[Ar. Aashi] - Namaskar! As an Architect we have many questions regarding Vastu Shastra. To answer all these questions, today we have with us Dr. Smita Narang, who is a very famous Vastu Consultant. In the last 20 years, Dr. Narang has achieved fame by undertaking various Indian and international projects. Welcome Dr. Narang! [Thank You]
[Ar. Aashi] - Dr. Narang, my first question is that as an architect why is Vastu important?
[Dr. Smita] - It is as if you are asking a doctor how important is it to treat the patient! See..a.. Vastu is not only a science that one uses to construct a house. Vastu is basically followed to attain overall prosperity and happiness. We can only tell you the benefits of Vastu by applying the same, but as an architect it becomes your responsibility how you technically, incorporate those designs by following those Vastu principles. When someone visits a doctor when he/she is unwell, then the responsibility of the doctor is not only to treat you but also, to ensure how to make you healthy and a happy wellbeing is his responsibility. So, similarly as an architect, you are the authority, who can design such kind of a building which can be considered as a happy building. Construction of such kind of a building in which the inhabitants are happy. Everyone has different definition of happiness. For some wealth is happiness, and for some good health is happiness, and for some happiness is related to healthy relationship. But if everything is good in one’s life, then The totality of the happiness, such kind of happiness can be provided by a Vastu compliant building.
[Ar. Aashi] - Architects in Hindi are called Vastukar, and yet I know very little Vastu. So I want to ask you as an architect, why are we not taught Vastu at the very beginning of our architectural education?
[Dr. Smita] - This is highly unfortunate for our country India. Actually, when Vastu was originated, when it was written in the Sthapatya Veda, during that period Vastu consultants did not exist. The architects themselves were known as Vastukars, and architecture as known as Vastushilp, because for them these were basic principles. That, morning sun light should enter the house. The Bhramsthan should be vacant, the elders of the family should occupy the SouthWest of the house. Fire should be in the South-East. The water element should be in the North-East corner. Temple should also be place in the North-East. These were their basic principles and for them this was architecture. Slowly there was modernization, romanticization of symmetries took place. Many foreign cultures started to invade, which started to impact all of us. Slowly the importance of Vastukala was lost. Resulting in to two different profession. Architects are different and Vastu consultants are different, and there is always a conflict between the two. Architects do not like the interference of the Vastu Consultants, and Vastu consultants feel that architects are constructing wrong buildings. Hence resulting into a kind of tussle between the two.
[Ar. Aashi] - I want to know when, and more importantly so why, did Vastukala loose its Vastu?
[Dr. Smita] - Gradually with time what happened is that when people become modern, many of their old activities & culture become orthodox for them. If one has to follow their tradition or culture, or any typical family culture, how does one follow it? Our parents teach us. We teach our kids, and they carry this forward. And it is taught with strictness, the cultural values, those which were strictly taught by the parents, one follows the same and also teach their children, so with similar practice, gradually, that culture / tradition is carried forward. May be with Vastu such kind of culture was not practiced. Or maybe the people thought with time that it is not practically possible with their requirements. Though the principles of Vastu Shastra are already defined for every activity, which are very logical, but may be the kind of mindset that was required to follow those principles, Or... Will share a small example here. There was a period where Japanese culture was introduced where the houses were constructed in a split level. You might remember, the unevenness of the levels. In some places the master bedroom was moved on top, in some cases, the drawing room was moved on upper level. This was a typical culture. There was this new trend in the market, 1970's & 1960's when such houses were constructed. In all such houses, based on my result, there are major Vastu related issues. Because Vastu is not only about the placement of rooms, the fire element or the water element. It is a lot more about placement of things. It is about level, it is about your elevation, it is about your interiors, color, so many things. Slowly slowly people started to feel... See, Vastu Shastra has its set principles. If one wants to stay happy & health in their lives, hence, they have to follow those principles. At times people start to take these principles as a burden. Assume I have a South facing house. Ideally the principles of Vastu suggests that, that the master bedroom should come in the front, but somewhere in the back the garden is placed. As per person I might say that for me view is more important than the Vastu principles. Hence the person might construct the master bedroom at the back of the house, because he/she want to stay in that comfort zone, and the principles do not play an important role. Gradually, the importance of Vastu started to reduce, and may be people gave more importance to their comfort level, vision, the beauty of the house. So, as you were asking that why did Vastu Shastra loose its importance, this was the reason. As it happened in the past, Yog got westernised and became Yoga, Ayurved became Ayurveda, and now the public started following it. Similarly, when people have seen so many problems in their lives, so much of sorrows, hence they have started following the occult sciences. Now people have started following their own culture, which the foreigners follow with passion, those who are even tried to take the patent them, hence now we are trying hard to adapt the same. Resulting into sudden awareness among the masses that they have construct their houses according to Vastu. The reason is the sudden rise of sorrows in the lives around you, that the ratio of the sorrows has increased drastically, that people want relief from it. This is the reason why Vastu Shastra will make a comeback.
