Category Archives: Vedic Living Spaces – Vastu

A building design and planning system to create peace and harmony in the home, the local environment and the community. Doing so through the correct orientation, layout and design of buildings and developments. It is the Vedic equivalent of ‘Feng Shui’

Vastu Top Tips – Ideal Room Allocations

Summary: Article showing the ideal room allocations for each direction according to the laws of Vastu to produce a positive and uplifting living space.  Together with an explanation of the underlying principles linking room function with direction in Vedic Architecture.

Modern architecture caters for the gross needs of the occupants. It takes into consideration things such as space, light, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, security, etc. Vastu caters for our more subtle needs – for example, the need to experience peace, harmony, creativity, etc.

In order to achieve this Vastu allocates the functions of certain rooms, e.g. kitchen, dining room, etc. to certain directions. If we select these specific directions for particular activities we will, according to Vastu, feel more comfortable, be more creative, have better relationships and feel healthier as a result.

The following diagram illustrates the ideal room usage for each of the eight directions. So, from the diagram we see the kitchen is ideally located in the South East of a building, the main entrance and hall is in the East and a good place to locate the home office or study would be in the North.

Vastu - Ideal Room Allocation for each of the major directions according to Vedic Architecture

Vastu – Ideal Room Locations for Each Direction

This diagram is not a floor plan. A Vastu home does not have to be a square built on a 3 x 3 grid, or with equal proportions to every room! So the diagram just represents a ‘model of organisation’ telling us the best directions in which to locate certain rooms. This is useful if we are building a new house, or want to re-allocate rooms in an existing property.

Not all Vastu experts agree 100% on every detail – but the allocations shown in this diagram are widely accepted.

*  The central empty area in the diagram is called the ‘Brahmasthan’ – literally the place where creativity resides or is established. It is not a place for activity. Light should reach this area from above (e.g. from a sky-light in the roof). This also applies to a two storey building where light from the roof should come down to the ground floor. Indoor plants can grow there and a water feature is acceptable too.

Room Placements We Should Definitely Avoid

Certain room placements should definitely be avoided if we want to create a good vastu and therefore a supportive living space. So we should definitely avoid

    • A main entrance in the South of the building
    • A toilet in the North East
    • A kitchen in the North East

Explanation of Room Placements According to Directions

The following section explains some of the reasoning behind Vastu’s allocation of rooms to particular directions. However, it is not necessary to understand any of this stuff in order to benefit from Vastu principles in home design.

We just follow the above diagram and allocate rooms accordingly, so as to create the best possible living environment.

The allocation of rooms to particular directions in Vastu is not a random choice. Neither is it based on superstition. There is, in fact, a deep understanding in the Vedic Tradition of the interconnectedness of all things. This is perhaps best expressed in terms of the ‘Vedic Model of Reality’. In this model all the people, all the plants and animals, the planets and even the stars are part of an integrated and interdependent whole. This was cognised by ancient sages, and is realised by the fully enlightened today. The science of Vastu is underpinned by this model.

The Brahmasthan or ‘Central Quiet Area’

There is an empty space at the centre of the room placement diagram called ‘the Brahmasthan’. No activity is linked to this space. Why then would we go to the cost of making an area of a building that has no apparent function? Well, quiet empty spaces have their value.

In Europe, many old towns were built around a central square. This space was largely empty – apart from maybe a fountain or small garden. Similarly, many ancient dwellings and villas in the Mediterranean were also built around a central, empty space (apart from perhaps a water feature and a few plants). It was as though the ancient architects and masons appreciated the well-being created by a quiet, empty central area and they built this into their designs for homes and for towns. It is also a key feature of a Vastu designed home.

The Brahmasthan in a building mirrors the creative centre within us: that central, deep level of silence from which all our thoughts arise. A Brahmasthan therefore brings a coherent, settled-but-creative atmosphere to a building.

Links between Vastu, The Planets and Directions for Rooms

Vastu - showing links between Planets, Elements, Devatas and Directions

Vastu – links between Planets, Elements, Devatas and Directions

To Westerners it seems very odd to associate a planet with a particular direction, but Vastu does this! So Vastu is linked to another of yoga’s related subjects – Jyotish or Vedic Astrology.

