This is a reply to the questions asked by Mr. Baiju P. Chacko regarding Vasthu
Vasthu shasthra is an ancient Indian doctrine that is used for construction of temples, houses, furnitures etc. This is basically based on Hindu mythology. Th
e basic legend is that the cosmic being from god Shiva – the Vastu Purusha – is lying down on the plot for the construction, with his head in the North-East direction and the legs in the South-West direction, arrested by different devatas (gods).
The myth of Vastu Purusha can be read here:
The lying position of Vastu Purusha can be seen here:
As the root is based on myth, Vasthu shasthra contains mainly of superstitions and is against modern science. I have seen vasthu shasthra ‘experts’ using a chain to locate the position of the proposed house in the plot (“kutti vekkuka”). If the chain is oscillating, the location is improper and if the chain is freely rotating the location is proper!!!! (Truth is that, the person holding the chain can control the motion of the chain, knowingly or unknowingly.). Another example is the constrains in the number of risers in the steps (in stair case, steps leading to sit-out etc.) based on “ayam- vyayam” or “laabham – nashttam” (profit-loss) concept, which has no scientific basis.
Some vasthu rules are not at all significant today. For example, the rule of “maranachuttu” of dimensioning the rooms. The basic idea for maranachuttu is that, anciently when houses were built with tiled roof, the length of the inclined principal rafters (kazhukkol) should be based upon the room dimensions. Since Pythagoras’ theorem was not popular in those days in India, they had only certain thumb rules for calculating the length of the principal rafters, which is not valid for some or other room dimensions, which they named ‘maranachuttu’. Another idea of this ‘maranachuttu’ concept is to minimize the cost of construction. For buildings in the current scenario, these are not applicable because reinforced concrete slabs can be designed for a room, whatever be its dimension. Even If tiled roof is demanded, we have sophisticated softwares to calculate the dimensions of any part of the house with a single click. Furthermore, an expert engineer or architect can organize the room dimensions scientifically (other than given in vasthu shasthra books!) so as to minimize the cost and maximize the utility.
Another example for Vasthu rule which is not significant today is regarding the place for construction of house based on the soil properties. Vasthu shasthra denies building houses in clayey soil as well as in the converted funeral and war grounds. In modern Civil Engineering, we have so many scientific methods to improve soil properties and other techniques in foundation engineering, enabling us to make buildings even in marshy area or even in sea!
I am not denying the scientific aspects in Vasthu. Of course, Vasthu books do not explain these scientific aspects, but we can analyze the same based on engineering principles. For example, as per Vasthu, the house is to be built facing east or north so as to reduce the temperature inside during summer. Another example is that, the kitchen is to be built at the north-east side so that the morning sun rays should reach the kitchen and hot afternoon sun rays should not reach the kitchen. The master bedroom shall be on the south-west corner enabling plenty of air supply throughout the year. Toilet should not be in the south-west corner because the foul smell can be inside your house throughout the year! (Even if you built a toilet in the south-west corner unknowingly, an exhaust fan can solve the problem. Nobody is going to die in your family because of THIS reason as your Vasthu expert would have told!!!)
Considering scientific aspects of Vasthu, it may not be valid all around the globe. The houses need to be constructed based on the wind, climatic conditions, location and soil properties of the particular area. Even though there are some scientific aspects in Vasthu, that may not be valid universally, especially in cities where you have very small plot and may be surrounded by high rise buildings restricting wind and sun. For example, supposing the plot is having high rise buildings surrounded at its western side, it is ridiculous to construct the master bedroom on the south-west corner, because you will not have proper air supply and the summer heat from the south will cause the bedroom temperature to shoot up. Vasthu rules will be invalid for that location. So the houses are to be built on the engineering judgement and not on predefined rules which were fabricated centuries before.
I have seen many of the churches also following blindly the practice of Vasthu, which bring immense grieve in my heart. As one example, I will share about the number of steps from Azhikkakam to the Holy Madbaha. Our tradition is that from the Azhikkakam, the priest (or anybody entering the Madbaha) should first place his left leg on the first step and go up, then finally place his right leg on the Madbaha. To have an easy entry, the number of risers of the steps should be even in number (2, 4, 6 etc.). But according to the so called “labham-nashttam” concept in Vasthu, the steps should be odd. Many churches are built on this concept and the number of steps are odd in number. The problem encountering here is that the priest is forced to place his right leg on the last but one step, then place the left leg also on the same step taking a standing position a while, again step on the sanctuary with his right leg. The entry process becomes cumbersome, especially for old priests with full vestments! The problem become manifold when he is carrying the Holy Qurbana in his hand. So because of blindly following the Vasthu rules, we are facing some serious problems. (Moreover, the churches should not be based on “laabham” , they should be on "nashttam" . The church is to give people the godly blessings and hands, and should not be an institution based on profit!). An illustration of the abovementioned problem is attached herewith.
So faithful should not believe in the so called “Vasthu experts” blindly, whether he is coming in a Christian name or not. The motif is usually money and nothing else! “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). An expert architect and an engineer can plan your house or building better than a Vasthu person.
The so called Vasthu experts usually induce panic among people that if they do not follow one Vasthu principle, some mischief can happen in their lives. This is not true according to Christian belief and Bible. God is the controller of our lives. Whatever is happening in our lives is within the knowledge of our loving Father in heaven. Then why should we be afraid of the so called Vasthu gods (who are believed to bring harm)? “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear” (Psalms 118:6). “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1). All the so called Vasthu gods are powerless before our mighty Lord Jesus Christ. So who are you afraid of?
Priests should also bring awareness to the people regarding the same. I have seen many people, when some sorrowful incidences occur in their lives; believe that these are because of the Vasthu problems. There are so many people grieve thinking that the troubles in their lives are due to Vasthu problems. Unfortunately, learned ones and even engineers are also included among them! They spent a lot of money on the Vasthu consultant and in changing the pattern/structure of the house already built believing their words. This is insane. This is like fortune-tellers who play with human psychology and nothing else. Please understand that pattern/structure of one’s house cannot bring sufferings throughout his/her life.
So following Vasthu is against Christianity and science. An engineer or an architect can plan your house based on engineering principles. Moreover, we are dedicating the house to God during the "koodaasha". Have faith that God will take care of our lives and the house. Please do not fall into the preying hands of Vasthu 'experts'.
Kasheesho Bennet Kuriakose, M.Tech (civil)
Ph.D. Scholar, IIT Madras.