close logo

Comparative Study Of Hindu Foundations In Naatyashaastra And Vaastushaastra


Naatyashaastra, an encyclopaedia of traditional dance, drama and music is one of the greatest scientific scriptures attributed to Bharata muni. The second chapter informs that after he explained the origin of Naatya, the sages expressed the desire to know the rites, specific features and procedure for worship to be done with respect to the ‘ranga’. The beginning of Naatya starts with Naatyamantapa. So Bharata has explained the planning, construction, its form and other details, as was carried out under the guidance of Vishvakarma.  Vaastu shaastra, attributed to the celestial architect Vishvakarma can be considered as the science and art of artistic creations, first conceptualised in mind and then carried out in reality. Emphasis is given in the grantha to choice of the time, direction, site, materials and methods of construction and planning of graama, nagara, praasaada (houses/ palaces/ temples), roads, and other requirements.

The objective is to study the two scriptures and compare the tradition of architecture in both these scriptures. Also, being a dancer and an architect, it is rightly justified that it is written about by the author.

The methodology is of descriptive type, where information is mainly obtained from the primary sources like the two texts in samskrutam and also various offline and online secondary sources. After studying the texts in detail and other sources, what concepts Bharata and Vishvakarma have informed is analysed. It seems as if the ideas of so called ‘Vishvakarma’ are similar in both the books.  This paper is an attempt to rethink both the Shaastras, examine them, write various concepts, similarities and differences. This paper theoretically focuses on giving recognition and value to such a great scripture of the past (Naatyashaastra), that gives recognition to the other scripture (Vaastushaastra). The analysis of Vishvakarma’s ideas through analysis of theatre planning is also illustrated in the paper.

Acknowledgement: I thank Ms. Meenakshi Vijay and Mrs. Leelavathi Krishnamurthy for valuable inputs and suggestions.

Abbreviations:  h = hasta (cubit) NS = Naatyashaastra VVS = Vishvakarma Vaastushaastram VP = Vishvakarma Prakaasha

I. Introduction

Arts like drama, dance, music and architecture have been a part of human life since ages and have both usefulness and aesthetics involved in them.  These skills have been carried out by learning via traditional methods. Since these subjects have a scientific basis, in the Indian scenario, they are associated with Shaastras, that contain voluminous information.

Heritage refers to the inherited traditions, buildings, objects and culture. It includes contemporary activities, meanings and behaviours that are inherited from the past.

Culture can be referred to as the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, including language, ideas, customs, religion, food, social habits and behaviour, music and other arts, etc. The social progress and development of the people are the objectives of having a social structure. Using the heritage, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities of the society at local, national or international levels. The inherited traditions like art and architecture influence not only others but influence each other also.


Nivaasaarthak Vas dhaatoh trun pratyaye krute sati nishpadyate Vaastu shabdah ӏ

 (Bhargav, 2021)

It means where the animals or people live. Vaastu can also mean gruha, bhavana, prasaada, nagara, devaalaya, kshetra, pura and so on. The name of nivaasayogya bhoomi or nivaasasthaanam is Vaastu. The other derivation is from the word vastu which refers to an object – the ground or any other object.

Amartyaashcaiva martyaashca yatra yatra vasanti hi| tad vastu iti matam ӏ Mayamatam

(Bhargav, 2021)

Natyashaastra – Natyashaastra, a vast treatise on traditional dance, drama and music is attributed to Bharata muni.

Authorship is ascribed to Bharata the sage, but it is not proven.       (Bhosale)

In the second chapter, after Bharata explained the origin of Naatya, the sages expressed the desire to know the rites, specific features and procedure for worship to be done with respect to the stage. So, Bharata explained the planning, construction, form and other details of the naatya mantapa, as was carried out under the guidance of Vishvakarma. He had designed a ‘sarvalakshanasampanna natyagruham’ as requested by Brahma.

Tatah ca Vishvakarmaanam Bramhovaaca prayatnatah ӏ

Kuru lakshanasampannam naatyaveshma mahaamate ӏӏ  1.89

Vaastu pramaanena praarabheta ӏ  2.24

(Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

Bharata informs in detail to the other sages and gives importance to Vishvakarma’s method of building a naatyagruham and the way of offering prayer at the site of its construction. That shows that he values it.

Iha prekshaagruham drushtvaa dheemataa vishvakarmanaa ӏ

Trividhah sanniveshashca shaastratah parikalpitah ӏӏ 2.7

(Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

He considers Vishvakarma wise and that he designs based on shaastras. He feels that what Vishvakarma has told ought to be followed.

Pramaanam ca nirdishtam lakshanam Vishvakarmana ӏ

Prekshaagruhaanaam sarveshaam taccaiva hi nibodhata ӏӏ 2.12

(Nagar & Joshi, 1995)


Vaastu Shaastra is that compendium where –

  • There is samanvaya of the 5 bhootas
  • there is management of the prakrutika shakti (the natural powers)
  • the siddhaanta – proving the vidhi pravidhi for building the bhavana which gives obtainment of agricultural, religious, kriyaakalaapa for the person living in it
  • It is studied as Architecture in modern engineering and science, with some variations.

The basics in almost all the concepts in them have an approach followed by the Hindus.

Spreading knowledge of the good ideas and shaastras was important.  One of the ways to achieve effective communication was the stage via the performing arts.  So the design of the Naatyagruha was crucial.

