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N ture and Nurture

Vaastu
Art
Appropriate

SHERRI SILVERMAN

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Vaastu and
the Element of
Beauty in Art
True Vaastu requires not only attunement
with the laws of nature and the use of
natural materials, but also beauty.
Aesthetics are a major consideration: the
site, the building, and its contents must
be pleasing in its form and effect. All
levels of life should be nourished: physical
protection, emotional well-being, sensory
and aesthetic satisfaction.

Here is an apt excerpt from the sacred


Vaastu text Shilpa Vidya Rahasyopanishad:

“The space became decorated and


beautified with stars and other luminous
bodies. The Earth also became studded
and decorated with mountains, forests,
trees and so forth…”

Vaastu encourages you to imitate Nature


and divine creation by beautifying your
own spaces. This is a delightful concept:
adorning your world with beauty makes
your life more in harmony with nature.
An idea that seemed to me to be of use Keep this in mind when choosing artwork
for your home, business, or any space
to everyone — whether you think about where you spend time. Hearing beautiful
sounds heals the ears. Seeing beauty heals
it consciously or not — the idea of filling the eyes. As writer Alice Walker puts it:
a space in a beautiful way. “Whenever you are creating beauty
around you, you are restoring your own
Georgia O’Keeffe soul.”

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What I dream of is an art of balance,


of purity, of tranquility...a soothing,
calming influence on the mind.
Henri Matisse

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Decorating is not just a matter of the objects of this material world. Since flavor evoked by the experience of art. If
accumulating stuff; adorn your home Vaastu is a spiritually-based science, its something is juicy, it is full of that magical
with beauty that nourishes your soul. foundation is this unbounded field of life-force energy that helps create the
Choose your artwork and all your pure consciousness and eternal beauty. transcendental home.
furnishings carefully. Only add items if
Traditionally there are nine major rasas,
you find them useful, beautiful, and
which are enumerated in the Vaastu Sutra
comfortable. Adding ornamentation is
an act of honoring. Ananda
Coomaraswamy wrote: “The beauty of
Rasa: Upanishad. Some rasas are appropriate
for your home or office; some are not.
anything unadorned is not increased by Aesthetic Juice Clearly, rasas of Shanta (peace, tranquility,
serenity), Hasya (laughter, playfulness,
ornament, but made more effective by it.
Great appreciation of beauty is a reflection good-natured humor), Vira (heroism),
. . . It is generally by means of what we
of the beauty of your own inner nature. the uplifting aspects of Adbhuta (celestial
now call its decoration that a thing is
India scholar David Frawley writes, joy, astonishment at the marvelous), and
ritually transformed and made to function
“Sundari shoots us with the arrows of Shringara (romance, healthy eroticism,
spiritually as well as physically.”
delight, revealing all the forms of creation the blissful sweetness of love) can be
Remember that true Vaastu requires all as aspects of our own blissful nature of
levels to be fulfilled: functional space, pure consciousness.” Radiant works of
aesthetics, spiritual energy, and upliftment art evoke in the refined viewer rasavadana,
of your soul. As my friends Ajit Mookerjee aesthetic experience. Indian aesthetics
and Madhu Khanna wrote in The Tantric traditionally defines beauty in terms of
Way: “The beautiful and the spiritual the effectiveness of the emotional impact
form an inseparable whole. Beauty is a of works of art; beauty is described in
symbol of the divine.” The beauty we terms of rasa. Rasa is a Sanskrit term that
perceive with our senses is illuminated translates as the juice or sap of a plant.
by the underlying radiance of the In its use as a basic component of what
Absolute, the formless source of all is pleasing in the arts, architecture, and
existence and forms, which shines through design, rasa refers to the juice or emotional

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Great art...is restorative...I believe that


through our art, and through the
projection of transcendent imagery,
we can mend and heal the planet.
Audrey Flack

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influence, but this is a misunderstanding.
Having beautiful, high-quality abstract
art in your home will not weaken it or
yourself with amorphous, unfinished
qualities. Instead, abstract art can enliven
you and your home with uplifting,
energizing, peaceful influences of color
and subtle vibrational energies.

