The universe as well as the man has been created from the five basic elements of nature. These are known as the 'Panchamahabhutas' or the Panchatatvas. These five elements hold a very important position in a man's life. The human being gels all his life giving and life sustaining energies from these elements of nature. These panchamahabhutas are - earth, Water, Wind 'Fire and eiber.
Man receives all his external energies from the external sources which are sunlight, heat, sound, water and air. His internal sources of energy are carbohydrates, proteins, fats and minerals etc. Needless to say that at the base of all these sources are the Panchamahabhutas. If a proper balance is maintained among these five elements, then man leads his life happily and peacefully. Imbalance between these elements gives rise to poor health, lack of wealth and prosperity and lack of peace of mind. These five elements also control the nature. Their imbalance in nature creates storms, typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanoes and other natural calamities. Goswami Tulsidas has mentioned in Ramacharitmanas :
The building materials of a house are also made up of these five elements. If these materials are not in proper balance then they will adversely affect the people who live in the house. With the result they will face mental, spiritual, social and financial problems. They will also suffer from poor health and other varied types of problems. Hence for leading a happy life a good balance of panchatatvas is essential.
Space is that element of nature which is the most widely spread. Space is endless and spreads up to eternity. There is no place in the universe where space does not exist. Gravitational force, magnetic force, radio active rays, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays, light rays and the rays coming from the planets are all present in space. Even the gift of sound is given to us by this element of ether. Without this element sound is not possible. Sound is produced by the vacuum of the space, medium of the environment and air. A house or a building acquires its element of ether in proportion to the height of its walls.
The dome of a temple or a Gurdwara and the arch of a mosque symbolises abundance of ethereal element. If walls of a house are low in height, then one gets a feeling of suffocation due to lack of ether element. In such a situation ether element does not develop fully in the body. Therefore we should construct the house in such a way so as to get maximum benefit of the visible and invisible energies of the nature.
Plants and living organisms get their life from air. Air awakens virility and vitality. Just as air regulates and maintains our body, in a similar manner it also regulates and maintains the healthy atmosphere of a building. The earth is covered by a layer of gases. This covering of gases is known as the atmosphere. The atmosphere is made up of different gases in different proportions. 78% of the earth's atmosphere is made up of Nitrogen, which is necessary for the growth of all vegetation. 21% of the atmosphere is made up of oxygen which is essential for life. It makes up about 1/5 of the atmosphere. The other planets do not have oxygen and with the result they do not have life as well. Carbon is present in a small quantity of 0.03% in the atmosphere in the form of carbon monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Apart from these there is 0.93% of Argon, 0.01% of hydrogen and 0.01% of other gases present in the atmosphere. Concentration of the heavier and essential gases is only up to about 5 kms. from the earth. At about 16 kms from earth, due to the influence of Sunlight, oxygen gets converted into ozone. One molecule of Ozone contains three atoms of oxygen. This layer of ozone is most dense at about the height of 23 km. from earth. The Ozone layer is very important because it protects the earth from the harmful radiations emitted by the Sun. If the Ozone layer gets depleted or damaged, then the temperature of the earth will rise tremendously and earth will face the fear of extinction. The ice will start melting and a fear of inundation will be created. Generally during day time the plants absorb carbondioxide from the atmosphere for their photosynthesis and release oxygen, this process is reversed during night time. They start absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Peepal tree is the only exception to this rule. Carbon dioxide is harmful for us, and so we should not sleep near the trees at night.
Extremely auspicious ultraviolet (parabaingani) rays enter through the Ishan kona. Pollution in this corner produces carbon dioxide, nitrogen and other harmful gases which reduce or eliminate the effect of the ultraviolet rays.
Cremation of the dead body produces carbon and other harmful gases. These have a harmful effect on human life.
Touch produces sensation, which in turn produces awareness or consciousness. Consciousness finally produces an action or reaction. This is the reason for our instant reaction to the chill of winter or the heat of the westerly winds of summer.
Air is an invaluable gift of nature to mankind. Air flows into the building through its doors and windows. For this reason special attention should be paid to the air inflow at the construction stage. In India North direction should be left open for the inflow of air. There should be plenty of windows and ventilators for cross ventilation in the house.
Sun is our main source of energy. Solar energy gives us heat and light. Heat basically is a form of fire. The Earth rotates on its axis and also revolves around the Sun. These movements of earth are the reasons for day and night and for the formation of seasons. The heat and light of Sun along with wind and rain gives strength, vitality, courage and enthusiasm to the living beings on earth. Most of the colonies and settlements in the world have been constructed in such a way so as to allow optimum inflow of solar energy into the house. However as per the maxim 'Excess of anything is bad', excess of Sun's heat in the house is also bad. People living in East facing houses in the hilly regions keep facing the woes of too much heat. By the afternoon the scorching heat of Sun really heats up their houses and makes them very uncomfortable. Hence the fire element should be organised in such a way, that the house remains warm in winters and cool in summers.