The beginning of the presentation of naatya starts with Naatyamantapa. Vishvakarma can be considered as the sthapati of the devas, who obtained the ‘divya shakti’ from Lord Shiva and created Vaastushaastra, for the good of the world. He was also an exceptional craftsman who crafted various objects like chariots, weapons, etc. in the ancient times.

iti vishvakarmapraneete vaastshaastre ____ naama _____adhyaayah

This statement about each chapter to some extent proves his authorship.

An example of Vishvakarma’s design, the natyagruha is analysed as the basis of this paper. It is analysed based on the knowledge of architecture, drama, dance, samskrutam, vaastu and jyotisha and the plan is proposed by the author after a lot of study. This shows the greatness of Vishvakarma’s ideas.

Vikrushta madhyama type of Natyagruha –

FIG. 1 Ground Floor Plan –  (Parikalpana– Roopa Vijay)

FIG. 2 First Floor Plan – (Parikalpana– Roopa Vijay)

The blackened regions are the brick piers and there are door shutters to openings. The unblackened circles are decorative wooden posts.

Floor levels-

  1. Nepatya Same as Rangashirsha
  2. Vedika + 1h from Rangasheersha
  3. Rangasheersha same as rangapita / + 1h from Rangapeeta
  4. Rangapeeta + 1.5 h from ground level
  5. Mattavaarini + 1.5h or + 0.5h (same as rangapita or less)
  6. Supeetadhaarinee 0 +1h   +2h     +3h    …….  for steps with seating.
  7. Shaala + 15 h

Other theatre forms suggested in Naatyashaastra-

II. Literature Review

Having identified various ideas and also to get a broader view on the topic, the following aspects were analysed –

Considering the naatyagruha, various sources were analysed. All these authors were intellectual researchists in their own way, who have put extensive effort and come up with great contributions to mankind by writing valuable books.

FIG. 3

Abhinavagupta – In ‘Abhinavabhaarati’, he has explained in detail in the second chapter, the position of nepathya, rangasheersha and rangapita after which is the preksha gruha. He feels there are 2 mattavaarinees. Words ‘Dvibhumi’ and ‘tayoh’ made him consider stage with 2 levels – mattavaarinee may be 1 hasta above the stage; ‘avatarana’ may mean to get down from rangasheersha also. He feels shaddaaru refers to canes and decor between rangasheersha and nepatyagruha.

(Rangacharya, 1996)

Aadya Rangaacaarya – He gives his opinion similar to Abhinavagupta, but doubts that there is only reference to one mattavaarinee. Words ‘Dvibhumi’ and ‘tayoh’ made him consider stage with 2 levels. The Shaddaaruka idea is explained with a figure having the six parts – Ooha, pratyooha, Nirvyooha, Sajjaavana, Anubandha and Kuhara.

(Rangacharya, 1996)

FIG. 4

Manomohan Ghosh – His opinion differs where he feels that nepatya and rangasheersha are both 8 hastas wide. The prekshagruha hence measures 32 hastas x 48 hastas. Mr. Ghosh has translated it quite accurately and expresses doubt about it, though he mentions 2 mattavaarinees on either side of the rangapeeta.

(Muni, 1951)

Mahesh Champaklal Shah (epeg paatshaala) –

In module 5 ‘Natyamandapa and Prekshaagruha as per Natyashaastra’, there is information about the three main types Vikrushta, Caturashra and Tyashra. Also the medium-sized rectangular one is described along with terms explaining of various parts of the theatre.

He also contradicts Bharata about the mattavaarinis. But he tells that some terms are vague in the grantha.

(Shah, 2020)


FIG. 5,6,7,8 showing other opinions on rectangular, square and triangular theatres

FIG. 9 Caturashra Naatyamantapa according to H.V. Sharma

According to Mr. Sharma, plans of all the 3 types are analysed with diagrams. There are some changes to Bharata’s ideas. He has tried to explain the shapes of natyamantapa. There are certain contradictions from what Bharata has mentioned regarding mattavaarini, stage, seating, etc. but his analysis is worth mentioning. He feels – In Naatyashastra there was existence of Vaastukalaa and before naatyagruha, it was done as ‘baahyaprayog’ without the use of any ‘vaastu’..

(Sharma, 2004)

Many more people have studied Bharata’s view and come up with different ideas.

Vaastushaastra is the ancient building science covering philosophy and theory of architecture, where the influence of several energies from the sun, moon, planets, cosmic, wind, light, electricity and magnetism is considered.

(Pandey, 2020)

The Mantapa or theatre was the venue where the community received performances based on Hindu ancient texts and thus these halls became sacred spaces. The performances were considered valued as the shastras themselves and from this common man would experience something enlightening, sacred and spiritual.

(Jayakrishnan, 2011)

The drama was a popular medium of mass communication. Naatyashaastra tried to express the mind of the performers. Theatre is the venue of communication and it has to be suitable to communicate ideas vocally and physically to people. This was made attractive with proper seating and decor to attract the audience.

(Chattopadhyay, 2013)

Theatre design as per Vishvakarma Vaastushaastram-

Theatres have to be built in any one of these locations – to the front part of palaces, to the south of King’s residence, adjacent to house of ministers/commanders, centre of city, places where four roads meet, in King’s highway.

Theatre and concert halls are adjacent to each other. They may be of three types – Naatya (naataka), Rangashaala and Geeti shaala. This is not given in detail.

They are further divided into 3 types – Daiva, Gandharva, Maanusha types, the lengths are generally in ratio 1: 2: 3. The dimension of theatre may vary from 4 to 20 dandas.

