Architect Raman Vig explains to Rishi Rathod the underlying principles of achieving health, happiness, and harmony using space design.
Raman Vig is based out of New Delhi. During the past 25 years, his role has morphed from being a student (at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi) to being a practising architect (1996-2008), an associate director at RSP design consultants (2008-2015), Design Principal with Lotus Design Studio (2015-2017), and a visiting lecturer of design at various architectural colleges.
This journey saw him designing and executing a diverse range of architectural and master-planning projects pan India (including IT buildings, commercial projects, group housings, and many prominent institutional buildings). He has handled over 20 million sq. ft of projects as an independent consultant or in association with international and domestic architectural design firms.
Currently, he is a guest lecturer at IIT-Roorkee and other institutes, and a certified Vaastu Visharad from the Aayadi Vaastu system. He is also a founder of Bio-energetic Architecture, New Delhi.
Most people, while building or buying their houses, give importance to the tangible and sensory aspects rather than the intangible and extra-sensory ones. Please explain this phenomenon.
My experience is otherwise, and possibly, you would have come across this category of people. Let’s say there is a young couple who is scouting for a house. They move into a place where everything seems perfect: the address, the distance to the school, the cost, the society, etc., but suddenly, the lady says, “Kutch theek nahi lag raha hai (Something is not okay here).” And there is no rationale to it. It is likely that, sometimes, even a male can sense this. But, it is not about male or female. Essentially, it is because we are not just a physical body. Understand that we are energy fields, and we extend beyond the body.
Nowadays, we have cameras which show this phenomenon. We call this an ‘aura,’ and the Western world refers to it as a ‘biofield.’ The Westerners have realised that it cannot be understood under the purview of the four fundamental forces that we know: electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, and gravitational force. There is something more happening, and that’s got to do with the life form. People can send thoughts, get an intuition,have telepathy , and so much more. So now, having done their research, they too acknowledge it. But in our tradition, this knowledge has always existed. People who are not aware of these forces yet are still making decisions based on the a uric input. They are not able to pinpoint anything because they are ill-informed. We think that everything is intellectual and judgement-based, but this is not the case.
Your book says the unseen subtle energy governs the gross energy and has more consequences than the latter. Can you explain this?
Let me explain this to you from the physics perspective that everybody is aware of. Science has come to accept that electrons exist both as particles and as waveforms. One of the professors I know has put forth this particle theory beautifully. He said that since it is difficult for human beings, to give words to a phenomenon, they call it a particle. When we talk about the quantum world, there are attributes which are associated with energy and those which are associated with what we call ‘mass.’ The famous equation E=mc2 says that there is a mechanism through which mass can be converted or gets converted into energy.. That’s what happens in a nuclear reaction. So, now you can understand that when energy is condensed, it becomes mass and vice versa. This is classical physics.
All of the above is just to explain the concept of energy. We see it all around us in the universe, prevailing in many forms, but we only attribute it to electricity or some light energy. When it comes to human beings, the same energy is called a biofield or life energy. And when it is in water, we call it potential energy or kinetic energy. We have all experienced this when we say “I am feeling low on energy.” Sometimes, we meet someone for 10 minutes and feel positive vibes from that person. The next day, we still remember how delighted we had felt. Not only that, but we are also sensitive to these vibrations within our own body, and so are others when we send positive vibes.
Energy is something that we are experiencing day in, day out. Once you clearly see that you are just an energy field, a big change starts happening. Suddenly, you realise that your physical and emotional well-being is deeply connected to your energetic well-being. Some people achieve this understanding through meditation, and others, by experiencing it. Whenever your auric field is clear, clean, and energetic, it will positively reflect in your body and your mind. Even your thought is nothing but an impulse of energy which has certain information attached to it. We are continuously shaped by these subtle energies.
Your book talks about achieving health, happiness, and harmony with the help of nine precepts you discovered over the years. How do you use them to achieve what you claim for your clients?
The whole idea is to facilitate health, happiness, and harmony through space design—a pursuit I am trying to learn and share. The 9 precepts in short are the five elements (earth, fire, water, air, and space), materials and surfaces, Aayadi Vaastu, Shape Science and Ubuntu. The first six has to do something with physical qualities and remaining three are the subtle ones – which deals with energy. To know more about them, please refer to the book “Architecture for Well Being.”
I was a practising architect for the past 20–25 years. When I began my career, there was a lot of curiosity and zest to do something interesting, but eventually, I got stuck in a routine which overshadowed my desire to discover and create something new. Besides this, I was awestruck by Winston Churchill’s statement that first, we shape our buildings, and then, they shape us. In our Vedic Vastu, also, they say “Yat pinde, tat bramhande” (As the microcosm, so the macrocosm). Regarding the macrocosm being the next layer, our soul has its body as a layer, and this body resides in a house, which is the next layer. These are the enveloping layers. That is where my journey started. I wanted to get to the root of it. I wanted to do something that made sense to me, without anyone telling me to believe what they have found out. I had this all-important question: can there be an architecture for well-being? How can I use my knowledge of architecture as an instrument to bring health, happiness, and harmony?
