Vastu Shastra, Origin and its Principles

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Vastu Shastra, Origin and its Principles

Vastu means abode or a house and Shastra means science or technology, i.e., it is the scientific method of house construction. In original Sanskrit language, Vastu Shastra means the dwelling of humans and gods. It considers a house to have a prana in it. And therefore, this science in a manner defines the communication between man and the cosmos. This science of direction combines all the five elements of nature and balances them with man and materials and thus the life in the house should provide the benefit of these elements. Vastushastra aims to create a subtle contributive atmosphere in a structure which helps one in bringing out the best, thereby paving the way for enhanced health, wealth, prosperity, and happiness in an enlightened environment. Vastu is very deep and ancient and can be described as universal, rational, beneficial, permanent, practical and utilitarian.

We are surrounded by a sequence of environmental threats in our day to day life which leads us to constant physical and mental instability, insecurity or disorders. The principle for healthy homes includes harmony with the environment, peace for the spirit and health for the human being. According to the worldwide cultures, Vastu Shastra has ingrained in the human experience and in traditions of home building. It is an immanent energy concept of science. We can realize the energy and see its application in different forms but is invisible to our naked eyes. Science is what that is up to the knowledge of mind is called science and spirituality is what beyond the knowledge of the mind. Beyond a science, Vastu is a bridge between man and nature thus teaching us the art of living.

The cosmic influence of the sun, its light, heat and solar energy, the wind direction, the moon’s position, the earth’s magnetic field and the influence of cosmos on our planet were kept in view while formulating the principles laid down in Vastu Shastra were formulated. The system is a fusion of science of directions, astronomy, and astrology. Vastu principles are Vedic philosophy aims at discovering the secret laws of the universe and to shape a pattern of everyday life from them. And therefore its principles were set accordingly so that Vastu Shastra can be labeled as geological, geometrical, geophysical, botanical and above all cosmological and celestial in nature. Vastu is fundamentally that art of perfect framework whereby one can place himself in such a manner so as to assimilate the maximum benefits of the paanchbhootas as well as the influence of the earth’s magnetic field. The scientific use of the elements creates an ideally stabilized environment, which assures the magnification of health, wealth, and prosperity.

The special characteristics and influences of using all the five elements of this universe were well-known to our sages and seers. So they derived scientific processes and systems and cramped them over the years as ‘Vastu Shastra’. It works on three principles of design that envelop the entire premise. The designed premise should satisfy the three basic principles such as bhogadyam, sukhadarsham and rumyu. According to these principles, the designed premises must be useful and practical in approach, pleasing to eyes in accordance with aesthetics and beneficial for the user and should be a part of its well-being.


Vastu is a part of Vedas which is believed to be four or five thousand years old. Vastu Shastra is originated from Stapatya Veda, a part of Atharva Veda and was followed acutely during the Mahabharat Era. During this era, a pioneer in architecture named Maya was, wrote a book called Maya-Mahatamya. Vishwakarma was also a pioneer who constructed Dwarka city. Brihut Samhita, Kashyap Shilpa Shastra, Vishvakarma Vastu, Maya Vastu, Mayamatam, Matsyapurana, Samaraanagana Sutradhaar etc are the various texts on this subject.

Samaraanagana Sutradhaar openly states:

Sukham Dhanaani Budhischa Santhathi Sarvadhaanrunam

Priyaaneyshaam Cha Samsiddhee Sarvamsyathu Subhalakshanam

Yatra Nindhit LakshmathraThahee-The-Sham-Vidhath Krith

Atha Sarvamupadeyam Yadveth Subhalakshanam

Desahpur Nivasas cha Sabhaveesma Sannaanicha

Yadhya Dheedhrusa-many-as acha Thathashreyskarammatham

Vastu Shasthraa Dhruthe-tasya Na syal-laksanananirnaya:

Thasmath Lokasya Krupaya Saathametha-dhuriryathe

The essence of this elegant shloka is that a well-planned house as per Vastu Shastra will give all pleasures, wealth, intelligent children, peace and happiness, redeem one from debts etc. Negligence to Vastu will result in unnecessary travels, bad name, grief, and disappointments. All houses, villages, towns, and cities should be built conforming to Vastu Shastra. Vastu Shastra, is, therefore ushered in for the betterment and overall welfare of the people in this world.

