This is part 3 of the series of 9 articles presented on Vastu Shastra. A home buyer, at times, begins the journey of owning a home with a single point agenda of ‘Vastu compliance’. The journey is not an easy one, and is riddled with many roadblocks and confusions. These articles are meant to ease the confusion, or perhaps, bridge the lack of a balanced perspective around Vastu while: i) planning on buying and/or constructing a home, and ii) to assist the home buyer to zero-in on the most sensible choice of an apartment.
For a clearer perspective on Vastu Shastra, it is recommended that all the 9 parts of this series on Vastu Shastra be read.
However, should the reader be in a hurry, it is recommended to at least go through the ‘4 steps to understanding & demystifying Vastu’ and the ‘conclusion’ in part 9 of the series. This will hopefully impart a well-rounded balanced perspective on Vastu Shastra, its implications and its applicability. Above all else, it help us shape (or choose) our overall demeanour and approach in dealing with the dilemmas posed by Vastu Shastra effectively.
Note- An index with links is given at the bottom of this article to help you navigate and jump directly to the desired topic of this 9-part series.
The key takeaways having read part 1 & part 2 of this series
Vastu Shastra is NOT a rule book which must be followed
- It’s a guideline
- It’s not a commandment
Vastu Shastra is NOT irrational
- It is based on elements of Earth, and the climatic conditions, especially Sun light and flow of Wind
- Being flexible, Vastu Shastra does NOT threaten or forbid any one design element; Hence, one should not nurture the tenets (guidelines) as superstitions, and become vulnerable to listening to fear-mongering Vastu pundits
- The eventual goal of Vastu Shastra is ‘feeling good, happy & content’; no rigid Vastu expert can decide this for you; This needs to be your call based on your better senses and feelings about a house, propelled by your own knowledge of Vastu Shastra, and the pristine intent thereof
- Vastu Shastra gives some ‘subjective benefits’ (unproven) and certain ‘objective benefits’ (measurable & evidenced); So, as a home buyer, you must have a balanced approach while evaluating options, or seeking advice on Vastu compliance
Vastu Shastra is NOT the same everywhere
- It is region specific, climate specific
- It is oriented towards providing peace and happiness by being in harmony with nature; So, immersion and integration with nature is an important element
- This again indicates that there are NO FIXED RULES
Vastu Shastra is mystical in nature, and can be used to exploit the vulnerable
- Understood by very few, the experts or pundits who speak about rigid tenets are NOT to be relied upon fully
- The fear mongers can target people who are scared to lose on their relationships or money
- Vastu Shastra is no more than ‘guiding principles’ that must be evaluated with common sense, and using the yardstick of how ‘good, happy & content’ the home buyer feels with a certain design
Vastu principles applied to apartments may NOT give the desired benefits
- Applicability of Vastu on apartments comes under question, because sunlight and directions do not serve the purpose in a cluster living built environment where a plot is shared by many
Vastu Shastra is NOT the solution provider of your life’s problems
- It only gives you a psychological respite of having chosen a Vastu friendly home backed by logical and scientific reasoning
- Vastu Shastra gives guidelines for construction, and if the apartment you live-in does not get ample light or cross ventilation, it will not offer any tangible health or psychological benefits even if the rigid guidelines are followed
- Vastu Shastra was written when technological advancement was nowhere close to what it is today
- Hence, a lot of Vastu recommendations made during the ancient times are not practical today, because the context itself has changed completely in the World as we live in
Vastu Shastra is NOT an act of blind faith to be followed with a dogmatic approach
- These are common design principles or suggestive guidelines for space, sunlight, flow and function
Evolution of Vastu Shastra
The tenets of Vastu were originally meant primarily for temples, palaces, and the discerning few (elite gentry) to make sure the elements of nature were in harmony in these spacious and mammoth structures & buildings. However, these principles gradually spread amongst the commoners (praja) by word of mouth as pre-determined, unquestionable, rigid rules for the regular houses as well. Separately, the sages were also prudent and wise to visualize that in the absence of specific guidance (about building well-lit, well-ventilated living spaces), the commoners could end-up building poor structures bereft of these basic elements. Hence, the principles of Vastu, over a period of time, became strictly enforceable principles, backed by the blessings or ire of the Hindu deities.
