Questions from students & clients
Q You said that a temple is the body of the God within. Can you elaborate on that? Does that mean a temple to Shiva would be different than one to Krisna? How so?
A The whole temple is a model of microcosim=macrocosim. The whole temple is made in the vibrational scale of the specific law of energy that is enshrined within. That frequency or vibration has a specific quality and operates at specific levels of natural law. Yes. Krishna and Shiva temples are mathematically, proportionally, vibrationally different.
Q Do you think new discoveries and implications in quantum physics explains subtle energies that Vastu Shastra works with?
A Yes, but to really identify these would take quite a study. Some people have tried to do it, but in my opinion it requires an in-depth analysis and expertise in both sciences. I know of no one who has this.
Q Vastu Shastra has recently resurged in India among the general population for homes, offices etc, it’s not just for temple architects anymore. Do you think it is as important now as it was historically in temple design? (In the spiritual sense or in terms of current values)
A It was always used in secular architecture. It's never just been for temples. The resurgence of interest is most likely due to the growth of a middle class in India. Now they can afford to think about it. It has always been there, in my opinion, on a cultural level. But the basic knowledge on a cultural level is serverely compromised and polluted by superstition.
Q Is Vastu Shastra an evolving science/tradition that responds to either new scientific discoveries or changes in culture? Or would you say it is a divine truth that is exactly applicable now as it was when it was formulated?
A My opinion is that it is a text book on understanding and living in harmony with cosmic energy structures and laws. It's basic, not evolving.
Q Do you know of any research that validates the harmonizing or other affects Vastu Shastra is intended to create?
A No valid research. Some people say they have research, but I doubt it is of any real scientific value. It would require years of research in carefully controlled environments with objective and highly technical data collection.
Q Is there anything different about the way Vastu Shastra is applied in the United States versus India. Anything to take into account here that is not an issue there?
Q I've just completed reading Dr. Ganapati Sthapati's "Building Architecture of Sthapatya Veda," taking many months to absorb the science. It's a tremendous book. One question I have is: as in music, can architecture have some discordant notes? This is done in music to build tension and drama, so it might be that a certain amount of dramatic tension in a building will get into the individuals living/working there. By a certain amount of tension I'm saying that the building is correctly aligned and with proper proportions.
A Yes, I think a building can carry discordant vibrations (notes). In the vaastu inspired building, because we live in it and are exposed to intense and prolonged influences, we favor the frequencies (and geomerties) that support peacefulness, and nourishment in harmony with cosmic energies. Dynamic is there but not tension.
Q In the study of Hawaiian ancient sites there is a book done by an archaeologist, Stokley, that has the compass directions. The earliest ancient site, Mo'okini heaiu on the Big Island, built atop much earlier ruins, is the only one that has something close to a North/South axis. The rest of the latter sites seem to all be built to align with the view or possibly with a celestial orientation. I'm involved with a program that wants to rebuild many of these sites. However, I'm thinking now that this could initiate some unfortunate repercussions. Does it make sense to rebuild these places?
A It's not beyond the realm of possibilities that buildings could be aligned with star influences. I haven't heard of it on this level in Vaastu Science though. The star influences may occur in Vaastu Science, but on a subtle, vibratory level, not an orientation level. It could be that the ancient Hawaiian builders knew how to make the cosmic alignments. From a historical standpoint I would honor what they did. If it was a private project for personal use that was concerned with Vaastu principles I would start a fresh construction with proper orientation.
Q How do the walls of a closet line up with the grid lines? Do they have to be right on like the walls of the rooms or do they line up like the windows (you try to center them between the grid lines)? If you have a closet running the whole length of a room. do you measure the room dimensions from the front wall (door side) of the closet or the back wall of the closet?
A Ideally, the closet walls should be on grid lines like all other walls. That's what I do. If you want to compromise then split the grid pattern into 3rds or 9ths and lay out the walls on those secondary grid lines. It's acceptable, but I wouldn't make a habit out of it. I don't understand the second part of the question. The room size doesn't matter as long as you stick to the grid lines.
Q Re: "This is line of sight or light placement and allows the energy to flow through the house unrestricted."
This word 'energy' has been jumping out at me all course. One part of me wants to assign some subtle, mysterious 'something' that I can't perceive yet to it. But that feels ungrounded.
Another part of me wants to assign 'light' (as in ordinary light) and air (as in ordinary breezes) to it. Which feels more grounded. And then I ask myself "could it really be THAT simple and ordinary?" And I am confused.
Interestingly enough, Feng Shui takes just the opposite view (from what I remember). They want the 'energy'/'qi' to meander through the house, not dash right through. So they AVOID placing openings (windows and doors) opposite each other. They also don't like houses placed on hilltops because of too much qi/energy movement.