In the Daiva portion (the hind part), deities to be worshipped before the performance are installed and used for makeup and dressing of the artists. The Gandharva part indicates the stage area, where dance, music or drama are performed. In Manushya bhaaga are the area for seating of the audience. Green rooms are behind as 2 halves both for actors and actresses. Doorways include Mahaadvaara in the main entrance, Brahmadvaara between Gandharva and Manushya parts and Madhyanetra between Deva and Gandharva parts. Vedika is in Gandharva part and above the building is the Vimaana with Shikara.  (Vishwakarma, 1990)

The influence of culture and the physical space of interiors like colour, form, texture and various environmental factors like temperature, sound, illumination, air-flow, humidity can individually or collectively change emotions.

(Reddy, Chakrabarti, & Karmakar, 2012)

II. Methodology

Need & Relevance

This paper analyses some parts of both the granthas, Naatyashaastra and Vaastushaastra.  This article has been written to give all the background information about the shaastras and throw light on the similarities and differences between the ideas. Even though there are several authors writing about the shaastras, many of them mentioning them separately. Analysis using Vaastushaastra would add to the increased scrutiny of this topic.  Hence, this paper is written so that this hopes to be a pathway for solution.

  • To find the relevance of Naatyashaastra in the field of Vaastushaastra – giving recognition and value to such a great scripture of the past (Naatyashaastra), that gives recognition to the other scripture (Vaastushaastra).
  • To study and analyse those ideas that existed in the ancient Indian literature.
  • To promote the study of our rich heritage in vaastu tradition.
  • To study the basic Hindu ideas in this literature. 


Rethinking the Shaastra literatures in naatya and vaastu, analyse the ancient art and architecture in the form of vaastu, find the similarities and differences in Vishvakarma’s ideas as told by Bharata and by Vishvakarma himself. 

Research Design

The methodology design is of descriptive type, where information is mainly obtained from the primary sources like the three texts in samskrutam:

  • Natyasastra of Bharatamuni – Ed. R.S Nagar
  • The Vishvakarma Prakasha retold – Borad, Siddharth; Om, Jayshree
  • Vishvakarma Vaastushaastram – Ed. Vasudeva Sastri, Gadre N.B

and also various offline and online secondary sources like research articles, papers and other data collected. After studying the texts in detail and other sources, what concepts Bharata and Vishvakarma have informed is analysed. It seems as if the ideas of so called ‘Vishvakarma’ are similar in both the books. This paper theoretically focuses on giving recognition and value to such a great scripture of the past (Naatyashaastra), that gives recognition to the other scripture (Vaastushaastra).

After analysing what is heritage and vaastu, both the shaastras were considered. Both books of Vishvakarma are considered for the study. Many aspects that were common to both of them are analysed – vedic influence, authors, use, mythical stories in them, value for purushaarthas, good if vaastupooja is done, problems if not done, time consideration, shape and size of the natyagruha, each part of natyagruha and its structure. The analysis of Vishvakarma’s ideas through analysis of theatre planning is also illustrated in the paper.

III. Findings and Discussion

Having analysed the literature, the findings are summarized under various concepts as follows –


a) Vedic influence – Shaaste traayate iti Shaastram. Generally this is referred to a treatise of Indian literature with specialised knowledge. All these have been derived from the Vedas. Naatyashaastra – Brahma obtained Paatya from Rig Veda, Geeta from Saama Veda, Abhinaya from Yajur Veda and Rasa from Atharvana Veda and compiled the fifth veda called,Naatyaveda.

Vaastu Shaastra is derived from Sthaapatya Veda, an Upaveda of Atharvana Veda. Also the Vedaanga named Jyotisha has a subdivision (skandha) Samhita of which Vaastu shaastra is a part.

b) Written as if they are incidents that occurred sometimeNaatyashaastra is written in such a way that Bharata answers questions of Atreya and other sages and explains them the rasa siddhannta and other ideas.

Vaastushaastra grantha is written as if the incidents seem to have happened. Then he gives lots of information about design and construction. In Vishvakarma Prakasha there is matter about Vaastu and Jyotisha.

c) Both seemed to have developed some great ability to compose verses, perfectly to some metre, the language is simple and even a novice learning the subject shall be able to understand the meaning and the value of the specified Shaastra.

 d) Both start the book with ‘mangalaacaranam’

NS – Pranamya shirasaa devo Pitaamahamaheshvarau ӏ

Naatyashaastram pravakshyaami Brahmanaa yadudaahrutam ӏӏ 1.1

(Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

VVS – In this book, after mentioning, ‘Sri Ganaadhipataye Namah’ he has referred to himself as ‘Divyo Vishvakarma’ which indicates that divine ability gained due to Shiva’s grace. He starts the shloka as ‘puraa Kailaasanaatha Shikare’ with the incident where Lord Indra comes to Kailasa to meet Lord Shiva and Goddess Paarvati. Anantakrishna Bhattaraka writes this as the ‘vastunirdesha type’ of introduction in his commentary on Vishvakarma Vaastushaastram.

(Bhattaraka, 1990)

VP – Jayati varadanoortirmangalam mangalaanaam ӏ

Jayati sakalavandhyaa bhaarati brahmaroopa ӏ

Jayati bhuvanamaata chinmayee moksharoopa ӏ

Dishatu mama mahesho vaanmaya shabdaroopam ӏӏ

(Vishvakarma, 2017)

e) Both have Mahatvam and Prayojanam

Naatyashaastra –

Dukhaarthaanam Kshamaarthaanaam Shokaarthaanaam Tapasvinaamӏ

Vishraantijananam kaale naatyametadbhavishyati ӏӏ        1.114

Dharmyam Yashasyamaayushyam Hitam Buddhivivardhanam ӏ

Lokopadeshajananam  naatyametadbhavishyati ӏӏ 1.115

Na tadgyaanam na tadshilpam na saa vidyaa na saa kalaa ӏ

Na‘sau yogo na tat karmah naatye’smin yanna drushyate ӏӏ 1.116

(Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

Vaastu shaastra – All the animals and people born on earth need a place of living. Gruh nirmanam is done leading to protection and happiness. Nature has provided the skill and all search for a safe, fear-free environment to live. These needs are fulfilled by that and lead to the good of mankind. Vaastu shastra thinks the human incidents- anukoolata/ pratikoolata are based on environment, i.e. gravitation, magnetism, solar or any energies.