In the West, the idea of associating a planet with a day of the week is so deeply embedded in our culture we rarely even think about it. For example, Saturday is associated with Saturn, Sunday with the Sun, Monday with the Moon. In the French language it is even clearer – Tuesday is associated with Mars (Mardi), Wednesday with Mercury (Mercredi) and Friday with Venus (Vendredi).

Now here is the link. In Vastu, planets are associated with particular directions and in Vedic Astrology they are associated with particular characteristics (e.g. Jupiter is associated with wisdom, Mercury with intellect, etc. – see Planetary Indications article)

    • So it should come as no surprise that Vastu chooses the direction North in which to place a study or home office, as this direction is associated with Mercury – the planet of intellect and communications.
    • Similarly, Vastu locates a room for spiritual purposes such as meditation and yoga in the North East – which is the direction associated with Jupiter (the planet that indicates wisdom, spiritual practices, etc.)
    • The most important of the ‘planets’ (actually ‘Grahas’ or celestial objects) from a Jyotish perspective is the Sun. It represents power, health and general well-being. The Sun rises in the East and is linked with this direction. So, according to Vastu, the main entrance should always be in the East of a building and face the rising Sun.

Links between Vastu, ‘Laws of Nature’ (Devatas) and Directions for Rooms

In the Vedic Tradition, each of the directions is also associated with a particular aspect of ‘Natural Law’ – also known as ‘Force of Nature’ or ‘Devata’.  These forces are collectively known as the ‘Dikpala Devatas’ – or ‘Guardians of the Eight Directions’. There are strong links between these concepts and the Chinese concept of ‘The Four Symbols’ – ancient ‘spirits’ responsible for the four cardinal directions.

If we now examine a few of the links between these ‘forces’ and the Vastu room recommendations.

    • The ‘force of nature’ responsible for wealth is called ‘Kuber’ and this is associated with the North direction. So it comes as no surprise that the North direction is a good place to keep valuables in a home. It is also linked with a place for study and usually, the more we learn the more we earn!
    • Agni is the devata associated with fire and the South East direction. So it seems quite logical to place the kitchen in the South East of a building as cooking requires heat!
    • The devata Indra is said to be the ‘ruler of the other forces of nature’, just as the Sun takes a primary position in the hierarchy of the planets. So both Indra and the Sun are linked to the Eastern direction – the preferred direction for the primary entrance to our homes.

Links between Vastu, the ‘Five Elements’ and Directions for Rooms

In the Vedic tradition the whole world (including us!) is made from combinations of the five primary elements or ‘Pancha Maha Bhootas’. It is overly simplistic to translate these into English as ‘Earth’, ’Water’,  ‘Air’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Space’. Taken together ‘Earth’, ‘Water’ and ‘Air’ actually represent the three key states of matter identified by Physics: Solids, Liquids, and Gasses. ‘Fire’ represents heat energy in all its forms, including radiant heat (and the digestive ‘fire’ within us). ‘Space’ is not just the three dimensions in which stuff exists, rather it is viewed as a field of vibrant ‘energy and intelligence’ (close analogies with the Vacuum State in Quantum Physics here).  Ultimately, it is also associated with Consciousness.

Again, let us examine the rationale for associating these ‘Elements’ with the Vastu ideal room recommendations.

    • Obviously the key place for the kitchen is associated with the ‘Fire’ element – the South East.
    • The ‘Water’ element is associated with the North East – so Vastu recommends the water supply should enter the building from this direction.
    • To get a sound sleep we don’t want to be in a place where the ‘Air’ or ‘Fire’ elements predominate (in Ayurvedic terms these would be linked to ‘Vata’ and ‘Pitta’ – see article on Sound Sleep through Ayurveda). So the South West, which is associated with ‘Earth’, seems a good place for a Master Bedroom.

