WHAT IS VASTUSHASTRA?
Dr. Ashwinie Kumar Bansal
Vastushastra is a voluminous and scattered ancient Hindu literature dealing with knowledge of architecture, iconography and, art relating to structures and buildings. It comprises independent works which are classified under the general heading of Vastushastra.
It is an ancient Hindu practice to construct buildings in harmony with natural forces for well being of humanity as a whole. It is a rich Hindu philosophy which is given in a number of ancient works including the Vedas or sacred lore which, are considered to have reached us directly in the form of hymns or mantras.
The word Vastu has been derived from vastoshpati used in Rig Veda and is meant to provide protection, happiness and prosperity in this life as well as after death.
Vastoshpart Prati Jati Hachasman Tvavesho Atbhivo Bhavatah I
Yat Tvameh Prati Natro Jushsvshan Aashtu Dvipadshaam Chatushpade I I
The Rig Veda part 7, chapter 54/1
It is a prayer to the Vastu Purusha and it means:
Oh God of structures and buildings, we are your devotees. Listen to our prayers, make us free of diseases, give wealth and prosperity, and help the well being of all persons and animals living in the house.
Vastushastra is a Sanskrit word (the most ancient and original language of the Hindus). Vastu means dwelling and Shastra mean treatise or book. Hence Vastushastra mean a book on dwelling. Do's and don'ts, of Vastushastra are explained logically and in a scientific way in the ancient literature. So we can also call it a science of dwelling.
There are references to science of Vastushastra in various ancient books like the Ramayana, the Mahabharta and Budhist literature-Chullavagga etc. other ancient books like the Puranas and many other ancient books (like the Mayamata, Maansar, and the Brihat Samhita) have discussed the subject in detail.
There were a number of acknowledged experts on Vastushastra in the ancient times. The Matsyapurana refers to eighteen experts proficient in Vastu in a verse-
Bhriguratri Vasishthasch Viswakarm Mayaastatha |
Narado Nagnajichaiv Visalakshah Purandarah ||
Brahma Kumaro Nandisha Shaunako Gaarg Eva Ch |
Vasudevo Anirudhasch Tatha Shukro Brihaspatih ||
Ashtadashaite Vigyate Vastu shastropade Shakaha ||
Bhrigu, Atri, Vasishta, Viswakarma, Maya, Narada, Nagnajitha, Visalaaksha, Purandhara, Brahma, Kumara, Nandisa, Saunaka, Gaarga, Vaasudeva, Aniruddha, Sukra and Brihaspati are the eighteen celebrated authors referred to as Vastu Shastropadeshakas or instructors in the Science of Vastu.
Derived and secondary sites, or artificial sites prepared and modelled like buildings built on land together with vehicles and furniture are known as Vastu. The Earth is the initial form of dwelling on which others have appeared subsequently. It Earth was the first entity to exist and she is the support of all other living things. Primary and natural environment and surroundings are known as Vastu. But generally Vaastu and Vastu are used interchangeably to designate dwellings or buildings and are synonymous.
Civilisation commenced with the construction of houses, towns, palaces, mansions etc. Vastu is a basic element of civilisation. The excavations at Harappa and Mohen-jodaro have indicated the influence of Vastu on Indus Valley Civilization. During the time of Varahamihira, in 5th century A. D. the Brahma Vastushastra was in vogue. The development of Vastu in India can be traced in three regions. Vastu preached by Maya, the divine architect was followed in the land between Vindhya Mountains and the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra. Vastu preached by Kashyapa was widely followed in the area between Vindhya Mountains and Himalayas. Vastu preached by Bhrigu was largely followed in Southern India.
Vastushastra is an oriented science and gives definite and immediate results if applied properly. It defines the proportions and details of building elongation, slopes, water tanks, kitchens, bedrooms, stairs, heights of roofs, entrances, doors, windows, walls etc.
Living in harmony with nature is the theme of Vastushastra. It is important for the construction of houses, villages, towns, and cities.
Courtesy: Devender Singh Rawat
Special for readers of Uttaranchal.ws : This introductory article about Vastushastra is brought to you by Vastushastra expert Dr. A.K Bansal and we thank Devender Singh Rawat for providing us the articles with valuable information about the ancient art of Vastushastra. If you would like to read more about vastu on this site,or want counsaltancy for vastu and fengshui, please us.
Dr. Ashwinie Kumar Bansal, LL.B. A.C.S., has the distinction of being Expert of Fengshui and Vastu Shastra, and of writing 35 books on these subjects including two International editions published in United Kingdom and German. He is conducting research on parliament building of important countries like U.K., U.S.A., Germany etc. and had already written a research paper on Indian parliament building.
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