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