[Ar. Aashi] - If Vastu is really that important Then why do builders and developers not follow our own science? And why should they follow it?
[Dr. Smita] - You have indeed asked an interesting question. Those who do not follow Vastu, you can call it a lack of awareness, or even lack of perception. See, there are many reasons behind this. The first reason...after working with so many developers, builders and architects, there are a few of them who have this bent-of-mind, who want to incorporate the principles, and we actually plan their buildings according to Vastu Shastra, their entire societies & townships are constructed following those principles, and they also experience the positive results. On the other hand, there are such kind of architects, developers or builders, who neither want to follow Vastu nor do they want to know about it. Hence the repercussion which I will try to explain here: They constructed a huge building & a beautiful society, the house/apartments will not be sold easily. 100%, if there will be Vastu dosh in the planning of the building, or the individual houses/apartments, then believe me that will be an unsuccessful project. You will not be able to see the units in that building. Secondly, you will agree that people spend a huge amount of money in constructing the infrastructure, mall etc., you can try to recall all those unsuccessful malls around you, that you might have noticed. Malls are constructed but their shops do not get sold. They remain unoccupied. On the other hand, you can notice those successful malls, you can yourself check the Vastu of such malls, People so end up purchasing shops & run their business in such kind of [anti Vastu] Malls. Till when they will survive in such kind of unsuccessful mall or complex? Till when will they run their business there? Gradually, they will move their business from there. Many times, you will notice that the construction work gets halted, companies face huge losses, sometimes they face legal stay, financial problems, legal issues or labor issues, Do you think, such kind of problems are merely as a coincidence? NO! These are Vastu related issues! Specific type of problems in the particular direction will create such scenarios, resulting into similar kind of problems causing the construction to halt. They will not be able to complete the project [unless they are rectified] Unfortunately, people do not understand it. They succumb to the situation; they think it is because of those financial problems, that it is simply the legal or labor issues, which is common. That the contractor is creating troubles. But they never ever tried to figure out what can be the Vastu related problems in the construction, that despite having all the infrastructure, and manpower they are facing the issues and not able to complete it. Successful buildings speak for themselves. As a building what would be your aim for a project? That how should people remember you? That I invested in "Aashi's" project and my business is flourishing! That they are staying in building constructed by "Aashi" and I am very happy! that I am happy and have overall happiness in my life. Would you like to be remembers in this manner, or that you purchased a shop which is highly unsuccessful? Or I live in that particular building and trust me the day I have moved there I am facing many problems, my child is always ill, that I lost my job. As a builder how would you like to portray yourself? Would you like people to remember you as a successful, builder, architect, or a developer? Or as a builder, your name being associated with happy buildings where inhabitants proper? How would you like to be remembered? Hence it becomes very important for the builders and developers to follow basic Vastu principles. I understand developers have a concern that space is wasted. That they are unable to construct few more units [by following Vastu Shastra] But they need to understand that by wasting some space if they are able benefit multifold, that they attain prosperity and success, then who will benefit? Hence, definitely they should follow the basic principles in their designs.
