Harmony and balance inside need to correspond with the outside and vice-versa. An environment resonating with our personality and inner potential supports our growth on all levels. If our home is in conformity with ourselves, then it helps us to have a happy and balanced life. How this exactly works and which criteria are to be followed is taught by the old Vedic science of architecture called vaastu.
We wish and expect to have a place for relaxation, calmness, inspiration and the feeling of security when thinking of our homes. The dream of having one’s own house is still a major wish in life for many of us. It is closely connected with our profound need for being surrounded by the “protecting four walls”. Many articles in the old Vedic scriptures were dedicated to this basic need, and so was the subsequent development of the science of architecture, vaastu. Vaastu describes the art of building in close communion with natural, universal laws. The contents of these teachings prove impressively that harmony in our environment is as plannable as the euphony of a well-made composition.
In his lectures and articles, vaastu expert Marc Lüllmann provides lively and practical information on the science of living construction – its criteria, effects and possible applications.
Only a small excerpt of this comprehensive knowledge is presented here. But, it should be enough to awaken curiosity for this ancient old doctrine and most of all its practical benefit in our time.
What is vaastu?
Before going more into detail, let us have a look at the definition of the Sanskrit term vastu. It contains some important keys which enable a better understanding. Briefly, the term vaastu means “the energy living eternally”. It refers to a universal understanding about pure energy being transformed into matter. There is another differentiation in the notation. Vaastu can be written with one vocal “a” as vastu. Then it means the “original creative energy in its subtle quality”. The same term with double vocal “a”, vaastu, means this original energy in its materialized and visualized form.
The aim of the vaastu teachings is to use the omnipresent vital life energy in an optimal way and to limit it within an object coming into being in such a way that it may flow as free and unimpeded as possible. This way, buildings come into being which are consistent with the forces of the earth and cosmos thus having beneficial effects in all our living areas.
“Concerning matter we were wrong. What we called matter is energy. Its vibration has been reduced so much that it became perceptible for the senses. There is no matter existing.” Albert Einstein
Origin and dissemination of vaastu
The oldest traditional science about building and living in accordance with universal principles has its origin in the Vedic high civilization and its scriptures which until today are considered as the oldest bequeathed teachings of mankind. According to Hindu mythology, vaastu is connected to the deity Viswakarma, who is considered in Rigveda as the creating god and the “main architect of the universe”. In the Upanishads, he is considered to be the origin of God Brahma, whom we know more today. Historically, vaastu can be traced back to a Rishi (Sanskrit, meaning wise person/seer) with the name Brahmarishi Mayan who published many scriptures on different artistic disciplines, among them dance, poetry, music, sculpture, and architecture.
By introspection and intensive studies of nature, this Rishi recognized universal modes of action and a regulatory mathematical principle behind all processes of creation. In vaastu this regulatory criterion – the underlying vibration ratio in everything – plays a decisive role. With the help of given calculations and units, the frequency of a building in relation to its surroundings and inhabitants can be determined in such a way that a harmonic overall structure will occur.
Though there are old preserved vaastu-scriptures, the enormous wealth of knowledge of these teachings were largely passed on orally from a master to a disciple, often within family traditions. The masters of this tradition are called shilpis (vaastu stone masons) or sthapatis (vaastu architects).
Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati (1927 – 2011) was one of the best known masters of this knowledge. He taught this old science as an academic discipline at a university in Madras since the 1980s and made it accessible to the students, architects and savants from all over the world. Through him, vaastu came more and more into public interest of the Western world. And today, we are able to apply the original teachings adapted to our days and age in an optimal way. Sthapati himself was a teacher within a family tradition which goes back over 1000 years. Worldwide he has planned and erected over 600 vaastu buildings and temples.
