Vasthu and society
MANOJ S NAIR
Vasthu mirrored the social reality of ancient times.
IN THE post-independent period in India, when the wave of social reformation for human equality strengthened, it was often believed that the sastras were tools devised by the upper-castes to perpetrate the caste system.
In many cases, it might have been right to say that, but both those for and against reforms sometimes misinterpreted the sastras to prove their points.
Vasthusastra is also not different in this regard as many of the scriptures even mentioned about caste differentiation for plot selection etc... But one must have a close look at the scriptures before reaching a final conclusion.
Indian society in the beginning was not at all dominated by the caste system. The differentiation of classes in society was based completely on the "karma" involved, not on the basis of birth. Those who seek `Brahmanjanam' (moksha) where called by the name "Brahman," those who ruled the State and gave protection to people were called "Kshathriyas," those who were involved in trading were "Vaisyas" and those who served the other three castes were known as "Sudras."
Unfortunately this evolved into a caste system based on birth. As per Bruhal Samhita and Manushyalayachandrika
A plot facing north and sloped towards north is good for the `Brahman'.
A plot sloped towards east facing east is good for the `Kshathriya'
A plot sloped towards south facing south is good for the `Vaisya'
A plot sloped towards west facing west is good for `Sudra'
This was because those seeking Brahmanjanom spent most of their time for `sadhana' rather than involving themselves in worldly business and had to live in a plot facing `Kubera,' which might help them fulfil their minimum financial needs easily.
A Kshathriya needs to rule the kingdom comfortably so his plot needs to be in a direction facing `Indra' who representing total well-being.
`Vaysyas' were involved in trade and business based on lawful means, this might have been the reason for their plots facing `Yama,' as he is the lord of `law and justice.'
The serving class `Sudra' needed `santhi,' as they were always controlled by the other three classes, a west-facing plot is said to be good for them as it is faces `Varuna.'
If we see these scriptures in this perspective, we can see that our sastras took into consideration the needs of the various classes based on Karma.
The author is a consultant engineer with the Vasthuvidya Gurukulam, Aranmula
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