Vastu Shastra is a Sanskrit term that translates to “the science of architecture.” Historians believe the term originated in ancient India around 6000 BC, making it over 8,000 years old. The concept of Vastu Shastra emerged alongside the Vedic texts of ancient India and is considered a spiritual science that delves deeply into the many natural phenomena that occur on our planet. Unlike the sciences of the western world, there are no measurements to be found in Vastu, no complex physics to determine structural integrity of buildings.
Vastu, like its distant cousin Feng Shui, addresses the subtle energy of spaces and their effects on inhabitants. Vastu design is more concerned with the way spaces exist in relation to the natural world around them, rather than with the angles that compose such spaces. For example, a house that is Vastu-compliant will have unique features, such as a north-, east- or northeast-facing main door. Guidelines such as placing shoe racks away from the main entrance, according to Vastu, helps prevent feelings of clutter and stagnation. Painting rooms certain colors can elicit feelings of calmness and ease. These are just a few of the principles Vastu Shastra follows to allow energy to flow more freely throughout a residence. As energy flows more freely throughout a space, residents will begin to feel a sense of tranquility and well-being. This is the main objective of Vastu Shastra.
Five elements and four directions
So how does Vastu exist in relation to design and how can it be used to improve our daily lives and overall sense of well-being? As we consider the visual details that make a space inviting, comforting and a joy to be in, we also examine the underlying details that are not as obvious. Vastu uses the five elements: earth, fire, water, air and ether, as well as the four directions — north, east, south and west — to create balance and harmony in spaces. Balance and harmony are the main objectives of Vastu. Vastu design practice takes into great consideration elemental materials and their orientation when placing certain pieces of furniture or belongings.
Calming our spaces: eliminate negative energy, enhance the positive
According to Vastu practice, placing mirrors directly across from a bed is said to create tension and evoke arguments between couples. It is better to place mirrors in a space where you cannot see your own reflection while on the bed. Painting bedroom walls neutral, earth-toned colors is said to radiate positivity and bring feelings of joy and peace. These are but a few of the many fundamentals that constitute Vastu Shastra, all of which are derived from the Vedic texts of ancient India. These concepts are not necessarily intuitive, and one must study Vastu’s many guiding principles and fundamentals to understand why they exist.
By paying close attention to Mother Nature and our relationship to the light of the sun, Vastu Shastra offers a unique perspective in which to view our spaces and how we coexist with them. Living peacefully within our spaces is the first step to living peacefully with ourselves. Living peacefully with ourselves allows us to exist in harmony with the world around us.
Vastu Shastra brings balance