/The Subtle Art of Vastu
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The Subtle Art of Vastu

Every time we move to a new place, which we do quite often, the thing that takes precedence over all other works is the placement of beds in rooms because there are certain beliefs in our family about the directions in which one can or cannot sleep. Like for instance, you should not sleep with your head pointing north, south is the best, west and east are okay, but north is a big no-no. Also, you should not sleep with your feet pointing towards the door. Although we do not follow Vastu in our house in a strict sense, some of the rules are integrated as a part of our beliefs handed down from generation to generation.

Vastu Shastra is the science of architecture and space arrangement according to traditional Hindu system and is even mentioned in the Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures. Vastu believes in the concept of energies that play an important role in the lives of people. The flow of these energies such as solar energy, lunar energy, cosmic energy, and geomagnetic energy can have positive or negative effects on someone based on their spatial position. The effect of these energies on humans extends from their health and wealth to how they behave in a given situation. Vastu Shastra considers every house, every building to be a living soul, hence, following the rules of Vastu would bring harmony in that soul.

Starting right from the construction, Vastu is used for the orientation of rooms in the building and also the placement of furniture and other stuff in each room. In Vastu, the Northeast direction is considered the head of the house because it is the meeting point of geomagnetic energy coming from the North and life force energy coming from the East. This direction is known as Ishaan—the most pious and magnetically powerful point in all houses, buildings, or architecture.

The first step in building a house, according to Vastu, would be the selection of the plot and a regular shaped plot like a square or rectangle is favorable for construction. After the selection of the plot, its best to start the construction from Northeast direction and proceed to East, North, South and finally to the West. Similarly, there are other hundreds of rules governing the construction and orientation of a building in Vastu. It is common knowledge that the main door of the house should be the largest or that the ritual of Bhoomi Puja (worshiping earth/bhoomi in her maternal form to seek permission for construction) should be conducted before starting the construction of any building.

Although the goal of Vastu Shastra is somewhat similar to that of its Chinese counterpart, Feng Shui, the two concepts are inherently different in terms of their elements, philosophy, and principles. For example, the elements in Feng Shui include fire, earth, water, wood, and metal. In Vastu, the basic elements are fire, earth, water, air, and ether. In Feng Shui, a state of harmony with the environment is desirable by balancing yin and yang, whereas Vastu is all about techniques to maximize the positive energy for happiness and wellbeing.

It is also simply a matter of logic and pragmatism. Feng Shui mostly applies to cold weather conditions in a rugged topography. Vastu is more appropriate for hot Indian summers in plain lands. Vastu, and Feng Shui, both base its philosophy on cause and effect. The ancient science of construction adheres to the environmental conditions of the time, day, and place and is about channeling energy in a positive way to ensure the wellbeing of the body and mind.

So, no toilets in the northeast or southwest parts of your home, and if you want to be a star student, place your study room (or table) in the northeast or east side of the house (or room). If wealth is on your mind, get an aquarium, or if you want to control your expenses, just place a plant in your toilet. Want a better romantic life? Throw away unnecessary things and do not clutter your house, or at least the bedroom.


-Subarna Adhikari