Water is an extremely important element found on earth. Water is a creator of life. No living being or plant can survive without water. Water covers 2/3 of the entire surface of the earth. Ponds, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans are all the different forms of water spread over the earth. All these are spread over 71% of the surface of the earth. Our earth is the only planet in the solar system which has water. That is why it is called the blue planet. The warm air of the atmosphere cools down as it rises upwards and gets converted into liquid form and this spreads in the sky as clouds. These clouds give rain, which gets collected in the form of lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. This is the water cycle which goes on and on. One part of oxygen remains dissolved in water and all the life forms which live in water obtain their oxygen in this form.
Three quarters of our entire body weight is made up of water. Our body requires plenty of water for its survival. We can fall ill due to lack of water or get dehydrated. Apart from man, plants, animals and the house also requires plenty of water. Taste, touch and sound are the special qualities of water.
While constructing a house, special attention should be paid to the source of water. Enough water should be available for the house. The source of water for daily use should be in the Northeast or in Ishan. Water gets polluted easily but it keeps on getting purified by the heat of the Sun. This principle is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. There should also be a proper drainage system so that there is no damage to the house because of accumulated water or rain. It is important to have the source of water in the auspicious direction.
Earth is a planet and air, water and minerals are found on the earth. The upper layer of the earth is known as mud or soil. Stones, sand, iron and lime all are part of the soil. The magnets situated towards the North and the South within the earth, along with the gravitational force of the earth, influence all the living and non living inhabitants of the earth. Life started when the earth and the other planets came into existence. For this reason the earth is also known as the 'Mother earth'. The idea behind 'Bhumi Poojan' at the beginning of house construction is to pay respect to mother earth. Life and home without earth is unimaginable.
Earth is the centre of the magnetic and gravitational forces. Because of these forces the earth can provide a consolidated base for the buildings and houses constructed on its surface. The shape of soil and level of the earth differ from place to place. The shape, level, appearance, colour and smell of the earth affects the house in different ways, so it becomes important to consider these aspects of the land before finalising the plot. Other important qualities of the earth are touch, sound, taste, smell and appearance.
Due to their meditation and deep contemplation, our esteemed rishis found out that the panchatatvas control different directions and they also control the various body parts of the human being. They maintained that our body is created from these panchatatvas and at the end of life the body gets reabsorbed into these five elements. "From dust to dust", the saying goes.
Ether + Fire + Air + Water + Earth = process of creation.
Air + Water + Fire + Earth + Ether = process of destruction.
|Abode of the five elements|
|Five Elements||In the Body||In Hand|
A harmonious balance between the five elements within residential house, shop, office, workshop, hotel, garden or in the industrial or official complex promotes all round progress, success and longevity. Hence construction should be carried out maintaining a good balance between the five elements.
There are innumerable energies in the universe carrying on the processes of creation and destruction continuously. In Vastu Shastra apart from the five elements three other forms of energy are also considered.
The earth possesses a power of attraction which is known as the force of gravity. The speed with which the earth pulls an object is directly proportional to the weight of the object. If the object is heavy, the earth can pull it towards herself with a faster speed. If an object is of light weight then the earth can pull it towards herself at a slower speed. Keeping this principle in mind it can be determined as to which land is suitable for which type of construction.
Solid land possess greater force of gravity, while land with loose soil or sand or hillocks possesses lesser force of gravity. Hence house constructed on solid ground will be more permanent and stable than the house constructed on loose ground or on sandy or hilly ground.
Our entire universe is interconnected by the magnetic force. All the planets, constellations and the other stars are connected to each other by the same magnetic force. This force maintains a certain balance and distance between these heavenly bodies and they keep on moving continuously. The magnet has two poles. North pole and South pole. Similarly our earth also has a North and a South pole. The entire universe remains in constant motion because of the magnetic attraction and repulsion of the heavenly bodies. Even our body is affected by these magnetic waves. Our head is the North pole while our feet are the South pole. The basic principle of magnetism is that North pole attracts the South pole and repels the North pole of another body. This is the scientific reason for sleeping with one's head towards the South direction. In this manner the earth's magnetic waves flow freely through our body and we sleep well.
Sun is the main source of energy for the earth. Sun gives us heat, light and energy. It makes our life active and energetic. The Sunlight reaches some part or the other of the earth all the time. The types of rays reaching the earth throughout the day depend on the angle from where they reach the earth. Depending on the angle they are divided into three types. The rays arriving in the morning are called 'Parabaingani', the ones arriving in the afternoon are called 'Varnakram prakash and the ones arriving in the evening are called' Raktabh rays'. The early morning rays are not very hot. They give us vitamin D and are capable of destroying germs. As the rays turn redder, they become intolerable. Because of this scientific reasoning it is advisable to keep the East direction more open and the West direction less open. The morning Sun should be able to enter freely and give beneficial energy and at the same time destroy harmful germs and bacteria. To avoid the Raktabh rays of the evening, lesser windows should be provided in the West direction and large trees can also be planted in the West.