Vastushastra - Fallacies


Article E08


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  1. Certain Sanskrit scriptures in India specify how to plan and construct buildings and towns. They are called Vastushastra (or Vaastushaastra) India has many old temples, palaces, forts etc built long before introduction of modern engineering. So, there may be some useful information in Vastushastra, but it should be screened with a scientific outlook. Ancient Greek scholar Aristotle had stated that heavy objects fall faster than light objects. For centuries, Europe accepted it, until Galileo disproved by actual experiments. That marked the beginning of Europe's grand progress during later centuries.
  2. Moreover, conditions have changed. Population has exploded, and prices of land have skyrocketed. Ancients did not know modern materials like aluminum and plastics. There were no high rise buildings and elevators in ancient times. Some errors might have crept in making copies of handwritten scriptures. Printing technology was unknown to the ancients. Many words may have changed in meanings over last many centuries. One should use a scientific approach in dealing with ancient scriptures.
  3. Roughly 1990 onwards, many books and web sites have appeared on Vastushastra. They have caught public attention, and Vastushastra sways some people. It is also possible that the present writers may have added their own ideas, which may not be there in ancient scriptures. Let us examine some suggestions made by some authors.
    1. Doors and windows on south side are unauspicious.
    2. A 4-sided plot of land, abutting a road, is lucky if its shaped like a cow's face (narrower on roadside) and it is unlucky if it is shaped like a tiger's face (wider on roadside)
    3. A water-well should be made near northeast corner of a building for better luck.
    4. It is dangerous to sleep with legs pointing towards south.
  4. No reasoning is given. There is no empirical data to prove validity of these statements. They might be wrong like that of Aristotle. India is in Northern Hemisphere. Will these so-called rules apply to Australia, which is in Southern Hemisphere? Vastushastra advisers have no answer. They merely say that cosmic rays and earth's magnetic field somehow influence us.
  5. One sees many shops having doors on south and yet they have prospered, while there are many shops, which have doors on north and have declined. Prosperity depends not on geographical direction. It depends on locality, products sold, smiling attitude of salesmen, good interior decoration and so on. Nature does not recognize plot boundaries and shapes. Sun, wind, birds, trees, earthquakes, fire etc take no notice. If whole land is nationalized and pooled by Government, there will no plots and no plot shapes. Only buildings would stand. So suggestions on cow-face and tiger-face shapes are irrelevant. A large, deep water-well too close to a building may cause tilting of that building, under certain conditions. While travelling in a sleeper coach in a train, our legs may point various directions, including south. Nothing wrong happens. All investors, no matter the shape of plots, no matter the direction of windows, have prospered and also lost heavily, under stock market cycles.
  6. Under awe of ancient scriptures, some "consultants" create panic. They charge fees for worshipping "land-god and planets" to remove the bad luck. Beware. Keep aside the luck factor. Vastushastra carries some information on several topics, such as carving of stones. Such information may be useful, but it should be duly verified.

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Updated on : $ December 22, 2004 $
Author : Madhukar N Gogate