Vastu Shastra

Vastu Shastra, a Desi Feng Shui ?
by Anuppa Caleekal © Copyright A.Caleekal

Advancing towards a landscape of metal hoods, the sun sets. In your rearview, all you see is miles of cars lined up crawling, almost stationary.
It’s rush hour and you are one of many hundreds stuck after work in traffic just longing to get back home. Ever wonder where everyone goes? The traffic clears, each car racing like shooting stars to reach a destination…a destination we call home.

Throughout the history of man a common aspect, apparent in all cultures is the conquest of space and the ability to build space into a form and function of living.

We have all dreamt of the ultimate trump card, the lotto 649 winning escape to The Dream House on The Street of Dreams.
Take for instance popular cable TV’s mega -hits While You Were Out and Trading Spaces. What do the fans sit glued to see? It’s a frenzied redo of houses. Yes houses. In front of the television coliseum fans are entertained watching experts give quick tips doing spatial makeover spills of positive energy.

In ancient India stemming back more than 5000 years to India’s vedic civilization teachings of Vastu Shastra also called vastu vidya, translates as ‘dwelling science” or “architectural science.” focused primarily on the art of living. Based on astrology and laws, Vastu Shastra finds its roots in Atharva Veda, a branch of the four Vedas.

The Vastu focus designs and constructs one’s dwelling in harmony with the natural laws of the universe taking into consideration nature’s five elements (earth, fire, water, air and cosmic energy), the planets and the Hindu Gods. Vastu knowledge has also surfaced as “sthapatya veda”, with a modern revival in the past twenty years by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, casting seeds of this ancient science back into the mainstream of Indian culture. During the past few years there has been a noticeable upsurge of interest in Vastu knowledge in the West.

Can the design of a house or dwelling impact upon our lives? Is it possible that problems such as anxiety, depression, bad luck, illness or family problems can be attributed to the design of our home? Perhaps your living premises need a fine tuning or total change. According to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda ® design, disharmony is the result of “bad vastu” a case of architectural design not in accordance with Natural Law.

Jon Lipman, Chief Architect of Maharishi Global Construction ( notes that in North America alone architecture in accordance with Natural Vedic Law accounts for, “roughly ¼-billion dollars worth ” and” Influences may be designed into a building promoting such qualities as prosperity, happiness, health and enlightenment. Just as importantly negative influences in areas such as anger, fear and chronic disease may be diminished through correct design.”

What does all this mean?

In a vastu designed home, you actually feel like doing the activity that the room is designed for.
Take for instance the bedroom your final recluse after a hectic day. What would an ideal Vastu bedroom recommend?

Ruth Ann Taves National Director of MGC Canada (Maharishi Global Construction in Canada) outlines the ideal Vastu bedroom:
“Since the knowledge of Vastu is a holistic knowledge, the placement of the
bedroom in the house is very important and its location is decided in
conjunction with the placement of the other rooms during a Sthapatya Veda
consultation.” sourcephoto source photo

The best vastu for the master bedroom is in the southwest corner consistent with earth’s elements providing security and relaxation. For a female child, location is best South east of the main bedroom while Northwest for a male child. The wrong spatial location of the bedroom can lead to insomnia and general fatigue. Sleeping position with head towards south leads to long life.

“Our health” says Lipman, ” is affected by the orientation we take when we are sleeping. Specifically, it predicts that it is healthiest for us to sleep with our heads pointed to the east and most unhealthy to sleep with our heads to the north.”

Taves further clarifies:

“For example, you don’t want to have your bedroom in a location
that is best for the kitchen or you will feel hungry when you are trying to
go to sleep”.
Does that maybe explain why sometimes strangely enough, a basic instinct with such romantic gusto overwhelms you at the kitchen sink over soapy sudsy dishes, yet in the bedroom you get hungry for a Big Mac? Could this be bad vastu design at play?

Tave’s tip,”One thing all family members can do is to sleep with their head
to the east or the south. This will bring the best influence of progress
toward enlightenment and a deep sleep.”

Many today are already familiar with Feng Shui. Vastu on the other hand is often oversimplified as the desi Feng Shui. In reality, the two are separate entities.

