Rohit Mishra

Thoughts which don’t fit in 140 characters.

Vaastu Is Not Science.

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This post was originally shared by Sandhya Pentareddy, Executive Director, VIT University on her facebook page. Follow her for a daily dose of language and science tips. 

I hate superstitions. I think they are the easiest way to shy away from your fears. The general assumption is that only the old believe in them. But sadly, as the post below shows, the younger generation, here in India, believes more and more in these superstitions. I will never be able to reason as well as Sandhya Ma’am does here, so am sharing her post and comments. For complete discussion, you can go to the post here.

Are we going backwards? I see pseudo-sciences like Vastu gaining more popularity these days as compared to 20 years ago. We often hear things such as “If this corner protrudes more than a certain other corner, the head of the family will suffer severe losses, the children won’t study well etc.” What correlation is there between the facing of the house to the personality of individuals as Vastu claims? Have there been any studies? Is there any scientific data to prove these baseless theories?

Beware that you are being deceived in the name of ‘Science’. ‘Science’ deals with body of facts or truths. To call something a fact or truth, one has to prove it. I often hear the pseudo-scientists defend themselves by saying “All that you can’t prove is not necessarily untrue”. While there is truth in that statement, we also can’t accept all that is not yet proved as ‘truth’. Vastu is a superstition and not science. It may have started as an attempt at science to lay down some basic guidelines for construction but educated people like us have to question those rules and use our common sense and knowledge and decide whether to believe those rules.

A huge portion of our population is gullible when it comes to pseudo-sciences. Insecurity is the root cause. The attitude of “Why take a chance? May be, what they say is true” is killing us. I think we are knowledgeable enough to question, verify and accept / reject the statements made. Have faith in your own knowledge and don’t give into the feeling that ‘Elders have stated these for generations. So, they must be true’. It’s possible that those elders may not be that wise after all. There was a time when people thought that the earth was flat. If we always believed our elders without looking into the substance or the proof, we would be still thinking that the earth is flat.

Today’s Vastu has gone beyond the basic rules that prevailed before. Ridiculous concepts such as ‘if the bathroom faces this way, there will be more fights between husband and wife’ are extended. There are remedial suggestions by the so-called ‘Vastu experts’ such as put these spices, money or twigs in that corner and the fights will lessen. These quacks are deceiving many people and are making a fast buck.

Please don’t believe something just because it is popular or because your grandparents did. Please don’t put your ‘faith’ in dumb things such as these. You have a brain. Use it. Don’t believe quacks. I’d trust your common sense more than the Vastu consultants.

Comments (edited)

(To a comment that knowledge of science is incomplete)

If you don’t want to refuse something based on incomplete knowledge, I can live with that. But how can you (or others) accept something based on incomplete knowledge? Also, let’s use common sense. You can’t possibly believe in things such as “If this corner protrudes, the head of the household will die soon”. Well, I guess it depends on how ‘soon’ is soon :) Eventually, any outcome may happen. Eventually, I may pass a subject I have failed in many times. That may be due to my hard work and may not be due the vastu remedy I have done.

(To a comment that Vaastu is a traditonal Civil Engineering)

Vastu seems to be an ancient attempt at Civil engg. However, we can’t blindly follow the rules. I don’t think you’d follow the rules in your civil engg texts blindly even tho’ they have been vetted by various scientists. I’d love it if there is an explanation for the Vastu rules. A lot of it is BS. You need not be a scientist to see that there is no correlation among most of those theories. Even worse, there is no agreement among the various Vastu scientists.

(To a comment that north-east direction, supposedly held good, in Vaastu has been proven in success of the eastern part of US)

It is also found that as one progresses towards the North-East in the United States of America the land becomes richer and richer”… Some statements like these are confidently made misguiding the readers. The richest tycoons of America are found in Seattle, California, Arkansas etc. They are not north-east. Besides, the north-east land is not richer. Wallstreet happens to be in the north-east but mind you that wallstreet’s investments are all over America and even around the world.

(To a comment that Vaastu is traditional knowledge and must be revered)

Knowledge is grown through generations. Our grandfathers and grandmothers have taught us so many good things. They have imparted knowledge to us through generations. Among our grandfathers are scientists and quacks also. Our forefathers are not always 100% right. But they have given you common sense to judge what is correct and what is not. We need to use that sense. I agree with you that we have to analyze, discuss, prove or disprove something if we can. All I’m saying is that don’t take it at face-value. Analyze it, experiment with it, verify it and accept or reject if you believe it is something worth while. But use your common sense first as that will tell you what’s worth experimenting with and what’s not.

– end –

Before calling something science, lets go back to grade 1 and study what is science.

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