Decoding principles of Vaastu

Design principles
Last Updated : 13 May 2010, 10:51 IST

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I am waiting outside the home of Bangalore Niranjan Babu, renowned Vaastu expert and Vedic astrologer, when I note with surprise that the front door faces west. It’s generally believed that Vaastu recommends east- and north-facing homes––many builders and real-estate agents mention this feature while marketing homes. And, many west- and south-facing houses lie unsold for long periods.

Niranjan Babu who ushers me inside tells me that my belief is a popular misconception. “Vaastu Shastra nowhere says so. Vaastu permits orientation of a house in all cardinal directions ie north, south, west and east. The east recommendation, for eg., is only to take advantage of the healing rays of the rising sun.

“So, even if your house has a west or south orientation but also has a large wall-to-wall east-facing window––as you can see in my home––it works. After all, even if a front door faces east but is kept closed for most of the day, how does one benefit? Likewise, with many other Vaastu tenets.

“So, you see Vaastu is all about scientific reasoning and lots of common-sense.”
That is Niranjan Babu for you. He is not only steeped in the knowledge of ancient Indian sciences like jyothishya, mantra shastra, meditation, etc., but blends that with a modern, practical approach which demystifies these philosophies and makes them user-friendly.
This son of legendary astrology scholar B V Raman, he has written several well-received books on Vaastu which include Vaastu: A Handbook, Vaastu: Relevance to Modern Times, Vaastu: FAQs Answered, and Vaastu: Directional Influences on Human Affairs.
He is also Vaastu consultant to ISKCON Worldwide, Mysore’s Dattapeetham, and Dharmasthala.

Adapting Vaastu
He goes on to explain that Vaastu Shastra aka Sthapathya Veda is an Upaveda or sub-Veda of the Atharva Veda, and hence thousands of years old.

“For the same reason, what we have to do is ‘adapt’ Vaastu to modern conditions, not adopt it. For eg, pollution zones (rest-rooms) were once built away from the main house since Vaastu decrees they should not be part of the main structure. But today, the prime demand of a home-owner is an attached bathroom. So, we have to give in but see that the bathroom is located properly.”

Vaastu is not just about homes, offices or temples as many believe––that is a narrow definition, says Niranjan Babu. It is about every place on earth, ie wherever there are Panchabhutas i.e five elements.

That includes places within and without a building––city infrastructure like roads, monuments gardens, farms, everything. Even cities, states, and countries have a Vaastu and the extent of their Vaastu-compliance determines the welfare of its citizens, he reveals.

So, what about our country’s Vaastu? He replies: “India’s Vaastu is a balance of two triangles, hence the Panchabhutas are always balanced. That is why India is rich in positive energies. It explains why India draws people seeking stress-relief as also spiritual seekers from around the world. Also, therefore, the creation of new states which disturbs the naabhi or centre of India could augur ill for the country.”

Vaastu for home, office
What advice can he give about the right Vaastu for one’s home and office?
“It has to be a customised solution depending on the factors unique to that dwelling and  residents,” he answers.

General principles
But there must be a few general principles? Yes, he says, listing a few. Go with nature. Cleanliness is a major requirement which also implies no clutter anywhere. The centre of a home signifies harmony––never ever have a water body there either a swimming pool, or water-filled urli. Never have a pollution zone ie a toilet, or garbage bin in the north-east. 

“Children should not sleep with their head to the west or north nor should they sleep or study in a room where the door is at an angle to the attached walls. One should study facing the east or north direction. The unmarried son should not occupy a room in the north-west and the unmarried daughter a room in the south-east. 

What about criticism?
Finally, what about the criticism of sceptics that Vaastu is misleading and irrelevant since what makes or mars the fortunes of a person is his hard work and intelligence and not the directions/shapes of his office/home?

Niranjan Babu replies: “Indeed, what makes or unmakes any person are his actions, words and thoughts. So, focus on them for success. But Vaastu and astrology are guides or indicative sciences that supplement and complement these factors, and help increase the benefits and diminish the malefics.

“For eg, as my father used to say, astrology is like a beam of light cast on a dark room. The light isn’t changing anything in the room. But it is helping you see where the door, windows and furniture are, so you walk carefully and avoid tripping over an object or banging into a door. The light will also reveal where the tools for your work are located. Thus, the light of astrology or Vaastu helps you avoid problems and optimally use your assets and benefit from things around you.”

So, I come away with the message that Vaastu and astrology help one gain more control over one’s destiny.

Published 13 May 2010, 10:51 IST

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