Vastu believes that there are essentially two types of forces which are equal and opposite in nature. The interaction of these two forces is cosmic ordained and produces a third type of force which is called 'bioforce' or 'prana' needed for life to exist. One type of force is subtle and fine. The other is dark and dense. We can, for sake of understanding this subject, call the first one as 'positive' and the other as 'negative'. 'prana' is liberated by the interaction of these forces.
Over the surface of the globe these forces continuously interact releasing bio-energy. When a structure is built over the surface of the earth it comes in the way of a natural interaction. Both the forces enter the structure where the interaction continues. However, the intensity of forces that enter the structure need not be the same. Depending on various factors like levels, water bodies, door placement etc., either the positive or the negative can have stronger presence.
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If the structure is so designed that the positive forces override the negative forces then there is a beneficial release of bio-energy which helps all the inmates to be healthy. Even after such reaction with the negative forces a positive cosmic surplus is always present in such a structure which is the Supreme Being Himself. In such an atmosphere life is smooth and happy with every thing in life coming your way without any great struggle. It is a happy and healthy life for all the inhabitants.
If on the other hand the structure is built in such a manner that the negative forces override the positive then you have a weak bio-energy field which manifests as diseases in the occupants. The over bearing negative field makes your actions, efforts, thinking negative so that ultimately the whole life is ruined.
The science of Vastu guides you about the rules you have to follow so that the structure has a positive atmosphere.
Experience has confirmed that nature, building and man's placement in it, have great effect on living, working and happiness. All the inter-related principles of the science of building, such as orientation, proportion and decoration are shaped by the principles of cosmology and the laws governing it. The science of Vastu provides a set of conceptual tools that can be applied in practical ways.
Vastu means proper place to live in. It should be habitable. Life require basic elements i.e. air, fire (light), water, earth and space. The house in which he lives should provide the benefit of these elements. This means he is well connected to the environment and ecology.
We are enveloped by a series of environmental hazards in our day to day life which leads us to unresistable, endless physical and mental disorders.
Harmony with the environment, peace for the spirit and health for the human being are the criteria for healthy homes. These have deep roots in the human experience and in traditions of home building according to the cultures across the world.
It is rational : Vaastu is the study of impact of the Sun's rays on the earth. Vaastu reads the characteristics of a house and explains its effects on the residents in a scientific manner, we can surely count it among the other sciences.
It is permanent : The principles of vaastu is based on directions which are permanent. Likewise the effects of vaastu are also permanent.
It is beneficial : The basic purpose of vaastu is to make the lives of people happier and problem free.
It is universal : Since vaastu is based on the properties of the earth and the sun, it is surely universal. Nationality, religion, caste etc. have nothing to do with the science of vaastu, it is equal for one and all.
It is practicable : It is very simple to follow. Build your house according to the guidelines provided by vaastu and lead a healthy and happy life.
Since it possesses all the features mentioned above and is based on action, cause and effect it can most definetly be concluded that it is a science.
According to Vaastu, there are 5 basic elements in the whole world. They are the Earth, Water, Air, Fire (Heat & Light) and Sky (Cosmic). Vaastu is a science of balancing these elements in the proper proportions for prosperity and harmony.
In a broader sense vaastu is a science of directions and it accounts for 8 directions; North, South, East, West, North-East, North-West, South-East and South-West.
HOW VAASTU WORKS
RESPONSE TO BUILT SPACE
In Vaastu, three principles of design cover the entire field of design, be it a building, craft item or article of daily use.
Bhogadyam (suitable for the purpose) : The designed product must be useful, lend itself to easy application. For example, a house must have ample space for storage of articles and facilities for cleaning. A vessel must be designed in such a way as to hold water and allow for pouring out without leaking or dripping.
Sukha Darsham (pleasing to the eye) : The designed product must be aesthetically pleasing. The proportions of the spaces and material shape should affect the viewer in a positive manner. This principle covers the exterior as well as the interior of a building. Ornamentation and color is just one aspect of aesthetics. The proportions of windows and doors, the size of rooms, the rhythm of projections and depressions play a critical role in creating the aesthetics of form.
Ramya (should provide sense of well being) : The designed product must be capable of evoking a feeling of well-being and contentment in its user. The measurements employed in the design, considered to be sacred measures, are juxtaposed in such a way as to create harmony in all those who occupy the space or use the object. We can say that a built form creates a sympathetic vibration in the occupant. To calculate the proportions in such a way as to enhance the positive response in the viewer or occupant is the strength of the traditional design.
The critical aspects of the design of a building should also include the aesthetics of both the exterior and interior space.
FORM AND CENTRE
In Vaastu there are multiple ways in which the designer and occupant can create a space for experience. Within the manifested form many centers (foci) must be established in a space meant for many people. But if the space has a specific activity, then gathering all energies in a single center proves to be very powerful. The latter would be suitable for a place of learning, worship, manufacture and research. But in a home, a hostel, or neighborhood, several centers, or shifting centers is most inspiring and motivating. These gathering spaces should be filled with herbs, healing plants and sacred water.
