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Vastu Shastra: The ancient Indian science of geomancy

OCES officers Bijay and Kripesh (Bournemouth University) have kindly researched a number of articles highlighting some of the rich and ancient cultural heritage of India and Nepal.  The following provides details about Vastu Shastra, the ancient Indian geomantic art.  Vastu Shastra has some points in common with the much more widely known [in theWest] geomantic art of Chinese Feng Shui: for example both use special compasses (the Chinese feng shui compass isknown as a luopan). 

However there are considerable differencesbetween the two systems: the Chinese one has a core North - South axis, whilst Vastu Shastra tilts in a diagonal direction; the Indian system treats South as a direction associated with death, whilst the Chinese system regards North as having this characteristic association.  The Indian Five Elements of Vastu Shastra also differ considerably from those of Chinese Five Element cosmology, as will be shown below. The teaching of this geomantic science remains highly popular in India andNepal (image to left is of a Vastu Shastra class in progress).


Main article:Source:

Vastu means the Structure and Shastra means the Science. Vastu Shastra unifies the science, art, astronomy and astrology; it can also be said as an ancient mystic science for designing and building. The science of Vastu is based on the basic fact that man and nature, both are in equal harmony with each other and that they are composed of the same five basic elements. Both, man and the environment affect each other’s existence. Vastu’s principles establish to create a harmony between the five elements viz. Earth, Sky, Fire, Water and air in the environment.

Ancient sages of India applied their Vastu knowledge to mitigate the negative functioning of our environment and increase the positive aspects. Vastu Shastra is developed by people those who knew that our planet Earth is a globe and all planets including Earth are moving around the Sun. They also knew positions of every planet in our solar system with their speed of rotation around the Sun.

Five Elements: 

Earth: The selection of site for building construction is very important.

Water: The North-East direction is always auspicious and suitable for water. The flow of rain or fresh water should be towards North- East.

Fire:  The direction of Fire is South-East. The Kitchen, fireplace, geysers etc. should be placed only in this direction. Alternatively these could be placed in North-West, because it is at 180 degree to South-East.

Air: The air should enter the building from North -East. All the openings for air entry such as doors, windows, ventilators coolers, air-conditioners, verandahs, balconies etc. should be in these directions.

Space: Traditionally every house in India used to have an open space (Court Yard) in the center of the house. It provided the dwellers not only the open sky but also sunlight and cross-ventilation of air.
The directions of East and West are important as far as obtaining the energy from the sun is concerned. The importance of the directions of the North and the South lies in the flow of magnetic waves which flows from North Pole to South Pole.
The principal Gods/ presiding deities of each direction are:

Northeast- Eeshanya- Ruled by Mahadev Siva
Best for main entrance, Pooja / worship room, meditation room, drinking water fountain.
East- Aditya- Ruled by Sun God
Best for bathroom, verandah, balcony, exercise room, main entrance for shops / banks.
Southeast- Agni- Ruled by Lord of Fire
Best for kitchen / pantry with cooking range / platform in the south-east corner.
South- Yama- Ruled by Lord of Death
Best for steps going up towards south or mezzanine floor.
Southwest- Pitru- Ruled by ancestors
Best for master bedroom, lumber, first floor extension or over head water tank.
West- Varuna- Ruled by Lord of water
Best for dining room, study room, toilets
Northwest- Vayu- ruled by Lord of Winds
Best for children bedroom or store room.
North- Kubera- Ruled by Lord of Wealth
Best for living room, strong room, porch, cellar, basement, open terrace, verandah.

Some tips for planning your house:

·    Columns in a building should be in even numbers. Columns in the north-east corner should not be circular. When columns are exposed for architectural purposes, the number of exposed columns also should be even.
·    Trees are representatives of prosperity and they should be planted in the South and West directions. Margosa ( Neem ), Eucalyptus ( Nilgiri ) trees keep environment fresh. Having Holy Basil ( Tulsi ) plant near the entrance of the house is auspicious
·    Placement of mirrors on South and West wall are inauspicious.
·    Doors of each room should be facing east.
·    While sleeping head should be in South or West but never in North.
·    Pooja room should be in North East. All idols and photographs should be facing East or West. Anything underground should be in North or East.
·    Anything above ground should be in South or West.
·    Face East while cooking, West is allowed if there is no alternative, but never face South while cooking. In the kitchen, grinder, fridge, shelf and other heavy items should be towards South and West wall.
·    Total number of doors and windows should be in even number for each floor, but should not end in zero like 10, 20, 30.
·    Never put the poster of crying girl, war scene, sexy scenes, angry man, owl, eagle etc. They are inauspicious.
·    There should be no water body in front of any entrance door of the house.
·    The best place to locate a swimming pool is the North East side. It is better to build the swimming pool in a corner.
·    East or North direction is the best for placing main gate.
·    Furniture, such as sofas, should be placed in the southeast, south, or west sides of a room. The house’s owner should sit facing north or east.
·    It is best when a student studies that he faces north, northeast, or east. Therefore a table in a study room should be placed in the south or west sides of the room. Books should be stored in the southwest side of the room.
·    Clocks should be placed on the west, north, or east walls. A television can be placed in the southeast side of a room. Always sit East-West for eating food.

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