(Bhargav, 2021)

f) Both are Siddhaantas

Naatyashaastra can also be considered as a siddhaanta, where Bharata tries to prove ‘Rasa siddhaanta’ using the sangraha – rasa, bhaava, abhinaya, dharma, vrutti, pravrutti, siddhi, svara, atodya, gaana and ranga in samskrutam using kaarikas and nirukta.

Vaastu Shaastra

In this the siddhaantas of pancabhoota samanvaya, rules for building buildings based on the persons living in it and the use of the natural power management are considered.

(Bhargav, 2021)

g) Both have similar mythical stories –

Naatyashaastra – In the first chapter,

Origin of natya – After Krita Yuga, at the start of Tretaa Yuga, people had greed, jealousy, anger, lust. in their behaviour. So Indra and other Gods approached Brahma to teach them good via an audible visible medium. Brahma, recalling the four Vedas, made the fifth Veda ‘Naatya Veda’ by taking Paatya, Abinaya, Geeta and Rasa from Rik, Yajur, Saama and Atharvana Vedas respectively. Bharata directed his hundred sons and some Apsaras, using four vruttis and presented the naatya on the day of Indra’s flag festival. This pleased the Gods but angered the demons, as they were shown to be defeated.  Then Brahma pacified them saying, ‘Naatya is a mimicry of emotions and actions of all the three worlds.’ Bharata was encouraged to do further practice in the field. Later his sons passed it on to people on the earth. Thus the human beings were given the art of Naatya.

(Pande, 1987)

Vaastushaastra –

1) Conceptualisation of Vaastupurusha – This is the soul of Vaastushaastra. When there was a fierce battle between Lord Shiva and Andhakaasura, some sweat drops which fell from Shiva gave birth to a strange creature, which drank all the blood of the Asura. Being unsatisfied with hunger, he performed a penance to Lord Shiva. He granted him the boon of capacity to devour the 3 worlds. He started destroying the other worlds and Devatas could not control him. Brahma informed them not to make him their enemy, not to fear but to topple him face down.  He fell on the earth adhomukh (face down) all devatas stationed themselves on his body to collectively control him. As all devatas had their ‘nivaasa sthaana’ on him, he was named ‘Vaastupurusha’

(Borad & Om, 2020)

The position of deities during origin of natya is very similar to the incident of controlling the Vaastupurusha.

2) Creation of Vaastushaastra – At the time when Indra arrived to meet Lord Shiva in a divyamantapa at Kailaasa, Lord Nandi, encouraged Vishvakarma to speak to the Lord. When Shiva told him to ask for a boon, as he had knowledge regarding proportions and measurements/(maanam) for the construction of various places like houses and other buildings, villages (graama) and cities (nagara), he asked for the ability to create that which was in his mind – Vishvakarma Vaastushaastram. This contains the dialogue between Lord Shiva and Vishvakarma in the first two chapters.

(Vishwakarma, 1990)

This is the incident that provokes Vishvakarma to write the Vaastushaastra.

 h) Value for Purushaarthas –

Shaastraani Dharmaarthakaamamokshaparaani Bhavanti

Naatyashaastra is a way to fulfil the purushaarthas like dharma, artha and kaama – being a purpose of naatya, which is also the purpose of life.

(Gupt, 2020)

Moksha is an aspect which may be obtained with control over the senses, high level gyaana as well as bhakti, which may be obtained through naatyashaastra.

Vaastushaastra –The aim of human life are the four purushaarthas and for that sake his life is distributed into four aashramas – brahmacarya, gruhasta, vaanaprastha and sanyaasa. Among them Gruhasthaashrama and Gruh are the most important because –

Gruhastasya kriyaah sarvaah na siddhyanti gruham vinaa. – Vaasturatnaakara

(Bhargav, 2021)

  • To take care of stree, children (santaan), relatives, etc. – their health and happiness.
  • Provides place for dharma, artha, kaama and avoid difficulties due to seasonal climatic conditions.
  • To give prasaada/ requirements to vaanaprastha, brahmacaari, yati or brahmins
  • As per rules, for the builder the facility of well, temple, tank, dharmashaala etc. will be provided.
  • ‘Kuvaastu gruha’ gives difficulty and man cannot pursue his goals.
  • So good vaastu leads to pursue goals, including moksha.

i) Punishment if Vaastupooja is not done correctly

Naatyashaastra –

  • Regarding the ‘sootra’ used to measure the site,

If the string breaks into two parts, the swamy /patron will die

If the string breaks into three, a political disorder may occur.

If the string breaks into four parts, the death of prayokta may result.

If it slips out of hands, it results in loss.

  • Evil consequences that may follow with respect to the raising of pillars are as follows: When a fixed pillar moves drought comes, when it turns round fear of death occurs, and when it shakes fear from an enemy-state appears. Hence one should raise a pillar free from these eventualities. (Muni, 1951)
  • Performing the traditional rites of worship inadequately or incorrectly, or with a restless mind, is said to cause misfortune to the master theatre artist. (2.98 – 100)                                                                      (Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

 Vaastushaastra –  As per some myths, Brahma created Vaastu Purusha and gave boon, for creation of gram, nagar, fort, housing, pattan , bhavan, prapaa (pousara, poushaala, tank, tap), dam, park the Vaastu Purusha pooja is a must at the start – if not done, the owner will have no money, have death, have vighna at every stage. Vaastunatha pooja is a must.