Many scholars believe that Vastu Shastra gave birth to Feng Shui originating not from China but from ancient India when footprints of Buddhist trails left ancient India culturally imprinting Chinese soil. This transfer of Vedic knowledge to China came to be Feng Shui. Inspite of Vastu being the source, Feng shui is globally widespread, more mainstream readily commercialized, packaged with designer flair and marketed for an exorbitant price of course. Why is this?

Michael Borden, Vastu consultant , architect and founder of VastuVed currently involved on vastu building designs worldwide ( ) comments:
“As Westerners have become more interested in eastern sciences and philosophies certain disciplines have had more exposure and appeal. Feng shui is a science that favors a remedial approach to living spaces, Feng shui seems to offer some hope of quick fixes for bad energy in an individual’s life and home. Actually Feng shui is a very deep and complex science that requires expert consul and not just a quick seminar or read a book”.

Vastu Shastra because of its holistic nature is less readily able to trickle into the mainstream or be oversimplified.
Ruth Anne Taves, clarifies,” Feng shui has recently been broken into small pieces which may make it more accessible to the average homeowner, but the real power of these forms of design is in their holistic application.”

Recently however, Vastu has become a hot exciting phenomenon popularized by books such as Vaastu Workbook by Dr. Talavane Krishna, Kathleen Cox’s, The Power of Vastu Living and The Vastu Home by Juliet Pegrum.
Vastu Shastra in the past 5 years is emerging very strong in the West both as a chic design field and a trendy lifestyle. Its relevance however lies not in its marketability and commercialization but in the value of its innate knowledge and applicability for a secure and healthy home.

Deepak Bakshi based in Fairfield, Iowa, President of The Vastu Design Studio,( ) is a architect by profession and practitioner of Vastu Shastra.
He explains that ” Vastu has a broader more cosmic relevance and as individuals we are each connected to the cosmos “
“Many people” Bakshi says “stumble into Vastu accidentally. They may have had an illness and tried ayurvedic medicine, a branch of vedic science and having healed their physiological ailments often want to learn more about eastern medicine, spirituality and knowledge.”
“Then others”, Bakshi says,”may have stumbled into vastu knowledge by learning meditation and after healing their minds the teachings introduce them to building and living in a Vastu home as the ultimate in achieving health, wealth, prosperity and spiritual growth.”

“When you design a vastu home orientation is the key factor”, Bakshi outlines,
“One has to align the dwelling and the inhabitants with the cosmos and that is what is referred to as “the true north”.
Aligning to “the magnetic north” prevails to be the common practice adhered by most builders in construction of homes and buildings” which Bakshi says “is not in accordance with receiving an optimum cosmic energy”
In other words “each individual” he says, ” has a blueprint in connection to the cosmos which in turn is harmoniously synchronized with the place of dwelling to determine the”birthday” and “birthplace” of “the house” as everything has a state of consciousness.”
“Orientation”, Bakshi explains is very important in vastu and with “proper orientation, positive thought prevails and work is effortless, whereas negative orientation prolongs work”.

To improve success of our work the home office or study must be conducive to work
One has to ask what kind of activity or work is going to be done in this room. For instance if your profession demands computer work and power of concentration, your study room must consider certain factors. The proportion of the sun’s energy, location and size of the room in relation to orientation of the house and neighboring rooms, the direction you sit when you work, the reduction of electromagnetic fields conflicting with brain wave patterns all become important for optimum results.

In terms of vastu tips for beginners, Ruth Ann Taves has some helpful pointers:
“Buy or build a home that is lined up with the cardinal directions and have the entrances only to the east or north. Any other other entrances are inauspicious and will bring negativity and problems to the occupants.”

Is it possible to do a vastu makeover to an existing home or do you have to build one?

“Yes it is possible”, says Ruth Anne Taves ” to do a rectification for a home so that principles of vastu can bring more support and happiness to the family. The first step you can do is to close any southern or western entrances that you have had and only use north or east entrances”

These tips are aligned with the thinking that the sun rises in the east, bringing light as Bakshi notes,”east denotes intelligence and the north denotes prosperity”. The sun rising in the east gives directional symbols of optimism and hope. The Brahamastan or courtyard is significant in a vastu-designed home, the central open area where the house opens to the sky attracting earth’s energetic space to attract to the house.

www.maharishivastu.orgphotos photos

“A complete rectification” adds Taves requires” a consultation so that all the elements of the home can be carefully considered.” In Canada, Maharishi Global Construction provides consultation and estimates for all types of housing units.

