India’s GDP Growth, Sick Industrial Units and Vastushastra

This is an excerpt from my article which first appeared on the occasion of 5th National Convention and Exposition – “Housing for All” which was organized by NAREDCO on 11-13 March 2005 at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003 – Arun Naik

 

This paper focuses on the untapped potential of Vastu architecture for creating harmonious habitat and a strong nation.
 

Housing would acquire an abbreviated and truncated meaning if it is interpreted as providing merely a shelter. A house is much more than a shelter and a roof over one’s head – it is a home, a structure which the ancient Indian architecture saw as an organic entity which can be a catalytic factor in growth and stability in life, a space which embraces us, sustains our peace and happiness, offers us comfort and shelter, and become the pivot for our physical, mental and spiritual growth.
 
In his book The Renaissance in India Sri Aurobindo writes of Indian architecture in the following words:
 

“Indian sacred architecture of whatever date, style or dedication goes back to something timelessly ancient and now outside India almost wholly lost, something which belongs to the past, and yet it goes forward too, though this the rationalistic mind will not easily admit, to something which will return upon us and is already beginning to return, something which belongs to the future.”

 
The Vedic and the Agamic traditions have always held that the microcosm is but a reflection of the macrocosm. A dwelling is an ecological unit, a microcosm which reflects the macrocosm, it is influenced by the same elements, and it follows the same rules. The principles of Vãstu architecture are the applied aspect of this philosophy, a highly refined method of creating a living space which is a miniature replica of the cosmos as perceived by the Vedas. Vãstu Architecture is about emulating the attributes of the Cosmic Space, about bringing the divine sentinels of Cosmic Directions into our homes, about creating Harmony by creating a living environment where the forces of nature are balanced and at peace with each other.

 
The guidelines and rules of Vãstu Shãstra have been laid down clearly in several ancient texts, but the principles upon which they have been formulated are steeped deep into mystical Indian philosophy of Vedas, Yoga and Tantra. It may be speculated, however, based upon several observations, that these principles are deeply connected to the cosmic rays of the sun, the movement of Earth, and geomagnetism.

 
Vãstu Shãstra has a strong similarity to the principles of Yoga. Just as the Prana flows freely through the body of a yogi, so is a Vãstu house designed to allow free flow of Prana within. The geometric centre of the plot is equated with the human naval, the NE is the head, and the SW is the base. The left side of the plot is the Pingala nerve or the carrier of Solar Prana, and the right side is the Ida nerve or the carrier of Chandra Prana. The centre of the plot has the highest concentration of energy. It is therefore called the Bramhasthan and no construction is encouraged on this spot..

 
The right – Ida- side supports all creative and life promoting activities, and the left – Pingala – side supports all heavy, difficult, and worldly activities. A Vãstu architect plans more open area and light construction on Ida side and heavy construction on Pingala side. This maintains a dynamic equilibrium of energy in the structure, for any serious disequilibrium will manifest as disharmony in life..

 
For example, disequilibrium in a house will cause mental tension, chronic illness, emotional unrest, financial problems, distrust and misunderstandings with family members, separation, or even a loss of life.

 
Disequilibrium in an office will cause low sales, reduced profits, problems with enforcement agencies, low staff retentivity, litigations, shortfall in targets and missed deadlines.

 
A disequilibrium in a factory causes losses, mechanical problems, breakdowns, loss of production, severe financial problems, labour troubles, fire, burglary, penalties, personal and family problems, accidents, and in extreme cases, fatal accidents..

 
Vãstu Shãstra also firmly believes that each building – whether it is a house, a godown, a factory, or an office – is an organic whole where indiscriminate extensions, alterations or mutilations should not be carried out..

 

Vãstu Architecture and Indian Industries.

 
particular interest would be the application of Vãstu principles in designing the layouts of industries.

 
India has suffered huge losses from the sick industries. According to the report of Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction, Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India, on 31.12.2003 the net worth of sick industries in India was Rs.54650.90 crores, their accumulated losses were a staggering Rs.103277.55 crores. These industries involved 23,35,757 workers (Annexure D). This is a terrible human tragedy, a terrible loss of manpower, and a staggering financial loss to the nation.

 
BIFR Report.

 
Detail of Sick Industries as on 31.12.2003
Source: http://bifr.nic.in/geninfo.htm

S.No Industry Total Cases Networth
Rs. in Crores
Accumulated
Losses
Workers
1. Textiles 867 7501.23 15728.12 623753
2. Metallurgical 762 8962.63 16684.70 202669
3. Paper & Pulp 270 1350.39 2348.23 67699
4. Chemicals 331 4111.46 7177.60 63114
5. Engineering 16 196.23 1048.79 36999
6. Electrical equipment 210 3253.54 6672.03 64414
7. Cement and Gypsum 79 1795.88 2568.18 25533
8. Vegetable Oils & Vanaspati 245 1544.79 3962.10 34086
9. Electronics 82 547.96 1028.82 13921
10. Food Processing 205 1649.68 2436.47 39639
11. Drugs 162 1921.38 3916.66 33079
12. Transport 76 716.69 1474.79 38246
13. Jute 53 124.54 878.34 149924
14. Glass & Ceramics 104 917.75 1566.16 35227
15. Sugar 51 789.05 1120.57 36388
16. Rubber Goods 79 448.12 872.25 12809
17. Leather & Leather Goods 52 802.50 1375.32 10985
18. Fertilizers 43 3007.50 7358.49 20100
19. Timber Products 19 60.70 159.88 3952
20. Miscellaneous 1042 14948.88 24900.05 823220
Total 4748 54650.90 103277.55 2335757

 

 

There is no doubt that most of these sick units must have tried their best to turn around, but experience shows that industries which suffer from critical problems in spite of their excellent management and infrastructure have one or several major Vãstu faults in their design and layout. Industries are highly susceptible to Vãstu faults because they are exposed to heavy loads of machinery, raw material, finished goods, brute mechanical action of the machines like cutting, piercing, shearing, drilling, bending, very high temperatures of furnaces, heat treatment plants, welding activities, movement of heavy vehicles, goods, people etc .It has also been observed when the Vãstu defects are removed the problems disappear.
 