(Vishwakarma, 1990)

There are many more like this in both the shaastras.

j) Good if vaastupooja is performed

Naatyashaastra – Bharata informs that consecrating the stage is said to bring good luck to the king and people. The lack of this causes misfortune and ends the drama. He, who deliberately transgresses these rules, will face losses and will be reborn as an animal of lower order.

Offering worship to the Gods of the stage is as meritorious like a yaaga. When worshipped, the deities will bring worship and honour to the worshipper. So, one should make efforts to offer prayer to the stage – deities. The Aacaarya should be purified, disciplined, proficient in the rules of the art, initiated into its practice and have a calm mind. (3.93-100).

(Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

Vaastushaastra – Both Vishvakarma’s texts consider it very important to worship ‘Vaasthnaatha’ and also all the other deities in the Mandala.

k) Auspicious time consideration –


Bharata recommends to see nakshatra, tithi, yoga, karana, etc. for starting, excavation of foundation, sthaapana of door, column and other parts of the building

Vaastushaastra –

Aadau kaalam pareeksheta sarvakaaryaartha siddhaye ӏ 3.1

Kaalo hi jeevaanaam shubhaashubha phalaprada ӏӏ

Prasaadabhavanaarambhe stambhasthaapanakarmani ӏ

Dvaarasthaapanavelaayaam bhavanaanaam praveshane ӏӏ 3.3  

(Vishwakarma, 1990)

Yathaakaalam shubham gyaatva tathaa bhavanamaarabhet ӏ 3.1

(Borad & Om, 2020)

Many details are given about the position of the sun and moon, how to find the muhoorta, the nakshatras suitable, raahu consideration and for the digging direction, both auspicious and inauspicious results are mentioned.

l) Form and Size of the Building (naatyagruha) Naatyashaastra – It is mentioned that the wise, celestial architect Vishvakarma has prescribed 3 types of Prekshagruha by form – shape, measurements fixed and of this vikrushta is the best.

Vikrushta – rectangle    Caturashra – square   Tyashra- triangle

Table- 1 showing Classification by size according to Naatyashaastra

The size should neither be too big nor too small –

Naatyashaastra –

No one should build a playhouse bigger than the above; for a play produced in it, will not be properly expressed. The expression in the face of the actors on which are represented the states and sentiments, will not be distinctly visible to all the spectators. (2.18-20)                                                                                                                        

(Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

For anything recited or uttered in too big a playhouse will be unheard due to weak resonance of the sounds. So the playhouse must be of suitable size, so that the recitatives as well as the songs in it, may be more easily heard by the audience.

(Muni, 1951)

The size of Vikrushta Madhyama is recommended by Bharata, as the best for mortals.

Vaastushaastra – Caturashra (square), aayata (rectangle), vartulaakaara, trikonaakaara (triangle) and mardalaakaara are the five main types of Vaastubhoomi.

(Vishwakarma, 1990)

Another way of classification is the Deva/ Raaja / Jana or Loka Vaastu, where dimensions are differently considered for the 3 categories.                                 

(Bhargav, 2021)

m) Measurements –

Table – 2 showing table of measurements

The measurements are the same in both the shaastras. Both shaastras consider accuracy in measurements.

n) Site Selection and Soil examination –

Naatyashaastra – Prayokta should examine the plot and measure site with a good wish, with characteristics – level (sama), firm (sthira), hard (Katina), not so white i.e. dark soiled (Krishna-agoura) 2.25

Site should be searched, ploughed and cleared of things like –bones, pegs, kapaala, pot pieces etc. Even grass and shrubs are to be removed. 2.26    (Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

Vaastu Shaastra –

Deshabhedena Kaalopi bhinnataam pratipadyate ӏ 3.5       (Vishwakarma, 1990)

Bhoomi pareeksha is important for Vishvakarma

Pareekshakaih shaastravidbhih naanopaayaih pareekshitaamӏ

Uttamaam madhyamaam vaapi bhoomim praapya budhottamah ӏӏ 6.1

Rasavarnasparshagandhairanyairapi ca lakshanaih ӏ

Pareekshaayedimaam bhoomim vaastuyogyam budhottamah ӏӏ

(Borad & Om, 2020)

This idea is supported by the Vishvakarma Prakaasha also in the first chapter. Various types of testing are done which shows the nature of the site/ soil.

 o) Confirmation of proper Direction –

Naatyashaastra – The theatre entrance door and the stage should face the east. The nepathya should be to the west, brahmana pillar to the east, vaishya pillar to north west, shudra pillar to north east.

Praaci pareekshayet samyak sooryagatyanumaanatah ӏ

Gruheetasthalake shankumavate sthaapayet kramaat ӏӏ 3.7

Vaastu Shaastra –

As per Vishvakarma Vaastu Shaastra, the accurate east-west direction has to be found so that all the 10 directions can be established.

Shankuropana is mentioned in Vishvakarma Prakaasha also. Dikshuddhi is a must in case of planning.

p) Measurement with the string or sootra

Naatyashaastra –

On Pushya nakshatra day, the string made of cotton, wool, munja grass or from bark- garment, the string should be used. Wise people should prepare an unbreakable string. 2.28,29

 (Nagar & Joshi, 1995)


So, it should be done on good tithi, karana carefully.  Brahmana tarpana to be given and ‘punyaaha’told, shaanti toyam to be given and then spread the thread.

