Remember the time when you entered that beautiful hotel room and something felt off from the start? You couldn’t pinpoint what exactly, but despite the gorgeous décor and lush sheets you didn’t want to be in the room for long. Manish Nasnani, vastu consultant, blames it on imbalanced energies in the room as a result of bad vastu. Before you brush it off as superstition, Nasnani invites you to understand the science behind this age-old practice. There was a time when he too didn’t believe in vastu shastra. Only when he started understanding how scientific it actually is did he begin to find it interesting.
“People wrongly associate vastu shastra with fate and dismiss it. If you too have been doing that, it’s time to give up those preconceived notions and begin afresh because vastu shastra is actually scientific,” says Nasnani. Vastu shastra deals with subtle energy and how the placement of objects affects this energy. To begin with, consider the earth as a big piece of magnet with two poles—the north and the south. With that, everything in it becomes smaller pieces of magnets.
Manish Nasnani, Vastu consultant
Our bodies too are bio-magnets with their own magnetic poles and magnetic fields (which we also know as aura and whose presence studies have proven time and again.) In our bodies, the part above the naval functions as the north pole and the part below as the south pole. Basic laws of physics dictate that like poles of two magnets repel each other but opposite poles attract. This is the principle that guides the rules of vastu shastra.
For instance, we are often told not to lie down with our head in the north, the reason being that the north pole of our body and the north pole of the earth repel each other. Your body spends a lot of energy in this, resulting in disturbed sleep. This apparently is believed to lead to fluctuations in blood pressure and can even cause heart problems. The risk of getting a hemorrhage or stroke goes up as well.
Our blood also contains a lot of iron and when you sleep with your head in the north direction, the magnetic pull attracts the iron which then accumulates in the brain. This is one reason a person who sleeps with his head on the north often wakes up with headaches. “Vastu shastra is all about balancing the interaction between the bio-magnet which is our bodies and the geo-magnet which is the earth,” says Nasnani.
Astrologer and expert in vastu shastra Dr Basudev Krishna Shastri, says vastu shastra is about how you can live in harmony with nature by balancing the effects of the five key elements (panch tatva)—earth, water, fire, air, and sky—that makes up the universe and everything in it, including us. Vastu shastra translates to ‘the science of architecture’ and it is basically physics. “It feels like superstition because you don’t see this energy,” he says, “but its effects are very real. The right kind of energy can fuel and recharge you, while the wrong kind can do a lot of harm.”
The focus on living in overall synchronization with nature and not resisting its powers is one of the key principles of vastu shastra. North and east are considered positive while south and west are negative. It’s not possible or even necessary to have zero negative energy. The idea is to make sure the retaining energy in any space is positive. Nature, Nasnani says, has everything in balance and we shouldn’t disrupt this balance in the name of design.
“Everything is made up of five key elements and different corners of your house represent different elements. The north-east corner represents water, the south-east stands for fire, the south-west for earth, and the north-west for air. The space at the center where these four corners intersect is space,” he explains. According to vastu shastra, compatibility of elements is important to balance out the energies which is why the kitchen (that represents fire or heat), for example, should be built in the south-east section of a house.
The disruptive forces of imbalanced energy and elements are immense. Apparently, a vastu dosha at the Maya Sabha in Indraprastha caused the epic Mahabharat between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The dosha was a water trench at the center of the premises, an area of the element sky that should ideally have been kept open. Astrologer Anu Kumar Jha says there are some basic principles of vastu shastra that we need to abide by in order to create better energy in our surroundings. Though there are ways of reversing vastu doshas, it’s not as practical or effective as actual synchronization of elements or energies. “Vastu shastras’ basic message is that nature will help you thrive if you let it,” he says.
Experts in the field say modern medical science too has evolved to incorporate natural elements for disease-prevention. The importance of cross ventilation was made evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our bodies produce Vitamin D as a result of sun exposure. The vitamin is essential for proper functioning of the immune system, brain and nervous system. Our circulatory system works the way it does because of the earth’s geo-magnetic energy.
Recent studies have confirmed that our brain is sensitive to orientation, position, and direction in space and that the brain physiology is different in different directions. And, much like medical science, vastu Shastra—a part of the Veda’s scriptures believed to be four to five thousand years old—is constantly evolving as practitioners discover new things. “So, to disregard a branch of science based on thousands of years of experiments and learnings can work to your disadvantage,” says Jha.
The reason why vastu shastra is sidelined or is considered quack science is because people don’t understand it, adds Dr Shastri. The goal of the vastu principles is to create a well-lit, properly ventilated, and aesthetically designed living space that can bring a sense of peace and calm. There are thus logical reasons for everything that vastu shastra mandates. For example, big trees at the main entrance of a house are considered bad vastu as they block sunlight and the roots can damage the foundation of the walls.
As energy is primarily thought to originate from the north-east corner, many rules are derived keeping this basic idea in mind. Nasnani says our lives are governed by multiple factors, many of which aren’t in our control. Rather than stressing about the things we can’t change, we can focus on the one thing we have complete control over to create a favorable environment for ourselves, and that is vastu shastra.