What exactly is Sthapatya Veda?
As part of his vision to bring enlightenment to the world, Maharishi developed many programmes and technologies to promote health and well-being at the most fundamental level.
One of these areas of knowledge is called Sthapatya Veda, also known as Vedic or Natural Law Based architecture.
In May, MERU will be giving the 17-lesson course Maharishi himself designed on the topic.
I took the opportunity to ask Gabriel Hartman, who will be guiding the course for participants, a few questions.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
How did you first become interested in the field of Sthapatya Veda and how has it been a part of your life up until this point?
Gabriel: My father is the Minister of Architecture for the Global Country of World Peace, so it is in our family tradition to take care of this aspect of Maharishi’s Vedic knowledge.
This is also something Maharishi wanted me to study deeply. After I completed my training to become a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi gave me the task of reading the main ancient texts of Sthapatya Veda, Manasara Vastu Shastra and Mayamata Vastu Shastra. He asked me to read them three times from cover to cover, which I did.
Afterwards I worked in the Consultation Service for Sthapatya Veda, which has now become the Institute for Vedic Architecture and City Planning.
I worked there for some time before obtaining a second postgraduate Master called ‘Master of Peace’ from the University of Hamburg’s Institute of Peace Research and Security Policy.
Today, my interest is to examine how the wisdom of Sthapatya Veda, as it has been revived for our present time by Maharishi, can be verified in our own personal lives.
For that reason, I like to closely observe my thoughts and feelings and the quality of meditation when I am in a Vastu building as compared to being in a non-Vastu building, and to share these experiences with others who have similar interests – especially those who have never heard anything about Sthapatya Veda before.
What exactly is Sthapatya Veda?
In Maharishi’s words, Sthapatya Veda is the Science of Establishing. It is the most ancient and complete system of architecture and city planning in accord with Natural Law, which takes into account the influences of the planets and of the North and South Poles and the equator.
The first act is to establish the knower, which is something that takes place in your own consciousness. Establishing a house to protect the knower comes after that. Vedic Science is the Science of Consciousness, and Sthapatya Veda is one of the 40 aspects of Maharishi’s Vedic Science that have been revived by Maharishi. It is a great blessing that we have this knowledge from Maharishi.
Can you expand on this point? How does Vastu help establish ‘the knower’?
Maharishi explains that he started the TM Movement simply by teaching people Transcendental Meditation and giving them the experience of transcending.
The experience of unboundedness during Transcendental Meditation is the basis of understanding all other aspects of Maharishi’s Vedic Science.
Gradually, Maharishi started to revive one aspect of ancient Vedic Science after another and related all of them to the experience of transcending. First he started telling people that in addition to transcending, it is important what kind of food we eat, what kind of clothes we wear, and – lastly – what kind of houses we live in.
Sthapatya Veda is one of the lasts aspects of his Vedic Science that Maharishi brought out because it is the most physical. Sthapatya Veda enlivens consciousness in hard physical matter – in the bricks and stones of your house. It is truly amazing how the heaviness of stones can be transformed in a way so they are not pulling you down anymore.
In a building that has been constructed according to the principles of Sthapatya Veda, the mind does not lose its unbounded awareness that is gained during Transcendental Meditation.
‘Sthapatya Veda is one of the lasts aspects of his Vedic Science that Maharishi brought out because it is the most physical. Sthapatya Veda enlivens consciousness in hard physical matter – in the bricks and stones of your house.’
I’ve heard the term ‘Vastu’ used a lot, almost as a synonym for Sthapatya Veda.
What’s the difference between these two terms?
One is Science, the other is Technology. Science is the theoretical aspect, Technology is the applied aspect. The term Sthapatya Veda refers to the theoretical aspect, while the term Vastu refers to the applied aspect of this precious knowledge. Veda means knowledge, and Sthapan means to establish. Therefore as we already mentioned, Sthapatya Veda is the Science of Establishing.
Vastu, on the other hand, has two meanings. Vastu with a short A refers to the Earth as a whole, to our home planet on which we build our homes and cities. Vastu with a long A refers to the individual plot of land on which you build your house.
The boundaries of this plot of land should be parallel to the longitudes and latitudes of our planet, which aligns our individual piece of land to the North and South Pole and the equator. In this way, the individual plot of land is always connected to the global grid that is used for city and country planning in Sthapatya Veda.
There are many other specifications that are part of the technology of Vastu, which ensure that the individual remains always connected to the Cosmos. These specifications are incorporated into the design of the house, its placement inside the Vastu plot of land, its orientation and proportions, the timing of laying the foundation stone and of moving into the new house, as well as many other factors that ensure the harmony between the individual and the Cosmos.
There might be people reading this, perhaps in India for example, who are familiar with some type of Vastu architecture but not Maharishi’s approach. How is Maharishi’s approach different?
Maharishi simplified everything to be most conducive for enlightenment. To simplify things that first appear difficult is the task of a great Rishi like Veda Vyasa or Maharishi.
The knowledge of Sthapatya Veda was highly scattered and misunderstood. Maharishi clarified many things that are still misunderstood even in India and made this precious knowledge of Sthapatya Veda usable for our present time to bring peace to the world by building houses and cities that are in harmony with Cosmic Intelligence.
What are examples of things Maharishi clarified that used to be misunderstood?
