Misuse of tenets is degrading VastuShastra: urban planner Consumerist forces behind tweaking of ancient knowledge, says R Jegannathan


New Delhi, May 6: The tenets of VastuShastra stand relevant in modern-day engineering, but misuse in their practice is bringing the traditional Indian architecture system a bad name, according to a top expert.

Half-baked knowledge of the ancient texts, along with a consumerist-driven alacrity to market it, often leads to wrong and even dangerous execution of the prescriptions, Bangalore-based urban planner Dr R. Jegannathan said here.

“For instance, VastuShastra doesn’t recommend the cutting of any tree in a plot where construction is to come up. But today we have architects quoting ‘VrikshaDosha’ and ordering removal of certain greenery, suggesting it radiates negativity,” he pointed out at a lecture organized by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on Thursday evening.

It is only when the existence of a tree stands in the way of a project—like road-laying, metro rail or raising a building—that its clearance if recommended, said the speaker, who is the principal at K.S. School of Architecture in the Karnataka capital. “One is forced to do it because, say, a rerouting of the proposed plan in a bid to save the tree will incur immensely big expenses.”

In his 30-minute talk on ‘Understanding VastuSastra: The Architecture of India’, DrJegannathan said the principles of VastuShastras can work at two levels in the field of engineering today. “One is to incorporate them at the stage of design so as to energise the plot after fixing the critical marmasthalas. The other is to add the techniques on to the structure after its completion—but without disturbing the original design or relaying anything. I do both,” noted the scholar, who is a post-graduate in construction management and has been researching for two decades in the field of VastuShastra, which pools in Hindu and occasionally Buddhist beliefs.

To a question, the speaker said traditional systems similar to VastuShastra—not by principles, but by spirit—existed both in the west and east of the globe. That is how Amsterdam, with about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges linking three main canals, came up in the Netherlands during the 17th century. Fengshui, the Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment, is in some ways akin to Vastu, he added.

Clarifying another doubt from the audience, DrJegannathan said used of synthetic materials, such as artificially-prepared crystals, do not serve the intended benefit in radiating positive energy.

Subject expert Dr. Narayan Dutt Sharma and IGNCA Member-Secretary Smt.Veena Joshi also addressed the gathering.

 

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