Vastu Science - The Science of the Effect of Spaces
Vastu Basics | Vastu Principles
What makes this timeless architectural teaching so powerful?
By orienting the building to the cardinal (main celestial) directions, with the support of precise mathematical measurements and proportions, and the optimal placement of spaces and their functions, we create a balance and resonance between the inhabitants, the living and working space, and the surrounding nature.
Vastu is a part of the Vedic scriptures, which date back over 5000 years. Over the last millennia, it has been tested time and again for its validity in a countless building projects.
Vastu is considered to be one of the most important roots of European building and living culture. The principles of Vastu were applied by Roman master builders like Vitruvius. Likewise, clear parallels can be seen in Le Corbusier’s modern buildings. These applications of Vastu illustrate the universal use of this science, which can be adapted to local architectural styles at any time.
It is interesting to note that researchers in the field of physics, especially quantum physics, are constantly developing new basic laws of physics that correspond with the traditional principles of Vastu.
Definition of Vastu
Dr. Ganapati Sthapati (an eminent Vastu architect) often quotes Einstein’s equation E = mc2 as an example. E embodies the original creative energy (Vastu), while mc2 represents the manifested energy or matter (Vāstu).
“Regarding matter, we were wrong. What we called matter is energy whose vibration has been lowered so that it became perceptible to the senses. There is no such thing as matter.” Prof. Albert Einstein
“Vastu is the science of manifestation of energy into matter or material form.” Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati
Vastu and Feng Shui
The latter has many parallels with the Vastu teaching. Similar to Vastu, Kan Yu was more of an architectural than a corrective and improvement teaching, as Feng Shui is often used.
According to various Chinese masters, Kan Yu came to China from ancient India. It is assumed that the knowledge from the Vedic period migrated to Asia with the migration of Buddhism about 2500 years ago and developed there into the well-known teachings of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Kan Yu, or Feng Shui.
As mentioned, Feng Shui is primarily concerned with working with the existing energies and balancing them harmoniously in Yin and Yang. Therefore, many tools have been developed to balance and improve the flow of energy.
Vastu, like Kan Yu, aims to build from the beginning in such a way that the structure becomes a place of power, its own energy generator. And if a structure has been built conventionally, one can try to optimise less propitious aspects (e.g. making the sacred centre more free, arranging the space according to the qualities of the cardinal points, etc.). And when all these measures have been implemented, other remedies can be implemented that have the power to bring more Vastu energy into the premises.
Sacred measurements play a central role in Vastu, as well as in Kan Yu, because both schools are more focused on architecture. In Vastu, these are still held as the heart and soul of the design process, whereas in Feng Shui, few experts still consider these sacred measurements, focusing rather on the interior design aspects.
Vastu is more closely related to the other Vedic arts – Yoga, Ayurveda, Jyotish (Vedic Astrology), etc., but also to occidental Greco-Roman culture. For example, Vastu recognizes the five elements known to us: ether (space), air, fire, water and earth, whereas Feng Shui works with the elements earth, metal, water, wood, and fire.
In any case, Vastu and Feng Shui are closely related. For the optimisation of existing structures, both have their merits. But for the planning and construction of new structures, we recommend Vastu as the foundation, especially because of the use of sacred measurements/dimensions.
According to the understanding of Vastu, the entire universe, including the so-called vacuum in space, is filled with minute particles of energy. As soon as you enclose free space, you enclose a certain number of these fine energy particles. Therefore, every space is filled with life-giving energy.
“If an area of free space is isolated and enclosed with four walls, it becomes a living organism and the space begins to vibrate in a certain way. Now if such a building is designed according to the same numerical order as that of the inhabitants, they will experience harmony and perfect union with the universal Self.” Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati
We see based on this quote that the concept of resonance (matching vibration) is a key factor in Vastu. The aim of Vastu architecture is to create resonance between the inhabitants, the created building, and the surrounding nature, so that we become connected to the energies of the earth and the cosmos.
How can we determine the frequency at which a building will resonate?
Vastu teaches that the scale of a building (or in other words, the dimension of the now enclosed free space) will determine the frequency of that object. Here Vastu offers us a series of mathematical formulae with which we can find an auspicious circumference (rather than simply choosing an arbitrary circumference, which also entails correspondingly unpredictable and very likely undesirable results). These mathematical vibrations have certain beneficial properties that induce certain desirable states in the human body, psychology, and consciousness. With the help of Vastu spaces that radiate these qualities, the person then experiences these beneficial qualities in his or her life.
The Vastu effect is therefore based on scientific factors such as mathematics and geometry, the material elements, and other subtle laws of nature. Indeed, the teachings of Vastu have many parallels with the modern understanding of quantum physics.