Although all the above reasons may seem esoteric, they show that Vastu is a carefully thought out system that is integrated within the ‘Vedic Model of Reality’ and which also links to Yoga’s sister sciences of Jyotish and Ayurveda.

Together they form an integrated system that promotes health, happiness, fulfilment of our desires and good spiritual progress.


Additional Information on Vastu

Vastu: An Introduction

Summary: An overview of the benefits, scope and origins of Vastu – the ancient, wellness creating Vedic system for the design, layout and utilisation of life-enhancing buildings that bring positive benefits to their occupants. Vastu is also known as: Vedic Architecture, Vastu Vidya, Sthapatya Veda and ‘Yogic Design’.

Benefits of Vastu (Yogic design of living spaces)

The benefits of Vastu are: an increased sense of wellbeing; improved health; greater harmony in us, our family and our relationships; a deeper feeling of self-awareness and inner peace; increased wealth and financial stability, increased creativity; better spiritual progress.

Just as the ancient architects and masons considered the orientation and proportions of the great buildings and cathedrals of Europe as being of vital importance to the occupants, so Vastu designers set out to create life enhancing buildings that are in harmony with the environment and natural forces.

A building designed to Vastu principles creates wellness in its occupants

Vastu creates ideal living and working spaces by connecting the individual with all the supportive forces of nature. It links the individual’s consciousness with the universal order.

Scope of Vastu

Vastu, through the proper orientation, proportions, design and utilisation of buildings aims to promote peace, health and prosperity in the occupants.

It does this by producing buildings that are more ‘in tune’ with the subtle laws of nature. So instead of getting ‘sick building syndrome’, we get ‘well building syndrome’ – giving more positive support for our life and work from buildings with good Vastu.

The principles of Vastu are not limited to domestic dwellings. They can be applied to all buildings from houses, offices, commercial premises, civic buildings, places of worship and even to town and city planning itself.

There are now a growing number of buildings in the West constructed to the Vastu formulae. Anecdotal evidence from occupants is very favourable and there are quantitative, objective research projects being planned to evaluate the benefits for both home owners and businesses too.

Over the past few years the holistic healthcare system known as Ayurveda has become much more main-stream and accepted in the West. Whereas Ayurveda aims to create health in our bodies, Vastu aims to create ‘health’ in our buildings.

We find Vastu also referred to as Vedic architecture, Sthapatya Veda, Vastu Vidya, Yogic Design,  Vastu Shastra and Vaastu and even ‘Yoga for Homes’! Although there are subtle differences between some of these terms I will use them interchangeably in these introductory articles.

Origins of Vastu

Vastu is one of the ‘sister subjects’ of Yoga. Together with  Ayurveda (Yogic Healthcare), Pranayama (science of breath) and Jyotish (Vedic or Yogic Predictive Astrology) it forms part of a powerful synergistic group of ancient Vedic sciences designed to deliver individual and universal well-being.

Although Vastu has its traceable origins in the ancient Vedic texts of the Indian subcontinent, its rules and formulae are appropriate to all of us wherever we may live. Vastu dates back many thousands of years.  Archaeologists and historians suggest it dates from between 6000 BCE to 3000 BCE, but Vedic proponents suggest even further back – possibly 11,000 or more years.  It is said that it was originally given by the Divine for the benefit of all mankind, to help alleviate suffering and unhappiness amongst the people. Vastu is cognized wisdom – not experimentally, or experientially, derived. Further information on the mechanics of  Vedic Cognition can be found in an article on the origins of another of the Vedic Sciences – Jyotish Astrology

Vastu almost certainly lead to the later development of the Chinese Feng Shui system.


Additional Information on Vastu

Benefits of Good Vastu in the Home

Summary: This article examines the personal benefits we can expect from living in a home which meets the ‘good Vastu’ criteria.

