Tag Archives: vastu

Removing Negativity – Top Tips

Summary: This article gives practical steps for making our home more positive and removing any negative energy from our environment. Many of the recommendations are very simple, low cost solutions.

In an ideal world we would be able to choose a great Vastu location in which to build our home, select the correct proportions for the building and allocate all our rooms according to Vastu principles.

However, if we live in rented accommodation, or have limited resources in order to change room allocations then there are several other things that we can do to help the overall positive feel of our living space.  Even small changes can sometimes make a big difference to the overall ambience of our house or flat.

None of the following purification tips are based on superstition. Rather, they are simply actions which enliven the laws of nature (also known as ‘the field of natural law’ or the ‘universal devas’), thereby increasing the overall positivity in the atmosphere of our home. Ideally we want to turn any dullness, sadness, ‘heaviness’ or inertia (called ‘Tamas’ in Vedic terminology) present in our dwelling into a more positive, uplifting, life-enhancing, joyous energy (called ‘Sattva’).

Basic Tips

        • Firstly, we can change the direction in which we sleep, so our head always points towards either the East or the South, but never to the North. People have reported dramatic improvements in both sleep patterns and general well-being by making this simple change
        • If we have a choice of entrances to our home we can predominantly use those facing East or North – never the South. We can simply place a pot plant in a doorway or hall to obstruct a South facing entrance, rather than doing any building work!
        • We can also impose order on the place where we live. The first step is to declutter. The second step is to clean the place ourselves (and not get a paid cleaner to do the work). Somehow cleaning our home ourselves brings a better sense of ‘connectedness’ and ‘ownership’ with our environment
        • We can do some sort of spiritual practice in our home. This could be yoga, meditation, prayer, worship, singing hymns or chanting mantras
        • We can burn incense (in a proper container to minimize fire risk) in each room, or bring in fresh flowers, or put living plants in our homes
        • We can play uplifting music or use YouTube videos of Bhajans, hymns, chanting or Vedic mantras. Singing often helps too. Combining singing with mantras is great fun – so sing and dance along with Krishna Das’ ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. Playing Gandharva Veda music is also particularly beneficial. We need to just make sure we choose the right melodies (ragas) for the particular time of day we are playing them. Just be aware that instrumental Gandharva Veda music (e.g. flute) usually sounds better than the vocal versions to most Western ears!

More Advanced Tips

If, after doing all of the above, our living space still feels rather dull (i.e. Tamasic) and lacking in positive energy  we could try some of the following ‘more advanced’ purification tips:

        • Ring a small, high pitched bell throughout the house each day
        • Create a sacred space or altar to our chosen form of the divine in a quiet corner of a room (ideally in the north-east corner of our house)
        • Vedic mantras are said to be the language of nature. So you could chant or play some classic Vedic mantras that uplift the atmosphere. The mantras ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’ and the classic ‘Mrityunjaya Mantra’ are good. This mantra is particularly useful if there has been a death or major misfortune in the house.  But something as simple as ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ is also very powerful at dispelling negativity
        • A great Indian Saint once said that children’s laughter really improves the atmosphere in a place and drives out any negativity – so invite your neighbour’s kids around to play with your own and let them have fun!
        • Burn a ghee lamp continuously for 24 hours in the property. Only do this if you can continuously monitor the flame and remove all potential fire risks (including children and pets)!
        • Turn the heating up to maximum for a few hours, with windows closed then turn it off and fully open all windows to the fresh air
        • Sprinkle water or flower petals that have been offered in Puja or other Vedic ceremonies (or that have been blessed by a living saint) around the house and the immediate surroundings. Sacred ash (Vibhuti) from Vedic fire ceremonies is also said to be very purifying 
        • In extreme cases, we might even consider performing some form of small Vedic fire ceremony (also known as Yagya, Yajna, or Homa) in the property to purify all aspects of our home and its surroundings. The consciousness of the person performing the ceremony is important. We should choose someone we can relate to and feel at ease with, as well as someone who has knowledge of how to perform the ceremony and knowledge of the correct mantras

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.

