Photo courtesy, nbj Architecture
Photo courtesy, Mansara Architecture
Photo courtesy, nbj Architecture
Aparna has an experience of 15+ years practicing architecture. Before staring out on her own, Aparna worked with nbj Architecture in Richmond, VA as a Project Manager on a variety of projects.
Her areas of expertise are Hospitality, Religious Buildings, Residential Design, Medical Office Buildings, Tilt-up Construction and Interior Design.
Aparna is well versed with the ancient Vedic principals of Vaastushastra
According to Vaastushastra manifesting any creative idea of the mind into physical reality is a scientific endeavor. It requires an understanding of the five elements of nature namely Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether and knowledge of astronomy and astrology. The main aim of Vaastushastra is to create a home that is comfortable, peaceful and in harmony with nature. In such a space a person is creative, energetic and healthy and lives a content happy life. We can safely state that to a large extent Vaastushastra also follows the rules of climate and is universal in nature. It's principals are not sectarian nor are they restricted to a particular geographical location. A home built on a coastal region will be different from one built in the desert area and the one built in the Northern hemisphere will be different still from a home built in Southern hemisphere. All of these differences will be due to regional climate, presence of water bodies, tilt of Earth's axis etc. However each of these dwellings can still be built by following the principles of Vaastushastra.
For the Northern hemisphere where we live let us try and understand the simple fact that govern the orientation of our house. As Sun rises in the East and sets in the West it travels a South bound path. The winds that we receive come from West and North-West direction. Because of the Southern inclination of Sun's path of travel in the sky we receive direct sunlight from the South and indirect light from North. Vaastushastra uses this principle to dictate the orientation of the site and the house according to the surrounding physical elements such as roads, trees, wells, hills etc. If applied properly, this principle can give us the benefits of well balanced natural elements in and around our home to enhance our comfort levels. In these parts of the Northern hemisphere for instance a home must be oriented with longer side on East-West axis. This orientation affords more solar radiation on the South facing wall keeping them warm in Winter and thus reducing our heating bills. South then becomes the most ideal location for Master bedroom per Vaastushastra. It seems very logical also to have North or East facing entrance and arrangement of doors and windows to receive the beneficial morning Sunlight creating an alert and fresh mind which is a pre requisite for prosperity. For this same reason North and East are also very good locations for study areas and library or a home office. North is the best direction for living areas that are used during the day and remain amply lighted with indirect sunlight. Placing kitchen on the Southeast would receive sunlight for most part of the day and it is required in this space for it's anti-bacterial cleansing qualities.
North is ruled by Kubera the lord of wealth/abundance, East is ruled by Indra also called Aditya-son of Aditi the lord of light/beginings, South is ruled by Yama the lord of death/destruction and West is ruled by Varuna lord of water/existence. The presiding deities for the intermediate directions are Shiva for Ishanya or Northeast, Agni for Agneya or Southeast, Pitru for Nairutya or Southwest and Vayu for Vayavya or Northwest. With respect to a direction's presiding deity, there are some do's and don't s suggested by Vaastushatra. For instance if the Northeast is clogged for some reason then even the best and honest human efforts and intentions to reach a particular goal may not yield satisfying results. It is therefore important that the Northeast corner of our homes be free from clutter, boring, pits, plumbing etc. South is the direction of Yama, the Lord of death and therefore it is considered extremely inauspicious to sleep with your feet facing South. The bed should always be placed if possible orienting North-South with our pillows on the South side. It can be argued that some rules of Vaastushastra appear orthodox and illogical, however upon further thought one realizes the scientific reason behind this particular suggestion. Earth's magnetic field has a strong influence on human beings. A human body itself acts like a magnet with the heavy portion of head acting like a North pole and our feet like the South pole. Sleeping with our heads towards North creates pressure on our system resulting in high blood pressure and a disturbed sleep. Without a deep sleep we are not recharged fully and are unable to perform our daily tasks properly the next day.
Appropriate location of doors and windows is also very important to create the desired indoor ambiance. A dark interior devoid of natural light creates a feeling of claustrophobia and lethargy. The interior layout also requires good analysis of the directions, path of light and position of doors and windows. Selection of color is equally important. It is quite possible that a home is not built on a site or with a floor plan that follows the Vaastushastra principals. Such situations can be remedied in a number of ways. However the important thing to understand is that Vaastushastra is not a fix for all problems experienced by human beings nor is it a substitute for honest work. It is just a catalyst that enhances human efforts. Most of our problems will be easily resolved if we follow good living habits. For instance our homes and living spaces must be clutter free at all times. Everything in this universe has it's own kind of life and everything has vibrations which is a form of energy, either negative or positive. Human beings with limited perception cannot perceive all forms of energy. Unwanted things or stuff create vibrations that block the flow of positive energy and therefore we must get rid of unwanted stuff. The principals of Vaastushastra can be and should be used to build and arrange our spaces, apply inspiring color schemes, enhance our landscapes to boost positive vibrations and create balanced happy lives. But beyond these physical applications lies the realm of Karma which every human being must endure.