Benefits from Homes with Good Vastu

The ancient texts on Vastu describe numerous benefits to having a home with a good Vastu. The benefits are said to be as follows:

    • An increased sense of wellbeing
    • Improved health [1]
    • Greater harmony in ourselves, our family and our relationships, less quarrels
    • More self-awareness and inner peace – being more ‘connected’ with both our true self and our natural environment
    • Increased creativity leading directly to better problem solving – any issues arising are more easily solved and apparent problems become lessened
    • Increased wealth and financial stability [2]
    • Better spiritual progress
    • Greater sense of protection and security
    • Less risk of theft and damage from storms, floods, etc

Footnotes

[1] Just as ‘sick building syndrome’ (also known as ‘a building with very poor Vastu’) negatively impacts on our health, so a building with good Vastu positively impacts on our health. Vastu gives us ‘well building syndrome’.

However, we should be aware that Vastu is only one of the factors that affect our health. From a Vedic perspective other factors, such as our age, our returning karmas (which can also be reflected in our genetic makeup), the surrounding environment, our diet and chosen lifestyle can also affect our health. Fortunately, Vedic technology has ways of modifying at least some of our returning karmas via the remedial techniques prescribed by the karmic engineering system of Vedic Astrology (Jyotish). It also gives appropriate advice on diet and lifestyle tailored to our individual physiology through another of yoga’s sister sciences: Ayurveda (a holistic healthcare system).

[2] The Vastu of a home is said to have a direct influence on our prosperity and financial stability. A good Vastu is said to improve our chances of acquiring and maintaining wealth, whereas a poor Vastu is said to increase our chances of financial loss.

However, Vastu is again only one of the factors that influence our ‘gains’ and financial stability. Common sense tells us that wealth depends to a certain extent on our abilities and the effort we make in our endeavours i.e. our overall ‘merit’. From a Vedic point of view another factor is our returning karmas. Some of these can be assessed, and if necessary, improved through the remedial measures offered by the systematic remedial measures of Vedic Astrology. We should also take conventional financial advice and evaluate all the factors before investing!

In the West we tend to view wealth as just financial gain, whereas in the Vedic tradition it is viewed more holistically. For example, if we are not in good health it is difficult to enjoy our wealth. The various aspects of ‘wealth’ and prosperity are covered by the eight forms of Lakshmi mentioned in the Vedic literature. For example: the wealth of knowledge, wealth of food, wealth of children, wealth of courage and strength, general prosperity, money and good fortune, etc.


 

Additional Information on Vastu

Vastu FAQs 1

Summary: FAQs 1 on the topic of Vastu – a building and planning system to create peace and harmony in the home, the local environment and the community through the correct orientation, proportion and utilization of buildings. Vastu is also known as Vedic Architecture, Yogic Design, Vastu Vidya, Vastu Shastra, Vaastu and Sthapatya Veda.

Q. Is there a link between Yoga and Vastu?

A. Yes, both Yoga and Vastu (aka Sthapatya Veda, Yogic Design) come from the same Vedic tradition which is  many thousands of  years old. So Vastu is one of Yoga’s sister subjects. Since the 1970’s, yoga has become fairly mainstream in the West and its benefits well accepted. Since the 1990’s the Vedic healthcare system Ayurveda has entered the public’s awareness in the developed world and many are now experiencing trhe benefits of an ayurvedic lifestyle. Whilst the Chinese Feng Shui is better known at the moment than Vastu, the past decade has seen an increase in interest in Vedic Architecture with a number of homes being built on all continents according to this powerful traditional system. Anecdotal reports from their occupants are very positive.

Q. What are the main aims of Vastu?

A. Vastu aims to create harmony between a building, its inhabitants and the environment. Vastu buildings increase the ‘feel-good factor’ of those living and working in them. As a result of good Vastu design, people tend to lead healthier and happier lives with less stress. Good Vastu in the workplace is said to lower stress, improve creativity and increase productivity.

