By Life Positive July 1996 Everyone is talking about the revival of vaastu shastra and, of late, feng shui. We hear stories of how fortunes are made (and unmade) due to their right or wrong use Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s daughter-in-law, a firm believer in vaastu, prevailed on Gowda to avoid shifting temporarily to the residence earlier made ready for him in Delhi. Film star Sanjay Dutt was released from jail only after certain changes were made in his house, claims his vaastu consultant. Harshad Mehta, implicated in the stocks scam, used to sleep in a south-east room in his penthouse in Worli, Bombay, which, vaastu pundits say, makes a person corrupt. He changed his bedroom later. But is it really as simple as, say, not sleeping facing the north? Will your daughter get married if she shifts to a room in the northwest? Yes, say the experts, confidently. Oh yes, echo the converts. Really, question the skeptics. In any case, here are simple guidelines based on books and interviews with architects and vaastu and feng shui practitioners, to help you: OUTSIDEThe shape of the plot and its orientation are of primary importance. Square (the Taj Mahal is a perfect square) and rectangular plots (ratio not exceeding 1:2) are good. Avoid irregular shapes. But if your are stuck with one, fence off certain portions prefer a plot or building facing the north or the east. Alignment with the four cardinal directions is desirable but rarely possible. The directions can be determined using an ordinary compass to achieve the desired shape.Avoid living next to a temple, cemetery or a hospital, which attract negative chi.Water (pond, river, sea) should be in the E or NE. Feng shui, however, prefers water bodies in the west. If the northeast is already built, sumps or an underground water tank can offset the ill-effect.The traditional Kerala nalukettu (four-sided) house surrounds a courtyard. The modern atrium concept, popular with hotels, is also good. INSIDEToo many walls inside a house block the energy flow, according to Madras-based Ganpati Sthapati, the foremost of the traditional architects. Demarcating areas for the bedroom, kitchen, etc, without separating them by walls is a good idea.Each door and window should have a corresponding one on the opposite side, to allow proper energy flow, not just cross-ventilation.Feng shui scoffs at long corridors. Break them with wind chimes, plants, hanging lights, mirrors and screens.Extensions should be carried out in the NE, leaving some empty space in this direction.If the compass needle keeps moving to the left or right without stopping, or it cannot steadily point to the north-south direction, it means there is a ghost in the vicinity!Clear out clutter (which impedes chi’s flow): old clothes, shoes, books, tapes, letters and photographs.Feng shui says bring in as many of the five elements (metal, fire, wood, water and earth) as possible. It can be achieved in many ways. For example, a blue object can substitute actual water.Flowing water—fountains, etc.—is good for commercial establishments, not homes.The more light fittings, the better.Air conditioners mean heat exchange, place them in the SE.If the TV set is placed in the SW direction, you will be glued to it. Better put it in the NW.Granite and quartz emit negative energies, whereas sandstone and marble, positive ones.To balance yin and yang, don’t use entirely warm or cool colors for furniture, furnishings and wall paint. DINING ROOMIt should not be near the entrance, nor located under or facing a staircase.A round dining table, according to Bombay vaastu practitioner, Arvind Vaze, is bad—the family will rarely eat together. Feng shui, however, considers round, oval and oblong shapes auspicious and rectangular ones inauspicious.The dining table should not be aligned with the toilet door. BEDROOMThe master bedroom is recommended in the south or SW; the SE for the son, the NW for the daughter. If the children’s bedrooms are in the SW, they tend to dominate.The beds should be on one side, preferably the left. The husband should occupy the right bed.Avoid sleeping in a round bed since it has female energy.Mirrors are a no-no—couples who enhance their pleasure by watching themselves making love will be disappointed.Never keep television sets, computers, work desks or any `active‘ energy in your bedroom. TOILETThey are best placed in the NW, if not possible, consider the SE. Avoid the NE.Avoid toilets under staircases. OFFICE Shun a building that is located at a dead-end.The reception should be to the left of the entrance. Granite or a hard surface should not be used in a reception area.The boss‘s place is in the SW corner and he should sit as far from the entrance as possible.The accountant should sit to the right of the boss; projects and wings related to growth to the boss’s left.Tables in a big hall should be in a parallel arrangement.If possible, have split levels, with those higher in the hierarchy seated at higher levels.While working, face the east or north for better concentration.A round table is good for a conference room—it makes people leave quickly, so they reach a decision faster. SHOPSymbols, signs and neon lights are some of the factors that have turned Las Vegas from a desert town into a money-minting machine. FACTORYIn a factory shed, make the maximum use of natural light, but it should not come in from the windows. Prefer skylights.For an office within a factory, complicated roof structures should be covered by a false ceiling to prevent sha chi. The office should also face and be close to the main gate.Machinery kept in the NE will witness breakdowns. Prefer the SW. SCHOOL/COLLEGEA school or college should not have a regular shape. Prefer zigzag corridors.The main building should be inward looking, with doors and windows opening in a central courtyard.Even if there are many blocks in the campus, all students should be made to pass through the main hall or the reception area.Hide the stairs from view from the corridors.No sharp corners in a hostel building—this will rule out power games. HOTELA fountain (flowing water) outside the entrance brings in business. Water will also douse the intensity of fire in a hotel where cooking is a major element of the business.The driveway leading to the entrance should be clockwise.Locate the kitchen in one corner, preferably the left.On each floor meant for guest rooms, use mirrors substantially in the lobby.The swimming pool should be behind the main block as in the Taj Mansingh hotel in Delhi.Prefer circular columns to square-shaped ones.The porch should have four or more even numbered columns. HOSPITALThe main block should be inward looking, that is, windows and doors should open in a central courtyard.Avoid arches and square columns.The operation theater is never exposed to the sun, which is fine. Nor should the patient be exposed to the sun while he is moved for test.
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