Vastu, aka: Vāstu; 13 Definition(s)


Vastu means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Vastushastra (architecture)

Vāstu (वास्तु) is a Sanskrit technical term denoting a “residence” in general, according to the lists of synonyms given in the Mayamata XIX.10-12, which is a populair treatise on Vāstuśāstra literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

The Sanskrit word Vastu means a dwelling or house. The Vastu, takes the meaning of “the site or foundation of a house, site, ground, building or dwelling-place, habitation, homestead, house”. The underlying root is Vas “to dwell, live, stay, abide”.

Source: The India Center: Architecture (Vastu Shastra)

Vāstu (वास्तु).—Chapter III of the Mānasāra recounts that the wise sages “identified” locales that were fit for the dwelling of gods and humans. They called these sites vāstu, the primal architectural “object”, which, by creative intervention of humans, was to be transformed into vāstu, “dwelling”. Sacred architecture begins, thus, by perceiving divine presence at a particular location.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Vāstu (वास्तु) is another name (synonym) for Vāstūka, which is a Sanskrit name for the plant Chenopodium album (lamb’s quarters). This synonym was identified by Narahari in his 13th-century Rājanighaṇṭu (verses 7.122-123), which is an Āyurvedic medicinal thesaurus.

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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1) Vastu (वस्तु).—A son of Lomapāda.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 95. 37.

2) Vāstu (वास्तु).—Rules of Śilpaśāstra. According to these Kṛṣṇa built a city (Dvārakā) in the sea.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 50. 50-51.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

1) Vastu (वस्तु, “plot”) refers to the “subject-matter” of a dramatic play (nāṭya), also known as Itivṛtta, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 20-21. The subject-matter (vastu) of a Nāṭaka may be twofold:

  1. “The principal” (ādhikārika)
  2. and the “incidental” (prāsaṅgika)

The meaning of the principal Plot is obvious from its name, and an incidental Plot is that in which the characters acting in their own interest incidentally further the purpose of the Hero of the principal Plot.

2) Vastu (वस्तु) refers to one of the twenty aspects of tāla (time-measure), according to the Nāṭyaśāstrahapter chapter 28. In musical performance, tāla refers to any rhythmic beat or strike that measures musical time. It is an important concept in ancient Indian musical theory (gāndharvaśāstra) traceable to the Vedic era.

3) Vastu (वस्तु) refers to the “theme” of songs (dhrūva) according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 32.400:—“the theme (vastu) arises from a locality, and may relate to a city or a forest”.

Vastu is a technical word meaning principal parts of songs. This is probably equivalent to what the singers of North India call tuk in connexion with Dhrupada songs. See Gītasūtrasāra (Bengali). p. 78. This word (Vastu) has been used by Kālidāsa (Mālavi. II. 0. 5; 3.1; 4.1.) It also means a song, and is equivalent to the term. cīj. (lit. thing) used by the modern North Indian singers. See Śārṅgadeva’s Saṃgītaratnākara V. 6; V. 61ff.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Vastu (वस्तु, “a thing”).—Something which is exclusively composed of regular words and musical metre is called a vastu (lit, “thing”). One should known that prabandha, vastu and rūpaka are the three names of composed music (nibaddha) based on regular words (pada) and the other phrasal elements (aṅga). (cf. Saṅgītaśiromaṇi 13.6)

Source: Google Books: Saṅgītaśiromaṇi: A Medieval Handbook of Indian Music
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Vāstu (वास्तु) is the name of a prodigious demon, who was killed by 53 gods. These gods are worshipped and bali-offerings are given to them. (see Balimaṇḍapa, ‘a temporary hall created for ceremonial occasions’).

