Sunday, August 31, 2008

India Irrational 1 - Vaasthu

If you have been living in India for a while now, you would undoubtedly have heard about "Vaasthu" - the "wisdom" of building design and construction. If you have been living in a fool's paradise, you are likely to have bought into this notion that Vaasthu is indeed a science of some sort, and if you are an absolute idiot, you would have spent money to conform to some of Vaasthu's conditions.

If you have indeed spent money on Vaasthu conformation, you don't deserve even an iota of pity for you have in the age of the internet and rampant communication, chosen to be an ignorant fool fit for the dark ages. For every step forward that science, reason, and rationale have taken, it is fools like you who pull human progress back ten steps.

If I were to argue against Vaasthu, I would first have to give it some credibility in order to merit such an argument. However, as it stands, it does not deserve any rational argument because it is already as irrational as believing the earth is flat, no matter how much proof we have that the earth is rather spherical. Vaasthu stands on ambiguous principles, not "laws". Physics is based on "laws". The "laws" of physics hold true, and form the basis of all engineering that has brought about the progress of humanity.

The design of a building and the engineering codes laid down for development should more than take care of all our requirements of fire safety, ventilation, and all other concerns that Vaasthu is supposed to address in some arbitrary fashion, through rather simplistic and often awkwardly unrealistic mathematical considerations that can make a mockery of a good design.

There is the contention that if this Vaasthu were to have some hidden but potentially beneficial value, there is no harm in adhering to some of its principles. Now, if you are one of these people who sit on the fence with this nonsense in your head, you should know you are also impeding the progress of rational thinking, and hence slowing yourself down. There are many people who perform pujas to their vehicles before going on a pilgrimage tour. If you have a driver whose judgement is not quite sharp, it won't matter how many pujas you have performed on the vehicle, you are at a greater risk of having a mishap. It is that simple.

Your building will be sound and safe if you build it according to engineering specifications. There is no value addition of any sort in extending one corner to be higher than the other, or putting a window in a certain place so that wealth can flow into your life! In fact, by spending more money on getting your building up to these specifications, you have verily proved that Vaasthu is in fact making you poorer not richer. Invest in knowledge and you will benefit. Invest in ignorance and someone else is making a fool out of you.

The next time anybody tries to sell you some nonsense about Vaasthu, ask if you can get your money back if things don't work out the way they are supposed to, and in fact, some portion of the promised "prosperity" that this phenomenon is supposed to bring you. Structural engineers will guarantee the safety of your building, so why can't Vaasthu specialists who make money out of their trade that involves your money and promised returns of some sort? Do not worry if this challenge chases away your Vaasthu expert, for he is no expert. He is a scammer and if he believes in this nonsense completely, it means he has been scammed totally too!

Here's another side of your own coin for you now. What if Vaasthu is indeed capable of some kind of power and the guy who is advising you gets it wrong? Our satellites reach their orbits because of our scientists getting their calculations right. When something goes wrong, they are able to put their fingers on it and correct that for the next launch. Ultimately, we have knowledge guiding us, and that will not fail. If Vaasthu fails you, it is because you are lucky enough to come out of believing in it! Maybe it is no coincidence that "auspicious" is only one letter away from "suspicious"!

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