Tag Archives: vedic architecture

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 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 percent 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 in any Vastu building orientation.


Additional Information

Frequently asked questions on Vastu FAQs – 1, FAQs – 2

Article giving an Introduction to Vastu

More FAQs on Vedic Architecture

Article on the application of Vastu to Temple (Mandir) Design  and photos of the well known Swaminarayan Temple in London

Detailed advice on using a compass to find true north using magnetic declination  calculations

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

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 also find Vastu 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

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

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

3. A view from Australia, on the application of Sthapatya Veda

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

5. Further details on the benefits of Vastu in the home

6.  Key Principles of Vastu Design

7. Applying Vastu to town and city planning