How to use vastu shastra in your home

Most people are familiar with the term feng shui when it comes to the layout of their homes and the arrangement of their furniture, but mention Vaastu Shastra and it is usually greeted with a quizzical look. Vaastu means a dwelling or a site and shastra means science. Also known just as Vastu or Vaastu Veda (veda means knowledge), this is the system of Vedic architecture, which evolved many thousands of years ago in India.

The ancient rishis, India’s enlightened wise souls, became curious to understand why some human beings experienced great success in their lives and why others experienced a lack of success. They began researching the effects of the five elements and different compass directions and reached conclusions about the flow of energies in homes and properties that are demonstrably consistent.

This knowledge, which has been little known except in India, is now taking hold all over the world as a number of Indian gurus and their organisations emphasise the powerful positive effect it can have on people’s lives.


What are the principles of Vaastu?

When starting to apply Vaastu in your Home, you need to have a compass to ascertain where north, south, east and west are as well as the intermediate directions northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest. Ideally, a home should be aligned to the north-south-east-west grid. The reason for this, explains architect and Vaastu Shastra consultant Anthony Ashworth, is that as human beings we align with those energies.

“In ideal Vaastu, a large portion of the living area of the home is actually designed as a square and the square shape is the archetype of earth,” Ashworth says. “Whenever we have something square it is energising and inviting the element of earth.

“The element of earth is important because it is the element of physicality and stability and, unless the element of earth is present, the other elements have nothing to act upon, or to hold their energy.”

The science of Vaastu is based on the five elements of creation — earth, water, fire, air and space — and each one relates to a particular direction.

Earth, which is solid and heavy, is associated with brown and ochre colours and relates to the southwest. Water, represented by white and the full rainbow spectrum, is diametrically opposite earth on the compass in the northeast. Fire, which as an element is believed to be a purifier, is in the southeast and represented by the colours red, orange and purple. Air is the element of movement and is in the northwest. Its colours are greens, blues and black. Space, also known as ether or spirit, is in the centre of the home. As it is not a physical substance, it has no colour.

When planning the layout of an abode, it is important to work with these elements so that they support you in life rather than work against you. Sri Sai Kaleshwara Swami, the author of Kaleshwara Vaastu, claims that 50 per cent of a person’s happiness can be attributed to the Vaastu of their home.

Bharati Corinna Glanert, one of his students, says, “If you want to be really successful and happy in your life it really helps you to have good Vaastu. But you don’t have to panic if one or two things are not right, as long as there are still things that are acceptable.” However, she adds, if Sri Sai Kaleshwara Swami (also known as Sri Kaleshwar) sees that the Vaastu is very bad in a home he advises people to move.

Vaastu is an evolving art and there are many different approaches to it. Sri Kaleshwar is a spiritual teacher who is very aware of different energies and can feel positive and negative influences in a home. He has developed Vaastu principles for the needs of today, which are quite different from those of thousands of years ago when Vaastu first came into being. Through years of experience and thousands of case studies he has created what he calls Kaleshwara Vaastu.


Using the four directions to create good Vaastu

The same rules apply for a unit or apartment in Vaastu as they do for a house and it makes no difference if you own or rent a place, as in both cases it is your home. However, whether you live in a house or an apartment, the layout of the land and the position of the building on it are important.

The land should be sloping down from the southwest to the northeast. The southwest, representing the earth element, is not a place to invite energies into, but rather to hold them. It is a place to contain the energy. The northeast, on the other hand, needs to be very open so it can invite the positive energies of the north, which is the direction of prosperity, and the east, which is the direction of knowledge.

“This is where we invite God into our homes,” says Anthony Ashworth. “It is the northeast that we want to invite in — the beautiful balance of spiritual and physical energies.”

So the ideal position for a building is to be in the southwest corner of a block of land with plenty of open space in the northeast of the block. Also, the northeast is a good place to have water — a lake, a pond or a swimming pool — as water functions to increase the positive effect of this direction.

The southwest is where the stable dominant energy is in the home. It is a good place, Ashworth explains, to have the master bedroom. Be careful if you put a child’s bedroom there or you have your mother-in-law living with you and put her in the southwest, as this person is likely to dominate the rest of the family.

The northwest is the element of air, which has to do with movement and change and also the mind and mental activity. This can be a good place for a guest room, as its energy means no visitor outstays their welcome, and it’s also a good area for an office.

The element of fire is represented by the southeast. “Fire is associated with transformation — the myth of the phoenix rising out of the ashes,” says Ashworth. “It is associated with purification — if you put something through a fire you are basically purifying it — and it also has a lot to do with sexual energy, with desire and passion.” The southeast is an appropriate place for a fireplace or a candle altar and is the best area for a kitchen.

The final element is space, continues Ashworth, which is represented by the centre of the home, also called the bindi. The centre of the home is the place of possibilities so it should be an uncluttered open space.

In traditional Vaastu architecture, there is always a courtyard in the centre of the building. In a business setting this open central space is a great place for a meeting room because, as Ashworth explains, a lot of energy comes through the centre. It is a good place to visit for creative ideas but is not believed to be a good energy to live in all the time.

These principles that apply to the home also apply to each room within it. For example, heavy furniture should be in the southwest of a room and the north-east should be kept as open as possible.