Over countries and borders – Vaastu architecture all over the world
Though vaastu as art and science has its concrete origin on the Indian subcontinent, the applied principles are universal. One can find the application of them in all cultures of the world – with temple complexes and pyramids having nearly the same architecture though there are entire continents in between, and also in Greek and Roman architecture, the cradle of our Western architecture. We may assume dissemination of knowledge from India to other countries and continents over centuries because we know that in the past India had active trade relations with countries of the Near East, as well as from the adaption of Vedic knowledge in other Asian countries like China, Japan and Tibet. Nevertheless, it is astonishing that this knowledge came to Europe very early as the vaastu expert underlines in his talk. He points to Marcus Vitruvius, the well known Roman scholar and architect, who till this day is considered to be the creator of modern architecture. In Vitruvius’ ten books on architecture one can find so many parallels to old vaastu scriptures concerning composition and contents so that there is no reason to speak about a coincidence. Also the buildings of famous architects of later centuries, for example Andrea Palladio and Le Corbusiers, show many parallels to vaastu.
So the history of architecture is obviously closely connected to the vaastu tradition. Impactful buildings and holy places were erected according to these principles and till today they are of such a big attraction that pilgrims and tourists from all over the world come to see them.
It does not matter if we are convinced of resonance and energetic attraction or not – it is not possible to deny the magnetic effect of these buildings. They all have harmonious, balanced proportions and radiate harmony and beauty so that we feel attracted through them and feel comfortable in their surroundings.
Reasons enough to look more closely – what is the difference between a vaastu building and traditional architecture? What are the criteria according to which it is designed and erected?
Applied vaastu principles
A vaastu building is so developed and erected that it is in optimal resonance with its environment and inhabitants thus supporting them on all levels. Marc Lüllmann reveals some of the most important rules and principles for practical application.
“Goal of the vaastu architecture is to find resonance between the inhabitants, the erected building and the surrounding nature so that we are connected with the energies of the earth and cosmos.” Marc Lüllmann
Scope and frequency of the building
In order to get to a harmonious coexistence of human being, nature and object, the first important criterion is the exact definition of the scope of a building. In vaastu the scope is not determined gratuitously but exactly calculated according to mathematical guidelines and formulas because the scope determines the basic vibration of the building thus determining its radiation as well.
This basic frequency of the object coming into being is optimally adjusted to each basic frequency of each single inhabitant through astrological determination of the so called moon star. The moon star ( called nakshatra in Sanskrit) – similar to the sun sign in Western astrology – is one of the most important criteria of Vedic astrology concerning the determination of decisive personality characteristics and so it is in a sense an indicator of our basic vibration pattern. By adjusting the frequencies of the building to the frequencies of each inhabitant, the special abilities in them will unfold more effectively. This adjustment is realized through numerical and other proportions, similar to the strings of an instrument vibrating together with the same intonation.
So the scope of a vaastu building is as important just as the definition of time signature and key are for a composition. All following melodic, harmonic and rhythmic motives are coordinated. In the same way all designing elements with their vibrations and proportions like windows, doors, steps and so on are adjusted to this basic frequency. Just like in music where consonant intervals such as unison, octave or fifth are necessary for euphony, for the idea in vaastu corresponding numeric proportions (1:1; 1:2; 1:1,5 and so on) are favoured over others.
“Architecture is form arising from music.”
The election of the realty
There is life energy pulsating everywhere – in and around us. Nevertheless, not each piece of land is equally applicable as a building plot. In vaastu – even more than in usual house construction – criteria like the form of the land, surrounding vegetation, existing downward gradients and waters, disturbing environmental influences as well as the general qualities of the soil (compactness, degassing, fertility and others) are considered and exactly probed before. Before the land is developed at the selected location, special blessing ceremonies with devotion, thankfulness and appreciation towards the earth take place in order to enable working “in spirited harmony with the forces of the earth.”
This might sound strange for many of us but it is worth getting our attention as we often thoughtlessly exploit the earth as our own source of life whereas the blessing of it through feasts and rituals has been self-evident in all ancient cultures and indigenous people.
Vaastu gives the opportunity to create with our own home a location where we have a respectful and mindful communication with natural forces.
The power from within – the centre as the heart of a vaastu building
Everybody who is busy with meditation, yoga, qi gong or similar disciplines has already heard a lot about the center of power in our midst. After all, a lot in our lives is about getting back into our midst. No wonder that our midst is also very important in vaastu.