Concept of Resonance
How can we determine the frequency of the inhabitants? For this purpose, Vastu uses the lunar star (nakshatra in Sanskrit) of the inhabitants. Using Vedic astronomy and astrology, the ecliptic is divided into 27 main stars. At the time of birth, the moon (from the perspective of the earth) is near one of these 27 fixed stars. This star is then considered our Moon Star, which is an indicator of our vibration throughout our lives. We then design the house with a Vastu measure that is compatible with the vibration of all the inhabitants, indicated by the moon star.
An example given by Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati, Master of Vastu Architecture, is two stringed instruments tuned exactly the same, placed side by side. When someone plucks a string of one instrument, a sound is produced and the same string of the other instrument starts vibrating by itself until a sound is produced there too.
So when we take this concept of resonance into account, we don’t just build beautiful and energetic buildings. These houses also connect with the inhabitants in a life-giving and empowering way. They in turn feel materially and spiritually enriched and return home happily to their own oasis of well-being at all times.
Wonderfully fitting to the theory of resonance, we quote here the feedback of a family who moved into their Vastu house:
“The first two months we felt a pleasant tingling sensation, which later gave way to a feeling of having arrived home. Everyone became much calmer and we experience a beautiful harmony in the family. At the same time, a lot of positive things are happening on the consciousness level.”
Vishwakarma is considered the “chief architect of the universe.” Brahmarishi Mayan was a rishi (seer or sage) who discovered many universal principles through introspection and deep study of nature.
Brahmarishi Mayan wrote treatises on architecture, sculpture, dance, music, poetry and other arts, astrophysics, mathematics, herbalism, cartography, shipbuilding, and more. The Surya Siddhanta, a surviving scripture that is highly regarded by modern scholars for its precise understanding of astronomy, is probably his most famous work.
His greatest discovery was the mathematics behind the process of creation. Through introspection, he realised the rhythm (Lāya) of creation of all visually and acoustically perceptible objects. On this basis, he developed and refined the five arts of architecture, sculpture, dance, poetry and music. Among the five arts, architecture was the most outstanding for him, as it has the most lasting effect on the observer(s) or, precisely, the inhabitant(s). This realisation led him to make the following statement:
“Architecture is the highest achievement of mathematics.”
Modern western architecture derives from the latter.
How is it possible that all these cultures seem to have applied the same principles? On the one hand, many cultures had their methods of perceiving laws of nature beyond the scientifically recognised laws of nature, of connecting with these other forms of energy and working with them. They used ceremonies, rituals, and meditations to do this. But there is also a very down-to-earth explanation. We know that Brahmarishi Mayan had twelve disciples and that he was an expert in shipbuilding. After the intensive training of his twelve disciples, he sent them out into the world so that all humanity could benefit from these teachings. We know that the Egyptians and Greeks had a close connection with India. But even more surprising is that Marcus Vitruvius (1st century BC), a Roman scholar and architect, must have had contact with the Vastu tradition in his time. His ten books on architecture (many architecture students study them even today) have remarkable parallels with the Manasara, an ancient Vastu scripture. The content and structure of the chapters have too many similarities to be coincidental. And since Vitruvius is considered the origin of modern architecture, one can conclude that Vastu is one of the most important roots of the European building tradition.
But not only Marcus Vitruvius’, but also Andrea Palladio’s (16th century AD) and Le Corbusier’s modern buildings show close parallels to Vastu. The good news for architecture lovers is that modern Vastu buildings do not have to look like Indian-style buildings (unless that is specifically desired). Vastu can be applied to virtually any modern design style.
Cycles of time define the rhythm of our lives. Many who do yoga or meditate know the beneficial influence of the early morning hours. The world sleeps or is slowly waking up oder wacht so langsam auf. The daily entanglements are still waiting. The telephone is quiet and only the birds begin to chirp. Compared to the usually bustling daytime hours, this time is therefore very conducive for going within.
The four seasons also bring fundamentally different qualities. Where nature awakens in spring, it gets ready for hibernation in autumn.
Just as the different times of day and night, and also the seasons, radiate different qualities, so according to tradition there are times when the being of space is most receptive to new beginnings. There are eight such times in the course of the year.
A Vastu Consultant trained in the tradition performs ceremonies during these auspicious moments, such as honoring the earth before breaking ground (Bhumi Puja), laying the foundation stone (Vastu Puja), setting the main entrance door, or celebrating the entry of the homeowners (Grihapravesh). All these ceremonies serve to bless the project at every stage of construction.
Those through which the positive and conducive forces are released.
It is important to know and apply the Vastu principles based on the Vastu foundations.
The following is by no means an exhaustive list of all aspects of Vastu, but it is the essential principles that authentic Vastu consultants or Vastu architects take into account. Before applying such principles, they should be fully understood.
Property (Plot of Land)
The earth offers us different types of land, from marshy to desert, from flat to steeply sloping, from barren to fertile, etc.. Each spot on earth has specific energies. Every patch of the earth has specific energies and no patch of it is fundamentally negative. Each piece of land offers different conditions under which different living beings thrive. The Vastu teachings help us to perceive and differentiate these qualities with our senses. We look for a piece of land that is suitable for human residence and gives us good results. Here we look at the vegetation, the ambience, the slope and the shape of the land, and inspect the earth for compactness, outgassing, fecundity, taste, sound, smell and colour. The surrounding area is also inspected for surrounding water bodies, polluters, etc..