Vãstu is, however, not a cure for all problems, nor is it a substitute to hard work and careful planning in life. It would be naive to assume that if Vãstu principles are utilized then success in life would become a foregone conclusion in all cases, because Vãstu principles work within the framework of natural laws, they aim at creating ambiences where hard work and sound planning yields quick results. The society should watch out for unscrupulous elements who are misguiding people at large in the name of Vãstu Architecture.

 

 Sick Building Syndrome, Green Architecture and Vastu Architecture

The West has already begun its crusade against Sick Buildings. In 1974 the concept of Bau-biologie was propagated in Germany under Dr. Anton Schneider. In a broad sense the term Bau-biologie may be understood as the science of holistic interactions between life and living environment. The building environment has an effect upon the health of the occupants, and baubiologie uses this knowledge to build healthy homes by defining certain principles of where and how the buildings should be located, the selection of building materials, defining the parameters of desired moisture content, noise pollution, light, lighting, colour, use of harmonic measures, proportions and shapes and so on (Annexure E).
 
The concept of Bau Biologie is thirty years old, and it works at the physical level of building sickness.  Fortunately, we have inherited the knowledge of Vãstu which is ancient and proven, and works at a much deeper level.
 
The global energy crisis has initiated a move towards Green Architecture. Perhaps we will be left with no other choice if we want our children to survive. Already work has begun in India by TERI and some individuals. Our buildings need to be integrated  with nature. Man cannot be separated from his environment, he belongs to it. There is a holistic bond between the two of them. Also, all life stems from the Earth and therefore it is imperative that we make it a point to integrate our buildings and other constructions with Earth and our environment.
 
The modern technology and architecture have great common sense, practical vision, will to innovate, and Vãstu has its ancient wisdom, a philosophy of directions, space and measurements. A fusion of Green Architectural techniques, Bau biologie and Vãstu principles may well pave way for a revolution in real estate development and housing.
 
A word about Vastu and modern Architecture. At no point has it been suggested in this document that Vãstu Architecture should replace modern planning and architecture. It would be cynical to suggest that. Modern technology is unsurpassed in the history of the world in fields of space management, construction techniques, grand visions, initiative and a will to innovate and take on challenges headlong. What is being suggested is that the principles of Vãstu architecture should be profusely used in designing townships, colonies, co-operative housing, industrial areas, individual houses and factories without compromising on the efficiency of modern architecture.

 

An appeal to Government agencies, ministries, builders and promoters
 
There is a global renaissance in faith, religion, traditional arts and crafts. In India the traditional performing arts and handicrafts were patronized by the Government soon after Independence, but the patronage of traditional knowledge has remained a dream. The tradition of Vãstu Architecture has been carried down by a succession of scholars, and in the current scenario has made its presence felt purely upon its own merit. Vãstu is a living science and a great hope for our tomorrow. No other method of designing and construction is as deep, profound and philosophical as Vãstu. A correct interpretation and application of tenets and Vãstu postulates combined with modern architecture can go a long way in alleviating the pressures of modern living. It is the call of the hour to patronize and utilize the traditional sciences like Vãstu architecture which are relevant in modern times and can contribute in a positive manner to the creation of a better life for all. May we look forward to sacred spaces in all Indian houses where families feel safe, secure and comfortable, where human intelligence can think better, where our children can learn how to aspire high and actually reach there. Various community buildings like schools, primary health centres, village offices and community centre and even middle and high income housing while retaining their cost effectivity in terms of structural, functional and aesthetic sufficiency can be built on these principles.
 
Vãstu should not be viewed through tainted glass of religious or political fanaticism. It is a school of architecture which has its roots in the Vedas which belong to all humanity, because what is good belongs to all.  Therefore, incorporation of Vãstu principles and rules in designing and construction of housing projects and public buildings would not amount to patronization of a religious concept, and would be within our country’s secular policy. In any case, adherence to Vãstu architecture is a choice, not a rule.
 
We are a nation with a glorious tradition and heritage of culture, knowledge and learning. Our time has arrived. The Planning Commission‘s document “India:Vision 2020” is already published. Hon. President Dr.Abdul Kalam has also projected a vision of India being a super power by 2020. Today we are an emerging economy, we have a large pool of scientists, a giant technological workforce, self sufficiency in food grains, and an overall development in core sectors. The Age of brute force is over, this is the age of Knowledge. Let us utilize the knowledge of Vãstu Architecture to harness the subtle energies of Cosmos for creating habitats, commercial and industrial zones, successful centers of higher education and scientific research, create environments where everyone of us performs well and grows, creates wealth and contributes to the growth of the nation. We are a nation of a billion people which is committed to success, and this juggernaut will not stop anymore.

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