THE EIGHT CARDINAL DIRECTIONS
In the science of Vaastu Shastra eight major directions have been identified, on which all activities are based. Every direction has its own significance. As per Vaastu Shastra documentation, if the living and working spaces are oriented according to these directions, it has a direct positive influence on the residents. The layout of a House and the corresponding functions of each room have been prescribed in Vaastu Shastra.
SIGNIFICANCE OF DIRECTIONS IN VASTU SHASTRA
According to Vaastu shastra, the entire universe exists in endless space and has no direction whatsoever. However, on Earth our directions are defined with respect to the Sun, due to the existence of magnetic field. All the eight directions are governed by different Gods who have their own respective influences on human beings as described below. Here, I have explained the eight cardinal directions and the preferred rooms in each direction, according to Vastu Shastra. Since Vastu is a science, there is logic and reasoning behind every guideline. As an Architect, I have attempted to explain these guidelines rationally and scientifically, so that you can decide what you want to follow and what you don’t.
East (Purv) is ruled by the Sun or Surya god. The East, from where the Sun rises represents the essence of all beginnings. It is recommended that the main doors and windows of a house face East. The Logic-This is both as a sign of veneration to the Sun and also a way to optimize the amount of sunlight and air entering the building early morning, since the UV rays of the morning sunlight can engulf the interior of the house and kill all the bacteria that would have multiplied during the night.
North (Uttar) is ruled by the god of wealth, Kuber. The North is the direction of the Pole star, the fixed point in the sky that denotes stability and security. Hence, this is the direction to transact all business and so the main door and Living room can be placed here. Open spaces can be placed here as well. The Logic -Therefore, the Main entrance door can be here. Also, the Living room can be on this side as it is close to the main door and convenient for business transactions, since the outsiders will be entertained here. In India, (being in the northern hemisphere), there is constant light form the North. Hence it makes sense to have open spaces in the North, so that the light is not obstructed and can permeate into the House.
North-East (Eshan) is considered to be the direction of the Supreme Being. Hence it is suggested that there be no dirt, garbage, heavy structure or toilets or bathrooms in this direction. It is preferable to have the Well or water source in this direction. The Logic – This being the corner where the North and East directions meet, it is the ideal place to have open space so that there are no obstructions to the constant sunlight from the North and the morning sunlight from the East. It also makes sense to have the Water source (in ancient times there was generally an open well) here, in the available open space, as the UV rays can purify the water. Naturally it is not advisable to have toilets or a garbage pit near the water source.
West (Paschim) is governed by the god of water, The Varuna. As the sun dims we are reminded of endings, the unknown and darkness. The West or Paschim should be avoided for sleeping. However, bathrooms, toilets, staircases, store rooms can be placed here. Trees can be planted here. The Logic – The West gets heated up, both by the evening sun and by the reflection of it’s infrared rays(IR) from the ground – thus retaining the heat till late at night. Hence it is not comfortable to sleep here. Instead, less used rooms like Toilets, Staircase rooms, Store rooms and Trees can be placed here as they will serve as a buffer and prevent the rest of the house from getting heated up. Also, the toilets and store rooms will remain dry and hygienic.
North-West (Vaayavya) is the direction of the wind God, Vaayu. In Vaastu it is recommended that this direction should be used for toilets, garages, pantry etc. The Logic behind this is that North-West also gets heated up by the evening sun. So the less used rooms like Toilets, garage, pantry can be placed here as they will serve as a buffer and prevent the rest of the house from getting heated up. Also, the toilets and pantry will remain dry and hygienic.
South (Dakshin) is the direction of Yama, the god of death. The South represents the past and our ancestry. Guest and Children’s bedrooms can be placed here. No open space like gardens, Balconies, Terraces should be in this direction. The Logic – This side does not get too heated up nor too cold at night and hence is the ideal place for Bedrooms. Also, by avoiding open spaces and balconies, the sunlight reflected from the West to this direction is obstructed and hence the house does not get heated up.
South-West (Nairutya) is the direction of Nairuti or dissolution, the Demon Goddess of Wealth or The Sthir Lakshmi. This is the direction where the owner of the building should have his Master Bedroom, Wardrobes, Safe. The Logic – This being the corner where the South and the West meet, it is best to have a Master bedroom as the room can get good cross ventilation. Since the owner sleeps here it makes sense to have his safe and wardrobes here. Also the wardrobes should be on the West wall to reduce the heat.
South-East (Agneya) is the direction of Agni, the god of fire. This is the direction of heat, vitality and energy. It is advised that all cooking and kitchen related activity be in this direction. The Logic behind this is that the corner can benefit from the germicidal UV rays of the morning sun. Also in this position, the South-West wind direction does not affect the fire flames (as in ancient times cooking was done in open air).
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