Understanding Vastu Shastra
Vastu shastra refers to the ‘indian art of placement’. Vastu in Sanskrit means house or dwelling that is in harmony with nature. Vastu sastra is an ancient Indian science and art that encompasses principles and practices of constructing houses in a manner so as to bring about a harmonious balance between man and his nature. Such a harmony would ensure all-round good health, well-being and prosperity. As with many an ancient culture, Indians divide the primaeval elements into 5 –. Earth (Prithvi), Air (Vayu), Fire (Agni), Water (Jal) and Atmosphere (Akash). The belief is that the space condenses into air, which in turn gives birth to fire. Fire transmutes into water and the final transformation of water is the Earth. The Earth is the culmination of the process of genesis.
Vastu shastra is of the belief that your home should be designed in a manner such that positive forces override negative forces, which leads to a positive cosmic field that infuses residents with contentment and prosperity. The principles of Vastu when applied can guide you to create a positive atmosphere in your house. The belief is that the nine planets influence everything on Earth and each of these planets guards a direction. As a result, our homes are influenced by the nine planets and five elements.
The scorching summers of India are responsible for the directional placement of various rooms and structures. Non-functional rooms such as storerooms are placed in the southwest, where the afternoon sun is at its peak. The movement and direction of airflow is also given prominence in vastu-planned houses. The open courtyards were hubs of activity and were given to fresh breeze but buffered from hot winds. Particular care is given to sizes of windows so as to allow free movement of air but keep out the scorching heat.
Choosing a site
The vastu grid or vastu purusha mandala is the basic model on which the house is based. The worthiness of a site is considered before selecting it. A natural slope towards the East provides overall well being whereas a slope towards the North is supposed to be a wealth generator. Vastu sastra advocates a respectful distance from the neighbor’s house. Land that has a history of litigation behind it is best avoided. Vastu practitioners are partial to four sided plots like squares, rectangles and trapeziums. Triangular and circular plots are generally avoided due to their association with fire and air.
Vastu shastra aims at achieving harmony with the laws of nature. It tries to balance different forces so as to achieve a positive effect on the inhabitants of the house. The ancient architectural science of Vastu Shastra works by balancing your environment in accordance with the natural laws inherent in the universe.
Boundary wall: Compound walls should be of equal thickness on all four sides. The South and West walls can be made thicker as it can also prevent the afternoon sun from coming in with full fury.
Garage: This is best constructed in the Northwest or Southeast corner of the plot. The main consideration is that the watchman should be able to get a good view of the entire plot.
Water reservoir or tank: Northeast is the preferred direction for the water source.
A vastu home has to be aligned with the cardinal directions thereby reflecting the Vedic concept of the universe. Don’t place disturbing works of art such as those depicting war and misery as they may bring about negative energy. The bedroom is best placed in the Southwest of the house. The bed should be placed in middle of the room or southwest corner of the room. Beds should not touch Northern or Eastern walls. The best location for the kitchen is the southeast corner of the house.
The Brahmastan occupies pride of place in any house designed according to the principles of Vastu. This is the central courtyard and is the energy center of the house. It is best left open to the sky if possible. This allows energetic space surrounding the Earth into the house. Since the basic tenet of Vastu sastra is that space has a powerful impact on us, we must connect the spaces to have a positive effect on us. Different spaces have varied effects on us – gardens, crowded railway platforms, beaches.
- Sleep with your head towards east or south.
- Attend to creaking doors and windows.
- Jugs of water should not be placed near the telephone or computer as the electric rays affect the water.
- Face the east when cooking.
- Use separate towels for each member of the house.
- Viewing the sun in the mornings is considered beneficial.
Vastu sastra and Feng shui – A comparative study
A bone of contention between the two ancient philosophies is the importance of the northeast sector. In Vastu, it is regarded as an auspicious spot whereas Feng shui regards it as the gateway for imps and devils. Though China and India are geographically contiguous regions, there are crucial environmental and cultural differences. These differences are bound to be
manifested in the two systems of placement.
Both these ancient sciences agree that an impressive door can add to the prestige of the resident. But doors that squeak or groan or get stuck are considered harbingers of bad luck. Either school of thought does not recommend sitting with your
back towards the door. This is practical even in modern day offices since it keeps you from being startled or surprised and thus disrupting smoothly flowing work energy. Both systems look on plants favorably. While Vastu principles do not look favorably at sap-exuding trees, Feng shui regards thorny and prickly plants as negative chi. Both systems advocate a housewarming or groundbreaking ceremony to commence construction or before moving in. Vastu shastra has survived for a long time and has transformed itself from an architectural guide for temples and palaces to individual houses too.
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