I can't help but think that this is because of the relative temperatures. Southern India cherishes its breezes but China, being colder, needs to break them up.
A The "energy" is what you feel when you recognize your own vital existence. When you ignite with enthusiasm: this is life energy, you don't need sleep or food, it's the subtle energy that is actually the basis of our existence and is vibrant in and around us and we either plug into it or sound in for it or we create blocks or shields against it in our bodies, minds, hearts or houses. It's the energy we feel when we go into the presence of a being who is radiant with it and not blocking. These buildings, like the temples in Kanchipuram today are vibrant, big time, with energy. I walk through them with my bare feet and I can feel them very distinctly. and when I sit to meditate after being there for a while, I'm still vibrating at that finer, higher frequency. It's a very concrete experience. Go to the Indian temple in St. Louis and hang out there for half a day, just sit in the building, read or look or meditate (not necessary) and then go out and sit in your car and meditate and see what you feel.
Q Why is it that South and Southeast Asians go for these huge, oversized statues? Some huge ones are being built in Bali. They are very UN-harmonious.
A I don’t know! My impression is that bigger is better with them. I am visited the equivalent of India’s Statue of Liberty. Ganapati Sthapati designed and built it out of stone. It’s on a rock off the coast of southern tip of India. By the way do you object to the Statue of Liberty? I found it inspiring.
Q Has any Westerner seen these documents? Would it be permissible to translate them? (From my studies in Bali, I know that such treatises are usually carefully guarded.) If so, it may be possible to get someone a grant to do that.
A The documents on Vastu Science are all available: Vastu Shastra, Mayamata, works by Mansara. They are a tough read though.
Q Should we always build parallel/perpendicular to the cardinal N-S-E-W for the site? Or do these grids sometimes vary from the cardinal directions?
A Always on the cardinal points with one refinement we’ll get to later in the course.
Q From Lesson 9: Car dust, sesame seeds, paddy grains & angulas (finger measures) do not sound very exacting to me. All these things come in a variety of sizes....which vary with humidity & temperature even. What kind of standards have actually been preserved- and how have they been preserved- in Vastu science to insure that everyone is using the very same measuring units? Or is relative proportion the only important thing here?
A The actual measure that the Sthapatis use is the Hasta of 2'-9" this is their basic unit of measure. Also the angula is the smallest unit they use as far as I have seen = 1 3/8". Relative proportion, rhythm is the most important. SThapati once said to me: one unit is one unit, whether it be one universe long or one inch, it's just a rhythmic measure.
Q From Lesson 10: True East I can understand creating harmony. But deflected one or two degrees for dwellings seems more than a little odd. Wouldn't it sound 'off' in music to be just slightly off the beat? How does this little deflection work exactly?
A Sthapati said that true east will have a very spiritual influence but is not as conducive for fostering material well being. You want to just meditate all the time and not live in the world. He said true east was for enlightened yogis.
Q What is the purpose of the kalashes? Are the private sthapati-designed homes you are seeing in India equipped with these?
A The house is a being: feet, legs, torso, neck, head and top of head. Kalash is the top piece of the house. it completes the form. Yes, kalashes are here on private houses, in many forms.
Q Is the perimeter taken before the exterior is added or after or to put it another way is the VPM perimeter calculation done first and then the exterior wall added? My instinct tells me before the exterior wall, however as you can see I am not sure on this.
A The perimeter of the VPM is the dimension that you do your calculations with. You adjust the perimeter of the VPM according to the Ayadi calculations for the individuals of the house. The exterior walls are best placed with their centerline on the VPM perimeter. The actual building perimeter will be different if you have extensions that expand outside the VPM (always with regard to the grid) but you only consider the VPM perimeter for Ayadi and that creates the final grid (and module) that spreads over the whole site. The VPM is the "mother"grid pattern for the whole site.
Here's a new point that I came to in this last seminar. The Earth has an energy grid and the house has an energy grid. When we place the VPM grid based house on the Earth grid the house comes in congruence with the Earth's grid and the energy of the Earth floods into the house. The question for me was: How do you know if you are aligned with the Earth's grid, you can't see the grid? Sthapati would always answer by saying that as long as the orientation (North/south/east/west) is correct the resonance is spontaneous. What I have realized now (Sthapati hasn't said it in these words) is that the resonance occurs not because of a two dimensional congruent relationship between the house grid and the Earth grid (Sthapati said nothing 2d exists, only 3d can exist), but because of a 3 dimensional resonance: If you made a huge tuning fork, 6 feet tall, of the "C" note and a small tuning fork, 6 inches tall of the "C" note, they would still resonate with each other because their 3d geometry is the same (just different scale, Sthapati told me the numbers are the most important not scale, one universe or one grain of sand: one is one) The house vibrates with Earthly energy because of a 3 dimensional resonance: the VPM is not just a 2 dimensional grid it is a 3 dimensional object.
