The danger of superstition is that we put our minds on hold when we follow it. In the words of the Indian philosopher, Swami Vivekananda, ‘If superstition enters, the brain is gone.’
Vastu shastra is a traditional Hindu system of architecture. ‘Vastu‘ translates to mean ‘dwelling place’ and ‘shastra‘ translates as ‘doctrine, teaching’. As I understand it, ancient Indian manuals of architecture advocated that houses should be built to ensure that the five elements of earth, air, water, space and fire are accommodated in a particular way. The direction in which the whole house and each room within the house faces was specified keeping these elements in mind, much like the Chinese, feng shui.
While there might be some scientific basis to this doctrine, whether it can be actually called a science is debatable.
Somewhere, around 25 years or so ago, vastu shastra was revived with a vengeance. Several ‘experts’ began to earn big money in exchange for their views on how houses and buildings must be made ‘vastu-compliant‘. If that was not bad enough, people who are not doing well financially are told that the reason for their situation is that their homes or offices are not vastu-compliant! You now have people making crazy structural changes to their houses, selling them off for a song, or pulling them down and rebuilding them. Naturally, these ‘experts’ recommend architects and contractors, and get commissions out of them too!
Vastu shastra has now moved into becoming a superstitious practice followed out of fear.
Just recently, my brother got a frantic call from the tenant of the apartment he was renting out on behalf of an uncle. The man had paid the rental deposit and taken the keys to move in. Then his family told him he was bringing terrible bad luck on himself as the entrance door of the apartment does not face east! He told my brother, “I don’t believe in this, but I don’t want to take a chance.”
Two neighbours are fighting in court because one of them extended his apartment in such a way that the shape of the outer walls of the other’s apartment is no longer square and therefore not vastu-compliant!
I know of another family whose business was doing badly. They are very devout Catholics but also part of an evangelical movement. The priest heading this movement, advised them that their new home was not built in a good place. Naturally, the’Lord’ told him that they needed to build a new house (perhaps, he then recommended a contractor too!). The family moved out and built a new house. Soon after, they lost their son in a tragic accident, the mother developed cancer, and recently one son’s marriage broke up. I wonder how the family reconciles this in their mind and what the ‘Lord’ and his priest have to say now.
Are we clinging on to superstition so that we can find a cause for our suffering? Are we looking out for easy answers? Are allowing ourselves to be led by people who prey on our fears for their own gain?
It is not my intention to offend anyone with this post, so my apologies in advance. However, these are my views and I will stand by them.