After we have found what we are looking for, we can respect the earth with the help of special ceremonies before and during construction, and ask it for blessings for our project.
We can also connect to this grid and benefit from its powers by aligning Vastu buildings with the cardinal directions. The wonderful thing is that we can not only receive energy from the earth, but also give energy back by building resonance objects (Vastu buildings) that are implemented in accordance with the subtle laws of this energy grid.
Our ancestors seemed to have been well aware of the principle of orientation, for on flat land important buildings were usually aligned according to the main cardinal directions.
Therefore, we do not simply choose an arbitrary circumference, because such a circumference also yields unpredictable results. The resulting building should have a positive frequency that also resonates with the inhabitants. For this purpose, Vastu offers us a series of mathematical formulae with which we can find an auspicious circumference. To prevent these powerful formulas from falling into the wrong hands, the Vastu architects and masters (Sthapatis) have kept them secret for thousands of years. A building created with such a circumference, also called a mother wall in Vastu, becomes a resonating body with qualities such as spiritual peace, happiness, and material well-being. The vibration of a body created in this way will have an affect on our psyche and physical body. And our thinking, as we know, determines our lives to a large extent.
Therefore, in Vastu we consider not only the horizontal but also the vertical plane. Of course, within this framework of the basic cubic three-dimensional shape of the building, variations of this cubic shape are also very welcome.
In accordance with the previously defined resonance body (perimeter mass of the horizontal and the vertical), other design elements such as interior walls, doors, windows, etc. are now brought into the same vibration with the help of further mathematical and geometrical calculations.
Vastu buildings (houses and offices) are planned using a 9 × 9 grid with a total of 81 equally sized parts or modules called padas. In this grid we can see a person in a yogic pose. The grid is known as the Vastu Purusha Mandala or the grid of the personified living space. The lines of this grid carry the energy of the mother wall into the space. By placing walls, doors, etc. on or against these lines, they are nourished by the same positive energy.
These energies flow from here to all rooms and corners of a building. Think of the Brahmasthan as the navel of the building, the umbilical cord connection to the source.
The centre is the heart and intelligence of the space. The centre should therefore not be blocked by walls or other construction elements, but remain free. We also know this open centre from Roman architecture. There it was called an atrium. This principle of the open centre is also the reason why the Mayan pyramids were kept free in the centre and why all great temple cities in and around India have their inner sanctum, the spiritual core, there. Of course, this centre does not have to remain open to the sky, but can be roofed over. Vastu house owners appreciate this free and often top-lit space. In terms of design, it can easily be incorporated into the living room, the entrance hall, or the hallway that connects all the surrounding rooms.
Since these energies flow not only vertically but also horizontally, we try not to inhibit this flow in any of these directions. On the horizontal, therefore, we take into account the two vibrating rays of light or energy called the Brahma Sutra and the Soma Sutra and allow them to flow freely. The Brahma Sutra runs parallel to the main entrance through the centre of the grid, while the Soma Sutra runs perpendicular to the Brahma Sutra.
But we take into account another ray of energy, the Yoni Sutra, which runs through the main entrance and thus also parallel to the Brahma Sutra. The Yoni Sutra should also be clear to guarantee the flow of energy through the building. Consequently, opposite the main entrance there should also be a door, or at least a window. In this way, the building is transformed into a living and breathing space.
Doors and Windows
The main entrance can in principle be in any main cardinal direction, but can only be in certain modules (padas).
Thus, an entrance in the central south will affect us negatively, whereas an entrance in the fourth module in the east-northeast will grace us with the power of health and friendship.
With regard to windows, there are also many indications that promote the unrestricted flow of energy.
In other words, fine space (ether), as well as material space (earth), contain all other elements. According to the understanding of Vastu, they are attracted to different corners of a newly created space. The aim of Vastu is that the elements gather in the corners without restriction and cannot leave. Therefore, in Vastu, one never places windows or doors in the corners of a building. The 5 elements bring certain qualities to these areas of any building.
Ether is the finest of the five elements and is therefore the source of all others and the source of manifested space. We know that the centre is the source of manifested space and it is the logical consequence that ether, as the source of the other elements and the source of manifested space, thus resides in the centre (which is kept strictly clear).
The north-east is dominated by water and is traditionally considered the spiritually uplifting direction of the house. It is used for contemplative activities such as study, meditation or for the living room.
The south-east attracts the fire element and is excellent for the kitchen.
The earth energy prefers the southwest and therefore this area brings stability, peace and rest to the inhabitants. The master bedroom, surrounded by other bedrooms, therefore fits ideally in this direction.
Air in the northwest brings a lot of movement and change to this direction. A guest room or office fits very well in this transformative area.