Q In rereading the article what did you mean by 'rhythm bound forms'?
A Rhythm bound forms are forms that are designed with mathematical sequences evident. The glue of coherence is the regular expressed rhythm of elements.
Q How do you feel (and Dr. Ganapati) about the use of synthetic materials as an energy signature vibration in construction?
A Vastu architecture favors natural materials: wood, stone, clay/earth. These materials are magnetically vibrant with the earth energy and make for a more energeticaly vibrant building. However the geometry of the building is paramount and materials can be compromised to an extent.
Q I totally agree about used lumber containing energy that may be negative. I, personally, believe that such lumber can be stacked properly in a sacred place (a blessed place) in the sun for 30 to 90 days and transmuted and purged of negative energies through prayer and meditation. This may not always be worthwhile and may not be nearly as applicable in India as in America where so much demolition is continually taking place. I wonder how traditional Vastu masters would work with this idea?
A I've only heard it's best not to use matrials from other buildings. Sthapati is very clear on the point that even when you renovate or add to an existing building (especially a temple) that you are disturbing the energy of the building and it could even be dangerous to the health of the person initiating the work. For example, at a temple renovation, it is typical to choose an older member of the temple community to head the project because they believe their life could be adversely effected by causing the disturbance of the temple energy.
Q Can I put a fountain or water fall or pond in the brahmasthan?
A Sthapati said it's best to have "no such fancies in the mother structure." The water can create energy disturbance, maybe positive maybe not, unpredictable for peacefulness of the home.
Q Do Northern & Southern India agree on what constitutes the Sthapatya Vedic literature or is there some disagreement?
Is it generally (all over India) agreed that Vastu Science originated in Southern India?
A In answer to this question I will give you the transcription of a recent conversation I had with Sthapati. (After an initial question or two he did all the talking!)
"The four Vedas are not independent Vedas. They are all collected materials. That’s why we call it ‘collected’ Vedas. Rig Veda Sanghita(spelling, sorry) , the word ‘sanghita’ means ‘collected’. So there was Vedic knowledge in the pre-Vedic period. Because of deluge (earth changing floods and continental drift) it was separated. The old knowledge got dissipated. Later on, before the second deluge occurred, all these were collected and codified. Codified in what is called the four Vedas now. While codifying a lot of things were there but they were not able to understand because these things were scientific. All scientific things were dropped! Non-scientific and religious things they collected and codified for the four Vedas. So whatever scientific material from those days they didn’t keep.
"Even today there are some scholars that say that Vastu Science is pseudo-science. They aren’t able to understand the science of it. And these things don’t exist in the Vedas. Some statements here or there will occur. For instance, there is a statement in the Veda ‘The greatness of sculpture lies in its being scientific.’ But no one has interpreted how sculpture is scientific, no one has said so far.
"All the technical material is held by a group of people: the Sthapatis. That is why it is called Sthapatya Veda. So we fought with the Brahmans in the early days saying, ‘We are the superior people. We have got this kind of knowledge. Please get away!’ At that time we were very powerful. Nobody came close to us. Now we are very small. minority. Today they say, ‘You have got technical knowledge but we have got the wisdom.’ We say ‘Where is your wisdom? How do you use it?’
"The Brahmins say they came from outside India by the Kyber Pass some 3500 years ago. From the north they migrated south. About 2500 years ago they settled here in the south. So they learned all these things. Only during that period were they able to collect this material for the Vedas. Even today northerners come to the south, stay here, learn the culture here, and then go back. And if you go toward the north, you find the strong culture that is pervading South India is very much diluted. All the Shastras, all the Vedas, all the science, everything, existed only here in the South.
We are responsible for Indian culture. To be frank, we should call it Vaastu culture. Even the Gods are Vaastu Gods. Even today if they want a temple they have to come to us. The Brahmins learned from us. There are not four castes but five castes, just as there are five elements. The Brahmins are the head, the Kshatria are the shoulders, the Viashas are the belly, the Shudras are the legs and thighs and the Shilpis are the hands. There is a saying, ‘From nail to engine’. The Shilpi’s made everything.
Q Did the shilpis used to conduct the temple rituals?
A The ancient rituals were originally very simple. Merely prayer to God. Not these kinds of rituals: putting dress, ornament and festivals. All these did not take place in ancient period, there was contact between God and man. Not an intermediary.