Back in the days when I was an architecture student who viewed the world with rose-tinted glasses and brimmed with optimism, I was also gullible enough to listen to all kinds of stuff that was spewed out to the unwary public. One such ‘stuff’ that was sold under the guise of ‘spiritual science’; if at all they can be amalgamated into one disingenuous load of crap was Vastu Shastra (later a major motion picture that scared the bejesus out of simpletons).
The bane of most architects is that their clients claim to know the inner workings of architecture and construction by the time the foundation is laid. The poor architect has no answer for the haughty client’s question for why we needed a concrete pergola when instead he could put a plastic tarpaulin sheet for less than quarter of the price and yet have the same functional effect. The architects needed something that the doctors had i.e. the power to impose their will on their clients failing which they would die. So the architecture profession dug into the past and brought to light forgotten relics (for good reason too) and repackaged it as ‘vastu shastra’. Now, they had an ace up their sleeve. Build that pergola and direct the positive energy into your home otherwise your business will suffer and you will die a penniless man. The clients couldn’t argue with that and fell hook line and sinker for that one.
Of course, the honeymoon didn’t last long. The architecture profession soon was inundated by self-made vastu professionals who weren’t subjected to five years of late-night submission drawings and last-minute design concepts. The clients propped them up at the last minute and the bugger wrecked havoc on your carefully rendered perspectives with an ungainly black marker turning your award-winning design upside down. Now, guest would have to walk to the back of your house to enter it. Why? Because that’s where the positive energy flows in from and you have to block out negative energy from the southwest corner. I wonder why energies didn’t catch on to this subtle trick or why couldn’t you just put up a sign saying negative energies not welcome.
Now before I diss vastu completely, I want to make it clear that our ancestors who probably laid down few ground rules for building homes had the best intentions in mind. Some of the advice, well follows climatic-friendly design such as, block out any openings from the South side because that’s where you get maximum heat from the sun. Allow for north light because sunlight from that direction is reflected light hence less harsh. But telling me that face north while working because that’s how you will get the ‘uttar’ (hindi for answer) just makes me laugh, much less work. Semantics ain’t convincing me. But if you are even convinced by the climatic-design basis of some vastu advice, you have to bear in mind that such advice will only be applicable for India because in cold-climate countries like that in Europe or North America, you would want all the sunlight and heat you can get. There are thousand other refutations of vastu shastra that I can go into but that is not the point of this post.
My attention was suddenly brought to vastu shastra [via] because one Smita Jain Narang who claims to have MPhil and PhD degrees in vastu shastra (never knew it was a qualified science; it probably is not) makes the claim for creating applying vastu principles to websites. Now, I cannot begin to say how wrong that is in so many different ways. First of all, I bet our ancestors had the concept of websites when they developed the tenets for vastu shastra. The website is built and works so much different from a home. Do you face your server to the north or your monitor? Does it matter where your website is hosted? Her book, WebVastu (hmmm; a Web 2.0-like name) claims to fuse two sciences, computer science and “ancient science of directions.” She claims that like “five basic elements of nature, Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space”, websites are also made of five elements which she carelessly forgets to mention on the website. Yup, like that is going to make me buy the book. Her introduction and marketing spiel for the book is amazing and hilarious:
“Why do users spend extra time on some websites than others and what makes them to come back to these sites again and again. Is it attractive graphics, eye-catching colours or the animation? While any of those things can be part of a good website, there are more elusive traits that can transform a good website into a great website and it can be done with the help of Vastu Shastra.
For the websites to bring business the element in each quadrant must be honored and they should be kept in balance as this creates powerful and beneficial conditions, which draw business towards the owner. On the other hand, an imbalance of the elements can create negative energies, which may have an adverse effect on the websites.”
Her question for why do certain websites work while others don’t can be easily explained by solid business and marketing principles. As we know, content and uniqueness triumphs in any website’s success and is sustaining by keeping the interest of the user alive through enhanced services and effective marketing. Of course, examining microscopically, if you position your ads to a certain part of the screen, they are more likely to work than in other parts but that has nothing to do with vastu shastra but simply behavioral sciences.
Such frauds who claim to know more about science and pseudo-science are simply aiming for the gullible literate people who have no clue how a web business works. Any successes by following the advice in Ms. Narang’s book can be purely coincidental and non-causal. Mind you that the numerous failures that following such advice will never be accounted for