First measure the 64 hastas, at the back and at the centre measure its half length (32 hastas) thus mark Rangasheersha….

Jyotisha shaastra relies on seeing the star, tithi, etc. sakunas and due to fear, promotes people to take care to do things correctly.

Shloka 32 informs that the string or sootra has to be very carefully handled.

 q) Vaastupada vinyaasa–


FIG. 10 Based on the shlokas (3.24 -31) in Naatyashaastra 

Table -3 showing which deity took care of which part of the Naatyagruha as in shlokas (1.82-88) in Naatyashaastra

1.99 – After this Brahma told that the Gods, who were employed to protect it, would be the ‘guardian deities’ of those places in future.  .    (Nagar & Joshi, 1995)

There is no mention of the Vaastu purusha in the incident.

Vaastushaastra –

VVS – The text mentions that the mandala can be divided into 1,4,9,16,25,36,49,64, 81, etc. up to 32 x 32 hastas, each division assigning particular deities to particular parts. Generally 32 deities on the outer square and 13 deities on the inner squares is considered.

VP – Vaastupurusha mandala is explained in detail for 45, 64, 81 squares and so on. There are details of who has two and single squares in Shlokas 53-59. Words of the Mantra are also mentioned.

Here there is the mention of the Vaastu purusha being controlled.

According to Vishvakarma’s ideas,

FIG. -11 Showing Mandala that is followed generally of the Ekasheeti type

r) Foundation

Naatyashaastra –

NS – Ceremony done at good muhoortha, yoga, moola nakshatra with sound of conch, panava, mrudanga, dundubhi. Unsuitable people like heretics, kashaayavastra, handicapped, etc. should be avoided. At night, offerings should be made in 10 directions to various deities

Gandha pushpa phalopeto disho dasha (2. 38-39) bali/food with mantra in ten directions

Vaastushaastra –

VVS – First the digging is commenced in the correct place as planned, towards east / north east at an auspicious time. The ‘garbha’ has to be filled based on the varnas before the laying of bricks. 6. 9-10

VP– Gruhaarambh should be on mrudu nakshatras like – ashvini, citra moola, revati 3.2   The auspicious time has to be fixed. Many pooja related things like cloth, food, etc. is similar in colour for the varnas. There is calculation of aaya, vaara, ansha, dravya, tithi, nakshatra, yoga and so on. Matching the horoscope of home owner with the house is explained.

s) Colours used – Both the shaastras mention the same colours.

Food offered

East – white    – Brahmins –shuklaanna

West – blue   –     Sudra- neelaanna

South – yellow –  Vaishya – peetaanna

North – red     –   Kshatriya- raktaanna

Centre – Brahma – ghruta paayasam

madhuparka for Raaja

jaggery rice – aacaarya

 t) Walls – Both the shaastras mention walls to be raised in auspicious tithi, karana.

Pooja procedure in shaastras: Tying green leaves – svasthi punyaaha ghoshane, jaya shabda

Giving gifts to Brahmins like jewels, cows, clothes

Musical instruments sounded, bali/ food offering, mantra chanting.

VP – Thickness of wall = Breadth of room / 16    (3. 160)

After the wall work, bhittilepa / plaster and sudhakarma / whitewash with limestone

VVS – Construction details are given.

 u) Pillars – Both the shaastras mention pillars to be raised in auspicious tithi, karana

Naatyashaastra –

Rohini or sravana star – starvation for 3 days/ nights and the sthambas have to be erected the next sunrise –

  1. Brahmana sthamba – white – dadhi payasam – gold
  2. Kshatriya sthamba – red – gudaudanam – copper
  3. Vaishya sthamba – yellow – silver
  4. Shoodra sthamba- blue – iron (2. 46 -50)

Pooja Proceedure in shaastras: Tying green leaves – svasthi- punyaaha ghoshane, jaya shabda

Giving gifts to Brahmins like jewels, cows, clothes

Musical instruments sounded

Mantra: Yathaacalo girimeru himavaansca mahaabalah

Jayavaaho narendrasya tathaa tvamacalo bhava  (2.62-63)

Pillars should be raised so that they don’t move, shake, turn

Vaastushaastra –

VVS -Diameter of pillar base – Height x 9/ 80  Top is 1/10 narrower than bottom.

VP –    Poorvabhaage tu braahma;naa uttare nrupaah ӏ

Vaishyaanaam dakshine maatram pashcime shoodrakaastathaa ӏӏ

Aagyeyaadi karmanyaiva antyajaa varnasankaraah ӏ         (2. 131,132)

VVS and VP  – Construction details are given.

FIG.12 Showing the pillars and the parts

 Vibhajya navadhaa sthambha kuryaadudvahana ghatam ӏ

Padmam ca uttareshtam ca kuryaadbhaagebhaagena  ӏӏ  167

The nine parts of pillar have to be constructed in order, base – vahana, next ghatam, the eighth part – padmam and the uttareshtam on top.

v) Mattavaarinee,

Naatyashaastra –

At the time of building them (the two Mattavaaraṇees) garlands, incense, sweet scent, cloths of different colour as well as offerings agreeable to Bhūtas should be offered [to them]. And to ensure the good condition of the pillars, one should give to the Brahmins Pāyasa[37] and other eatables such as Kṛsarā. The Mattavaaraṇees should be built up after observing all these rules.