Most importantly, Maharishi clarified that Veda is not simply man-made poetry. His discovery of the silent Avyakta Sukta of Rik Veda and his cognition of the Apaurusheya Bhashya, the inherent, self-created commentary of Rik Veda, truly show that Maharishi was a great Rishi.
Maharishi explains that Sthapatya Veda is what gives the Veda its structure. So Sthapatya Veda is far more than just the knowledge of how to build houses. Sthapatya Veda is part of the structuring dynamics of consciousness that appears as the material universe.
‘Sthapatya Veda is far more than just the knowledge of how to build houses. It is part of the structuring dynamics of consciousness that appears as the material universe.’
How about the principles of Vastu? What are the main features of a building that’s constructed according to the knowledge of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda?
Most importantly, buildings that are constructed according to Vastu principles should be oriented according to the cardinal directions, North, South, East, and West, and have their main entrance on the East. And not just anywhere on the East, but the door should be in a specific position in the Eastern wall, North of the middle line, never South of the middle line.
It’s equally important to have an unobstructed view of the sunrise in the morning, which means the building should be ideally on an Eastern slope, without any mountains to the East that could block the morning Sun. Maharishi explains that the Sun is the most important influence of Natural Law on Earth. Therefore, we want an unobstructed view of the Sun as it rises in the morning.
In addition, the proportions of the house are calculated according to a set of ancient Vedic formulas that connect the individual to the Cosmos, and the rooms in the house are positioned in such a way that the activity that takes place in each room is supported by their placement. Otherwise, it can happen that you always feel hungry in the bedroom or sleepy in the kitchen.
The specific times at which the construction of the house should start and when you should move into your new house are also calculated in such a way that they are most conducive to your success and well-being. Such a building resonates with Cosmic Intelligence. The inhabitants can clearly perceive this as they feel that the walls of the building are almost transparent, enhancing the connection of the individual to the Cosmos.
In an ordinary building, on the other hand, the walls often feel as if they are restricting your consciousness and hold you in. This heaviness disappears in a Vastu building.
So it sounds like from a subjective standpoint, many people have had profound experiences in Vastu buildings.
What about an objective perspective – is there any research to support these claims that building according to Vastu supports health and well-being?
There are indeed some scientific surveys of Vastu home owners that were done by Dr Sanford Nidich, a co-investigator on several major National Institutes of Health grants about Maharishi AyurVeda, who is a professor at Maharishi University of Management. These studies show a high level of satisfaction of these Vastu house owners with their health and general success in life and are given in more detail in the book How to Build Vastu Homes and Cities.
Additionally, there is some research that suggests humans have an innate sense of orientation, which is very important for Sthapatya Veda. There is a brand new study, for instance, that has come out from the California Institute of Technology, showing that we humans have cells in our brain that know whether you are facing East, West, North or South.
Admittedly, these are just a few studies. We would love to see much more research done on the effects of building according to Vasu architecture. Of course, all good research should question what it’s trying to prove and include tests to see whether the effects people experience are simply imagined placebo effects, or if they can be objectively verified.
Personally speaking, I and many others have had profound experiences living and working in Vastu buildings.
These effects may be subtle for some, but they are felt more clearly when you meditate in a Vastu building and compare your experience to your meditation in a non-Vastu building.
If you are interested in testing this on yourself, I would invite you to meditate in Vastu buildings when you can, and compare the experience with your other meditations.
I think we can all agree that if Vastu supports our well-being, and ultimately our consciousness itself, it is a really important and interesting field to explore.
But what about the cost? Is it realistic for most people to be able to build a house according to these principles?
New houses are being built all the time anyway, and the cost of construction for a Vastu building is not necessarily higher than an ordinary building. There is a cost associated with the consultation, but this is a small percentage of the total cost of building.
The main thing is that you are able to orient your building with the entrance to the East, with a little bit of clear space around the house. We do not do rectification of existing houses anymore because it gives only very superficial results, since the main structure of the building is likely not oriented properly and has the wrong proportions and placements of rooms. That is why Maharishi always recommended to build new.
Maharishi emphasized that ‘When you support Vastu, Vastu supports you.’ So when you really have the desire to build a building according to Maharishi Sthapatya Veda and appreciate the profundity of his knowledge, you will live in a Vastu building soon. Money is never a problem when we set our priorities right.
As I understand it there are a number of ways people can learn about Maharishi Vastu, and there are a few different courses and workshops being given around the world.
At MERU we have a course coming up soon, which is the 17-lesson course Maharishi designed. What is unique about this course compared to other Vastu courses?
As you say yourself, the speciality of the 17-lesson course on Sthapatya Veda offered at MERU is that all the lessons were structured by Maharishi himself, and he made the majority of tapes in this course. This makes it so precious.
There is no better way to learn this knowledge than directly from Maharishi, and this course allows participants to gain deep insights into Maharishi’s thinking and to expand their own minds.
The desire to live in a Vastu building will naturally arise from this expanded state of awareness. Through this course, participants will gain all the support and motivation to establish themselves in their own Vastu homes.
For more practical points on Vastu buildings, take a look at the latest edition of the book How to Build Vastu Homes and Cities.
About the Author
Rebekah Mays is originally from Austin, Texas, and currently lives in the Netherlands. She is thrilled to now be working as MERU’s Content Director, and her aim is to help make Maharishi’s vast knowledge more accessible to people from all countries, ages, and backgrounds.