Vastu was regarded as the science of construction of temples and royal palaces. In Amara Simha’s Amarakosa, a Sanskrit dictionary and epics like Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Garuda Purana and Vishnu Purana, the principles pertaining to this science had been articulated. Apart from these works, epics like the Bruhatsamhita, Vishnu Dharmottara Purana, Viswakarma Vastu Shastra, Samarangana Sutra Dharana and Aparajitha Prutchcha, have been responsible for Vastu taking shape as a science. The first official treatise on Vastu, the Kasyapa Silpa, has been attributed to Sage Kasyapa. In the treatise Agama Sastra, which explains the science of temples, Vastu is considered as the basis for any type of construction. Excavations at Harappa and Mohenjodaro also reveal the influence of Vastu on the lndus Valley Civilisation.

Vastu is based on the coaction of various forces of nature involving the five elements earth, water, air, fire, and space and strives to maintain equilibrium as these elements influence, guide and change the lifestyles of not only human beings but every living/non-living character on earth.


The principle of Vastu Shastra is concerned with the architecture of building houses, forts, temples, apartments, offices and other buildings. According to Vastu, the world comprises of five basic elements: the panchmahabhoot, whose presence and balance made the life on earth possible. These are:

  • Earth (Prithvi): Earth’s magnetic field and the gravitational force have a considerable effect on everything that is present on earth, living or non-living. According to the scientific theories, the earth is a mammoth magnet, which has acquired magnetism due to magnetic particles embedded in it. It has two poles, North Pole and the South Pole. The southern pole of this magnet is located in the northern hemisphere and the northern pole in the southern hemisphere. Based on the magnetic principles, the distribution of load is done in Vastu Shastra. Therefore, the land, the soil of the plot & selection of site matters and influences the human life in every way. Earth element exerts maximum energy and is the most important element in Vastu.
  • Water (Jal): Water is represented by rain, rivers, and oceans and is present in three forms i.e. Solid, Liquid, and Gas. It is an essential part of all living beings. In a natural cycle, the ice melts with the heat of the sun, forms the liquid, which gets evaporated and forms clouds which then bring water in the form of rains. The habitat and physical life are where water is present. Water matters for all life forms and eco-cultures, which in relation to earth decides the type, form, and pattern of life. Therefore Vastu provides proper directions for the placement of water sources. It is the second foremost element considered in Vastu.
  • Air (Vayu): Air is a very powerful life source. The physical comfort value of a human directly and sensitively dependent on the correct composition, flow, temperature, pressure, and content of the air. In this aspect, air deals with the entire body surface through skin, blood system and through respiration. According to Vastu, windows and doors are provided in the specific direction so as to receive a good amount of air.
  • Fire (Agni): Agni represents the heat and light which account for day and night, seasons and energy, enthusiasm, vigour and passion. Earth derives heat and light from the thermonuclear reaction in the sun. Sun represents light and heat without which the life is difficult. There should be proper ventilation for sunlight being necessary and natural source of light for human beings.
  • Space (Akash): The space provides shelter to all the other elements. It is considered as the primary conductor of all energy sources – physical energies like sound, light and heat, social energies like psychological and emotional energy, and cognitive energies like intellect and intuition. It is also called universe which is known as ‘Brahamand’- the place of god.

Vastu stands in Earth. Earth depends on water which is balanced by Agni. Agni is controlled by air whose movements are only possible in the sky (space). Similarly, the Purusha/living beings are related to these elements. The body (earth) depends on the water whose contents are balanced by the Agni. Agni/heat is controlled by the air. Breathing is possible only if we are having space inside the human body. All these elements are skillfully engineered towards the creation of physically comfortable, emotionally pleasant, intellectually determinant, totally vibrant and blissfully satisfying spaces for human shelter and habitat.