It is clearly mentioned in the shlokas 2.64 and 67 as mattavaarinee (single) and not ‘mattavaarinyau’ (two). So, many opinions like that of Dr. Shah, doubtful opinions of Mr. Ghosh and Aadya Rangaacaarya that say as two mattavarinees on either side of the stage is questionable. Dr. Shah’s opinion completely alters the text and may confuse the students who read it.

Vaastushaastra does not give information about Mattavaarinee

w) Stage

Naatyashaastra –

Stage for the music and instrumentalists seems to be the vedika, which is higher than rangapeeta. This is in between the sthambadvaaras of the nepatya.  In front of it is the rangapeeta, which is higher or equal to the mattavaarini.

Vaastushaastra –

VP – does not give information about any Naatyagruha.

VVS – Construction details are given of each part separately in general. Detail of a different Rangashaala is given. But this does not negate the Naatyagruha as in Naatyashaastra.

 x) Rangasheersha

Naatyashaastra –

Rangasheersha along with Shaddaaruka (woodwork) should not be concave or convex but plain and mirror-like smooth with jewels and gems underneath- diamond in east, vaidooryam in south, sphatika to west and pravaala to north and gold in the centre.

Woodwork = shaddaaru karma ooha, pratyuha, nirvyuha, sajjaavana, saalabhanjikaa, anubandha, kuhara with sajjaavana and citrajaala gavaaksha motif

FIG. 13 showing Shaddaaruka according to Aadya Rangacarya

Vaastushaastra – Vishvakarma’s books do not give information about Rangasheersha.

 y) Door –

Naatyashaastra –

No pillar, naagadantam, vaataayanam, corner, window or door should face a door.

Vaastushaastra –

Door ht. for king – 188”         for brahmins 161” x 27”         for sudra 80”

VVS and VP– Construction details are given for different types of doors.

Pooja procedure in both shaastras: tying green leaves – svasthi punyaaha ghoshane, jaya shabda, giving gifts to Brahmins like jewels, cows, clothes

Musical instruments sounded, bali offering and mantra chanting considered.

z) Nepathya –

Naatyashaastra –

Nepathya has 2 doors, between pillars and has 2 parts, may be for actors and actresses. Also has door from outside.

Pooja procedure:tying green leaves – svasthi punyaaha ghoshane, jaya shabda

Giving gifts to Brahmins like jewels, cows, clothes

Musical instruments sounded,  bali offered, Mantra chanted, ratna offered.

Vaastushaastra –

Theatres are further divided into 3 types – Daiva, Gandharva, Maanusha types. The lengths are generally in ratio 1: 2: 3. The dimension of theatre may vary from 4 to 20 dandas.

In the Daiva portion (the hind part), deities to be worshipped before the performance are installed and used for makeup and dressing of the artists.

FIG. 14 showing Vishvakarma’s theatre design as in VVS

aa) Decorative work – This is given a lot of importance.

Types – This is of 2 kinds –

  1. Shilpa (nirmaan of pratima or dhatu or stone)
  2. Citra (drawing pictures on the wall)

Naatyashaastra –

Dove decor (kapotaaleesamaakulam), decorative pillars, the shaddaaruka decor including ooha, pratyooha…,saalabhanjikas, vyaala, many kuttima vinyasas are the various types of decorations.

The niruh, nirvyuha, kuhaara were projecting and recessed elements on the stage, which not only added beauty but also improved the acoustic quality of the place. ‘Naanaasajjaavanopetam’ indicates lot of decor in woodwork. The stambhas and sthoolas (beams), naagadantas, vedika, rangapita bases and surroundings were all decorated with woodwork. Citrajaala gavaaksha – it is an opaque (sealed) window decorated, where it is believed that through it the deity gazes at the created universe.

The walls after bhittilepa and sudhakarma (plaster and lime facing) were painted with various pictures. After walls are levelled and cleaned, paintings are painted creepers, flowers, men and women…..

Vaastushaastra –

In VVS – Construction details are given of various decorative work.

ab) Structure –

Naatyashaastra –

It is told as Shailaguhaakaara, cave like roof, supported at least by 10 main pillars, 6 near stage area and 8 decorative pillars of wood fastened for decoration. Outside walls of strong brick.  Like a cave house at the top with small breeze or Nivaatah (no wind). It should have top floor and small windows for good acoustic quality.

Vaastushaastra –

Construction details given. Other types are mentioned like Vimaana and so on.

ac) Both the books mention Tretaa Yuga as the time of the incident.

Vaastu word is used in Yajur veda 4000 yrs old- places of worship, marriage, house, chariot, etc. It is said that the first book written 3000 yrs ago was by Vishvakarma.

According to some scholars it is 2 century A.D but some think this to be in 4 century B.C but the correct Kaalaganana is not proven.


In Vaastushaastra,

  1. The deities who have taken positions are somewhat similar to what Bharata mentions.

Rudra, nandi, mitra position is changed.

Divaukasa is not mentioned.

Many more deities. May be about 45 sqs.  1 – 81 sqs. are mentioned.

  1. Vaastupurusha’s birth and control by deities is mentioned in detail.
  2. VP informs Shiki as Agni.
  3. The existence of pot pieces, bones, etc. on site, prior to construction, may be problem and for a residence it is considered not suitable.
  4. Shlokas for the worship of deities mentioned in Vishvakarma Prakaasha are different.
  5. Trikonaakaar bhoomi – VVS says that it is one of the agreeable types.

In VP tells it leads to ashubh or putrahaani.. Shloka no. 28 shows it is ‘vaastu tyaajya bhoomi’. But for a public building, it may seem right.