The word pyramid means “fire in the centre” and so we learn what is going on in the centre of a building. The entire incoming cosmic energy is concentrated at this point, is distributed from here into all directions of the building and can leave unhindered to ensure a harmonic exchange. Therefore, to keep this centre free is one of the most important principles in vaastu because this enables a free energy circulation in the entire complex. It is easy to imagine that the ascending form of a pyramid channelises this power in an optimal way. This gives the explanation why many temples and other holy places were erected with such a form. For the same reason polygonal spires and gable roofs on vaastu houses are favoured over the nowadays widespread flat roofs. Such a roof blocks the free entrance and exit of the cosmic energy through the centre.
The use of the “holy middle” as a collecting point of cosmic energy is a natural principle and correlates with the life giving forces of the earth which emanating from the Earth’s core expand and distribute over the main axes (North-South and East-West). It is known that many kinds of animals orient themselves according to the grid of the Earth through their so called magnetic sense. Compass has been serving us for centuries to make an exact determination of the cardinal points. “To be correct, it is necessary at this point to add that the vaastu energy flux is not in direct contact with the magnet field of the earth”, underlines Marc Lüllmann. “Vaastu is determined by the axis of the earth. That is why vaastu buildings are oriented to the geographic north and not the magnetic north. There are places on earth where they differ by 10 to 20 degrees. So we have two energy fields of the earth: One magnetic field and one field of even more subtle energy which is oriented to the axis of the earth.
“The five elements – spatial positioning and shaping in vaastu”
The influence of the natural elements on our health and other living areas is known to us from the teachings of Ayurveda, the traditional Chinese medicine, and Feng Shui. In the same way the five elements ether, earth, fire, water and air play an important role in vaastu for our inner and outer balance. The element ether is the central element here and is allocated to the already described energy source of the centre from which all the other elements emanate. From the pulsating, power giving centre the elements are distributed and collected, especially in the corners of a room. For this reason windows and doors should not be built in corners of a room to prevent the exit of the element powers.
According to the exact alignment of the building, the elements are concentrated in the directions northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest. They bring certain qualities in certain areas of a building or room. According to this functions can be determined in an optimal way as well as the room arrangement. This principle is explained best with the help of an example: The cardinal direction southwest as a point where the element earth with all its qualities is concentrated stands for characteristics like stability, quietness and relaxation. For this reason the sleeping room has its optimal position at this cardinal point.
To erect a house from the ground up according to vaastu principles has great advantages due to an environment becoming a power source for us and being attuned to our own personality.
But what if our house is already there or we live in a simple rented apartment where we cannot even think of such comprehensive concepts?
Possibilities for the correction and optimization of apartments and existing buildings
Positive changes are always possible. Not being able to reach an optimum state is no reason for not using the existing possibilities. Though vaastu is a basic architecture doctrine, it offers tools for the correction and optimization of existing objects. For example, it is possible to free up a blocked centre within a house, to correct adverse downward gradients belatedly, to reshape living rooms according to the teachings of the five elements or find another room arrangement.
Another wonderful possibility to get vaastu energy in one’s own home are so called little temple cottages or mini temples depending on the capacity on one’s own property, in the garden or as a powerful object for one’s own living room in miniature size. The sense of such small objects is more than a symbolic embellishment of one’s own garden or living room. The vaastu expert reminds of the meaning of little temple cottages in the Ayurvedic doctrine. According to this, sick and weak people are sent to near temples for the so called “temple sleep” to profit from the healing and powerful energy there.
Especially these small miniature temples, even the little ones on the desk, can be designed exactly according to the proportions and customs in conformity with its owners and without any compromises. These objects create the same effect of a harmonic field developing around them and radiating into the surroundings.
For those who are interested to know more about this ancient science or for those wants to change his or her living environment, I recommend the following webpage for further information. I wish you happiness and harmony in all your spheres of life – also in those moments which cannot be so well planned, like our own “four walls”.