Putting Vaastu into practise

Originally, when Sri Kaleshwar started to build his ashram at Penukonda, it was just one small hut. Then someone told him about Vaastu and he studied it for many years before implementing it in the building of the rest of his ashram. He built the main temple — the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple — in the southwest and also built the Jesus Temple there, because the southwest is the place on the property that commands most power. Recently, when he was building a new accommodation block for students, he even changed the layout of the land and moved earth around to ensure the northeast in this area was much lower than the southwest.

There is one point that Vaastu is particularly dogmatic about and that is that you must never sleep with your head pointing north. The reason for this, Anthony Ashworth explains, is that the North Pole is positively charged and the South Pole negatively charged. The pole of our head is believed to have a positive charge and our feet a negative charge, “so sleeping with your head facing north is like two magnets coming together. There is actually a level of repulsion which throws your system out of balance.”

Sleeping with your head in the south is good, he adds, because the negative energy of the south pole is said to have a drawing influence and that is very good for your digestion. Ashworth clarifies that by north he means 10 degrees either way of direct alignment. Once you are 10 degrees off direct north it means you are off the direction.

Anthony Ashworth is adamant that how we apply Vaastu in our homes needs to be very practical and needs to take into account the environment. In the tropical climates of the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere’s temperate climates, Vaastu works beautifully with ecological and passive solar design principles.

East is the direction of spiritual energy — ostensibly, Ashworth explains, because of the symbolism of the rising sun, but there is also a physical reason. The morning sun gives out ultra-violet light, which is very positive and kills off bacteria and viruses, so a home wants to invite these morning sunlight rays in. As the sun sets in the west it gives off infra-red rays, which foster the growth of algae, bacteria and viruses, so a good Vaastu home does not encourage windows in the west.


The Vaastu myth

In Vaastu tradition the spirit of the home is Purusha. It was believed that when the earth was first created and all the elements were in chaos, Purusha was the demon that caused the discordant energy. So all the gods approached the main god, Shiva, and asked him what he was going to do about this demon who had created chaos on earth. Shiva told them that they had to all sit on Purusha together, because he was very strong, and face him down into the ground and hold him there.

They did this, and eventually Purusha apologised for the trouble he had caused, but asked Shiva why he should be punished for only being what Shiva had created. Shiva saw he was right, so he made a deal with him that if he behaved himself he would be honoured from then on. Since that day he has been honoured as the earth spirit and the spirit of the home.

There is another Vedic myth, according to Ashworth, which said that thousands of years into the future there would be a time called the Kali Yuga — the time of darkness — when men would stop honouring the Vaastu Purusha and great ills would fall on mankind. According to Glanert we have been living in Kali Yuga until recently, but she claims that Purusha’s association with Vaastu is just a myth. Both Bharati Glanert and Anthony Ashworth acknowledge that in many cases changes can be made to improve the Vaastu of a home and bring its inhabitants the health, wealth and happiness they deserve.


Some of Sri Kaleshwar’s main Vaastu points

  • Always use a compass to determine the exact directions.
  • The basic flow of energy is from the SW to the NE. In good Vaastu, height and weight are in the SW. There must be more open land to the north and east than to the south and west.
  • The NE should always be lower than the SW and NE is a good place for a body of water, which increases its positive energy.
  • Doors and windows increase the effect of a direction, whether positive or negative, and water also increases the effect of a direction.
  • Never ever sleep with the top of your head facing north. It is good to have your head in the south; next best is the west and then the east.
  • The place you sleep affects you the most in terms of Vaastu.
  • It is better to sell or leave a property that has very bad Vaastu, rather than live there for a long time.


Some of Sri Kaleshwar’s negative Vaastu direction points

  • NE is bad for toilets and bathrooms, which can bring serious illnesses to all inhabitants.
  • SW is bad for kitchens. Huge arguments can result in the house.
  • S and W are not good directions to face when cooking. “You’ll cook your food,” says Sri Kaleshwar, “but at the same time you’ll cook your whole family too.” It is best to face either east or north to cook.
  • W is bad for windows. The evening sun should not enter the house.
  • The SW should never be lower than the NE, because all good energy will be lost.
  • Never extend your property to the SW; only extend to the NE.
  • Never put a swimming pool in the SW. Also, if the SW is empty — ie, bare ground or an empty room — that is detrimental.
  • SW is not good for doors. This can damage friendships, relationships and business enterprises.
  • Do not put staircases in the NE of a home.
  • If you have to have furniture against a north or east wall make sure it is 5cm or more off that wall, not touching it.


Some of Sri Kaleshwar’s auspicious Vaastu direction points

  1. SW is best for the master bedroom, good for a bedroom and OK for an office.
  2. SE is good for a kitchen and a fireplace and is OK as a second choice for the master bedroom.
  3. NE is best for entrances, windows, swimming pools and other bodies of water. It is important to keep this area empty.
  4. NW is a good place for an office or guest bedroom, and an acceptable second choice for a kitchen. In any kitchen the person standing at the stove must face east or north.
  5. The best place for an entrance is the NE. East-northeast and north-northeast are good for entrance doors and windows and the cardinal points are good for entrance doors if they are exactly aligned to the cardinal point.

Rosamund Burton is a freelance journalist specialising in natural health and mind body spirit related subjects.



The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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