Vasthu Shasthra or Vasthu Vidya is an ancient Indian mystic science that deals with architecture.
The term Vasthu is derived from the word Samscrithm Vasa, meaning habitat. Vast is referred to as the site, fit for construction of a residence. Hence, the science pertaining to the construction of houses came to be known as Vasthu Shasthra.
Like every other art form and science of ancient India, Vasthu Vidya also bases its convictions on the principles of Hinduism. Vasthu can be traced back to the Vedas (the formost scriptures of Hinduism). It is mentioned in the Staptya Veda which in turn is part of Atharva Veda, one of the four Vedas.
It embodies design principles and practices as practiced by people of ancient India. Vasthu Shasthra was often used to provide measurements and placement to constructions of religious importance like Temples, Yagna Vedi (a place where offerings to gods are made) and palaces. It was also used to decide the location and plans of Human dwellings too
In order to model the buildings Vasthu Shasthra used a divine being called Vasthu purusha to be the embodiment of the building. and the location of building was called Vasthu purusha mandala. It then divided the house into different parts and assigned a deity of Hinduism as the protector of each parts. They are
deity:Indra :- He is the lord of Devas -Supernatural entities who stand mostly for Dharma (goodness)
Iravatham the elephant of Indra and Samwardhan (another deity of Hindu mythology) are the watch masters to ensure the existence of Dharma (goodness)
It is called Pitrusthanam or the place of father/males .Vasthu insists that it should be open for fertility and is the source aiding male children.
- South East (Agenya or Dakshina Poorva )
deity:Agni :- Lord of fire in ancient Indian Myths.
Pundareekam - The elephant, Unmaththam the Demon are the guards of this direction.
It is described as the source of health, place of fire, cooking and food.
deity:Yama :- Lord of Death and afterlife. He is said to be the most just person of all.
Vamanam - the elephant, Gundodara - the Demon are the guards of this direction.
Described as source of wealth, crops and happiness.
South West (Nairuthi -Dskshina Paschim)
deity: Niruthi :- A deva of Hindu Mythology
Kumudam - the elephant and Dheerkhakayan the Demon are the guards of this space.
Source of character, behavior, cause of longevity and death.
deity:Varuna :- Lord of water and the seas.
Anujanam the elephant, Hirashwa Padan are the guards.
Source of name, fame and prosperity.
North West (Uthara Paschim)
Pushpandam the elephant - Simha Mukham the Demon are the guards.
Source of change in course of business, friendship and enmity.
deity:Kubera :- Lord of wealth and prosperity in Hindu myths
Sarvabhowman - the elephant, Gajamuhan - the demon are the guards.
It is described as the Mathrusthanam the place of mother\females Vasthu insists that this be left open being the source the source aiding female children.
North East (Easanam or Uthara Poorvam)
Supradeepam the elephant, Priyamukhan the demon are guards.
Source of health, wealth, prosperity and male children.
The Vasthu Purusha is imagined as lying face down in the location of the house facing north east.
Accourding to Vasthu Sashtra any building material is thought to be the composition of 5 basic elements (Panchabhoothas).
- Aakaash - void space. Its main characteristic is Shabda (Sound).
Vaayu - air, Its characteristics are Shabda and Sparsha (Touch).
Agni - fire, It's main characteristics are Shabda, Sparsha and Roopa (form).
Jala - water, its main characteristics are Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa and Rasa (taste)
Bhuumi land/solid. Its main characteristics are Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa, Rasa, and Guna (quality).
Each of these building blocks are thought to have different characteristics that encourages or discourages the nature and behavior of the occupants of the building. The Vasthu uses these meta tags to differentiate the nature of each building materials like wood brick and mortar. The Nalukettu of Kerala and most old Hindu Temples are examples of architecture using Vasthu Shasthra.
A lot of literature has been passed down generations that deals with Vasthu Vidya.
Bruhat Samhita (The Great Celestial Science)
Varaha Mihira wrote this during the regime of the Guptas. This treatise is written systematically in lucid style. It contains the measurements of stories of floors in a building , differences in the types of buildings and the characteristics of idols.
Vishnu Dharmottra Purana
The origin of this epic can be dated back 7th century AD. It deals with basic principles of the subjects Vasthu, Sculpture and painting.
Vishwakarma Vaasthu Shastra
This period of its emergence is vogue. It deals with the construction of buildings both secular and religious apart from sculpture. It is considered to be authoritative treatise on Vasthu, a social subject.
Samarnagna Sutra Dharana
This book was written by the king - Bhoja in 11 th century AD. It deals with temple construction, idol fabrication, art and painting.
It is said that this treatise came to light during 12th century AD. In this book secular architecture , religious architecture, sculpture dance and music are dealt with in the form of a dialogue between Vishwakarma, the divine architect and his ideal daughter Aparajita.
This is the oldest treatise available in South India. It covers the techniques of construction for residential and ballistic purposes. However the available is considered to be incomplete.
This was written by Sutradhara Mallu in 12th century AD.
This was written by Sukhananda Yathi in 12th century AD.
Vaastu Raja Vallabha
This was written on sculpture in 16th century AD.