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Home > Vastu and Feng Shui
Vastu and Feng Shui

Comparison of Vaastu Shastra & Feng - Shui
It is imperative that two of the well-known Eastern design methods-Feng-Shui (China) and Vastushastra (India) are understood in a proper perspective, as both these disciplines in their own ways define the relationship between man and the cosmos.

Feng Shui

In Chinese language Feng means wind & Shui means water, implying thereby that the technique involves balancing of the cosmic element water & the cosmic quality "wind" in a system to achieve harmony with the cosmic forces. Fengshui and Vastushastra both aim at removing obstructions so that energy can flow freely, which creates environmental harmony.

Feng Shui is a science incorporating astronomy, geography, the environment, the magnetic fields and physics. Feng Shui is not a religion or superstition - modern science has proven it to be a complex mathematical system. Vaastushastra has clear-cut definitions- Vastu means abode or a house & shastra means science or technology, i.e. it is the scientific method of house construction.

Vaastu is one of the most ancient sciences of architecture and is composed of specific rules, regulations and directions, set down by sages of the vedic times. For the current society it is the highly evolved, comprehensive building philosophy. In this directions, locations, shapes and interiors are the main aspects of designing the building according to vaastu.

Vastushastra considers a house to be a living soul, having prana. Fengshui scripts denote water, fire, wood, gold and earth as the basic five elements forming the entire universe with wind as the special quality attainable by these elements.

Vastushastra scriptures stress that every living and non-living entity, for that matter the entire world, is created out of the Panch-Maha-Bhutas - earth, water, fire, wind & ether. "Ether" is considered the most important element in this system, as every possible transformation from one element to the other has to be routed through Akashtatva only.  Vastushastra has its own system of Vastu-Chakras, which is used in conjunction with Astrology; Astronomy & Yogashastra for site-selection & a magnetic compass decides the directional aspect. Interestingly, both the systems insist on N.S. orientation for a structure.

Feng-Shui considers a land having reddish or yellowish soil as a good geomantic land. Vastushastra considers a land with white & yellow coloured soil for house construction. Red coloured soil is tolerated in Vastushastra, but a site with black soil is prescribed for construction purposes, as such lands are prone to water-logging problems- a kind of environmental pollution. Feng-Shui insists that a body of water should flow in front of the main entrance of the house. There is no preferred direction of water flow as Feng-shui allows positioning of the main entrance in any directions, depending on the birth year of the owner of the house. Vastushastra on the other hand considers water flow in the direction N.E. to the Vastu as a beneficial factor with lunar-shaped (Chandrakar) N.E. directional flow as a pointer to frame & prosperity.

A major discrepancy in both these disciplines pertains to the direction of ventilator openings. Feng-shui considers N. as evil & prefers S. direction for window openings. In contrast Vastushastra dictates the position of windows should be in the N.E.or N.E. directions only. Feng-Shui attempts to offer the households protection against yellow dust and sand which the chinese mainland receives from the deserts situated on the N. border of that country. Vastushastra follows scientific logic in selection of the window directions, in the sense that it considers the beneficial effects of early morning sunlight.

Location & design of rooms in Feng-Shui are based on the traditional Le-Shu grid of nine squares which assigns different directions. In Vastushastra the location of rooms are designated in the Vastu Purush Mandal, consisting of nine squares as influenced by the journey of the sun in its various phases.

To be sure, there are also differences between the two ancient arts. In Vastu Shastra, the North direction is generally regarded as auspicious because it is regarded as a source of magnetic energy. The East direction is also regarded as auspicious because this direction is the source of solar (sun) energy. In contrast, in Feng Shui, the North direction is generally regarded as inauspicious. This is because in China, the North direction is where the sands and cold winds from Mongolia blow from. In Feng Shui, the South and Southeast direction is generally regarded as auspicious as the warmth of sun can be felt from these directions.

Because of the differences in their philosophies, there are also important differences in their practice. In Vastu Shastra, the cooking stove in the kitchen should generally be placed on the right while the sink should be placed on the left. In Feng Shui, the basic principle on the cooking stove and sink is that they must not be facing each other. Moreover, in Vastu Shastra, sleeping with head pointing to the South or East directions is considered auspicious while as in Feng Shui, the sleeping direction should generally be in accordance to the person`s auspicious directions. In Vastu Shastra, big or heavy furniture like sofa, TV, radio equipment, etc should be placed at the South or Southwest sector of a house. This will leave more space in the North and East area - considered to be auspicious. In Feng Shui, these furniture should generally be placed at the North sector, directly opposite the auspicious South sector.