Vastu conforming structures were supposed to have astrological as well as religious implications on the psyche and overall well-being of the residents of a home or building. Commercial and residential structures came to be intertwined and correlated with religious deities, and the blessings or curse they could cast on the occupants if the rules were violated. Clearly, the actual or original intent of Vastu was purely rational, logical and benefit driven, which makes it scientific in its ‘original form’.
Hence, to prevent poorly ventilated and badly lit-up structures, the principles or tenets of Vastu Shastra became ‘hard and fast rules’. The Vastu experts over the centuries propagated them to greater heights of dogmatism. The science that started off as a flexible guide to construct well measured, proportionate and aesthetically beautiful buildings turned into unbreakable tenets, perhaps, just short of blasphemy.
There are various tenets related to location, site shape, the soil, the slope of the site, and the orientation of the site. In this article, we shall limit ourselves only to the home and more specifically, the rooms and spaces that are a part of our homes or apartments.
The ORIGINALLY envisioned goal of Vastu Shastra was to beget happiness, contentment and positivity of the inmates residing in the house by restoring the balance between the structure and the universe (or nature).
The overall generic guidance is depicted in the picture below that indicates what should be placed where (constructed/located), and in which part of the house basis the ‘8 cardinal directions’. A ‘9-blocker construct’ (as depicted in the picture below) broadly compartmentalizes the proposed or preferred pattern of a house.
The picture depicted below indicates what spaces should be included (ideal), and which spaces must be excluded (avoided) in a particular segment of the 9-blocker based on the metaphysical concept (that incorporates heavenly bodies & supernatural forces) of Vastu Purusha Mandala:
As per an old legend, the Hindu Lord of Creation Brahma created a human-like creature named Vastu Purusha. Post creating Vastu Purusha, it was realized that he was eating everything in his way. Vastu Purusha had grown immensely powerful, uncontrollable and something had to be done to contain him. Since Vastu Purusha became too powerful and belligerent, Lord Brahma had to seek the help of other Hindu Gods to pin down Vastu Purusha to the ground. This feat of containing the all-powerful human-like creature was finally achieved, and Vastu Purusha’s head was pinned to the ground, with his head in the North-East, and legs in the South-West direction. In this exercise of pinning him down to the ground, Brahma and the other deities had gotten together, and positioned themselves based on their contributions and positions. In fact, to overpower and neutralize Vastu Purusha, Lord Brahma had to jump in the middle of the construct to hold down Vastu Purusha.
After succeeding in pinning him down, Lord Brahma took a lenient view of his creation, and accorded him immortal status, and granted the status to be worshipped by the mortals (humans). Lord Brahma also granted Vastu Purusha certain divine powers. Vastu Purusha was accorded powers to tease, devour or trouble people who did not construct their dwelling units as per the Vastu Purusha Mandala, i.e. the design in which Vastu Purusha was actually pinned to the ground by Brahma and the other Hindu deities.
The positions in 9-blocker correspond to the 9 Hindu deities as follows:
- North- Kuber (Lord of Wealth); ideal for treasury
- South- Yama (Lord of Death); perfect for bedroom
- East- Indra (Lord of Rains, but ruled by Sun/Aditya- watching over the world); good for bathroom
- West- Varuna (Lord of Water- physical); good for dining room
- North-East i.e. Eshanya – Lord Shiva (Mahadeva); ideal as a prayer room
- South-East- Agni (the energy generating ‘fire- deity’); good for kitchen
- North-West- Vayu (the God of winds); for cowshed
- South-West i.e. Niruthi– Pitru/Nairutya (ruled by ancestors; Rahu & Kama signifying marital life); good to store heavy objects/armoury
- Centre- Brahma (ruled by the creator of the Universe signifying ‘desire’); This is why the central area of a mandala (geometrical pattern/design for construction) is known as the Brahmasthana