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What is vastu-shastra and how to relate to it
What is vastu-shastra and how to relate to it

We find out whether the dwelling should have a layout according to the cardinal points and correspond to the energy of the elements.

Feng Shui in Indian: What is Vastu Shastra
Feng Shui in Indian: What is Vastu Shastra

What is vastu-shastra and how did it come about

Vastu-shastra ("science of building" from Sanskrit) is a system of architectural planning and design in Hindu, as well as some Buddhist beliefs, based on ideas about the aura of a dwelling. The concept describes the methods of building, planning and arranging a house, based on the idea of unity with nature, harmony with the elements. For this, geometric patterns, principles of symmetry and adherence to directions are used.

Vastu Shastra originated in ancient India. The system is mentioned in the Vedas, for example in the Rig Veda, the text of which was compiled 3–3, 5 thousand years ago. The ancient Indian epic "Mahabharata" contains a lot of information about vastu. History of Vastu Shastra is considered to be the mythical founder of the Vastu Shastra. the sage-carpenter Mamuni Mayan, who discovered its principles thousands of years ago.

Already in those days, Indian temples, as well as the surrounding ponds and gardens, were designed according to the vastu theory.

The vastu-shastra is considered to be a written part of the vastu-vidya teaching, the broader Hindu system of guidelines for architecture and design. In fact, it is a mixture of geometry, philosophy, religion and astrology.

According to the canons of the vastu shastra, one of the largest religious monuments in the world was built - Angkor Wat
According to the canons of the vastu shastra, one of the largest religious monuments in the world was built - Angkor Wat

What is this system built on

It is believed that the vastu-shastra is suitable both for arranging a temple and for planning residential buildings.

To understand its principles, you need to turn to another Hindu concept: "mandala". This is a kind of geometric model of the Universe, which is used for concentration of attention during meditation and for going into a trance. Such a "map" can form both the space of the dwelling as a whole, and the image on the floor or wall. Directions in the mandala are associated with the elements.


Manduka mandala is one of the most widespread and sacred forms of Hindu temples. Image: Mark.muesse / Wikimedia Commons


Mandala of colored sand. Image: Colonel Warden / Wikimedia Commons

In total, according to the views of the Hindus, there are five spheres of energy, or five elements: water, air, fire, earth and space. All of them are associated with both body parts and cardinal points:

  • northeast - water;
  • southeast - fire;
  • south-west - land;
  • northwest - air;
  • the center is space, the universe.

It is believed that the deity Vastu Purusha lives in every piece of land. According to legend, it was a demon until the gods pressed him to the ground and he himself became a god. Purusha lay with his head towards the northeast and with his feet towards the southwest. Along this line, according to the vastu-shastra, the diagonal of the house should be.

North ("roof of the world") and east (the direction from which the sun begins to move) also play a special role in vastu.

Vastu Purusha lying on the ground
Vastu Purusha lying on the ground

In addition to the location of the house, the vastu-shastra also regulates the planning of the site, the proportions of the building, the architectural design and decoration of the premises.

A square and a rectangle are considered harmonious forms (inherent in the elements of the earth), therefore, from the point of view of a vastu, it is desirable that the dwelling be of just such a shape. Also, the correct location of the house relative to the cardinal points allegedly does not allow various unfriendly elements (for example, fire and water or earth and air) to collide with each other.

The shape of the fire is considered to be a triangle. Vastu Shastra supporters believe that this type of room will become a breeding ground for quarrels and scandals. Also, in their interpretation, the circle denotes air and, accordingly, mobility, anxiety, anxiety; and the semicircle is water, serenity and passivity.

In addition, according to the vastu-shastra, one should not allow excessive deviation towards one of the elements. For example, if the south-western part of the building is proportionally larger than the others, the owners of such a home run the risk of becoming lazy. The center of the premises should be free, and the house itself should be located in the south-west of the site.

The location of the premises inside the building is determined by the vastu with the help of astrology. For example, focusing on the moon, you should choose the location of the main entrance.

Even today, people turn to vastu to solve everyday problems. This doctrine is especially popular in their homeland: in India, even high-ranking officials resort to it. For example, the case of the head of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Rama Rao, is indicative. He was advised to enter his office from the east side to deal with political issues. To accomplish this, Rama Rao ordered the demolition of the slums near the corresponding part of the building.

Why You Should Be Skeptical of the Vastu Shastra

Critics blame Kumar P. Akshaya Tritiya and the great Indian superstition industry. The firstpost of the followers of vastu-shastra is that they do not understand architecture, are not familiar with building standards and sanitary norms, as well as with the principles of mass construction of buildings. Attempts to apply vasta in modern conditions are called pseudoscientific by many.

The followers of the vastu-shastra themselves seek to rationally substantiate the need for its application, calling the practice reasonable and functional. They reproach critics for not reading old texts, in which most of them are devoted to the distribution of sunlight, the adequate arrangement of rooms and convenient routes of movement. Modern Vastu supporters see it more as a model for organizing space, and not as a rigid guide. For example, using a mandala does not mean that all rooms must be square.

Vastu Shastra is often compared to Jain S. What is the Difference Between Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui? Livspace with feng shui. These oriental teachings are similar in many ways: they are both ancient, aimed at achieving harmony and directing life energy through home improvement. But such a comparison is not very flattering to the followers of the vastu. The scientific community classifies feng shui as pseudoscience and criticizes it not only for being based on superstition and lack of evidence of effectiveness, but also for marketing manipulation of people.

Do not expect miracles when choosing a house built according to the canons of Eastern teachings. People create harmony and comfort, not elements and energy flows. So vastu-shastra should be treated more like an exotic practice, borrowing its external elements such as decor or garden plans if you like.