An Introduction To Vaastu Shastra And Feng Shui
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An Introduction to Vaastu Shastra And Feng Shui

What is 'Vaastu'?

Vaastu is a term derived from Sanskrit, an Indo-Aryan language of India, and more particularly, of the Hindus. It means a building used for dwelling or residence. Shastra refers to a set of principles, often sacred and often used as a suffix. Vaastu Shatra therefore combines to mean the principles governing a dwelling place.

Vaastu Shastra first finds mention in the ‘Yajurveda’ the second of the four Vedas or ancient Hindu religious texts believed to be around 4000 years old. A large number of books authored by various persons on the subject were said to have been written between 2000 and 1000 BC. They are all in Sanskrit, and cover principles to be followed in building certain structures. They cover a variety of edifices like buildings for conducting weddings, parties, palaces, residences among others.

The first book on the subject is said to have been written about 4000 years ago by a sage called Vishwakarma. Written in Sanskrit, he claims that the science of Vaastu Shastra is capable of fulfilling all that one desires in life. Good health, prosperity, familial happiness, longevity, etc. are all assured if the principles of Vaastu are followed. He goes on to claim that the benefits are not limited to a person’s temporal existence, but can contribute to spiritual bliss as well.

But what exactly do these principles enunciate? To make things a little clearer, the earth spins around an axis which is aligned in a North-South direction. As we are aware, there is a small difference in the locations of the geographic and the magnetic poles. I am not very clear on this but it appears that for this reason, cosmic energy is received in abundance from the North-East region; the South-West, in antithesis serves as a ‘negative’ terminal from whence energy drains out. Based on these precepts, the canons of building auspicious structures have been laid down. It will be too esoteric to delve into those canons in this article.

A bit about Feng Shui

A similar, though not identical treatise on dwellings and the environment, has originated from China. Unsurprisingly, Feng Shui (pronounced Foong Shway) is practiced mainly in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, where idigenous Chinese populations are significant. More recently, Feng Shui has caught the imagination of the West, and Feng Shui practitioners are much in demand in Europe and the USA.

Feng Shui, which means ‘wind and water’, professes to harmonize the flow of ‘chi’, a form of universal life force. Chi is the equivalent of ‘prana’ of the Hindus; its reach is vast and complete. Chi creates, sustains and destroys. The science of Feng Shui therefore concerns itself with the design of a landscape or structure conducive to the generation of beneficial chi.

The protagonists of both Vaastu and Feng Shui claim that the principles are effective. While there are important differences in the manner in which these two schools approach the subject, both are immensely popular in their respective realms.


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