Contemporary application: The classical mention of this concept has only a few variations:
A square or circle for the cooking and eating zone.
A square or rectangle for the preparation and storage of food and clothes.
A square or rectangle for sleeping, washing, bathing and resting.
A square, rectangle or octagon for studying, recording, mind expansion and analysis.
A simple house can be made unique by adding ornamental elements using readily available material from one's own environment like white clay and glass pieces. This creates a personalized aesthetic experience. Even in an urban situation it is possible for the users/occupants to add a distinctive touch to their buildings by getting involved in the actual design and execution of the building. This 'personal touch' gives a special aura to the building that can never be replaced by professional art work, however tasteful.
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND SYMBOLS
The lotus is a significant symbol for explaining form and aesthetics in the Indian tradition. Take the example of a pond filled with water, after the rains, with perfect lotus blooms among the floating green leaves. The pond is like a jewel, shimmering and perfect. This same form becomes totally different when the water has dried and the lotus lies above the squelching mud. It is not possible to call one 'better' than the other; the entire process of unfolding from one form into another is perfectly balanced within and without.
The built form too can perhaps be like this - in relationship, in form, in the way the order is inwardly and outwardly expressed. In every stage of expression and evolution of a home there are multiple forms that can be achieved. Some of the associations and connections between nature and concepts for building are:
In the contemporary social system, it is important to review the need for the symbolic connection between people, their natural environment and the vast repository of human collective wisdom. Therefore, symbols and meaning of built forms need to be explored by designers.
Some contemporary vaastu consultants advise the removal of full-grown trees and plants on the ground of negative effects. This caution is based on the following:
The roots and their disruptive effect on the foundation of the building structure.
The danger of branches of large trees located near buildings falling on it in a storm.
The impact of the fragrance of a plant or flower on the people inhabiting the space.
The nature of animals and birds that naturally inhabit the flora, and their effect on human occupants. For instance, certain trees attract snakes, scorpions, monkeys, and other such creatures which may not be suitable for the ordinary household.
Shapes and forms of habitats in nature: The natural habitat of living creatures, such as nests, tortoise shells, snail shells and bee hives are closely connected to the shape and form of the creature that inhabits it. The habitat is also designed in co-ordination with the environment.
Geographical directions play a very significant part in the design of individual buildings and group housing. Many mythological stories speak of the hero walking to the east to find a teacher, running to the south to confront death, setting off toward the west in search of adventure, or walking to the north to become a healer. The physical environment affects human inhabitants in a direct manner. Energies that exist in the environment, and within us create physical changes which operate subliminally. The influence of these subtle energy patterns is not felt immediately but has far-reaching effects on the physical and spiritual health.
Any given physical space can be perceived in its connection with primary energies. The eight directions, the heavens and the earth are considered significant influences on growth and prosperity.
Mandala or Mandalam: The mandala is a representation of the cosmos through geometric forms whereby the living space is laid out in a variety of patterns. The outer circle (or square) of the mandala holds the gatekeepers, the inner the formless energies. This movement inward is a re-entry and rediscovery of the true spirit, and the outward movement a constant quest into the interface and relationship with the world outside.
When a person has to take up a fixed location in a space, it is important that the relationship between the person and location should be established. There are times when the specific configuration would be at its peak, and times when it would be low. Therefore, when a person is placed in a particular location with a deep understanding of roles and identities and his/her relationship with the place, he/she is deeply energized. There are some locations which are innocuous, neutral, which would suit one and all and add or remove nothing.
The direction a building faces, the configuration of movement, and the location of facilities can create infinite patterns for people to inhabit.
SHAPES AND COLOUR
The shapes that are most experimented with are the square, triangle, polygon, rectangle, circle, ellipse, oval and the free form.
Traditionally, these forms have been analysed according to their suitability for human use. Some lend themselves better to physical use than others, some create spiritual well-being, others add to the energy levels and so on.
There is no good or bad shape, only different levels of usefulness and comfort. For each of these shapes, ayadi or beneficial measure calculation can be made, and specific patterns of interactions built up based on the pattern of the interior. The choice of shape would affect the management style, lifestyle and activity patterns.
Traditionally, there were only five colours (panchavarna), namely red, yellow, green, blue, white. Black was also used, but only to enhance the other colours. Shades of colours were not used until recently. The traditional colours were made of natural materials and possessed certain properties that were intrinsic to the material. Therefore, when these colours are being made artificially today, the characteristics have to be re-examined.
RELEVANCE OF VASTU
Relevance of Vaastu Vaastu is being increasingly used as a tool to analyze the role of a building in the health and fortunes of its inhabitants. The scientific basis of vaastu, in terms of energy is understood now than ever before.
