Are Vaastu Shastra and Feng Shui the Same? An Explanatory Guide for the Uninitiated

August 3, 2023
No Tags Assigned to this Post

Table Of Contents

Vaastu Shastra and Feng Shui are two practices that have been popularly used when people are planning to design and plan the layout of their new house. But many people do not actually know the difference between them, and in what ways these differences actually matter when planning a house. A major factor to keep in mind is that people typically adhere to the teachings of Vaastu Shastra when they are still in the process of planning the overall design of their house, whether it’s a 3 BHK in Powai or any other area. On the other hand, one can follow the practices of Feng Shui even after they are already settled in their house and you can follow it at any point in time.

Vaastu Shastra literally translates to “dwelling science” and follows much of the Hindu teachings of architecture, design, and energies. It was first formulated around 5000 years ago and continues to evolve even today.

While the origins of Feng Shui is a hotly contested topic, we know it was founded after Vaastu Shastra, somewhere between 3000 to 6000 years ago in China. Feng means “wind” and Shui means “water”, and the philosophy states that both of these elements are fundamental to one’s health. Feng Shui essentially focuses on the interaction between humans and the natural world, and believes that harmony between the two makes for the ideal living space.

We at L&T Realty have put together a guide on these two practices, exploring what differentiates them, the similarities they share, and their compatibility within the same household.

The Contrast: Main Differences Between Vaastu Shastra and Feng Shui

Room Layout
When it comes to Vaastu Shastra, the layout of the room and the various objects and furniture present in it is going to be determined by the major elements of nature as well as the directions that they may be associated with. The manner in which one decorates and lays out each section of the house, whether it’s the master bedroom, kitchen, or living room, is going to be based on these elements and the way they interact with each other.
On the other hand, Feng Shui places major emphasis on the flow of ‘Qi’ when it comes to planning the layout as well as the decoration of the rooms of the house. Qi is a life force or energy that is believed to be present in everything. This energy is said to affect us physically, mentally, as well as psychologically. Maintaining a free flowing and clutter-free physical space for a room is said to unblock Qi and give it an unhindered presence in the house.

Overall Orientation of Building
Vaastu also differs in its practices and teachings with regards to the orientation of a building or house as a whole. The cardinal directions play a major role in where the different rooms and sections of a house should be situated, as well as the direction in which the house faces. This also includes things such as the position of the entrance of the house. Vaastu Shastra has extensive teachings when it comes to the alignment of each and every section of the house.
Much like when it comes to the layout of each room, Feng Shui places serious emphasis on Qi with regards to the orientation and layout of the house as a whole. Each of the rooms of the house need to be situated in such a way that there is an uninterrupted and healthy flow of this invisible energy. Even aspects such as the direction in which the building faces, its proximity to natural locations such as mountains, hills, and water bodies, all are decided with the flow of Qi in mind. Whether you are looking at 4 BHK flats in Mumbai or dwellings in any other area, this is something to keep in mind according to Feng Shui.

Favorable Directions, Colors, and Objects
The practices of Vaastu and Feng Shui tend to clash a lot when it comes to the actual details of the house. The major one is what is considered an auspicious direction – in the teachings of Vaastu, north is considered a favorable direction and it brings positive energy. However, according to Feng Shui, south is an auspicious direction as it was believed that a house that faced south would receive the most hours of sunlight in a day. According to Feng Shui, homes that faced southwards were also associated with wealth and reputation.
Another point of difference arises when it comes to colors. According to Vaastu, the walls of a house should be painted a bright and vibrant shade, such as red or orange. On the other hand, Feng Shui teaches that the walls of the house should be in a neutral and calming shade that is soothing to the human eye. There are even clashes with regards to the kind of things to keep in the house. For instance, Vaastu encourages you to keep a tulsi plant in the house as it is said to bring peaceful vibrations to the environment. But Feng Shui says to keep wind chimes to drive away negative energy, and bamboo to bring good fortune and positive energy.

Common Ground: Similarities Between Vaastu Shastra and Feng Shui

The Importance of Energies
One of the obvious shared similarities between Vaastu and Feng shui is the emphasis that both place on invisible cosmic energies. In Vaastu, this energy is referred to as “Prana”, while in Feng Shui this is called “Qi”, as mentioned earlier. It is a concept that is not even exclusive to these two trains of thought, and is even commonly known as the “spirit” in the religion of Christianity. Both Vaastu and Feng Shui base the layout of a house as well as its overall orientation and structure, on the flow of these energies. Both of them also teach the importance of keeping a place clutter-free and dust-free to allow for the smooth flow of energies.

Paying Attention to the Natural Elements
Both Vaastu Shastra as well as Feng Shui place great importance in the natural elements, and these elements often dictate the way one may go about planning the layout of their home, in either practice. Vaastu Shastra focuses a lot on the energies that are released by five elements, which are earth, water, fire, air, and space. In many cases, certain cardinal directions are associated with these elements. For instance, north-east is considered the direction for water, and southwest is associated with the earth.
While Feng Shui also pays a lot of attention to five elements, some of them are different to those of Vaastu Shastra. These elements are fire, wood, metal, earth, and water. And much like Vaastu, Feng Shui associates the cardinal directions with these elements, such as the northeast direction being considered the earth corner, encouraging one to keep earthen objects in the northeast corner of the house.

Use of Mathematics and Geometry
Mathematics as well as geometry are core aspects in both Vaastu Shastra as well as Feng Shui when it comes to various architectural features. Apart from the focus on a wide range of natural elements, another major part of either philosophy’s basis is the use of mathematical calculations. In order to maintain a certain level of alignment with the cosmic energies, mathematical measurements and geometrical figures are utilized.

Are They Compatible?: Can Vaastu Shastra and Feng Shui Work in the Same Household?

While they are two different philosophies with some opposing teachings, it’s still very much possible for one to incorporate both Vaastu Shastra as well as Feng Shui in their house. One way you can do so is by focusing on both schools of thought when it comes to the center of the house. Both state that the center of the home is where the energies will accumulate and you will therefore need to ensure that the energy is positive. Vaastu says you can do this by making it an open space or even a courtyard, and Feng Shui teaches to keep this area as clutter-free as possible.
One can also adopt elements of either philosophy when it comes to the placement and layout of the master bedroom. Vaastu states that the bedroom should be in the southwest part of the house, and to avoid the southeast as the direction is associated with fire and could lead to conflict and quarrels. Feng Shui places a lot of emphasis on the position of the bed and the decor of the room, and says to keep the master bed in a diagonal position from the door. Both Vaastu and Feng Shui also encourage you to keep plants in the house, specifically tulsi and bamboo, respectively. Using water as an element of decoration in the house is a common practice of Feng Shui, and the north is considered the cardinal direction for water according to Vaastu. So it’s encouraged to use a water body or water decoration in the north side of the house, symbolizing the flow of prosperity and good energy.

Summing It Up…

While there is not really too much separating the two when it comes to determining which philosophy is better, one can certainly pick one that is better suited to their situation. Many people would say that Feng Shui is much easier to adopt, which might be true. This is because one can follow the practices of Feng Shui at any time, even if they have lived in their home for years. However, Vaastu Shastra is considered the more ideal practice to follow when you have not moved into your dwelling. While the teachings of Feng Shui are more well-known on a global scale, Vaastu Shastra is a much older concept and is backed much more with facts and concrete evidence. In the end, the main thing to remember is that either practice is very useful in putting together a healthy environment of positivity that also promotes both mental and physical health, whether you’re looking to live in a 2 BHK in Seawoods or any other location.

Disclaimer: Stock image used for representational purpose only.