How do you make sure your home, your office, and even your town offers the best energy for living? Some people study and implement “Feng Shui” to help figure it out. But there’s an even older tradition—500 years older in fact. It's based on earlier oral traditions later written in the Rig Veda and has for 5,000 years made the answer clear: Vastu.
Vastu is a Sanskrit word packed with meaning: house of dwelling that renders happiness, prosperity and protection in life and even after death. It is the perfect perception of geography, direction, topography, physics, the environment, and cosmology itself. Vustu means the unmanifest; Vastu: the manifest. By combining ayurvedic science and astrology, Vastu Shastra makes visible deeply held beliefs as it connects humans to nature’s energies.
The Vastu College of Archtecture
Architecture, a Human Act
According to Ganapati Stapati, the Senior Architect at the Vastu Government College of Architecture, architecture is a human act. It requires carving out a segment of that omnipotent, universal space of the brahmanda, the cosmic space, for the use of the human beings. It is not often that architecture truly rises to the challenges of capturing the divine character of the brahmanda in its folds. But when it’s does the architectural experience exalts generations of people to come.
Vastu is all about squares. Stapati notes it's from squares that circles arise.The circle and curve, he says, belong to life in its growth and movement. But the square is the mark of order. It speaks to life's form and the perfection beyond life and death. And it’s from the square all requisite forms can be derived: the triangle, hexagon, octagon, circle etc. Indian architects call this square the vastu-purusha-mandala—vastu the manifest, purusha the Cosmic Being.”
"When completed,” he says, “the vastu-purusha-mandala will represent the manifest form of the Cosmic Being; upon which the temple is built and in whom the temple rests. The temple is situated in Him, comes from Him, and is a manifestation of Him. The vastu-purusha-mandala is a mystical diagram. It is both the body of the Cosmic Being and a bodily device by which those who have the requisite knowledge attain the best results in temple building."
Therefore, in vastu shastra all structures should be erected according to auspicious astrological calculations to assure successful execution, longevity, and lasting prosperity.
Long Ago and Far Away
According to Hindu myth long ago an unnamed, unknown and formless being blocked the sky and the earth. The Gods forced it down on earth and pressed it face down. To ensure that it did not escape again, Lord Brahma, the supreme creator, along with other gods weighted it down and called it vastupurusha.
A Mandala Template
It is Brahma who forms the central square in a mandala made of 32 squares and rectangles. It forms a cosmic diagram of where Vastu Purusha manifests.
Altogether, it forms a microcosm of a great macrocosm where everything fits in perfect harmony. Vastu Purusha denotes the emphasis of a particular area by lying face-down resting his head in the direction of north-east which is a balanced thinking and his lower-body facing the south-west direction signifies strength and stability. In the center is his navel, which depicts cosmic awareness, and his hand facing towards north-west and south-east shows energy and movement.
This mystical diagram lays out the eight directions, each associated with a lesser god and their beneficial attributes.
According to Vastu Shasti principles, every place--whether home, work place, worship place, community place, or entire cities--can benefit from these eight directional attributes.
Northwest - Vayu, the God of wind. Advertisements.
West - Varuna, the God of water. Physical.
Southwest - Nairuthi or Pitru or Nairutya. This direction is ruled by ancestors, and that is why it influences the "History" of that place.
South - Yama, the God of death. Destruction or Damage.
Southeast - Agni, the Lord of fire. Energy generating.
East - Aditya, the Sun God. Seeing the world.
Northeast - Eeshanya, the God of all quarters. Faith, Luck, and Religion.
A Few Practical Aspects
Vastu-Shastra equalizes the five elements: earth, air, water, fire, space with the eight directions. When all this is not carefully attended to there is sickness, tiredness, negativity, pessimism, tension, failures...you get the picture.
Just as Feng Shui can be practiced on many levels, so too can Vastu-Shastra. It can be rich with spiritual and cosmological intent or simply a way to manipulate energy for one's personal welfare by using mirrors, colors, door placements, etc.
Here a just some of the many Vastu-Shastra teachings made applicable to interior spaces gathered from freevastushastra.com:
As in Feng Shui, the direction you sleep affects your physical and mental health. Put your head toward the south corner of your bedroom
Rectangular and square rooms promote peace and good fortune. Don’t build houses or rooms in oval, circle or triangular shapes.
Kitchens are important; it's where your food is prepared. Place your kitchen in the SW corner of your house. The cooking area shouldn’t touch the north or east side of your house.
Place bathrooms in the east.
Put bright lights in your entry way and don't allow your dining area to be seen from the entry.
Keep your TVs out of your bedrooms. Also plants...especially cacti.
Put your fish tank in the SE corner of your living room.
Position your desk to face the doorway in your office and consider placing an image of a mountain behind you.
And the list goes on.
Vastu Shastra is a complicated system demanding years of study to fully comprehend its significance. There are, for instance forty-five basic varieties of just temples alone mentioned in the sacred texts.
But to keep this all in perspective, remember the old Hermetic teaching: As Above, so Below. And see what manifests.