The ancient texts on Vastu ascribe 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
  • A deeper feeling of 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.

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 methodology 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

Summary of benefits of Vastu compliant living  and effects of poor Vastu, as stated  in the Vedic texts.

Further descriptions of the benefits of living in a home with good Vastu

Vastu: Housing Locations to Avoid

Summary: This article gives Vastu advice for locations to avoid when buying, or building a new house, due to proximity of man-made influences in the surrounding environment.

 Vastu Recommendations on Housing Locations to Avoid

Whilst many of the following factors agree with common sense, others are not so obvious. I have collated the opinions of a number of Vastu experts and authors into the list below. This incorporates both factors mentioned in the ancient texts and the Vastu expert’s application of the principles of Vedic Architecture to our modern world.

Any influences where stress is concentrated, or that upset the ‘laws of nature’ and natural harmony in an environment are to be avoided.

So don’t buy or build a house located within a one mile radius of any of the following:

Traditional Factors to Avoid

  • A court, prison or other detention centre
  • A hospital or mental asylum
  • A large cemetery or crematorium [1]

Modern Factors to Avoid

  • An abattoir or meat processing plant
  • An airport (some say avoid up to a five mile radius for a major airport)
  • Sources of strong electro-magnetic fields, e.g. high powered radio or radar transmitters, electricity switching centres and sub-stations, very high voltage overhead electricity distribution cables [2]
  • Municipal sewerage plants
  • Municipal waste incinerators and rubbish tips
  • ‘Factory’ farms and research establishments involving testing on animals
  • Heavy industries and power stations
  • Large mineral extraction sites, mines, refineries, etc.

To obtain a life supporting and harmonious living space it is really important to avoid these external influences before even trying to optimise a building’s Vastu.

Some Vastu experts also suggest avoiding very close proximity to churches, temples and public or civic buildings (such as public halls) – but this is in the immediate neighbourhood, for example houses exactly opposite or closely neighbouring the site.

On a completely pragmatic issue regarding air quality, it seems good to avoid houses in cities that are very close to main arterial roads, elevated sections of freeways, etc. as current research links certain particulate emissions from diesel powered vehicles to potential health hazards [3]

Generally, it seems to make more sense from a Vastu perspective to buy houses from people who are reasonably happy, healthy and prosperous and want to move for some reason other than misfortune. The more auspicious and happy a house or area feels [4], the better it probably is.

Some influences remain for a period of time even if the current site usage has changed. For example, in the UK many of the older mental health institutions have been converted into flats, or demolished and new houses built on the sites. The same goes for new buildings constructed on the site of ancient burial grounds in cities which have later expanded. Also to be avoided are houses which were previously used as a brothel or where a serious fire, murder, untimely or accidental death, etc. has occurred. It pays to research the history of an area before buying a property located there.

Footnotes

[1] Smaller cemeteries attached to churches, for example a churchyard in a village may not be so negative – just avoid immediate proximity.

[2] Exactly how far you need to be away from a strong source of electro-magnetic fields is a matter for debate. It probably depends on the transmitter power and antennas directivity. If you have an option, it’s probably best to avoid close proximity to mobile phone masts too. For point sources of electro-magnetic radiation the intensity falls off as the square of the distance (inverse square law), so simply by trebling the distance away from the transmitter, we are exposed to one ninth the field strength. The whole question of electro-magnetic ‘smog’ from Wi-Fi, data networks, mobile phones etc. and its effect on our well-being needs further research. In the UK we have a very high voltage overhead grid system ranging from 11KV to a massive 400KV – definitely to be avoided. Again, exactly what constitutes a ‘safe’ distance is debateable. If the radiation is non-ionizing (as is the case with radio waves from mobile phone masts) current scientific thinking would say there is no problem, but Vastu would treat all such sites with caution.