We have all heard of ‘sick-building syndrome’ – Vastu produces exactly the opposite, the ultimate in ‘well-building syndrome’

Q. What benefits can we expect from living in a house with a good Vastu?

A. The benefits, attributed by the ancient texts to the occupants of a home with a very good Vastu, are as follows:

    • An increased sense of wellbeing
    • Improved health
    • Greater harmony in ourselves, our family and our relationships
    • A deeper feeling of self-awareness,  inner peace and tranquility
    • Increased creativity
    • Increased wealth and financial stability
    • Better spiritual progress

Q. Isn’t Vastu just the same as Feng Shui?

A. No. Although both Vastu and Feng Shui aim to create harmony in the built environment, they are completely different systems from different traditions. Vastu predates Feng Shui, which was almost certainly derived from it as Vastu knowledge spread from India to China

Q. What are the key factors that a Vastu design takes into account?

A. This is an extensive subject, but in brief, a design based on Vastu principles examines :

    • ‘Positive’ and ‘negative’ influences from the surrounding environment
    • The geometry of the building plot itself and the lie of the land
    • The orientation, dimensions and proportions of the building
    • The entrances and their direction
    • The construction of a quiet central area called the ‘Brahmasthan’
    • The allocation and utilization of rooms according to directions

Some Vedic experts also customise a home’s dimensions according to the Vedic astrological birth charts of the owners.

Q. Can I adapt my existing house to be a more life supporting, positive space with better Vastu, or do I need a custom designed and built property to get a good Vastu?

A. We can certainly adapt many existing buildings to improve their Vastu, although this will not be as effective as a purpose designed house in a development and city specifically laid out according to Vedic architectural principles.

However, sometimes simple changes can make a big difference to how our home ‘feels’. For example, simply changing the orientation of our bed through 90 degrees from a head facing north orientation to a head facing south or east orientation is said to improve our sleep patterns and overall health. Similarly, either blocking up, or simply not using a south facing entrance and instead using an east facing door in our house, is said to create a much better Vastu with positive impacts on health and prosperity.


Additional Information on Vastu

Vastu: Top Tips for Better Homes

Summary:  This article examines the major Vastu (Vedic Architecture, Sthapatya Veda) factors to consider before buying, or building, a brand new house, or before moving into an existing property.

Top Tips for Better Homes through Good Vastu

Good Vastu creates a more healthy, harmonious, prosperous and peaceful home.

By following the rules of Vastu we can help create harmony in our lives by designing our living spaces to be in tune with the laws of nature.

Whether buying a brand new house, or moving into an older property, here are some top tips based on Vedic Architecture’s key principles to help get a better Vastu:

Things to Avoid

Avoid major negative influences from the nearby surrounding environment. So don’t move into a house near to cemeteries or crematoria, prisons, hospitals, heavy industries, power stations, abattoirs, etc. See detailed article on locations to avoid

Reject outright houses with an inherently poor Vastu, such as those with a south facing front door, toilets in the north-east corner, etc.

Things to Modify

Optimise Vastu for the building by re-allocating rooms according to the principles of Vedic Architecture. For example, we could re-designate certain rooms as the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, etc., according to their orientation and location in the building.

We can also modify and optimise entrance orientations, sleeping directions and room utilisation so as to increase the beneficial effects. If we further increase the positivity of the environment by suitable mitigation strategies we should end up with an acceptable Vastu. This will ensure a life-supporting, happy and harmonious home in which to live.

We can modify dwellings to improve Vastu factors. For example, if we can change a main entrance direction from the inauspicious south facing to a much more beneficial east or north facing, we can improve the property’s Vastu considerably. Even changing the direction in which we sleep, so our head points towards the East or South, can improve matters.

Things to Improve Ambience

Mitigate for less than ideal Vastu. For example, it is said we can improve the general ambience and harmony in a building by using appropriate yantras, mantras, certain crystals, homas and pujas, burning incense, Vedic Chanting, playing Gandharva Veda music, etc. Leading a spiritual lifestyle also helps.

We should all accept that a perfect Vastu is, in most cases just not possible. Unless of course we build a purpose designed dwelling conforming to all the rules of Vedic Architecture, in an optimally planned community, laid out according to the Vastu rules of town and city planning.

Although not specifically stated in the Vastu rules, it seems to make sense to buy a house from people who are reasonably happy, healthy and prosperous and who want to move for some reason other than misfortune.


Additional Information on Vastu (Vedic Architecture, Sthapatya Veda)