Thousands of years ago in India, the Vedas were traditionally passed down through generations as orally recited verses until they were eventually translated as sacred literature between 1500 and 500 BCE. When Upavedas originated from the Vedas, the Sthapatyaveda emerged as a system of knowledge involving the connection between people and buildings – in other words – Architecture. 

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Here, Vaastu Shastra arises to design the building in harmony with nature and promote positive energy for the prana⎯”vital life”. Sthapatya Veda could be the theory while Vaastu Shastra is the application of this knowledge, the “science of dwelling”. 

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Pranic Urja_©collectiveshaping.com
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Vaastu Purusha Mandala_©architexturez.com
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The relationship between the dwelling, the physical world and dharma make Vaastu Shastra’s science the result of overlapping determinants. The Vaastu Purusha Mandala renders the multi-layered system, a cosmic man representing pure energy in the unification of the five elements or panchabhutas, nine cardinal directions protected by nine deities or Nava-Dikpāla, corresponding with nine planets or Navagraha

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This mandala becomes an elaborate metaphysical plan, sort of a veil that falls over the architectural plan to describe a dwelling within the cosmic order, apprehended through tangible phenomena and spiritual tradition. 

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Vaastu Purusha Mandala_©architexturez.com

The Science

Five Elements, Panchabhutas

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The five elements are the basis of the entire universe, and so, any imbalance between them means a negative influence in the cosmic order. Hence, the balance of a dwelling and the balance of the mind depend on the harmony of panchabhutas

Therefore, Vaastu Shastra suggests pairing the elements and their respective directions with house components that share comparable properties. 

Direction Element Components
Northeast Water water and other reflective sources 
Northwest Air doors and windows to open the space  
Southeast Fire sources of heat, fireplaces, stoves and electrical appliances
Southwest Earth heavy things
Centre  Space vacant space allowing light to enter. 

Cardinal Directions, Nava-Dikpāla

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The universe was created as an endless and unmeasurable space, so God created directions in reference to the sun to understand the position of things existing within it. Orientation is essential in Vaastu to arrange functional areas favourably.  

Direction Deity Planet Function
North Kubera Mercury  living room
Northeast Isana Jupiter meditation room (pooja room)
East Indra Sun main door
Southeast Agni Venus  kitchen
South Yama Mars children bedrooms and storage
Southwest Nirrti Rāhu  master bedroom and staircases
West Varuna Saturn study and dining room
Northwest Vayu Moon bathroom, a direction that supports the elimination of waste
Zenith Brahma Ketu the Brahmas than, the most powerful zone of the house
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Morning sun ©Six N. Five studio
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Afternoon sun ©Six N. Five studio

The Vaastu configuration seeks to magnify the benefits of solar energy concerning the functions of the dwelling. While space opens up to north and east for constant light and morning light, it closes to the south and west, where less-used rooms protect the house from the afternoon heat. 

Magnetic Field, Jaivic Urja 

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In the north to south electric current flow, the magnetic north is more potent and has a positive effect, while the magnetic south is weaker and has the opposite effect. In a way, clean energy enters the system and dirty energy evacuates it slowly through this axis. 

Similarly, the body works like a magnet with positive polarity in the head and negative polarity for the feet. It is essential to consider the body’s alignment inside the house to avoid disrupting energy flow between repelling polarities.  

The Interior Design

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Main door

The main door is where energies flow in and out of the dwelling. It is vital to place it towards the north, east or north-east to potentiate the entry of positive energies in place of negative ones. It should be higher than the other house doors, constructed with superior quality wood, with two shutters and decorated with auspicious motifs to look the most appealing. 

Furniture

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Furniture ©Charlotte Taylor

“The way furniture is placed in a space can affect the energy balance, generating a positive or negative impact on health and mental peace.” 1

Vaastu considers the square to be the most perfect and stable form. It is essential to maintain square or rectangular forms and avoid other shapes for the entire house design; this includes furniture, located on the southeast, south or west side to open up to the north for vital energy. 

When sitting, reading, working or cooking, one should face the east, north or west; on the one hand, for constant daylight and morning sun exposure, on the other, to avoid directing the head towards the north causing a repelling effect of positive energy. Accordingly, beds should ensure the position of the head towards the south for sleeping. 

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In Vaastu Shastra, it is crucial to maintain a clean home and allow air and positive energy flow; therefore, all furniture, books, decorative objects, idols and statues should be placed at least two inches away from the walls and never create clutter.

Reflection and Light

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Mirrors can stagnate and deteriorate energy by reflecting it according to their position. They are paired with the water element since they have similar reflective qualities, which means they should position on north or east walls. Bearing that in mind, they should never face this direction as they might redirect away positive energy entering. They should not face each other, reflect sunlight or situate in front of beds. 

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In this light, it is preferable to avoid any objects of reflection in bedrooms all together. Should this not be, light curtains on northeast windows and doors and heavy ones on southwest for any part of the house help prevent adverse effects from the reflection of windows and doors made of glass. 

Lastly, assuming the need for artificial lights, their fittings should be placed along the northeast, ensuring every space is well-lit and flowing as shadows can create disharmony inside.

Colours and Materials

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Tattva Yantras, the five elements_©ramatribe.com

For Vaastu Shastra, there are two ways to select the appropriate colours: following the zodiac sign or the location providing the direction for one of the panchabhutas. Each of the five elements denotes a particular hue of colours to maintain its energy balance. 

Above all, they should be subtle and pleasant instead of aggravating as they translate into energy. Regarding materials, they should keep the same type and size of the flooring, cut evenly and in regular shapes to maintain a general quality throughout the house. 

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Symbols

As per Vaastu, individual objects come with different benefits: particular plants renovate the energy of any space, specific painting themes bring good luck and strengthen the power of the elements, a fountain and fish aquarium’s constant movement transforms negative energy into positive, like the pyramid that neutralizes negative energy through the use of its own power. 

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Flowers, water and marble ©Alexis Christodoulou

Reference

  1. Das, E. “Vaastu Shastra for Home Makeovers to Spark Joy.” BeautifulHomes. Accessed February 2021. https://www.beautifulhomes.com/design/feature/vastu-shastra-for-home.html. 
Author

Manuela is an architect from Bogotá, Colombia. She has a special interest in architectural theory believing architecture results from the human understanding of the world and its place in the universe. In films, books, and finding unique spaces in cities, she recognizes society's memory and essence.

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