Source: JSTOR: Tāntric Dīkṣā by Surya Kanta
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Vāstu (वास्तु) refers to the name of a River mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. VI.10.24). Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Vāstu) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Vāstu (वास्तु, “houses”) refers to one of the classes of the external (bahya) division of attachment (parigraha) and is related to the Aparigraha-vrata (vow of non-attachment). Vāstu is listed in Śvetāmbara sources such as Devagupta’s Nava-pada-prakaraṇa with Laghu-vṛtti (58), and in Digambara sources such Cāmuṇḍarāya’s Caritrasāra (p. 7).

Houses (vāstu) are of three types:

  1. excavated (khāta);
  2. raised (ucchrita);
  3. a combination of both (khātocchrita).
Source: Jaina Yoga
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

1) Vastu (वस्तु).—n (S) A thing in general; any article or substance; any affair, business, or matter. Note. This word will often be used in the feminine gender, and written indifferently with stu & stū. Viewed and written as a Sanskrit word it should always be neuter. 2 The main plot (of a play or poem).

2) vastū (वस्तू).—f (vastu S) An article or a thing in general.

vastū.—prep (vastu S) By: noting the agent. Ex. mājhēvastū hōīla -jāvēla -hōta nāhīṃ -karavata nāhīṃ.

vāstu.—n f S A house or habitation; a place of abode.

vāstu.—ind The sign of the third case, answering to nēṃ or By.

3) vāstū (वास्तू).—ind By. See vāstu ind.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

1) Vastu (वस्तु).—f A thing in general; an article.

2) vastū (वस्तू).—f A thing in general; an article.

3) vāstu (वास्तु).—n f A house; a place of abode.

4) vāstū (वास्तू).—f Ceremonies towards the composing of evil spirits observed on entering into a new house.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Vastu (वस्तु).—n. [vas-tun Uṇ.1.71]

1) A really existing thing, the real, a reality; वस्तुन्यवस्त्वारोपोऽज्ञानम् (vastunyavastvāropo'jñānam)

2) A thing in general, an object, article, substance, matter; अथवा मृदु वस्तु हिंसितुं मृदुनैवारभते कृतान्तकः (athavā mṛdu vastu hiṃsituṃ mṛdunaivārabhate kṛtāntakaḥ) R.8.45; किं वस्तु विद्वन् गुरवे प्रदेयम् (kiṃ vastu vidvan gurave pradeyam) 5.18;3.5; वस्तुनीष्टेऽप्यनादरः (vastunīṣṭe'pyanādaraḥ) S. D.

3) Wealth, property, possessions.

4) Essence, nature, natural or essential property.

5) Stuff (of which a thing in made), materials, ingredients (fig. also); आकृतिप्रत्ययादेवैनामनूनवस्तुकां संभावयामि (ākṛtipratyayādevaināmanūnavastukāṃ saṃbhāvayāmi) M.1.

6) The plot (of a drama), the subjet-matter of any poetic composition; कालिदासग्रथितवस्तुना नवेनाभिज्ञानशकुन्तलाख्येन नाटकेनोप- स्थातव्यमस्माभिः (kālidāsagrathitavastunā navenābhijñānaśakuntalākhyena nāṭakenopa- sthātavyamasmābhiḥ) Ś.1; अथवा सद्वस्तुपुरुषबहुमानात् (athavā sadvastupuruṣabahumānāt) V.1.2; आशीर्नमस्क्रियावस्तुनिर्देशो वापि तन्मुखम् (āśīrnamaskriyāvastunirdeśo vāpi tanmukham) S. D.6; Ve.1; Rām.1.3.1.

7) The pith of a thing.

8) A plan, design.

9) (In music) A kind of composition. -f. Ved. A day (?)

--- OR ---

Vāstu (वास्तु).—m., n. [vas-tuṇ Uṇ.1.77]

1) The site of a house, building ground, site.

2) A house, an abode, a dwelling-place; रवेरविषये वास्तु किं न दीपः प्रकाशयेत् (raveraviṣaye vāstu kiṃ na dīpaḥ prakāśayet) Subhāṣ.

3) A chamber.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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