Home Design in Harmony with Nature

Vāstu (also known as Sthāpatya Ved) gives timeless knowledge of how to establish homes and communities that connect individual life with cosmic life for health, happiness and good fortune. Like Ayurveda, the Science of Life, Vāstu is a gift of the Creator. Vāstu was the source for Feng Shui.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi restored Vāstu Vidya in light of its connection to consciousness and the entirety of Vedic knowledge. He also brought out its full value in addressing the problems of modern life. His top three recommendations for individual well-being were to practice Transcendental Meditation, follow Ayurvedic principles, and live in Vāstu.

Success and fortune is all influenced by Vāstu. If Vāstu is wrong, then the intellect, thinking and speaking will all be influenced accordingly and will not promote evolution. The whole fortune gets blocked.

Vāstu is like a guard on the door. It simply will not allow any damage. It is that intelligence of nature which is protective on one side and promotional to all positivity on the other.

To me, this reads as a prescription for the ideal environment for physician-patient interaction, not to mention daily living. Who would not want to enjoy this kind of support from Nature?

To better understand how Vāstu works, let's look at our connection to the sun. We experience that the sun's influence defines and regulates daily life. We experience that the quality of sunlight changes dramatically over the course of the day. Therefore, it should not surprise us that Vāstu architecture seeks to channel those qualities to support the specific activities for which they are most beneficial. In practical terms, this means that orientation of the home and its entrances receives great emphasis as does the placement of rooms.

Sample Vastu Design

East Orientation

For example, the sun's light is most nourishing as it rises in the east. Ayurveda also recognizes this and recommends a brisk walk in nature soon after sunrise to uplift the emotions. For this reason, the ideal main entrance will face due east without significant obstruction by hills.

Facing east when engaged in important activity supports optimum brain function. So does sleeping with the head pointing east. Vāstu design allows this to happen in a natural way.

At noon, the sun is most intense and supports digestion. So Ayurveda recommends making lunch the main meal. Vāstu correspondingly advises locating the kitchen in the southeast and the dining room in the south. As the sun sets in the west, the influence of Kapha increases to prepare us for restful sleep. Similarly, Vāstu generally places bedrooms on the west.

Respect for Natural Law

Influence of home orentation

Also, like Ayurveda, Vāstu is descriptive more than it is prescriptive. It spells out the likely consequences of living in a home whose design violates natural law. For example, wrongly placed entrances can give rise to such negative effects as fear, mental instabillity, ill-health, poverty, quarrels, or other problems in family and professional life. Such effects can be amplified by defects in the shape, slope, and location of the property. Sleeping with the head pointed to the north invites chronic disease.

Proportion and symmetry are critical to the power of Vāstu design, not just in terms of aesthetic value. A Vāstu-trained architect precisely calculates dimensions in a process of "purification" that has a deep connection to mathmatical group theory. In turn, this demands a builder who sees the value of applying craftmanship to materialize a structure with dimensions within 1/4" of specifications.

Vāstu homes can be built in virtually any size or style to suit the tastes of the owner. You can see many examples and learn more about Vāstu at http://www.maharishivastu.org/.

Unique Features

Construction features unique to Vāstu include:

Vāstu Fence
A precisely dimensioned fence or wall surrounds every Vāstu home. It establishes the limits of the Vāstu and extends the influence of harmony between inside and out. It also provides protection to that harmony by limiting access from all sides except for auspicious points on the east and north.
Brahmasthan
An empty space in the center of the home that corresponds to the silent field of pure consciousness at the source of life. It is the place where Wholeness resides to integrate, unify and nourish all the rooms. In some home designs, the Brahmasthan will extend upwards within a cupola. Since ancient times, cupolas or towers have been used for their chimney effect to enhance ventilation in season.
Vedic Kalash
An ornamental kalash adorns the roof of every Vāstu home above the Brahmasthan. It corresponds to the pot that holds Soma (the nectar of the gods) and functions to connect heaven to earth.
Survey of cornerstone location

Setting up to survey cornerstone placement

Construction Process

A Vāstu home is typically constructed using conventional methods according to the location. Vāstu design favors the use of energy-efficient construction and non-toxic, sustainably-sourced materials. Passive solar features can be incorporated, limited by Vāstu's preference for the long axis of the structure to run north-south rather than east-west.

Construction Milestones

  1. Ground breaking
  2. Cornerstone setting
  3. Grand opening

These three milestones are marked by short cermonies that invite Nature to provide maximum support to the construction process and the future inhabitants. Even today, they are widely celebrated in major public and corporate construction projects. With Vāstu, however, Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) is used to determine the optimum Muhurta (date and time) to perform each ceremony so as to maximize its impact through favorable planetary influences. Also, the precise location of the cornerstone becomes the three-dimensional reference point for construction of the home, grading of the yard and placement of the Vāstu fence.

From all this, you can appreciate why I've wanted to live in Vāstu since I first learned about it more than twenty years ago. I finally had the good fortune to be able to create such a space in Chapel Hill, NC for my home/office. You can learn about my experience with construction process on my blog: Vedic Architecture Connects Microcosm to Macrocosm.