Some traditional techniques for creating well being in the build space are:
I. The central courtyard:
The central court coincides with the resting Vaastu purusha’s central body composed of lung, heart and stomach. Physically this part (of the building) offers the heart nexus or feeling center, the lung or praana center, the stomach or digestive center, and the nabhi or creative center.
II. The central Energy Axis:
The central axis known as the brahma sutra runs through every building. Psychologically, this axis which is known as ‘vamsa modam’ or backbone, is considered to be the core of the building and hence of importance in the health of the occupants.
III. The top Ventilator or Hot Air Vent:
The chimney, the top ventilator, are physical representation of the vertical movement of the standing purusha, which is also the axis of the ‘praana’(life force). These slits helped in the natural movement of air within the rooms of a house.
IV. Rear garden:
In the rear is usually located a small garden with space available for animals. The private garden is the buildings connection with nature. In modern flats, this would be replaced by a sit out or terrace with potted plants. The relationship between the garden and nature is a great energy resource for its occupants.
V. Rain water catchments:
The garden is sloped and its base built a brick lined depression for rainwater to collect in. it is especially beneficial for hot, dry areas.
VI. Combining waste- water channels with a vegetable garden:
To prevent different water from harming potable water in wells simple channels are made so that they can be used for vegetable patches.
VII. Mud walls, Lime wash, Earth Red, low-dung, Thatch:
Festivals, holy days and seasons have been systematically demarcated for the application of lime, cow- dung and earth, red on the walls or floor as part of a ritual. Besides marking a special occasion they also help in containing white ants and rodents. Spring-cleaning is not just cleaning, but also an occasion to get rid of the negative energy.
VIII. Medicinal plants and herbs:
Every traditional house recommended the planting of herbs and medicinal plants (trees) as also flowers for ‘puja’. These plants with their healing power and fragrance add positive energies to the environment.
IX. Periodic fumigation of house:
Different kinds of incenses, herbs, minerals and plants are used for cleansing the air in a house. Periodic use of different herbs, neem leaves,” sambrani” incense and firewood smoke help in getting rid of mosquitoes, bacteria, micro-organisms as well as removing negative energy accumulation.
X. Importance of doors:
The entrance of a house is one of the most powerful points. It connects the activity-based identity of the individual with his inner self, denoted by the private spaces within. Traditionally, the door would be scaled and designed for each family and would hence be unique.
XI. Verandahs as buffers and connectors:
In the lifestyle of the families, the outer verandah not only played the part of the dust and heat collector, but also helped in the social interaction of the family. Vaastu, which combines the rigor and discipline of design with the traditional perspective toward individual comfort and community linkage, is certainly relevant in a world where isolation has become commonplace.
Modern research has proved that the ancient science Vaastu has a firm scientific basis. As modern science developed it began to probe to the deeper levels of Natural Law. At each level, scientists found progressively greater intelligence and power.
In the last decade, modern physics explored the deepest level of all the Unified Field of Natural Law. The intelligence at this level of Natural Law is the source of all the forms, and phenomena in nature. The architecture of everything in nature is finally designed from here.
The Natural Law has for the first time provided a building technology that will transform the way people think and feel – homes and offices by their mere design create good health, clear thinking, happiness, harmony, and prosperity for the family or business. According to vaastu a southern entrance is inauspicious and interferes with the support of Natural Law and brings negative influences to the inhabitants of the building.
Accordingly, there is an ideal place for the living room, the kitchen, the dining rooms, and the bedrooms. It is important to place each room in the house in the proper location according to its function, so that one does not become sleepy in the dining room or hungry in the study. This is one of the many factors that are considered to ensure that every aspect of daily activity is in harmony with Natural Law.
Just as every part of the human body is properly placed and precisely proportioned; there is an ideal proportion for every room in the home and office for Natural Law to provide maximum support.
Latest research in neuro science has shed light on the fact that our Cosmic Counterparts – the sun, moon, and the planets – have a one-to-one relationship to the different parts of the brain: basil ganglia, thalamus and hypothalamus. This natural tendency to align with the cosmos has led to the concept of orienting buildings towards the east to gain the full support of the rising sun.
Moon & Sun Regions
Draw a diagonal line to connect the north-western and the south-eastern corners of your plot. Now it has two triangles - one in north-east and another in south-west.
The north-eastern triangle is known as the Sun region, while the one is south-west is known as the Moon region. Construction is the Sun region should be light while in the Moon region, it should be heavy, so that the Moon region could have more weight.
Thickness of the walls also should be less in the Sun region than those in the Moon region. The sun is rather mild in the morning, so the thin walls in the north and the east will allow the house to harness its goodness fully. But as the day progresses, the sun intensifies. From noon till evening, the sun is most intense. So the thick walls in the south and the west protect the inmates from the harmful effects of the intense sun all throughout afternoon session.
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Engineer Rameshwar Prasad
(B.Tech., M.Tech., P.G.D.C.A., P.G.D.M.)