The globalization wave ensured everything from footwear to dresses to TV programs were made available to Indian homes from foreign countries. Along with consumer products and other services, there were also cultural influences being exchanged / shared across continents. No wonder then, Feng Shui made its way to India.

When Feng Shui first arrived at India, there were some who instantly got hold of it, more of fascination than for the true authenticity behind the science. The persistent commercialization saw Feng Shui spreading its awareness amongst a larger audience. And with this, came many misconceptions, myths, false beliefs pre-dominantly due to each one construing Feng Shui from his / her perspective. In India, Feng Shui immediately was put on the table for comparison with Vaastu Shastra. Two sciences, centuries old, were being compared for their pros and cons, by people who didnt know either sciences well. The result obviously wouldnt have been conclusive. But then it was good enough for people banking on superficial feedbacks to frame their own opinions about Vaastu or Feng Shui.

Both Vaastu and Feng Shui are ancient sciences from India and China respectively, and attempt to attain the common objective of harmonizing nature with the living. The objective is the same, though the method is different. The science is nearly the same, though the application is different.

Vaastu means the abode or the home and Shastra means the technology or method. Hence, Vaastu Shastra translates to the method or mechanism to construct a (good) house and gives the guidelines to make such a conducive abode. Vaastu Shastra is normally applied on a bounded premise ie: a house, a building, a shop, factory etc. The main objective of applying the Shastra is to create a balance between the place in question and the outside environment. Vaastu Shastra in the Indian context assumes significant importance at the time of construction. It is believed that if a house is built as per the Shastra, then that particular house will never face serious health & money problems and the family members will live in harmony. TIME or the OCCUPANT does not bound Vaastu Shastra. It means the Vaastu principles can be applied at any time or any year for any person living in a particular place in the same standardized manner. (Does it mean that all the residents of a building built according to Vaastu principles enjoy the same type of luck?)

Feng Shui too aims to strike this balance between the outside environment and the "living". The difference being that Feng Shui is done not just at the "house" level but is percolated down to the individuals living in that place. Its very easy to note that, NOT all people living under the same roof done as per Vaastu derive the same magnitude of benefits. It is here that Feng Shui principles can be applied to the individuals living in that premise. Feng Shui incorporates the time factor and hence with the changing times, the "recommendations" given by a Feng Shui consultant would also change depending on the period when the principles are applied. Feng Shui also takes into consideration the individual on whom the "recommendations" are being applied, and again the "recommendations" would vary from individual to individual for a given place and a given time.

Vaastu is normally rigid as far as the nature and its rules are concerned. Feng Shui offers flexibility in terms of curing disharmonies between nature and the individual or atleast minimizing the negative impacts. Both the sciences need to be understood in full perspective before one goes about deciding which one is the better option for you. It would be much more than an unreasonable effort to pick out pieces of information from either science suiting ones convenience & applying them in partial with little knowledge or hear-say talks.

While the Vaastu - Feng Shui fight / debates may interest some, it is to be said and reasonably well asserted here that, the principles governed in these sciences are bound to work and always working, irrespective of the individuals belief in those sciences. It would really be wonderful if serious practitioners get to the task of aligning these sciences and integrate them as a composite science for the benefit of the modern generation. This would also minimize people being victimized in the name of these sciences or getting quick fixes to their problems.

Both the sciences with centuries of history behind them, have been victims of superstitions, false interpretations of the underlying principles (especially by the so called practitioners) and been used more on a "as per convenience" basis than in its true spirit.

The primary difference is that part of Feng Shui`s theory is based on a regional concern that sandstorms, blowing from the north, made a northern entrance to the home unacceptable, whereas Vastu favors entrances on the north and east. Vastu is based on science. Feng Shui is based on local geographic considerations and traditions. They both utilize the five elements; however, Vastu uses earth, water, fire, air and space; whereas Feng Shui replaces earth and space with wood and metal. We have found Vastu Shastra to be more effective for our personal use and for the benefit of our clients.

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