While doing interior decoration one must keep in mind the orientation of the home, the directions of sunlight and wind. Vaastushastra identifies the five elements of Nature in a home in different directions. North-East has Water element, South-East has Fire element, South-West has Earth element, North-West has Wind element and the central part is assigned to Avakash or Ether. Each direction is in turn assigned with a ruling planet that further defines the direction's boons and bane. Mercury governs North, Jupiter and Ketu govern North-East, Sun is on the East, Venus governs South-East, Mars governs South, Rahu is assigned to the South-West, Saturn for West and Moon for North-West. The eight directions also have a presiding deity that defines the characteristic of that directions. The presiding deities are as follows: Kuber for North, Shiva and Brihaspati for North-East, Indra for East, Agni for South East, Yama for South, Shukracharya for South-West, Varuna for West and Vayu for North-West. Bramha is the presiding deity of the Center or Avakash. Thus if a home is arranged as per the directional suggestions of Vaastushastra, comfort and well being comes easily. Interior decoration then becomes a process based on laws of nature.
For instance living room seating should be arranged such that we sit facing North or East. North and East is the direction of mental clarity and for this reason work and study desks should be placed with the person facing East or North. North is the direction of Kubera and placing a living plant in this direction combined with a flowing water feature is a potent solution for financial prosperity. An aquarium is also suggested in the North. North-East is ruled by Brihaspati the Guru of Devatas and is the ideal zone for worship, meditation and activities of the mind. North-East is the direction where the head of the Vaastupurush rests and therefore this zone must be free from all heavy objects, plumbing etc.. A drop in the floor is permitted only in the North-East zone by Vaastushastra and therefore the garage must be in the North-East zone. Holy Basil or Tulsi is a good house plant to be kept in the North-East corner of the house. North East is also ideal for bedroom of elders in the family. A master bedroom must never be in the North-East zone. So also the North-East zone should never be chamfered, cut or diminished in any manner.
Kitchen is best located in the South-East zone with stove on the East wall to avail the incoming sunlight. South East is the ideal zone for creative functions such as a hobby room for an artist. Toilets, Bathrooms, Store rooms and Staircases must be confined to the South and West zones. South-West is the direction of strength, financial stability and vision. This is the zone of the Earth element. A Master bedroom should always be in the South-West direction. South West zone must be free of storage, staircase, bathrooms or garages. South-West zone is the most important zone for financial stability and a cut in this zone is reflected in the finances of the Owners.
North-West is ruled by Vayu respectively and is responsible for charcter of our mind and mental upkeep. North-West is ruled by Moon and Vayu and is the best direction for creative endeavors. An artist with a studio in this direction will produce works of great calibre. A conference room in this direction will yield out-of-the box solutions. A person living in this zone will be constantly on the move due to the influence of Vayu. North-West is also the second best zone for the Kitchen.
The central space of the house should be free from furniture and kept open and airy as much as possible. This is the sacred Brmhasthan where all the positive regenerating energies are present. Centre of the house is where the core or stomach of the Vaastupurush is located and it should not be weighed over with Staricases, Storage rooms, bathrooms etc. A weight over the Brhmasthan results in wastage of opportunities in a person's life.
Vaastushastra has a number of rules for the location, shape, topography of the site and it's surrounding landscapes. The shape of our property should be regular and rectangular having a proportion of 1:2. A polygonal shape or a shape with rounded corners and irregular sides should be avoided. The site elevation of property in ascending order should be as follows: North-East, North-West, South-East and South-West. In other words North-East should have least elevation while South-West the maximum elevation. It is recommended that the orientation of house be along the East-West axis. We've already seen the reasons for this kind of orientation in the first article of this series.
It is extremely important to keep our yards free from dead trees, dry leaves on the North-East direction. This is the direction of Kubera, of rising sun and of beginnings and therefore must not be clogged, cut, champered or made heavy with walls, berms etc. North-East must be left free to receive Sunlight on the property. It is suggested that water features, fountains, swimming pools bring good luck and prosperity when located on the North-East side of the property. Tulsi Vrindavan is also considered auspicious in this direction. Play sculptures and swings should also be located on North-Eastern sides of the property.
South-West portions of the property must be the highest and heaviest according to Vaastushastra. Rock gardens, stone sculptures, berms should be on South-West side. If we plant large deciduous trees on the south and south-west side of the house we will receive the much needed shade during hot summer months. When the deciduous trees shed their leaves during Winter, they will allow sunlight to penetrate through them. This will not only affect the appropriate cooling and heating of the exterior of the house but also save money on electric bills in the long run. We can further extend this principal of Vaastushastra and plant evergreens on the West and North-West direction to block the incoming winter winds. The thick dense tree barriers will reduce heat loss due to cold wind infiltration. Remember however to place large trees at sufficient distance away from the building to avoid damage to the foundation by the tree roots.
