The origin of Vastu
The origin of vaastu shastra may have taken place more than thousands of years ago. The learned men of those days may not have lived in houses themselves, but they definitely dedicated their lives to the development of “vaastushastra” or “vaastu” science, as it is popularly known today.
The principles of science established during those days were based exclusively on the effect of sunlight at different times of the day. The observations and corrections made were noted and concluded only after a thorough examination of the situation.
Vastu is part of the Vedas, believed to be between four and five thousand years old. Through penance and meditation, the yogis of that period obtained answers believed to come from the cosmic mind itself to their questions. Therefore, the Vedas are attended with divine knowledge. Vastu’s art originates from the Stapatya Veda, a part of the Atharva Veda.
It used to be a purely technical subject and was only limited to architects (Sthapatis) and handed over to his heirs. The principles of construction, architecture, sculpture, etc., as stated in the epics and treatises on temple architecture, have been incorporated into the science of the vast. His description is there in epics like Mataysya Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Garuda Purana and Vishnu Purana. There are a few other ancient shastras that transmit vastu shastra knowledge to the next generation, such as Vishvakarma Prakash, Samraangan Sutradhar, Kashyap Shilpshastra, Vrihad Sanhita, and Praman Manjaree.
In the Mahabharata it is said that several houses were built for the kings who were invited to the Indraprastha city for the Rajasuya Yagna of King Yuddhistira. The sage Vyasa says that these houses were as high as the peaks of the Kailasa Mountains, which perhaps meant that they were tall and majestic. The houses were free of obstructions, had compounds with high walls, and their doors were of uniform height and inlaid with numerous metal ornaments. The site plan of Ayodhya, the city of Lord Rama, is said to be similar to the plan found in the great Manasara architectural text. References can also be found in Buddhist literature, of buildings built on the basis of Vastu. They contain references to individual buildings. Lord Buddha is said to have given speeches on architecture and even told his disciples that overseeing the construction of a building was one of the duties of the order. Mention is made of monasteries (Viharas) or temples, buildings that are partly residential and partly religious (Ardhayogas), residential apartment buildings (Prasadas), multi-storey buildings (harmyas) and Guhas or residential buildings for middle class people .
The Vastu, with the word meaning ‘abode’, is believed to be the place of residence of God and man. According to its modern meaning, it covers all buildings, regardless of their use, such as residences, industries, commercial establishments, hostels, hotels, etc. It is based on the five basic and essential elements, such as Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Jal (water), Bhumi (earth) and Aakasha (space), which are known as Panchabhutas. Everything on earth is built from these elements.