Vastu is a Sanskrit word which means Vaas: Live Tu: you, a place where you live or dwell. Shastra means a text which contains knowledge or instructions. Simply put Vastu Shastra means instructions laid down for building a structure.
Historically Vastu dates back to the Vedic times. Although there is reference of Vastu in several ancient books, Mayamata and Manasara are the most important ones. Being a technical subject it was confined to the Sthapathis or architects. They laid down several principles for constructing a building taking into account the five elements of nature.
Vastu Shastra is based on the importance of the 5 elements of nature (wind, water, earth, fire, space) and the 4 directions (East, West, North, South). Any structure which is not built in accordance with these elements or aligned with the 4 directions will sooner or later pose problems for its inmates. The interplay of nature acting through these elements and directions therefore forms the basis of Vastu.
Vastu touches every aspect of our lives. Vastu homes provide us with a healthy and secure life. Offices built on Vastu principles enhance sales and productivity. Vastu compliant factories can promote the efficiency of the workers and minimize breakdown of machines or other equipments. Malls and retail outlets can see the boost in sales. In short modern societies can benefit from Vastu in a lot of ways.
Today we have so much moved away from nature. Either we are confined to the four walls of our home or office. A walk on the city roads is far from relaxing. In such a scenario the principles of Vastu need to be correctly applied to our buildings and we shall ourselves experience excellent results.