1. M. MISTRY

The Sanskrit word –Veda –Originated from the word Vid means ‘to know’. Noun is Vedic.  The knowledge on Vastu is compiled by our learned Acharyas.  They studied the subject in depth and have provided guidelines for the benefit of humanity.  Vastu Shastra has its roots in all the Vedas.  Veda – Angna, UpaAngas.  Upa-Veda, and several other shastras like Jyotish, Ganit (maths) etc. were documented over a period of 4000 years, since the time of Rig Veda.  Shruti, Smruti, Sutra Epics, Agama, Jataka Katha, Sanskrit Literature,  Artha Shastra of Kautilya, Brihat Samhita of Varahmihira and Gargaya Samhita by Garga Muni are the earlier sources of information on architecture during the years 3000 BC to 6 AD.  This Period is generally taken as Vedic Period.

Vastu is ‘Jagat’. Jagat means Universe, which consists of five elements: Fire, Earth, Air, Water  And Space. These elements form the living organisms on the earth. The living organism exists on earth with three levels of qualities: Satwa, Rajas and Tamas.  Vibrations or radiation to state of matter is Mind, Energy state of matter—Ego and Ambiance, solid particles state of matter is physical form. These three are not separate from each other. These levels are related also to five elements. Mind is space, Air is touch, Fire is light – provides vision, Water provides taste. The qualities of water are –Nirmal-Clean or Pious, Taral  – Floating –Mobile and –Shital –Cool. Earth provides smell. These control Mental Forces, which can be connected with the respective satwa qualities.  Human mind operates at five levels of existence. These are called panch koshaha –five sheaths of mind. These are –Annayamaya –Material and physical mind; Manomaya –Impulsive –emotional Mind: – Vigyanamaya-Intelligent mind;-Pranamaya-vital energy –Ambient mind: and finally –Anandmaya –Blissful mind. Similarly, there are five processes called –Panchprakriyah. These are communication, movement, work, discard and create. The three aspects of universe: Idea, Process and Form are all inclusive in the above –panch koshaha.  Human body also contains these qualities and elements. Every human needs living space – vastu on earth.

VEDHA is a sanskrit word, –means obstruction to any kind which may create visual or physical hindrance to the user – occupant and also to the sunlight and wind by the object. DOSH is defect of any kind in the building related to objects or workmanship. Thus, Vedic Vastu Vedha Dosh is identified during Vedic period as;

‘A structure or building or house having defects with or without physical obstructions’.

Vastu involves idea, process and form i.e. space, time and matter. Matter is Vastu. The built environment can be an object, a space and an experience. Ancient Rishis (sages) visualized not only physical comforts but also mental growth to the occupants of vastu by harmonizing space with mind, to provide – SUKHAM. “Su” means  Harmony  or Excellent and “kham”- Space or House. SUKHAM can be interpreted as JOY- Harmonious space or Excellent House.

SUVIDHA stands for comforts. ‘Su’- Harmony, ‘Vi’-Dynamic and ‘Dha’ is Earth. Suvidha means in harmony with energies and matter. Designing planning and construction of house based on vastu principles can provide comforts, prosperity and happiness. Rishis have developed rules for achieving total harmony with nature and human at physical, mental and environmental levels in Vastu designs. This relates to various aspects from micro-macro level of designs and plans of accessories, furniture, room, home, site, roads, town, and region.

Vedic vastu considers three aspects: (a) orientation, symmetrical proportions, placement of openings, so as to achieve the harmonization of energy fields in a given space, to be in consonance with mind, materials and body of occupants. (b) Energy flow between two doors and vision across the windows – principles of visual aesthetics employing ‘Mathematical Formulae’ for measurements of site or building suitable to – Four Varna – the four attitudes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya  and Sudra prevailing in society. (c) Refined way of detailing and fitting building parts or elements and components together systematically in tune with architectural morphology of forms and patterns, and above all holistic unity of built environment with man.

Building orientation, plot size and building dimension as well as number of doors are specified according to varna system: Brahmin in north; kshatriya – East; vaishya – south and sudra in west. Plot sizes are in ratios of Width: Depth, such as, 1:1.1; 1:1.125, 1:1.6 and 1:1:25 for four castes respectively. Building width and depth dimensions are also in ratios. Building should face East for Brahmins, Kshatriya –west, Vaishya-North and Sudra –south.

West facing plot /house should have one door, North two doors, East –Three doors and four doors are suitable to South facing house. Storey height is also prescribed on the basis of castes. The storey height should not be more than three and half for sudra, Vaishya-five and half, kshatriya-six and half and Brahmin seven and half. Houses have name nomenclature as per number and direction of doors or verandah or open spaces.

Vastu is a living space on the earth which is derived from sanskrit word  -VAS means ‘to be’ or ‘to live’ or ‘dwelling space’ Generally, vastu is the individual site or a piece of land –Bhukhand. It is also known as building. Dictionary meaning of sanskrit word vedha stands for hole, to drill, piercing obstructions, altitude, etc. Dosh means defects, deficiencies, short coming or lacunas or errors in the building designs and mistakes occurred during design and construction work. Ancient text books on vastu shastra are ‘Codes of practice’ which enumerates space norms and standards for design, planning and construction of building.