Some other useful tips to keep in mind, in selecting the ideal vastu plot, choose a square or rectangular plot and Vastu consultant, Michael Borden suggests, ” slope of the land is important: one should favor flat land or with a gentle slope to the east, northeast or north. The house is fine tuned to cosmic and individual energies when it is designed with respect to vastu principles.When this is accomplished the structure becomes vibrant with energy that is available to those who live there. This helps structure increased vitality on all levels of life”

In terms of Vastu makeovers, Borden feels, “it is possible to consider the orientation, entry point and room location of an existing structure, however it is rare to find an existing structure that lends itself to predictably good results.”

So the bottom line, if you want to vastu it all the way you are likely looking at getting consultation and having a home custom built, as well as adhering to the principles of vastu knowledge for the “ideal” vastu living experience.
“Canadians are becoming much more familiar with vastu shastra design and many homes and office buildings are being constructed in this form of architecture every day”, says Taves.

In terms of cost, to build a Vastu home, how much are we talking?

“The cost for building a Maharishi Sthapatya Veda home, Taves explains,
“is determined by the materials and design chosen by the owners, just as it is for any home. A vastu home can be built in any design and in any materials anywhere in
Canada. Natural, non-toxic building materials are preferred since that fits
in best with a home that is built according to the laws of nature but it is
up to each owner or builder to choose what they want to use.”

The actual cost to build a vastu home?

Taves answers, “building a Maharishi Sthapatya Veda home does not have to cost much more than any other home. An additional 5 to 10% should be enough to cover the
consultation fees and additional features required for a vastu home. For
example, each Maharishi Sthapatya Veda home has a Vastu fence around the
home and this may be an extra cost if no fence was planned for the home.”

Taves adds, “Each home should have a Vastu fence around it. This fence would also only allow entry to the area around the house from the east or north so that only auspicious influences could enter. “

The fence can act as protective barrier as Lipman observed with recent forest fires in southern California, where Maharishi Sthapatya Veda designed homes survived the disaster. The fence around the home has also been known to shield a house against strong winds.

In terms of affordable Vastu real estate developments in Canada, Taves paints an optimistic future and although,“There are currently no condos, rental units or town homes in Canada “she says, ” but units are being planned for in Huntsville, Ontario and Salt Spring Island,British Columbia. Many examples of condominiums and rental units can be seen in Fairfield Iowa.”

There seem to be only advantages in having a Vastu designed home. The care and attention applied to make it a healthy dwelling almost makes it like living in a vitamin enriched home!

If you want to experience a total vastu built environment for a few days, Eloise Raymond, Director of Sales, Maharishi Global Construction suggests a stay at The Rukmapura Park Hotel in Vedic City two miles northwest of Fairfield Iowa or visit

It offers elegant suites in a magnificent spruce and pine hotel, designed and built in the graceful architectural tradition of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda.

Planning a wedding or honeymoon? The Rukmapura Hotel is perfect for indoor or outdoor weddings. The Brahmastan and gazebo by the lake offer a perfect setting for wedding vows.
Also in Vedic city, Raymond notes The Raj Hotel ( ) which is probably one of America’s premier Ayurvedic facility and the number one spa for the new millenium giving you a total plunge in vedic delight all under a Vastu roof.

While surfing the internet and should you want to learn more about Vastu Shastra try a tutorial at . Here Deepak Bakshi, of Vastu Design Studio has worked on making Vastu accessible to the laymen by composing a self-instruction product in the form of a multimedia CD tutorial. This is essentially a textbook on CD with animations and calculating java applets that allows the user to learn about Vastu and design her/his own house.

For an holistic overview, read, Building for the Health and Happiness of Everyone” available for purchase at

Want to read “Vastu for Dummies“?
Sorry, it’s not out yet. An oversimplification as such could never do justice to such an ancient science as Vastu Shastra. Ideal Vastu living is holistic, not piecemeal or quick fix.
It has often been stereo typed as a desi version of Feng Shui. Nonetheless, expect a global trendy renaissance ascent of an ancient Indian science turn into a hot, new desi signature design to lifestyle. It’s bound to make you want to just Vastu it!

Anuppa Caleekal

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