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 or architecture.
HISTORY OF VASTU SASTRA : Rishis (Seers) with their dedicated work, developed the Edifice Science for safeguarding the biochemical reactions taking place in the human body.
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 earth.
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.