[Ar. Aashi] - So, I think, as my fellow architects would like to know, that what do I do when I have asymmetrical design, because Vastu is very set about the placements of each type of utilities, but when my design is a bit flamboyant, a bit complex, then what role does Vastu Shastra play?
[Dr. Smita] - You have asked very nice and interesting question. The fight between Architects and Vastu Consultants is always about symmetry and asymmetry. As architects, it is obvious that you want to experiment with the designing. You want to create different designs. But Vastu functions in straight lines. In Vastu four corners are important. Therefore, architects generally have this grievance of Vastu Consultants creating very simplistic design. Which is a general statement of architects to say, the design ends-up being very simple, because, of-course Vastu believes in simplicity and straight lines. But this is not totally true. Today I would like to inform you that if you have asymmetrical designs, if one wants to experiment with the facades, or with the designs, then there are various solutions, and remedies are provided which should be applied at the basic level itself. The placement of the five elements of Vastu are fixed, we cannot change that, but when talking of designing, symmetries or planning, and if one wishes to incorporate some design element, or wishes to do something different, that can definitely be done. But the Vastu remedies must be applied at the design level itself. When the construction process is on, only then the respective remedies can be applied, by which you can surely follow the asymmetrical design. As a budding architect please do not have this misconception that if you will follow Vastu you will not be able to follow asymmetrical designs, that is not true, or you would be restricted in designs, this is definitely not true. I always believe that the way we reserve some amount for the registration of our new property, similarly, one should always rope-in a Vastu consultant. There is a different aspects to it. As an architect you studied the basics of Vastu Shastra, at the most if you will study Vastu you will know the basics only. but as a specialist... it has become such an extensive study. I daily visit a new site. For me daily there is a new case study. Hence one Learns from their experience, daily a different kind of experience. They are the same type of building, commercial industries, same hospitals, same schools, similar functionality, same 5 elements, still each time it is a different case study. You can take it as if each human has 2 eyes, a nose, mouth, two ears but still everyone looks different. Similarly in Vastu Shastra, every thing is same, but every project is a new case study. Hence, this science is so extensive that, architects only know the basics, but as a specialist, or as a consultant who practice Vastu Shastra, they have to monitor numerous things in the project, that how can they make the design Vastu compliant, or the remedies can be provided.
[Ar. Aashi] - If Vastu principles remain same, then wouldn't the houses with similar size & dimension be same layout wise? Because I am...what I know is that Vastu believes in a fixed layout. I might be wrong. Please enlighten me!
