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As stated earlier, Vaastu is a part of Yajur Veda. The ‘Vedas’ are the sacred scriptures of Hindus and there are four Vedas called Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda.

Although, no specific dates are available, the Vedas appear to have come into existence between 4000 and 2000 B.C. A section of Yajur Veda called Sthapatha Vidya or the art of building, deals with construction of buildings. A person who was an expert in the art of building and gave advice on it was called Sthapathi.

There are thirty two books on the subject written between 3000 B.C. and 600 A.D. by various authors. All these books are in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language of the scholars. These books deal in detail with the construction and importance of placements of various utilities.

It should however be acknowledged that there is not much evidence to support that the science expounded in these books was popular and was practiced throughout the length and breadth of the country in olden days.

Various temples that were attacked and destroyed by invaders like Mohd. Ghazni, Mohd. Ghori and others, prove that Vaastu was not practiced faithfully even in temple architecture of the times.

It is reasonable to assume that it was the builders who first noticed that the shape of the building has had an effect on the health and prosperity of inhabitants. In fact, the first book credited to Vishwakarma mentioned earlier gives credence to this point of view as he belongs to the class of builders. The second book of the ancient times called Maya Mata goes in the name of its author Maya, the architect of those times. It is however intriguing, why then this subject did not gain popularity that it deserved.

One of the reasons could be that the structures in olden days had to be basically built by stones and mud, as no other construction material was available. This was a costly exercise involving substantial labor and only the royalty could afford it. Thus the texts like Maya Mata deals extensively with Palaces, Forts, Chariots and Marriage-halls, etc. Secondly, communication in those days would have been a deterrent in spreading this knowledge far and wide. And lastly, the scholars wrote these texts in Sanskrit and it is likely that they did not make any effort to educate the public on the subject.

Unfortunately, for India, invasion by outsiders was a common occurrence. India first went under Sultanates and then the Mogul Rule, which was succeeded by the British. During this period, when instruments to spread knowledge developed on the lines of the cultural influence of the rulers of the day, the knowledge about Vaastu remained hidden.


One common feature of some of the ancient books is a mix up of Astrology with Vaastu. Vaastu is basically a pure science of structures and it discusses the energy field that develops because of the shape of structure and the way the doors and windows are placed. Slowly, Astrology also made forays to Vaastu. An attempt was made to interpret the plot onastrological matrix. See the following figure

Figure showing a lot viewed on an astrological matrix.

Every plot was divided into nine parts on its length and breadth side. Each part was supposed to be controlled by a planet. According to Indian Astrology, Sun is considered a planet and Moon is also considered another planet. Two other imaginary planets, Rahu and Kethu are also included, thus making the total number to nine.

The nine divisions were believed to be under the influence of one planet each, namely, Sun, Moon, Mercury Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu and Kethu. The exits and the entrance were determined based on the position occupied by a particular planet in the plot. As you can see in this matrix, each cardinal direction occupies 5/9th of the length on the side. The corner directions were 2/9th the length.
I will be explaining in the later chapters why this matrix is wrong when we study the way energy interacts in a building or plot. You will then be able to appreciate why following this matrix could only lead to problems.
Over a course of time, further aberrations took place. The owner’s horoscope was also brought into picture. Depending upon his birth-star, indications were given as to where the main door should come, what type of plot would suit etc. The suitability of a plot for a person was supposedly determined by some mathematical calculations. These are called as ‘Aaya’s.

An Aaya was determined by taking an arbitrary unit of measurement, like the person’s arm length, who wanted to buy the plot. ‘Aaya’ was then calculated in a specific way to determine whether the plot suited him or not. The unit of measurement was also not uniform in all cases. While some used the length of a person’s arm, others used a unit, which was the length from a person’s ear to the ground. Still others used the distance between the tip of the little finger and the thumb as a unit. All this made the subject simply confusing and difficult to follow.

Another controversial factor was also taken into consideration in those times. It was believed that the suitability of a plot should be decided on the basis of the color of the earth of the plot and the caste to which the prospective buyer belonged. Thus a plot with red earth was considered good for people of a particular caste and the lot with black earth fitted the people of a different caste. Caste system was very much imposing in those times and probably the caste factor was also included in Vaastu considering the influence of caste on the society.

Some of the books also tried to analyze the characteristics of the plot based on the shape or appearance. Here again shapes of plots which resembled a cow’s face (Gomukha), were considered good, whereas shapes resembling a tiger’s face (Vyagramukha) were considered bad.

It is interesting to speculate as to how astrology made its foray into Vaastu. Most of the ancient kings in India were fans of astrologers and astrologers enjoyed a great amount of respect in those days. Nothing was planned without the consultation of the royal astrologer, be it a coronation or a war. Since the knowledge of Vaastu originated from builders who belonged to a lower class and were not represented in the royal ministry, they had to seek necessarily the help of the astrologers to popularise the findings. Probably, it was during this time, the astrologers modified the subject so that everything can be interpreted astrologically. Importance to various rituals was given during construction. The rituals were to be performed at various stages such as at the time of starting excavation, laying of foundation stone, keeping doorframes and after completion of construction. There is thus evidence to believe that astrology imposed itself on Vaastu and did not allow it to grow on its own.

Perhaps all these contradictory approaches resulted in pushing Vaastu to obscurity.