  1. The theatre design mentioned is different.

In the first to third chapters of Naatyashaastra,

  1. The deities have had to take their positions to protect the actors and the mantapa.
  2. There is no mention of the Vaastu Purusha but most of the deities have stood in the same positions.
  3. Shiki in eeshaanya is considered as Shiva.
  4. Site should be searched, ploughed and cleared of things like –bones, pegs, kapaala, pot pieces etc. May be it was not considered a problem for public building.
  5. Shlokas for the worship of deities mentioned in Natyashaastra are different.
  6. NS informs of a triangular plan for the naatyagruha. But tells it as not the best choice.
  7. The theatre design mentioned is different.

IV. Conclusion

  • Vishvakarma Prakaasha does not directly contain any matter on Ranga or Prekshaa gruha. In Vishvakarma Vaastushaastram, a different type of rangashaala is So Naatyashaastra is the main proof for naatyagruha by Vishvakarma.
  • There are a number of similarities and a few differences when Vishvakarma’s ideas in his own books are compared to that of his ideas in Naatyashaastra.
  • The overall idea of planning is to produce the desired effect of the dance or drama on the spectator so that he is transported into the world of the performance and be involved. So the Rangashaala or Naatyagruha was intended to serve as a tool for mass communication to impart knowledge.
  • It can be concluded that the findings of this study have led to a deeper understanding of the study of the naatyagruha over years and thus find applicable solutions.
  • Vaastushaastra has been an unproven science for many. Some say outdated, psudo-science or superstition. People have to read Vishvakarma’s ideas and more study or research needs to be done to explore the field. But it is a good analysis to build with brick, stone, without cement or concrete.
  • Also many Hindu ideals are involved – Lots of concepts in this paper are based on the ancient texts which involve Hindu ideas. The ideas of pooja methods- green leaves, naivedya, punyaaha, mantra chanting, etc. are typically Hindu procedures, Building construction as per ‘vaastu’, etc. are aspects in daily life in followers of VP has lot of jyotishya shaastra involved like nakshatra selection, caandramaasa phala, for various stages of construction, shubhaashubh shakuna, aaya calculation and its phala, naadigyaana and phala, vaastu for types of Gruh, bhavan,etc. Many tables and chakras based on jyotisha are given in the book. Poojaavidhi, homavidhi, bali, daana, and other offerings are mentioned in shlokas – all having Hindu basis.
  • The existence of various construction methods, etc. shows their knowledge in those days – may also prove their existence.
  • These are very ancient granthas, many parts of which may be lost. There is no mention of staircase to shaalas and the toilet position in the present naatyashaastra.
  • Artists worship Vishvakarma and Bharata even to this day.
  • The two mythological ideas seem connected – Bharata in present NS does not mention about the vaastupurusha. May be this was the first time the deities were spontaneously arranged, while the performance went on.. Later Vishvakarma may have known the vaastupurusha concept and may have requested the deities to be summoned in those places.. This incident may have been later in time.
  • This research helps to promote the study of our rich heritage in vaastu tradition of Vishvakarma.
  • Thus, this paper seems to show connection between ancient naatya/ nrutya and architecture in the form of vaastu, find the similarities and differences in Vishvakarma’s ideas as told by Bharata and by Vishvakarma himself.


  1. Bhargav, K. K. (2021). Course Notes. Tirupati: National Samskrit University.
  2. Bhosale, D. B. . Bharata’s Natyashastra: Fundamentals of Dramatics and Aesthetics. Ahmedabad: Dr. B A M University.
  3. Borad, S., & Om, J. (2020). The Vishvakarma Prakash Retold. India: Bluerose Publisher.
  4. Chattopadhyay, M. (2013). A historical Study of Ancient Indian Theatre – communication in the light of Natyasastra. Global Media Journal – Indian Edition , 4 (2), 1-16.
  5. Gupt, D. B. (2020). Natyashastra and Vedanta. (C. A., Interviewer)
  6. Jayakrishnan, K. (2011). Dancing Architecture : The parallel evolution of Bharatanatyam and South Indian Architecture. Canada: University of waterloo Library.
  7. Muni, B. (1951). The Natya Sastra – a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy and Histrionics ascribed to BharataMuni (Vol. 1). (M. Ghosh, Trans.) Calcutta, West Bengal, India: Asiatic Society of Bengal.
  8. Nagar, R. (1995). Natyasastra of Bharatamuni. Delhi: Parimal Publications.
  9. Nagar, R., & Joshi, K. (1995). Natyasastra of Bharatamuni. Delhi: Parimal Publications.
  10. Pandey, A. (2020). The ancient Indian Science of Vaastushaastra and climate responsive buildings. Internatioal Journal of Science and research , 9 (11), 142-148.
  11. Rangacharya, A. (1996). The Natyasastra. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Private Limited.
  12. Reddy, S. M., Chakrabarti, D., & Karmakar, S. (2012). Emotion and interior Space Design : An ergonomic Perspective. WORK , 1070-1978.
  13. Shah, D. C. (2020, February). PG MOOC Detail Study of Natyashastra.
  14. Sharma, H. (2004). Rangasthaapatya – kuch Tippaniyaan. New Delhi: Rashtreeya Naatya Vidyalay.
  15. (2017). Vishvakarmaprakasha (vaastushastram). (M. A. Katyaayan, Ed.) Varanasi, India: Choukamba Publishing House.
  16. (1990). Vishwakarma Vaastushastram. (V. S. K, & N. Gadre, Eds.) Tanjore, Tamilnadu, India: Sarasvati Mahal Library.



Feature Image Credit:


Watch video presentation of the above paper here:

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. Indic Today is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.

More Articles By Author