Category Archives: Introduction to Vastu

Introductory articles about life enhancing living spaces designed using the principles of Vedic Architecture – Vastu

Vastu: An Introduction

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

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’ that gives 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), Pranyama (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 FAQs 2

Summary: This FAQ list contains additional questions on the topic of Vedic Architecture – 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. Vedic Architecture is also known as Vastu,  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) come from the same Vedic tradition which is  many thousands of  years old. 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. Whilst Feng Shui is better known at the moment than Vastu, the past decade has seen an increasing interest in Vedic Architecture with a number of homes being built on all continents according to this system. Anecdotal reports from their occupants are very positive.

Q. Is Vastu or Vedic Architecture related to Feng Shui?

A. Yes, almost certainly Feng Shui was originally derived from Vastu. Most scholars agree that the knowledge of Vastu predates that of Feng Shui. This knowledge almost certainly spread from India to China before recorded history. Over the long period of time the two systems diverged as knowledge was passed from place to place and from generation to generation. Furthermore, Feng Shui fragmented into different ‘schools’ of thought. Many of the principles of Vastu and Feng Shui are now very different. It is best not to mix these systems.

Q. Do I have to believe in Vastu for it to work?

A. Vastu is not a belief system. It produces noticeable effects irrespective of one’s beliefs or culture. Some of the benefits, such as a settled sense of wellbeing, should be noticed immediately upon entering a building with good Vastu. Other benefits, such as those that are health or prosperity related, might take much longer to manifest.

Q. Is it possible to build a house with a perfect Vastu?

A. Even if a house was built using all the rules of Vastu, in isolation it would still not have a perfect Vastu! For a perfect Vastu, not only the house, but also the local community and the entire city need to be laid out according to Vastu formulae. Only then would it be nearing ‘perfection’ (actually a whole country can be laid out according to Sthapatya Veda – so we would then get even better Vastu!). City plans according to Vastu have an inherent symmetry and underlying beauty.

Q. Surely all houses built to the same Vastu formulae will all look the same?

A. Logically you would think that this would be the case. However in practice, houses built according to Vastu can look completely different according to the local materials used in their building and the occupant’s requirements. So Vastu built houses in Australia look very different from those built in the mid-west of the USA, which again look very different from the brick built Vastu homes in an English village. However, they do have clearly identifiable common elements such as a Brahmasthan at the centre, North or East facing main entrances, windows of a certain proportion, etc.

Q. Is Vastu ‘New Age’?

A. Most definitely not. It is very ‘old age’ indeed. Vastu has been around for  many thousands of years. In the West we tend to value the ‘new’, in the East they tend to value the ‘old’. In the East, if something has withstood the test of time and comes from a respected tradition it is more valued. Vastu or Vedic Architecture comes from such a tradition.


Additional Information on Vedic Architecture

Vastu FAQs 3

Summary: This FAQ list contains more in-depth questions on the topic of Vastu – a building and planning system to create health, happiness and prosperity in the individual, together with peace and harmony in the home, the local environment and the community. Vastu is also known as Vedic Architecture, Vastu Vidya, Vastu Shastra, Vaastu and Sthapatya Veda.

Q. Has Vastu evolved over a period of time?

A. No. It does not need to as it falls into the category of ‘revealed knowledge’. The Vastu system, although very precise and systematic, is not derived from experiment. Rather, it is ‘received wisdom’- its origins lie in the distant past. In fact the whole of the Vastu Shastra (Vastu ‘Scriptures’) were ‘revealed’ by enlightened sages many thousands of years ago.

Q. What share of people’s problems can be attributed to poor Vastu compared with problems due to their returning karmic influences? Surely both are interlinked?

A. An interesting question. I have heard the figure of around 60% Vastu (versus 40% karma) related influence, mentioned by followers of the now deceased, Self-realized Vedic Scholar Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Of course, one might need a certain degree of beneficial karma to live in a house with a good Vastu!

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi himself has been quoted as saying ‘Living in a proper Vastu can eliminate 60 to 80% of the problems we encounter in life.’ This is a surprisingly large figure and shows the importance he placed on this ancient Vedic Technology. Of course, these figures might be a ‘worse case analysis’, only applying to occupants of houses and neighbourhoods with really poor Vastu resulting from the combination of many unfavourable factors.

Q. I have heard that Vastu was an important factor in the design of Indian Temples

A. Yes, certainly parts of the Vastu Shastra (scriptures) deal with the design and orientation of temples and places of worship and it has been widely used for centuries in the Hindu tradition for this purpose. Other parts of the Vastu texts deal with domestic dwellings and buildings for civic and business purposes too. Vastu also gives rules for the optimum lay out of towns and city planning.

Q. Is Vastu a science?

A. No, not in the accepted Western definition of ‘science’. Although Vastu is systematic and precise, none of the rules in the Vastu Shastra are based on experimental evidence. In addition, there is no existing scientific bio-mechanical model or hypothesis to suggest how a building’s design affects people’s well-being (apart from obvious environmental factors such as noise, light, occupant density, temperature and humidity, which are already factored in to Western Architecture). Vedic Architecture comes from cognized, not experimental or experiential knowledge.

However, we would expect the benefits of Vastu to be visible through existing scientific methodology. Current research is looking for quantifiable effects of Vastu .

Q. Do all Vastu experts agree on every topic?

A. There are many areas of broad agreement. However, certain groups or ‘schools’ may have different opinions on the details. This is why the input of an enlightened, Self-realized master is valuable at clarifying any differences and misunderstandings that may have arisen over the long lapse of time since the Vastu Shastra’s original cognition. Errors may also have arisen when this knowledge passed from an oral tradition to a written one. This may seem very surprising to Westerners and an explanation for this will be covered in detail in another article.

Q. Do the Vastu rules change in the Southern Hemisphere?

A. No. Although many modern authors are confused about this point, Vastu is a universal system with universally applicable rules. Thinking about it logically, if the Vastu orientation rules were reversed for the Southern hemisphere then what rules should be applied to people living in equatorial regions? Similarly, would the rules become more ‘diluted’ and less effective as we moved from higher latitudes to closer to the equator? No, Vastu remains a universal system with universally applicable rules. It was given by the Divine for the benefit of all mankind – wherever they live.

Q. Does Vastu use True North, or Magnetic North, and does the difference matter? 

A. Vastu uses True North, not Magnetic North for its orientation reference point. True North is the direction towards the Earth’s rotational axis and this is always used in Vedic Architecture. Magnetic North is the direction in which a magnetic compass needle points. Depending on where we live on the Earth’s surface, there can be huge differences (e.g. almost +/- 20 degrees within the USA alone) between True North and Magnetic North. This difference, called the magnetic declination, also changes over the years (yes – the magnetic north pole moves around!). This implies the fixed directional properties of Vastu are not linked to the ever changing Earth’s ‘magnetic north’ direction. So we always use True North, never Magnetic North, as a reference direction in any Vastu building orientation.


Additional Information on Vastu – Vedic Architechture