[Dr. Smita] - You have asked such a wonder question, that if everyone follows Vastu principles, then all the houses will look similar. Now I would like to ask you. You also have two eyes, one noise, two eyes, I also have, so then do we both look the same? Or there you might find many people with similar features, then then do we all look the same? No, right? So similarly... See, the elements are the same, we have similar houses, rooms, we have master bedroom, kitchen, toilets, open area, living room, swimming pools, but each house has different usage. You are an architect, there are so many architects, your perception is different, your design will be different from others. The way there is difference in the designing, similar there is a difference in the usage of Vastu. Suppose I am constructing multiple North facing houses, but all will have different designs. One will not be able to imagine that the designs can differ to that extent. And all of them have 90-degree North facing. Hence it is not true, there is not monotony in the design. Yes, in apartment one can say that they look similar. But when the designing is done for a particular project, even if all of them have same directions, no matter their working is same, based on the perception and designing of the architect, all the designs differ [keeping Vastu principles intact]. I personally have high expectation from budding architects. Because you are the people who would take this architecture to the next level. You are the people, who if after knowing the WHENs, WHYs, & HOWs of Vastu Shastra which has lost its importance, will definitely take this science forward. When you asked me the question why Vastu lost its importance, there I wanted to mention a point,' that rigidity leads to the end. Many times the consultants are very rigid. Such consultant become really rigid of the placements. Then as a architect you might feel that in such a huge house, which is West facing, if you are unable to to construct a parking then what is the use? This is where the tussle between the architect and Vastu consultants start. Foremost, Vastu is not rigid. Vastu is flexible. We have to observe that if there is some problem in the land, then how do we balance those energies. I am not at all rigid. Hence, I request others as well not to work with rigidity, because functionality is very important. Agree that functionality should not be the goal, we also have to balance many things there, and always remember Home is the reflection of your life. If you will show me a floor plan, without knowing anything about you Aashi, I can tell you everything about your life. So, you home is your reflection. Certainly, you would Like that your reflection to be as beautiful as you are. As nice as you are. Hence, the usage & experiment of Vastu... I used the word experience because, because I want you to experiment with Vastu Shastra, do incorporate the principles in your design. Vastu is a very flexible and rational science. But, do not misinterpret my stand on flexibility when it comes to following the basic principles of Vastu. That you wish to break the rules of Vastu Shastra, there I will also be rigid [laughs]. The moment you break the rules, then similar kinds of problems will start to surface in your client’s life. Who knows you might not be able to complete that project! Hence, rigidity & flexibility depend. In principles there is no flexibility. The principles, the basic placement of elements, they are rigid, but their usage, or how we fix those things, in that we certainly are flexible.
[Ar. Aashi] - Till now what I have understood is that Vastu is not limited to houses. So..does... Vastu Shastra play any role in the development of huge colonies and townships? Or even at city level?
[Dr. Smita] - We generally talk Vastu in terms of a house, an industry, a commercial complex, but when you will study Vastu Shastra, you will know that Vastu starts from town planning. Planning of a city, a town, after that the planning of the houses, so it functions in stages. Long back, if you will study, in fact as an architect you should study, that Jaipur city was planned long back according to Vastu principles. Similarly, there are many cities of India, especially the cities of South India, those were planned by following basic principles of Vastu Shastra. Where will be the urbanization, where will the administration be placed, the placement of water element. Or whatever they wish to plan for the city. So, if one plans this according to Vastu principles, forget about residence, forget about industries, that entire city itself will be highly flourishing, the town will be so prosperous, that one can not even imagine. If you want to conduct a research on this, then please do, in our country there many such cities.
[Ar. Aashi] - Landscaping is another important part of architecture. I want to know from you that whether the principles of Vastu Shastra also applicable on Landscaping?
[Dr. Smita] - This is utmost important. Vastu in Landscape is highly important. The role of Vastu is not only for the constructed properties. It has great relationship with openness. Any a times, when we are provided a bare land, when we have plan the landscaping, then we have free hand on the placement of items such as the water fountain, tall trees, shrubs, where we wish to create the landscaping with stones, so we have a free hand. Many times we use landscaping for remedies for any Vastu dosh. Are you getting my point! It's not necessary that if it is an existing structure, people think they will have to demolish it, but that is not true. Vastu is an art of balancing. Vastu is a science of balancing. So, we balance many things through landscaping. Balance with the water element, fire element, earth elements, hence, when we use such elements, or, when we try their permutation & combinations, that creates a different kind of Landscaping Vastu. If you ever work on such a project in which landscaping is involved, then certainly try to incorporate the principles of Vastu Shastra in the landscape. Then you can observe how the positivity is multifolded.
[Ar. Aashi] - Dr. Smita I feel I will also have to consider Vastu Shastra. I think I should consult you for my future projects. [laughter] Anyways, this was a very informative session guys. I feel, we all architects should follow Vastu, and for that we have Dr. Smita here. Thank you so much for joining us today. Namaskar! Thank You!