The defects in the building are primarily associated, not only distribution of functional spaces, placement of building elements and components, but also with breakage i.e.-Bhanga in any part of building component. The most prominent orbit of defects around which they revolve are the rules of vedha –the obstruction as a result of non –conformity of rules evolved by our seers in the field of architecture during vedic period. The obstructions can divide or ‘enhance’ the energy flow between two door openings. Windows do not generate energy flow.

Treatises like, Vishwakarma Prakash, Vastusara, Mansara, Mayamatma, Samarangan Sutradhara, Rakjavallabha, Shilpa Dipak, Vastu Saukhyam, Brihat Samhita, Aparajita Prichchha etc., are treasures on the subject containing the observations and experiences of ancient Rishis-Munis. They have observed the natural obstructions, man made planning and constructional defects in structure or building or a house, which have been narrated in separate chapter as vedha or dosh or Vedha Dosha. The purpose of vedha is the avoidance of obstruction to sun light and breeze in the building. This leads to a highly developed technique of building orientation in ancient India. Technically, these obstructions are known as Vedha, which may belong, to space planning or structural components or building or in neighbourhood trees. According to ‘vastu sara –a manual on Vastu have analyzed seven kinds of Vedhas :-

  1. Tala 2. Kona 3. Talu 4. Kapala 5. Stambha 6. Tula and 7. Dwar.

Note that, Dwara Vedha is believed to bring calamity to the owner of the building, either to his family or to his wealth and property.

The effect of vedha could be on specific group of person. Some may only hurt women and some hurt to men folk. Some affect only children and some to elders. The vulnerable group should be present within the house for the problem to be felt. Some vedha may be bad for residences but will have no effect on non-residential building. The effects of vastu vedha dosh are generally operative as combination of more than one defect to the plot or a structure.

Almost all manuals deal with this topic. Viswakarma Prakash contains enumeration of sixteen vedha doshas.

1 Andhak, 2. Rudhir, 3. Kubja, 4. Kana, 5. Badhir, 6. Digvakta, 7. Chipit, 8. Vygandja, 9. Muraj, 10. Kutil, 11. Kuttak, 12. Supta, 13. Shankhpal, 14. Vikat, 15. Karkaand, 16. Kaikar. In addition to these, ten more vedhas are described in this text. These are: Kona, Dak, Chidra/Shudra, Chhya, Rutu, Vansha, Agra/Uksha, Uchha/Bhumi, Sanghat and Dant Vedha. In spite of these Vedha occurring on the building, this treatise provides exceptions of rules where Vedha are not applicable in the buildings.

Vastu Vedha Doshas generally known as defects in the building. The defects can be Natural or Man made. Natural defects are recorded in various treatises covering, shape and size of the land, its slope, near by water body or source; hill or ditch. Vertical obstructions can be a tree, a pole or a building. Horizontal defects such as a road perpendicular or adjacent to the building or plot, a corner, a wall, a temple, a water channel and so on. Man made defects can be categorized in two: [1] planning [2] constructional.

Hindus believe that Lord Brahma is the creator – [Vastukar] of the Universe. Brahma has assigned the job of designing, planning and construction of buildings on the earth to the lord Viswakarma so that there are harmony of the forces of nature created by Brahma for the benefit of Gods and Mankind. The concept of building design, elements and components were translated by the expert craftsmen:  Sthapati sutradhari, Vardhaki and Takshaka on the site. Sthapati is a master of mystic laws of nature and responsible for its strict adherence in the building design and execution. Sutradhari controls the quality and quantity of building materials including supervision on workmanship of vardhaki and Takshaka. Tkashaka and vardhaki are expert in carpentry, masonry and extension work of stone or wood employed in building. Any lacuna in design, workmanship, choice of shape and size of building or components are the man made Vedha Dosh.

Samrangan sutradhara – A document on vastu attribution of Bhojdeva and vastu  Nighantu – by Manadna sutradhara, a Gujarati translation by late Shri P. O. Sompura and text edited by Acharya, Dr. H. M. Jani has assumed too great a bulk in detail elaboration of vedha dosh which occurs on site and in the building. Rishi –Munis have propounded and pointed out forty-one types of vedha Dosha. The Vastu Dosh is related to the piece of land –plot and structure erected on it. Vedha is obstructions to the penetration of light and air into the building. The Chapter on vedha dosh emphasizes more on man-made obstructions and construction defects occurring in the buildings. Vedha Dosh mostly manifests as a combination of more than one error in the plot and structure. Nature is more powerful than-made structures. Vedha Dosh can be classified into four portions [a] Horizontal planes [b] vertical surfaces [c] aperture in walls and [d] Screen –solid walls. These are rearranged and enumerated as under:

[A] Horizontal  Planning: 1. Column – Stambha Vedha, 2. Nevel – Hridaya Vedha, 3. Piercing on limbs – Marma –Vinyas, 4. Piercing on limbs – Marma Vedha-Purush, 5. Not to right angle – Visham  Pada Vedha, 6. Outside boundary – Padalopa Vedha. 7.Not in center – Garbhalopa Vedha. 8. Even number of columns – Visham Stambha Vedha. 9. Forehead – Kaplan Vedha.

