Vastu Shashtra: The science of architecture
The name Vastu Shashtra, when translated in English means 'science of architecture/construction'. Thus the name itself establishes the scientific approach of Vastu. Vastu is often defined as an ancient science that works on natural principles to ensure that fresh air, natural light and energy flow is maintained effectively and naturally promoting health, wealth, peace and happiness in a building, be it a house, office, factory, etc.
Most ancient science of architecture
Vastu Shashtra, having its origin in Indian architecture, is also known to be one the oldest forms of construction science existing. In fact, it is traced back to as old as the Vedic ages. The oldest literature on Vastu shashtra actually uses specific rules and regulations, that was decided in the vedic ages for the architects and constructors to be followed while carrying on construction work. The premise behind these rules and regulations were that they follow the laws of nature and can keep any sort of negative influences away from the building.
Vastu shashtra's basic principles are based on the Indian theory of 'five basic elements called as 'Panchbhoota''. These five elements are: water, fire, air, earth and space and the ancient science base human life on these same five elements. These five elements are easily available all around us all the time.
The science says that if any of these five elements are in excess or less amount in our body we start experiencing physical and/or psychological problems. Let us take the example of Fire element. If the fire element increases in our body, we will start facing physical problems like high blood pressure or ulcers. It can also cause psychological issues like anger, anxiety, stress, etc.
Similarly, imbalance in any one of these elements can create many problems for the human body and mind. Thus it is very important to have all these five elements in balance. The science of Vastu balances architecture of our home, offices, temples, hospitals, etc. in such a way so that these five elements stay in balance in the human body.
Balancing the five elements using Vastu
An element gets imbalanced in the building, if the area of that element is in excess or less percentage than it should. For example, as per Vastu science, each of these five elements should occupy a certain amount of space in the architecture of a building.
Like Sky element should get at least 9% of space in length and breadth of the area of the building. This means at least 9 % of the total land space should be an area with no ceilings to get the sky element in the building. It is good if it exceeds this but it should certainly not be less. The next three elements including Water, Fire, Earth and Air elements should be allotted 25% each of the total construction area.
If this percentage of each element increases or decreases in the building, it creates imbalance of the five elements in the building, eventually leading to an imbalance of the same in the body causing physical and psychological problems.
Some common and basic rules
Being the science of architecture, Vastu is based on directions and their alignment. Some of the common things that people should often look at before buying a property include: Shape of plot, obstructions, ideal site, etc.
The best plot will be one which is square shaped or hexagonal. Similarly, there should be no obstruction in front of the building like big trees, open well, pillars and posts before an arrow like roads.
Popularity and comparison with Feng Shui
Despite being one of the oldest sciences of architecture, Vastu, unlike Feng Shui, has not been very popular amongst the western countries and most of its knowledge was left undiscovered. Vastu has gained popularity in the modern set up more over the past decade and a half making it popular beyond its origin. In fact, Vastu has also made its way into western esotericism. Prior to Vastu's popularity in the western society, architecture and "environmental metaphysics" were largely dominated by Chinese Feng Shui. That has started to change with Vastu gaining popularity.
However, both Feng Shui and Vastu are two completely different things. Vaastu Shashtra focuses on the science and techniques of building and not much can be done through Vastu on already built buildings. Contrary to that Feng Shui can help you use a lot of solutions and tips on an already built structure.
The commonality between Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui is that they both attempt harmonize human life with its environment. However, the two sciences are completely different in their approach to the same objective.
So if you are planning to build a house anytime soon do not shy away from considering the basics of Vastu Shashtra as it will harmonize your home, body and mind keeping your family and you healthy and happy.