There is an interesting, scientifically objective article on the possible links between certain cancers and high levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) due to overhead power lines on the UK’s Cancer Research site.

[3] There is an informative article on the effects of diesel particulate emissions on health by the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency.

The UK’s BBC website says ‘The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, had previously labelled diesel exhausts as probably carcinogenic to humans. IARC has now labelled exhausts as a definite cause of cancer, although it does not compare how risky different carcinogens are. Diesel exhausts are now in the same group as carcinogens ranging from wood chippings to plutonium and sunlight to alcohol’.

[4] If we practice any form of meditation then go and spend a few minutes with our eyes shut, either in the building or just outside it, and observe how we feel at a deep level about the place. Often our intuition can give us valuable advice – but we need to be in a reasonably settled state for this to happen.


Additional Information

  1. Frequently asked questions on Vastu FAQs – 1, FAQs – 2, FAQ’s – 3
  2. Article giving an Introduction to Vastu

Vastu: Key Design Principles

Summary: Several key principles for the design, layout and orientation of life-enhancing buildings constucted to the rules of Vedic Architecture (Vastu or Sthapatya Veda) are discussed

Vedic Architecture considers a number of key principles in the design of a building:

  • The purpose for which the building will be used, e.g. domestic, commercial, civic, etc. and the requirements of the occupants.
  • Proximity of favourable and unfavourable influences from the surrounding environment. For example, living within 1 mile of a prison, hospital or cemetery is considered unfavourable. The effects of nearby lakes, streams, etc. are also considered.
  • The building’s orientation: Considered to be an extremely important factor [1]. The building is aligned with the four cardinal directions. Entrance directions are planned – East facing entrances are considered life enhancing, North facing are fine, but South facing ones detrimental.
  • The ratio and proportions for dividing up the plot and the building floor area into rooms and the geometry of features such as windows, doors, roof, plinth, etc. For example, a square floor plan divided into 9 equal smaller squares (i.e. a simple 3 by 3 grid) is very beneficial, with key rooms each allocated to one smaller square – except the centre one which is left unoccupied. All building’s dimensions, perimeters, etc., are calculated according to the Vastu Formulae. The building may also be customized according to the prospective owners Vedic astrological chart.
  • Placement and allocation of rooms: Considerations as to which rooms such as kitchen, bedrooms, etc. are allocated to the optimum directions and segment of the building appropriate to their specific activity e.g. kitchen in the South-east, master bedroom in South-west, no toilets in North-East.
  • Buildings benefit from a central ‘quiet’ Brahmasthan area where there is no activity. For two or more story buildings, light entering from roof level onto this quiet ground floor area is also beneficial.
  • The size, shape and slope of the building plot and how it is demarcated from its surroundings.  A Vastu designed building is always surrounded by a Vastu fence or ‘compound’ wall of designated proportions – although the materials can vary.
  • The use of local, sustainable building materials for the project and any national or regional architectural styles.
  • Building work is commenced on auspicious days according to the principles of Jyotish (Vedic astrology). Vedic ceremonies are performed at key stages of the build: ground breaking, laying cornerstone and when first moving in.
  • Local planning rules, regulations and ordinances.

Footnotes

[1] The building’s orientation was considered to be an extremely important factor by the enlightened Vedic scholar Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


Additional Information

Frequently asked questions on Vastu FAQs – 1, FAQs – 2, FAQ’s – 3

There is an informative article on the Vastu Shastra (teachings on Vastu) on Wikipedia

A view from Australia, on the application of Sthapatya Veda

An application of Vedic Architecture principles to a garden village in the UK

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 increase in 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, it is believed 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, 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, having 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

  1. Additional Frequently Asked Questions on Vastu FAQs – 1FAQ’s – 3
  2. Article giving an Introduction to Vastu
  3. More FAQs on Vedic Architecture
  4. Vastu as ‘Yoga for Homes’
  5. Links between Vastu and Feng Shui