[B] Vertical Elements: 10. Floor level – Tal / Talmana Vedha.  11. Lintel – Tal/ Talu  Vedha. 12. Balance -Tula Vedha. 13. Unsymmetrical Talu Vedha. 14. Uniform-Sama Vedha.

[C] Aperture- Openings of Doors and Windows: 15.  Visible – Drishti Vedha. 16.  Road – Marga Vedha. 17. Tree -Vrisha Vedha. 18. Door – Dwar Vedha . 19. Sound – Swar Vedha.  20. Peg –  Kil Vedha, 21. Elephant teeth-Gajadant Vedha, 22. Corner – kona Vedha 23. Illusion-Bhrama Vedha. 24. Lamp post – Dipalaya Vedha 25. Well-Kup Vedha, 26.Temple –Devasthan Vedha, 27. One side-Vibhrama  Vedha,  28.High &low –Uchchhalita Vedha, 29.Head-Shiro/Kapal Vedha.

[D] Screen Walls: 30.Shadow-Chhaya Vedha, 31. Rear -Common wall-Kadak/Khadik Vedha, 32. Side common wall – Griha Sanghatta Vedha, 33. Courses – Shesthi Bhang Vedha, 34. Less width – Samula Vedha, 35. Stagraing -Kukshid Vedha, 36. Layers – Thar Bhang Vedha, 37. Directions -Dishamudha/Digmukha/DishilopaVedha, 38. Big/small-Antak Vedha, 39. Less/More – Mana Hin/Adhik Vedha, 40. Long/Short – Dirgha/Hrasva Mans Vedha, 41. Width less than depth – Samul/ Yama Chulli Vedha.

In spite of above stated Vedha Dosh, ancient scriptures have specified exceptional rules to qualify as good or bad a house or a building.

  1. The distance of twice the height being left from door or building to the Vedha, there occurs no Vedha Dosh.
  2. The building and the Vedha is separated by road or compound wall or a wall or fort or castle, it forms no Dosh.
  • The Vedha if not visible from the house or building, no Dosh.
  1. The Vedha happens to be across the river, it does not form part of Dosh.
  2. The Vedha falls in diagonal line of house or a building creates no Dosh.
  3. The Vedha is not applicable to Shudhra Varna. They are exempted from Dosh.
  • Dilapidated temple (the one old & dilapidated and not being used) or ancient building or restored house causes no Vedha
  • Shilpa Acharya Garga Muni has said ‘Mind and eyes feel satisfied at a first glance, such Vastu are always innocent’
  1. Building devoid of Vastu doctrines, but increases feelings in mind and liked by eyes; is free from Vastu Dosh.
  2. Sukracharya has observed that scholars do not appreciate the building non – conforming to Shastriya dimensions. However, few scholars feel ‘what so ever house may it be, if it is captivating and satisfying, Vastu Dosh should be ignored.’

Generally, Dosh generates negative energy flow in the building or plot or on the occupants. The negative influence of energy flow can be identified with respect to natural and man-made Dosh. The slope of the land, water body or trees adjacent to plot, presence of animal or human bones underneath of ground or direction of the plot, not according to Varna system of society are some of the natural Dosh.  The orientation of functional spaces, location of doors, building dimension and direction are man-made Dosh. Vastu elements controlling human body parts are affected by the nature of Dosh prevailing in directional zone ruled by the elements.

Ancients have not rendered the explanations for adverse effects of Vastu Vedha Dosha. However, they have listed following observations for non-compliance of the Vastu rules, particularly to door Vedha Dosh, which influences the owner or wife or children or relatives of the occupants.

[1] Door in center of façade – Longevity of the owner in danger

[2] Tree in front of door – Characterless children

[3] Mud in front of gate – Owner restless

[4] River or water body in front of door – Losses

[5] Well in front of door- sudden illness in family/fits

[6] Column in front of door – Characterless females

[7] Door in Brahma sthan – End of family

[8] Temple opposite – Troubles

[9] Shadow on house -Unhappiness

[10] Shadow in the well – Debt

 [11] Door opposite Door – Struggles

[12] Deformed door – Troubles

[13] Common Walls – Brother Loss

[14] Self open/ swing door – Worries in mind

[15] Self-closing door – Loss of heritance

[16] Big size door –Fear from King

[17] Small size – Danger from thief

[18] Door tilting outward – Traveling.

Ancient Acharyas have formulated these Vedha Dosh Norms for quality control in designs and workmanship employed in construction of the building whether it is meant for Gods or for Humans.

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