Vaastu and Colors for Decorating
Vaastu Shatra is the ancient science of space revealed by the Vedic Sages. Like Feng Shui, Vaast teaches us how to lay out buildings in harmony with nature and to enhance the flow of positive energy and to reduce negative energy effecting the people who inhabit that space. Vaastu teaches that each direction is governed by a certain element and that specific rooms and features of a property should be aligned with these elements. All planning and construction is done after proper consideration of the energy of the directions. The kitchen, for example, is ideally placed in the SE because this is the direction of the fire element which promotes cooking and digestion. The prayer room is ideally located in the NE, to take advantage of the positive energies flowing from that direction. When dealing with a property which is already constructed, it is not always possible to move a poorly placed room or well etc. Certain features like surrounding roads, buildings, power lines, water bodies, mountains and other things cannot be changed. So there are certain recommendations Vaastu prescribes which can help to counter the negative effects of improper construction or surrounding defects to the vaastu of a property.
Vaastu Directions and Colors
Vaastu recommends the careful selection of colors for decorating a space as one potential remedy for Vaastu defects. Vaastu teaches that each direction has a different energy. For the purposes of vaastu directions are determined according to the sun using a gnomon. The NE direction is related to the Water element. The SE relates to Fire. The SW relates to Earth. The NW relates to Air. And the central portion, called the Brahmasthana, relates to Space or Akaksha. Each direction has its own unique energy and is related to a Diety or Dikpala (Guardian of the Direction). From a profound understanding of the energy of the directions, Vaastu has prescribed specific colors for decorating each direction in order to suppress the potentially harmful effects of energies flowing from that direction and to enhance the beneficial effects. The illustration shows suggestions for colors for each direction. Note that different texts provide different recommendations of colors for the different directions and that there are various possible colors which can be used. A more extensive list is provided in the table below.
Dealing With Vaastu Defects with Color
When there are vaastu defects, the careful selection of color can help to hinder the harmful effects of improperly placed rooms and features while improving the positive flow of energy through the space. Positive energy is said to flow from the East and North and negative energy from the South and West. This is why vaastu recommends keeping the North and East sides of a property or room clear, open, light, and low - this enhances receptivity to the positive energy flowing from the North and East. Hills and walls, fences, trees and other obstructions in the North or East can substantially reduce the flow of energy effecting the health, wealth, and success of inhabitants. Of course, it is ideal whenever possible to remove obstructions from a property. When this is not possible (or affordable), a person can help to generate more positive energy in a direction by painting the room in that direction the corresponding color from the illustration above. Beneficial colors may also be introduced to a space through fabrics for curtains, upholstery, artwork, rugs, or other decorations. Colors may also be used to help counterbalance the effects of improperly placed elements in the vaastu. If water, a well, lake, river, shower, or faucet is located in the SE, this is considered bad, because water will weaken the fire element in that direction. This vaastu dosha can weaken the confidence, intellect, immunity, and digestion of the people in the home. It can cause anxiety and accidents. If it is not possible to move that water which is dampening the fire element, it can be beneficial to paint the room in the SE pink. If pink is brought into the SE to increase the fire energy and a candle or ghee lamp is offered to Lord Murugan in the SE regularly, this can be an effective remedy to help counteract the effects of improperly placed water. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide an exhaustive list of vaastu defects and their potential color related remedies. These examples should help a person to understand the basic principles of using colors as a remedial measure in vaastu.
Considering One's Astrology
The 8 directions may also be related to the Nine planets of Vedic astrology. Each planet is said to rule a different direction and the careful selection of colors can give strength to the planet ruling that direction. Colors may also be used to shield a person from the negative influence of the planets caused by their placement in the natal chart. According to vaastu, the Sun relates to the East; Venus to the SE; Mars to the South; Rahu to the SW; Saturn to the West; the Moon to the NW; Mercury to the North, and Jupiter and Ketu both to the NE. For example, painting the Southern room in a house a bold red would give strength to Mars and the Fire element. Using cooler colors like pink or green would ease an excess of fiery energy in that direction. See the list below of various colors suitable for each direction according to the consideration of the Planets, and Elements of each direction.
Giving Strength to Benefic Planets and Shielding from the Effects of Malefic Planets
When selecting colors for one's home, it is wise to consult an astrologer to seek advice on the types of colors most suitable to give strength to one's auspicious planets. According to astrology, each planet is capable of exerting benefic or malefic effects based upon its nature for the ascendance, its house and sign of placement, and its association with other planets in the chart etc. Determining which planets are most benefic and which are most malefic is a complex task best left to an experienced astrologer. If a person has a sense of which planets are the strongest benefics in the birth chart, they can give extra strength to that planet to increase their beneficial effects in life by favoring the colors relating to that planet whenever possible in decorating. Red, gold and dark orange will give strength to the Sun. White, silver and light blues will strengthen the Moon. Red, maroon, and bold colors will strengthen Mars. Green, tan, brown, and Earth tones will strengthen Mercury. Yellow, gold, and light oranges will strengthen Jupiter. White, light blue, light pink, and pastels will give strength to Venus. Dark blue, purple, or grey will strengthen Saturn. Grey, blue, maroon, brown or dark orange will strengthen Rahu. And light blue, light green, gold, or yellow can strengthen Ketu. These colors will be especially powerful to strengthen a Planet when they are used in the direction of the Planet, but they can be helpful when used in any suitable direction. The colors which give strength to malefic planets in one's chart should be avoided as much as possible, as their presence may increase the Planet's potential to cause trouble in life.
