Vaastushastra and Fengshui

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.

Natural Elements per VaastushastraDirectionsPresiding DeitiesCharacteristics
Akash or SpaceCenter or BrahmasthanaBrahmaCreativity
Natural Elements per FengshuiDirectionsCharacteristicsColors

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.