Detached structures such as outdoor garages, store-rooms etc. should be located on the South and West directions of the property. In a nutshell the rule of thumb to remember is to make South-West side the heaviest and highest by placing buildings, berms, trees, heavy landscape features etc. and North-East side the lightest and lowest in terms of elevations and features.
Vaastushastra or Vedic Architecture is the science of creating habitable spaces that follow the laws of nature. The principles of Vedic Architecture are time tested and Universal in nature. They can be applied to any building be it a home, office, factory, retail or a hotel. We offer the following Vaastushastra services:Site Visits to Your Residence or Work
Site visits include a walk-through of the building and documentation in the form of photographs and videos. During site visit, we make basic recommendations according to Vaastushastra principles. For Yantra installations a detailed Vaastu report is highly recommended. Yantras cannot be recommended during the site visit since their installation requires an indepth analysis of the building space which is not possible during the site visit.Detailed Vaastu Analysis and Recommendations for Vedic Yantras and Rituals
A detailed Vaastu report includes room by room analysis of your building and suggestions for room layouts based on Vaastushastra principles. If the space does not conform to Vaastushastra principles, then Vedic Yantras are recommended for space-energy modifications. Faith appropriate rituals and prayers or mantras are also recommended for Owners to perform. We require a floor plan of the building. If you do not have the floor plans for the building, we can draw them for you for reasonable charges.New Construction Based on Vedic Principles of Vaastushastra
New construction for a residence, hotel, retail or any other building type can be done by using the ancient Vedic principles of Vaastushastra and is a special expertise of Mansara Architecture. The best way to begin is to make an appointment with Aparna to discuss your project. Charges for new construction cannot be quoted here due to the variety in projects.
The origins of Vaastushastra are Indian and those of Fenghsui are Chinese. The literal meaning of Vaastushastra is 'Science of building technology' and that of Fengshui is 'Wind water'. The underlying principal of both however is balancing of elements and some differences exist on how this is done.
Principals of Vastushastra are universal and based on planetary position of Earth with respect to Sun. Vaastushastra follows eight directions each assigned to a deity which in combination are called the Astadikpalas. The solar radiation and earth's magnetic field produces nodes of geo-magnetic flields or Marmasthana within the building that affect the inhabitants positively or negatively. A building designed on Vaastushastra principals has good Jaivik Urja or Organic energy.
According to Fengshui the balance is attained between Yin-Yang, the two governing primordial forces of nature. Yin is dark, Yang is light. Yin is passive, Yang is active and they both exist within each other. This sounds very similar to the theory of Purush and Prakrity of Hinduism. Balance between Yin-Yang is necessary to enhance Chi. Chi is the energy governing the actions of human body and mind and it gives human body it's life.
Just as Vaastushatra uses the Vaastupurush mandala consisting of 9 basic squares so also Fengshui uses a Lo Shu Square also made of 9 squares each representing a direction having unique energy charactieristics. Each school of thought follows the five natural elements. Vaastushastra advices that the buildings be cardinally oriented towards North and floor plans based on Vaastupurush mandala. Fengshui advices laying out the Lo Shu Square on the building site to decide the floor plan. All eight directions are thus given equal importance in both Vaastushastra as well as Fengshui. For the sake of quick comparision one may find the following charts interesting.Vaastushastra
|Natural Elements per Vaastushastra||Directions||Presiding Deities||Characteristics|
|Akash or Space||Center or Brahmasthana||Brahma||Creativity|
|Natural Elements per Fengshui||Directions||Characteristics||Colors|
The principles of Vaastushastra and Fengshui are applicable for the entire process of site planning and building construction. While principals of Vastushatra are more universally applicable, Fengshui has more local application. However some differences exist due to the geographical origins of the doctrines. For example while Vaastushastra suggests entrance from North an harbringer of wealth, Fengshui considers North direction to be evil because of the incoming sand and dust that flows from this direction in the mainland of China. Fengshui uses several symbols pertaining to Chinese culture as cures to alter, raise or moderate Chi and therefore looks easy to apply and is more popular. However not all of these symbols are appropriate outside of China since the meaning of symbols changes according to culture. Vaastushastra also has remedies to alieviate Vaastudoshas or blockages of the flow of energy in the forms of symbolic rituals associated with Hinduism. There are several Vedic Yantras which are used to modify and enhance the energy of a building. Moreover since Vaastushastra is based upon hemispherical directions it is heavily inclined to suggest remodelling as remedies. Vaastushastra therefore seems more difficult to implement, orthodox and deeply shrouded in mystic symbolism.
The important thing to note is that both Vaastushastra and Fengshui are ancient sciences of building technology. When their knowledge is applied outside the lands of their origins it should be done with intuitive understanding of the prevalent environmental conditions and cultural preferences.