Tag Archives: vastu

Vastu: An Introduction

Summary: An introduction to the benefits, scope and origins of Vastu (Vedic Architecture, Vastu Vidya, Sthapatya Veda, Yogic Design) – the ancient 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 said to be: 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.

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. 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 ‘traditional technologies’ 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.

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 on Vastu

Vastu FAQs 1

Summary: FAQs  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 very 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: 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 Housing Locations to Avoid

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

Modern Housing Locations 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 on Vedic Architecture

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

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 – Key Principles in Building Design

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 nine equal smaller squares (i.e. a simple three by three 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 on Vastu Shastra