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Article on Vaastu and Vastu Shastra in Canada and North America

GaramChai.com >> Sitemap >> Vaastu >> This Article

Is the art of Vastu for you?

Houses designed using Indian methodology are said to increase the flow of good energy

Toronto businessman Avinash Bhagat says he hasn't looked back ever since he moved into his new house in the city's west end.

The entrepreneur says much of the credit for his flourishing business and smooth family life can be attributed to good luck derived from his new vastu-efficient house.

Vastu houses observe the principles of vastu an ancient methodology involving elements of architecture and design that states one can align a house to nature's five elements to create physical, spiritual and mental well-being.

"Vastu asks us to align our biorhythms (our internal clock) with the universal rhythms in which the sun plays the most vital role," says Ohio designer, Kathleen Cox, author of three books on vastu.

"The sun's rays from the northeast in the early morning are a source of rejuvenation.'' On the other hand, exposure to the southwest, ``where the midday sun rays ultimately collect,'' is believed to be harmful, she says.

"We honour the positive aspect of the morning sun by placing lightweight, low and delicate furnishings in the north and the east so that the healthy rays of the sun flow freely through each room," Cox says.

Also, vastu houses, especially those that are built from ground up, deploy mathematical calculations believed to maximize the flow of good energy into the house Hindu temples in India follow vastu strictly.

When Bhagat and wife Vaidehi migrated from Hong Kong in 2000 and were running their catering business from an apartment, vastu wasn't even considered. But in 2003, shortly after moving into a new house, things changed.

"Business was down by 40 per cent, I was losing contracts and bleeding heavily in my other franchise business as well. Right, left and centre things were going down 2004 was a disastrous year," Bhagat says. At the time, he didn't realize their house faced south (considered inauspicious in vastu), while the earlier apartment faced north.

On hearing his story, Bhagat's sister, a vastu expert in India, told him, "You are sitting on a fire get out of it." Heeding that advice, they moved once more but only after scouring dozens of builders and houses to shortlist one that met most vastu guidelines.

"My overseas offices settled down, I started getting contracts again and, touch wood, I haven't looked back. That makes me feel there is some sense in vastu, " Bhagat says.

Vastu isn't as well-known in the West as feng shui the ancient Chinese art of placement to maximize harmony and good fortune. But it is used extensively in certain Indian Hindu communities. With increasing immigration to Canada, it means more demand for such houses.

"I move around with a compass all the time this vastu has driven me crazy," Toronto real estate agent P.K. Sabharwal says with a laugh.

Sabharwal says he personally doesn't believe in it, ``but of my 10 Indian clients, nine ask for vastu." Builders here still aren't making such houses, but most clients, he says, prefer to choose ones that face north, which is considered more auspicious.

"It's a growing demand and has spread all over the U.S. as well," says Sabharwal, now in the process of shortlisting properties for a group of investors wanting to build vastu houses in the GTA."

"The main marketing point (for the houses) will be that it's vastu-friendly and, hence, good for peace of mind and happiness," says Snehal Shah, one of the investors in the proposed project.

Shah, editor of the biweekly Gujarati newspaper, Vatan News in the GTA, says he and his four friends will invest money for three to four houses. Architect Nilesh Loha, also an investor, says he has worked in India for more than a decade designing such houses. "I've seen and experienced it for 12 years in Baroda (in India's Gujarat province) and I believe it (vastu) works."

There is much more awareness in the U.S. about vastu than here in Toronto, say vastu consultants. Cox, prominent in vastu design in the U.S., started showcasing it as far back as 2003 when she designed a vastu-inspired 18-room, three-storey inn in downtown Toronto.

Called Annex Quest House, this hotel was inspired by nature's five elements, Cox says. For instance, she says room numbers with the numeral one at the end are in the southwest of the hotel, which represents the element of earth. Earth represents heaviness and strength (accordingly, the heaviest items in a room should be in the south and west).

If vastu sounds somewhat similar to feng shui, it is because feng shui incorporates some vastu philosophy. Sharon Hay, director of the Toronto School of Feng Shui says both have five elements of nature and the universe, but in feng shui these five elements are earth, water, fire, wood and metal.

"One important distinction, in feng shui north is considered inauspicious,'' says Sulakshan Mohan, author of the book Vaastu Shastra (Vaastu is an alternative spelling. Shastra means science or technology). ``It is the other way round in vastu. A Chinese compass has south on top."

In North America, vastu is practised differently by many consultants. Toronto astrologer Kirit Trivedi uses the date and time of birth to customize vastu for people.

Jessie Mercay, president of the American University of Mayonic Science and Technology in Colorado, says that "authentic" vastu is all about making a house from the ground up.

"There are hundreds of so-called vastu consultants who have taken certain principles of vastu and combined them with feng shui and tell people they are doing vastu they simply are not," says Mercay

"Well-meaning, so-called vastu consultants are attempting to help improve living spaces through the use of yantras (diagrams representing the astronomical position of the planets), mandalas, crystals, furniture moving, mirrors and any number of so-called vastu correction devices.

``But none of these are, in fact, legitimate corrections for faulty vastu. Authentic vastu is much more than the smoke and mirrors being presented to the public."

Dave Tatla, host of the Dave Tatla Show, on CIAO-AM 530, agrees. "Many people are preying on the insecurities and troubles of others by putting out so called remedial measures. I think it is all bull crap. People have gone to the moon, and we are still saying, which direction must we put the bed in? I may be sitting in the wrong direction, but my show is going perfectly well."

To all those naysayers, Trivedi says, "It's my job to give you the information, and not my job to convince you (that there is some truth to vastu).

"We unfortunately want proof, but I'm sorry, Mother Nature doesn't work on emails or receipts."

Mohan has similar views. "Even if we do not always understand the logic of vastu principles, the bottom line is that it works," he says.

In his book, Mohan writes that "an aquarium with nine goldfish and one black fish in the northeast corner/portion of the house or factory is very good."

He adds: "Water in northeast is always good (and the) graceful movement of the fish creates positives energy waves. But why nine goldfish and one black fish? It is as illogical as the number 13 being considered unlucky."

As for Bhagat, he's glad he has trusted vastu. "One can always attribute these things to coincidence or say, `Well, things would eventually become all right,' but the question is, if something is hampering you and if you aren't losing anything by trying out something differently, why not?"

Rakshande Italia, Special to the Star // TONY BOCK Published in TORONTO STAR

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