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. So, first, I started experimenting and investigating things on my own. When I started learning the deeper realms of Vedic Vaastu and building biology, I started applying this knowledge to various projects. During this journey, I knew I needed to have some instrumentation to figure out the impact. To this end, I developed a psychometric chart which had 36 questions. Before doing any intervention in the house to evaluate the present condition, I would use this chart. This included the clients’ centeredness, emotional states, relationships, positivity, happiness, health, sleeping patterns, etc., besides measuring the auric field of the people and keeping a record of how it developed. I would give each of my clients this questionnaire, which they had to evaluate on each parameter on a scale of one to ten. I would keep taking the measures and keep the record every month, for a couple of months. Without my telling them anything and with their own inputs, their graph of well-being would gradually go up. The effect on the body, thoughts, and physical well-being takes two to three months to manifest. When the people you work for come and share how their lives changed, you then say, “Wow! It’s working.”
So, if buildings communicate with us and our body, then what is that mode of communication?
You’d probably remember a physics lab experiment during your school days: When you put a tuning fork into a jar, it would vibrate. Then when you brought another fork of the same size or its multiple next to the one which was vibrating, the other one would start vibrating too. That is how we understood that both are in resonance. So, fundamentally, we understood that size and dimension are of importance in creating a vibration. This is exactly what happens with string instruments, like the guitar and the sitar, as well. We change the length of the string, whereby its frequency changes. So, we are aware that dimension and vibration are correlated.
In my talks, I demonstrate many experiments from the field of cymatics, which show how patterns and vibrations are talking. We also talk about how we human beings have got patterns and vibrations around us. We understand that our thoughts are also energy patterns, as mentioned earlier. Hence, it is not difficult to understand that when we are living in a dimensional reality, it is likely to impact us because it creates and transmutes the energy around us.
When we create an enclosure in an open space, the vibration created therein changes the characteristics of the space. If it is in sync with my fundamental harmonic, I am happy, and that’s what Aayadi Vaastu is. It is based on the nakshatra that we are born under. ‘Nakshatra’ is the star constellation whose influence is predominant at the time of your birth.. This lends you a frequency which is unique to you, and can be termed as your signature frequency.. Nakshatra is nothing but the value of your signature frequency. When we use Vaastu for your house project, we work on collective signature values. We check your and your wife’s signature values and figure out those dimensions which would be conducive for the two of you. When I design a building and make a grid on which the basic layout has to be made, that dimension is a multiple of frequencies of the people who are going to stay there. I just used a very simple analogy of the tuning forks to tell you that there is a correlation between dimensional reality and energy. So that is one way that buildings talk to us. But there are so many other ways too: the energy that is coming from the Earth, and the water and the material we use. All these are various ways in which we are communicating with the built environment around us.
You know what is the best part of Bio-Energetic Architecture (BEA) as compared to other means of promoting well-being? In every other means, whether it is yoga, ayurveda, or exercise, you must do something. With BEA, you just have to be there and lead your life.
Your role seems to be like that of a Vaastu consultant, but you are going far beyond to promote well-being. How do you feel about it?
Well, I want to give due credit to Vaastu consultants because some of them have been my teachers. I agree that this domain has undergone a lot of changes in the last 30 years. Many people from varied backgrounds have jumped in, so it is difficult for me to give any categorical statement. The fact is that holism is something that I want to share. I want to tell people that their house is not as per Vaastu, but that’s okay. It is not the only thing to be considered; many other things can also bring balance. Vaastu works, but we must also remove fear from people’s minds. The idea here is to bring wholesome knowledge to the building and design fraternity.
According to your book, societies in the olden days followed the Earth’s grid for city planning. And around 100 years ago, that system changed. How does this impact people? One of the new cities planned by not following the grid is Chandigarh. What’s your observation?
To answer your question, I need not even do a guesstimate as to what has happened due to this. It doesn’t matter whether it is Chandigarh or New York or Gurgaon. Look at the happiness and well-being quotient that we experience today as a society. The answer lies there! That somewhere, we have made a mistake, even though we have spent a huge amount of money in building bungalows.
Vaastu was one of the sciences offered to us by our saints for us to realise our connection with the cosmos. Simply put, as mentioned earlier, when a human transceiver is in sync with the cosmos, spontaneous bliss is experienced all around. It has nothing to do with material riches. Understand that the material aspect played a very basic role in our lives, but being able to know the purpose of life, contribute, and connect with the universe was central to our Indian subcontinent. Using this science, our ancestors have built structures where, regardless of where you come from or which belief system you follow, you cannot remain unaffected when you enter them. You are bound to feel serenity and peace.
From your explanation above, I get a sense that you seem to be touching the spiritual dimension in the end. Do you agree?
The spiritual dimension is the only dimension we exist in. We don’t acknowledge it, or we are not trained to look at it that way. Like I said in the beginning, when you take care of the subtle, you take care of the energy, and the matter will take care of itself.
For similar reasons, we use these devices and methods. At the end of the day, you and I are, here and now, enjoying each other, and life is happening. I always suggest that, for me, architecture is not just about building a space; it’s also about the people within that space knowing how to make the most of it. We have something called ‘grounding.’ It means touching the earth with your feet. There is a lot of science behind this, which is empowering and healthy for us. But if you wear rubber or leather shoes throughout the day in the house, then even if your house is well-designed, you are not connecting and reaping the benefits.
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