When the colors recommend by Vaastu risk giving unwanted power to malefic Planets, it is always possible to use complementary colors to help reduce the energy of the planet in question. Selecting colors from the table above which honor the direction in some way is ideal when substituting colors. The colors of neutral planets or those which have mixed results may be used as secondary colors for decorating, but are best avoided as primary colors throughout the home. However, if there is no other choice, the colors of neutral planets will cause much less trouble than those of malefics. When considering the astrology of a building which will be used by various different people, Vaastu would recommend basing color choices primarily upon the astrology of the owner of the property.
Considering one's Ayurvedic Constitution
Ayurveda teaches that health can be understood in terms of the balance of the three doshas: vaata, pitta, and kapha. Each of the doshas has a propensity to be increased or decreased by the colors a person is exposed to for long periods of time, like the walls in a home or office. One's doshic balance may be determined by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Vata dosha benefits from warm, calming, grounding colors like reds, oranges, yellows, browns, tans, and Earth tones. Pitta benefits from cooling, calming colors like blues, white, greens, purples, Earth tones, and light colors. Kapha benefits from bold, stimulating or cleansing colors like red, purple, orange, and bright colors. It is useful when selecting colors for a building to consider the doshic balance of all the people who will be regularly using that space.
It is Not always Best to Choose One's Favorite Colors
It is worth mentioning that when people are out of balance, they tend to gravitate toward things which further increase their imbalance. Colors are no exception. Angry pitta types often favor red for clothing and decorations and avoid the cooling calming colors that balance their doshas. They feel uncomfortable with light blues, white, or other cool colors. Many depressed people wear a large amount of black which attracts negativity and promotes even more sadness. It is important when selecting colors to keep this principle in mind and not to select the colors which are a person's favorite, but to select those colors which are most beneficial. But it is useful if a person has some affinity for the colors selected for decorating, since they have to live with them and the colors should be beautiful to them so that they bring pleasure, comfort, and joy as they improve the energy of the space.
General Considerations for Color Selection
In general, lighter colors are a better choice for an uplifting surrounding. White is a pure color which is uplifting and which tends to deflect all negativity and shields a person from darkness. Black is a color which is depressing and which attracts all forms of negativity to a person. Any color can be softened by adding white and darkened by adding black. But white and the cooler shades which come from mixing white with other colors can be very cooling, so a delicate balance is required to create an uplifting effect without becoming too cool. This is especially important to consider for people with an excess of vata or kapha. Colors throughout a building should be selected to complement one another so that there is a harmonious effect when passing from room to room in the space. Colors that clash and dramatic contrasts of color can be overly stimulating and do not lead to an overall sense of peace for people using the space. When decorating a space, it is wise to create a balanced color pallet which creates a natural flow from room to room considering the astrology and doshic balance of the inhabitants of the space and the energy of the directions.
Color selection Considering the Intended Use of a Room
It is wise to select colors with not only the direction in mind but also the intended use for the space. The spiritual energy of a prayer room may be enhanced by using light yellows or light lavender shades. Coloring a kitchen or dining room with warm colors like yellow,pink, red, or orange helps promote proper digestion. An office or study may be colored yellow to promote intelligence. Bedrooms for individuals should be colored with particular attention to the astrology, Ayurvedic constitution and affinities of the person using that room. A bedroom is often a person's personal space in a house shared with the family. The needs of that individual can be fully addressed most effectively in their personal spaces within the common dwelling. Light green for showers can promote healing and cleansing. These are just a few examples of the possible use of color to enhance the qualities of a specific room in relation to its intended use. The possibilities are vast.
The nature of the Colors in General
In the aura, lighter shades indicate higher spiritual thoughts and feelings and darker colors indicate the base animal instincts and emotions like fear, anger, greed, jealousy, and confusion. Light reds stimulate vitality and romantic passion, but darker reds inflame hatred, rage, and violence. Light purple promotes spiritual vision. Light blues foster spiritual love, while dark blues and purples can create superstition and fear. Light greens inspire a love of nature while dark greens bring about anxiety and metal agitation. Light yellows induce spiritual intellect, while dark grayish yellow stimulate overactive mind and confusion. Light orange indicates spiritual intellect and dispassion, while dark oranges can bring about possessiveness and attachment. Colors can be bold and bright, especially when this is beneficial for one's Planets or Ayurvedic constitution. But very dark colors should be avoided, especially dark grayish, blackish, or brownish shades. It is clear to one who understands the psychological effects of the colors that lighter colors are more uplifting because they stimulate the higher spiritual emotions of peace, joy, love, and contentment. Dark colors attract dark thoughts and feelings to the mind.
It is not a simple task to select suitable colors for a space according to the principles of vaastu. For the best effects, many complex factors must be evaluated. But with knowledge and careful consideration, it is possible to improve the quality of life for people using a building and to help counter the effects of vaastu defects to enhance the flow of positive energy to a space by decorating with appropriate colors.
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