IS VASTU FACT OR FAKE?
Recently I visited my friend Ganesh’s house after three years. To my surprise, he has re-done the front gate and front door of his house. He has also changed his pooja (prayer) room to toilet and vice versa. What happened, I inquired.
It seems the position of the house is not right according to Vastu (Ancient Indian manual for environmental friendly construction). A Vastu Sastri (expert) said so. Hence Ganesh has been facing lot of problems and miseries in life. He made necessary changes based on the expert’s advice.
“Now are you okay?” I asked.
“Not much…In fact we are facing more trouble now. We have to take care of an extra burden of loan money taken for renovation of the house. So I suggested him to go to another Vastu Sastri….” his wife said.
“So, you have decided to chase Vastu Sastri’s and spending money? “I said.
“Uday, don’t you believe in Vastu?” Ganesh asked.
“Hmm…You have seen my family house in Thuravoor?”
“Yes – I really wanted to tell you. It’s looking south…According to Vastu Sastra, any house or establishment with an entrance from the south is inauspicious and doom is guaranteed….”
“No doom happened to us for the last 50 years! It may be its co-incidence, but all the houses that I stayed till day was looking south. I restructured my wife’s dilapidated house near Ernakulum YMCA spending few lakhs for our temporary stay – that house is looking south. The first house that I bought near Vyttila Junction is looking south. The flat near Koramangala where I stayed 20 years ago, was looking south. And most importantly, my current apartment is looking south!”
“You mean to say, Vastu is wrong?”
“Ganesh, to my understanding, Vastu is an ancient Indian manual of architecture and construction.”
Vastu is part of Atharva Veda. It is a supplementary branch (Upaveda). It’s called Sthapathy Vedam or Sthapatya Veda or Shilpa Veda. It deals with planning, designing, and construction of temples, houses, villages, and cities. Vastu Sastra has its origin in Sthapatya Veda. The word Vastu is derived from Sanskrit word ‘vas’ that means to dwell. The word (Vastu) is used to mean ‘for the place where we stay’. Sastra = wisdom (not science, as misinterpreted). It’s also called Vastu Veda, Vastu Vidya or Thachu Sastra. It defines proper construction and assembly of structures by ensuring the harmony of natural forces of earth, space, air, fire, and water. There were many versions of Vastu Sastra written by many authors like Varahamihira, Bhrigu, Manusara and Mayamata. Each had his own treatise, his own interpretations and had taken into consideration his own regions location, climate, social norms, materials of his time and his ethnicity. Hence you cannot generalize it.
“Oh – You have learned about it….”
“Not much – just went through some texts very long ago…”
“Then, how could you peacefully stay in an apartment looking south?” Ganesh turned impatient.
“I am coming to that – Some interpretation of Vastu talks about direction of the house, the placement of various rooms – pooja room, kitchen, bedroom, according to the movement of wind (air) and sun light. Many Vastu principles have scientific basis and reasoning (and many do not have). It talks clearly about cross-ventilation etc. It is a marvelous manual for the best architectural wonders and construction based on an environmental friendly philosophy, to live in harmony with nature and building the structure using organic and natural materials.”
“Yes, yes, it is great…”Ganesh got excited.
“Vastu was an authentic text then as there was no other civil engineering manual available. It was pure logic based on ‘Desa-kala-patra’ (Time, Place and Circumstance). When Vastu Sastra came into being there were no municipalities, town development authorities and building by-laws. There were no exhaust fans then, no chimneys. No electricity, no air-conditioner then. Vastu isn’t a thing just designed for a single plot – it is cross-connected to the socio-cultural traditions. It was for a full society, wherein every colony, every city was supposed to be designed on Vastu. There are many permutations combinations and ifs and buts hence Vastu cannot be applicable now…”
“In those days houses were built in a compound of 1- 10 acres then, using natural and organic building materials. It is written for such houses. Today houses are built in 1-5 cents using modern designs and where processed materials, plastics and synthetic materials used. How can Vastu be relevant? There are millions of structures constructed NOT according to the Vastu, but still they are aesthetic, study, roomy and comfortable, having no problems. .”
“What are you trying to say?”
