by T Selva and Henry Fong
This is part 1 of a 2 parts article that appeared in HomeFinder, a leading property magazine. HomeFinder suggested to T Selva, a well known Vasthu expert and I to author a comparison between Vasthu and Feng Shui for the benefits of their reader and metaphysics enthusiast. This is the result of the collaboration.
Why is Vasthu Sastra and Feng Shui important when constructing, choosing or occupying a property?
According to the ancient study of Vasthu Sastra, when building, staying or working in a building or property, one has to be in tune with the five elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth – which influence our environment. Only when we are in harmony with these natural forces will we enjoy wealth and happiness. Failure to do so can bring misery and misfortune.
Theory of the five elements has it that they are present in every atom of the universe and they need to be present in abundance within the home to make it vibrant and filled with positive energy. A critical study of fundamental Indian beliefs states that the elements have an interactive influence on all dwellers of a house. Our body comprises the same five elements in the form of the five senses – hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell.
According to Vasthu Sastra, if a property is built according to the five elements, the internal energy currents in the bodies of those living there will be in tune with the universal energy, thus resulting in good health, wealth and happiness for those residents. Just like feng shui, the underlying principle of Vasthu is to live in harmony with our environment so that the energy surrounding us works for us rather than against us. It is based on the arrangements and balancing of the five elements in their proper order and proportions.
Feng Shui on the other hand is a Chinese meta-physics study that looks at how mankind is affected positively or negatively by the environment. The environment is not limited to nearby geographical features such as mountains and rivers but also astronomical forces exerted by the planets.
Ideally we want to be located in on area where life supporting ‘qi’ gathers. Feng Shui and its many rules (with regards to soil quality, mountains and rivers etc.) can help you find such a location.
The ‘qi’ or energy distribution within a house can be determined by the orientation and completion date. Having the places such as main door, bedroom, kitchen and living room in the good sectors can affect our fortune. In this case, Feng Shui can help you determine the ideal orientation of the house as well as adjust the main door facing and bed directions for example to match the birth charts of the occupants. When the occupants are in harmony with the house, they can then expect better luck.
The importance of the orientation (facing or sitting) of the house and how it affects the quality of the house.
After choosing a house, it is important for the dweller to check the ideal designation of rooms and activities. Rooms that are not in tune with the five elements of Vasthu Sastra will bring misery to the occupants. For instance, south-east is the fire corner in a house and this is where the kitchen should be located, not ideal for a couple’s room. If they choose to make it their bedroom, then they will constantly be in disagreements, evoke anger and engage in quarrels.
In Feng Shui however, the orientation determines the quality of the house as well as the auspicious and inauspicious sectors within the house. In the Flying Star system for example, houses built during period 8 (between 2004 and 2024) facing SW1, NW2, NW3, NE1, SE2 and SE3 are given the name ‘Prosperous Mountain, Prosperous Water’ These houses are good for wealth and health and especially so if they are backed by mountains and faces water. Houses facing S2, S3, W2, W3 and E1 are given the name ‘Double Facing’. These houses are good for money but not so great for health and relationships. The quality of these houses is increased if there is water in front of the house and mountain in the distance.
Houses that face S1, W1, N2, N3, E2 and E3 are called ‘Double Sitting’ houses. They are good for health and relationship but unfortunately not so great for wealth. The quality of these houses is increased if there is water at the back of the house and mountain further back.
At the other end are less desirable houses with names like ‘Locked’, ‘Reverse Mountain, Reverse Water’ and the ‘Fu Fan Yin’ charts.
Does the quality of a dwelling change over time?
In Vasthu, an analysis on the house owner’s astrology is done to determine the direction that is favourable for him or her. Following this, the individual will have to choose the appropriate house, recommended based on the person’s horoscope. This direction is permanent for the house owner and it does not change from time to time.
Unlike Vasthu, quality of the dwelling change from time to time in Feng Shui. Take the Flying Star example again and assuming the house is built in period 7 (between 1984 and 2004). During this period the star number 7 is current and considered to be very auspicious.
Moving forward to period 8 and assuming the house remains untouched i.e. the same with no renovation whatsoever. This time, the advent of time into Period 8 has changed the Feng Shui for the dweller. What was once the auspicious star number 7, it has now become absolutely inauspicious. Such changes are not only felt in the sectors but also affect the quality of the entire house in some cases.
For example an NW1 facing house built in period 7 and dubbed the ‘Prosperous Mountain, Prosperous’ house (good for money and health) becomes a ‘Locked’ house (bad for wealth) in Period 8.
Even in the Eight Mansions system, where the ‘qi’ quality of each sector does not change, it is still somewhat affected by time too. Take for instance a house with its main door facing the ‘Sheng Qi’ direction. The element of this ‘qi’ is then wood. During the wood and water years, occupants of this house can expect better luck as wood assists and water produces Sheng Qi’. But the occupants will find themselves less supported when time is forwarded to metal years because in Feng Shui’s theory, wood is controlled by metal.
How important is it to select the right date for renovation and moving?
It is important in Vasthu Sastra to choose an auspicious date and time before construction, renovation or moving into a new home. Such activities should not simply be carried out merely based on one’s convenience because unfavourable periods can cause delays and obstructions which in turn have bad effects on the work and house owner. After the auspicious date and time have been determined, the owner should perform prayers and rituals before moving in or starting work.
The ancient Chinese believe that the movement of the planets has an effect on things that happen on earth. For thousands of years the Chinese (and other cultures well) have recorded the movements and try to relate them to events on earth.
Out of these recorded data come formulas that help us to determine auspicious or inauspicious days. The Chinese believe that performing a task on an auspicious day will ensure a smooth progress and success while doing it on the “wrong” day can bring obstacles and failures.
Examples of the inauspicious days include year and month breaker day as well as the 4 Departure and 4 Distinct Days. In fact there are even days called Master Killing Days where the practitioner should not practice Feng Shui! On the other hand auspicious days include Yearly Virtuous Days, Yearly Wealth Days etc.
Most date selection techniques in Feng Shui take the sitting or facing of the building into consideration. A famous Grandmaster by the name of Dong even came out with a 12-day formula called the Build-Divest cycle that tells us what we can or cannot do on any day.
In some systems of Feng Shui, date selection such as Xuan Kong Da Gua, the right date and time can mean the difference between tremendous success and the ordinary achievements.
What kind of challenges will a dweller experience if he or she does not follow these ancient knowledge?
In the practice of Vasthu Sastra, it is all about conscious living. Those who follow the ancient principles can be assured that they will be blessed with health, prosperity, peace, happiness and joy. Those who do not follow the knowledge can still live but in whatever task they undertake, they will face various challenges before achieving their goals, which could have been done smoothly if they have been in balance with the environment.
Like it or not we face challenges in life. Feng Shui is a way for a dweller to use the environment to support his endeavour and improve his life path. With good Feng Shui you can expect ‘help’ in the areas of wealth, health and relationships.