India And Vastu - A Brief History

Vastu shastra, the ancient architectural science, was first mentioned in the Indian holy texts called The Vedas. More specifically, it was mentioned in the Stapatya Veda, which is a part of the Atharva Veda. The Vedas are more than five thousand years old. The sages in those times plotted the course of the sun and set down rules that governed each and every aspect of building temples and royal palaces. It was only later that these rules grew to encompass buildings of every kind.

The word vastu is derived from the word vastoshpati which is found in the Rig Veda. This concept is aimed at the preserving the happiness, health and prosperity of human beings in this life and the afterlife. Vastu also believes in the existence of the Vastu Purush, the god who resides in all buildings. The main function of vastu is to maintain the balance that we have with everything around us.

The science of vastu spread to other parts of Asia, including Japan where it became the basis for the development of Feng Shui. In India, proof of the existence of vastu can be found in many sacred texts and epics. The Ramayana and Mahabharata mention buildings that were constructed according to vastu principles. Vastu was also used for the buildings in the Indus Valley Civilization. Excavations at Harappa and Mohenjadaro are proof of this.

The first official thesis on Vastu was written by the sage Kasyapa. It was called the Kasyapa Silpa. A dissertation called the Agama Shastra talks about how vastu can be used for any type of construction. Vastu shastra, being a technical science, was initially taught only to architects. The architects passed the knowledge through the generations verbally and by written monographs.

Ancient Buddhist texts also mention vastu. In fact, Lord Buddha talks about how overseeing the work on the construction of a building is one of the duties of a monk. Monasteries, multi storey buildings, workplaces and residences were built using vastu principles.

Apart from the solar movements, vastu also places importance on the eight directions and the five basic elements. The directions are north, south, east, west, north-west, north-east, south-west and south-east. The elements are earth, wind, fire, water and sky. Vastu believes that if there is a balance between all these elements, then we will have a happy and prosperous life. The balance in our outer surroundings will bring balance to our inner selves.

The theories of vastu have also been scientifically proven. We know now that the earth's magnetic poles have an influence on us. We also know that there is something called the Natural Law which is responsible for all life in the universe. Vastu complies with all these theories. It ensures that our houses and offices are built in such a way that we make the best of all the positive energies present around us and reduces our exposure to negative energies.