed by the five elements of nature to create a congenial living and working environment thereby facilitating spiritual well-being and paving the way for enhanced health, wealth, prosperity and happiness.


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