“NO Vastu can ever guarantee you peace, happiness and success. No Vastu Sastri can predict your future based on Vastu. As long as something is helping you to live happily without harming others, there is no problem in practicing any beliefs. But in your case, Vastu creates problem….If you believe in Vastu, who would have consulted a good Vastu Sastri before building this house, not after building it…”
“Yeah – that was a great mistake…”
“Even if you had consulted earlier, things wouldn’t have different for you. The happenings in your life cycle are entire depending upon your karma, not on Vastu. It is stupidity to blame on your house and any other things for your wrong karma.”
“But the misfortunes happened to me because of the position of this house….”
“Ganesh, when the Sastri says ‘you are not responsible for the miseries and situations in your life, those things happened because of your house’, your mind gets some relief. Your ego derives pleasure when somebody puts all the blame on others or inanimate things. If you have the awareness that everything happened as the result of my own deeds, such superstitions would never thrive.”
He changed the subject: “But you didn’t answer my question on your house facing southward…”
“While Guru Nanak was visiting Mecca, he fell asleep with his feet pointing towards the holy Kaaba. The watchman noticed this and he kicked the Guru, asking: “How dare you turn your feet towards the house of God? At this Guru Nanak woke up and said, “Good man, I am weary after a long journey. Kindly turn my feet in the direction where there is no God.” Do you need any further explanation, Ganesh?” I asked. Vastu experts in some places ban North-facing entrance. The Maratha rulers (Peshwas) had north-facing doors to ensure wealth and happiness. In Pune at Shaniwar Wada, the Peshwas had a massive north facing entrance. Vastu did nothing to ward off the Peshwas bankruptcy and misfortunes.”
“But our first Sastri told me to re-work some part of construction and conduct few rituals…”
“Vastu Sastri should be an Acharya. He is known as Stapathi – dealing with Sthapthya Vedam. A real Sastri is not a soothsayer and cannot predict anything. Today, 99% of Vastu experts are frauds and masters of exploitation. Lot among them had learned Vastu through postal tuition. Vastu sastries bestow upon each other fancy titles like Vastu samrat, Vastu pravin, Vastu shiromani etc are taking you for ride. They cheat and exploit you, mis-using Vastu that has nothing to do with prediction.”
“But the person whom I am going to consult said that somebody in his village committed suicide because of wrong Vastu?”
“That’s how traders like him scare people like you – by spreading lies. Your fear is his money. If a person committed suicide, that’s because he is nuts or has some mind-related issues,” I told him. Then suddenly I asked: “Do you know the origin of Vastu?”
“It was sage Vishwakarma who authored the Vastu Sastra” he said.
“The palace of the Pandavas at Hastinapur was designed by Vishwakarma himself. Yet the Pandavas had their share of troubles, culminating in the most devastating battle of Kurukshetra. How did they win the great battle called life? They submit to Krishna. The Vijayanagara Empire, the richest Kingdom in the world, built upon Vastu, was totally destroyed by unethical Shahs of Deccan sultanates. Hundreds of thousands of vastu-compliant Hindu temples – architectural wonders – were pillaged by invaders! Vastu didn’t protect those temples.”
“But our scriptures say that, our happiness and peace depend upon Vastu.”
“Ridiculous. What scripture? Our Vedas and Upanishads say that peace, happiness and success will not accrue by mere positioning of perishable objects. Rather, lasting peace and happiness calls for awareness and realization of the divine… ”
“So there is no scientific basis for Vastu based predictions?” his wife asked.
“People predict things even using playing cards and cricket ball as long as superstitious consumers like you exist. As I said, Vastu is not science, it is Sastra. Vastu is a construction manual. But now it became a blind faith amounts to superstitions. Where was this ancient Sastra seems to have disappeared for several centuries before it popped up again in the late 80s along with liberalization? All superstitious things pop up recently because we forget our dharma, divine connection and feel insecure.”
“I am confused now – But I know you won’t misguide me.”
“Ganesh, if you want, you can take few tips ideas from Vastu while building home. But your problems and miseries in life have nothing to do with that. If you had done bad karma and did not surrender to divinity, you should definitely worry about things like Vastu Sastra. Nothing can help you until and unless you lead a sattvik life and do good karma, based upon your dharma. No Vastu can save you.”
“So what should I tell this new Sastri whose appointment we took?” he asked.
“Go and meet him. Ask him to provide his predictions and alterations need to be done in the house in writing before paying his fees. If those predictions don’t work, inform him that you would go to consumer court.”
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