Vaastu Shahtra: A Spiritual Way Of Town Planning And Architecture
Vaastu Shastra (Vaastu- physical environment and Shastra- knowledge/ text/ principles. The 't' in both the words is pronounced softly. Also spelled Vastu) is one of the traditional Hindu canons of town planning and architecture. These canons are codified in texts such as Manasara Silpa Shastra (by Manasara), Mayamatam (by Maya), Viswakarma Vaastushastra (by Viswakarma), Samarangana Sutradara (by Raja Bhoja), Aparajita Praccha (by Viswakarma's son Aparajita) and Silparatna. Other treatises such as Agni Purana and works by Kautilya and Sukracharya are not popular even though they preceded the previously mentioned documents. Distinction of style exists due to each documents place of origin. Mayamata and Mansara Silpa Shastra are considered Dravidian because they are from South india whereas Viswaskarama Vaastu Shastra is considered Aryan due to its North Indian origin. Vaastu Shastra deals with various aspects of designing and building living environments that are in harmony with the physical and metaphysical forces/ energies of the cosmos such as the gravitational, electromagnetic and supernatural. Building practices based on limited interpretations of these principles are still sustained in specific areas of India.
Though Vastu is conceptually similar to Feng Shui in that it also tries to harmonize the flow of energy (Also called Life-force, and Prana in Sanskrit, similar to Chi in Chinese) through the house, it differs in the details, such as the exact directions in which various objects, rooms, materials etc are to be placed.
Components of Vaastu Shastra:
All places of dwelling are termed Vastu however the actual physical manifestation of the dwelling is called Vaastu. There are four categories of Vaastu-
The earth/ site- Bhoomi, the principal dwelling place on which everything else rests
The structures on the earth - Prasada
Movable objects (vehicles) - Yaana
As these categories suggest, the principles of Vaastu Shastra extend from the macro level to the micro level- site selection, site planning and orientation, zoning and disposition of rooms, proportional relationships between the various parts of buildings and the character of buildings.
The principal Gods/ presiding deities of each direction (called the ashtadikpalar) are:
Northeast- Isaana- Lord of all quarters(Religions,Luck and Faith)
East- Aditya- Sun God (Seeing the world)
Southeast- Agni-Lord of Fire(Genrating)
South- Yama- Lord of Death (Damaging)
Southwest- Pitru- ancestors(History)
West- Varuna- Lord of water(Physical)
Northwest- Vayu- Lord Of Winds(Advertisement)
North- Kubera- Lord of Wealth(Finance)
Centre- Brahma- Lord/Creator of the Universe(Desire)
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