As an artist myself, I am acutely aware of


the effect of art and consider it when
creating and when setting my sankalpa,
or sacred intention, for the effect and
final form of the piece of art. Art should
enliven and expand consciousness, energy,

appropriate for different zones of your becomes a spiritual experience. Artwork


home. and home design that elicit this wholeness
are beautiful and truly representative of
The desire for serenity explains why so
what Vaastu offers to our lives.
many people like to have Buddha statues
in their homes, gardens, and offices. If
you are evoking Shringara rasa in your
home, make it the aspect of happy, united Artwork for
couples rather than the anguish of
separation. Karuna (compassion), Raudra Vaastu Homes
(anger, fury), Bhayanaka (fear), Bibhatsa Having all of your walls vacant can create
(the odious), and other evocations of a sterile feeling and make life feel lonely
sorrow, despair, deprivation, anxiety, and and unsettled. Place something on the
disgust may be powerfully expressed walls and around your home—art and
through excellent art. However, unless ornaments that you find uplifting and
they show the overcoming of these beautiful. Remember that what you put
obstacles in an inspirational manner, they your attention on grows stronger in your
are not healing, nourishing influences in life. War, violence, misery, and depressing
your home or office. What you put your scenes are not supportive for the home
attention on grows stronger in your life; as healing sanctuary; these subjects can
you can choose between focusing on and be powerful social commentary in art but
increasing sadness, depression, and misery are better suited for places other than
in your life, or you can make choices that your home. Avoid harsh, jagged images
help you become more established in that seem to attack. Look for art that
peace and happiness. expands and enlivens your soul and
A rasika is someone who is sensitive consciousness, not just your intellect. The
enough to be moved profoundly by and Vaastu text Mayamata recommends
have a transcendent experience from putting paintings on interior and exterior
observing an exquisite work of art. The walls, specifically “joyous scenes and
aesthetic experience touches so deeply as religious images.”
to integrate experience of many different You may have read in some Feng Shui
levels of existence, thus creating what books that abstract art is not a good

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Through the beauty


of material things
we come to
understand God.
Abbot Suger of St. Denis,
founder of the Gothic style
of sacred architecture

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joy, and serenity for both the artist and
the viewer. Vaastu-appropriate art has an
awakening effect upon us, realizing art’s
true potential: to enlighten, to wake
people up. Swami Muktananda wrote,
“The artist must always be responsible
for what he brings into the world; he
must always paint the highest. As well as
acting as receivers of energy, the chakras
also transmit energy, as do works of art.”

Artwork for a Vaastu home can be in


virtually any medium you find appealing.
Beautiful photographs of nature uplift
and soothe; for city-dwellers these photos
in additional to live plants and cut flowers
bring in that needed connection with
nature that is so vital to us. Paintings,
drawings, and prints on your walls add
color, energy, and decoration to a Vaastu
home. Your choice of sculpture should
also be included for the rhythmic variety
of three-dimensional form in the Vaastu
divine or of any subject matter, abstract on our lives. The French poet Mallarme
interior design of your home and for
or representational, that evokes rasas stated, referring to this effect: “Describe
pleasing beauty. Sculpture can be of the
appropriate in a Vaastu home. not the object itself, but the effect it
produces.” When the artist is in contact
with the source of creativity, the vitality
and expansiveness inherent in his or her
The Effect of work can evoke that deep level of

Vaastu- consciousness and expansion in the viewer


of the work.
Appropriate Art Thus, artists are able to enliven and pass
on the Viewer: Art along to their audience that experience
of the creative source and flow - to
as Doorway to whatever degree the viewer of the work

Peace, Silence, of art is able to be still and silent in order


to perceive and respond from within.

and the Infinite Many people experience tranquility from


seeing Vaastu-appropriate sculpture of
There is an inner expansion that takes
Buddha or other divine beings. Heinrich
place within the consciousness of one
Zimmer wrote in Artistic Form and Yoga
who experiences an authentic work of art
in the Sacred Images of India about the
that is in alignment with Vaastu. Art
effect of this three-dimensional art being:
always has the potential to evoke a
“an all-pervasive stillness…, even if there
response in the viewer, and it is this
are figures represented as being in great
response to art, not just its mere presence
movement. Tranquility radiates from these
on our walls, that is so potent in its effect
figures and, settling about the observer,

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forces him to slow his pace and reduces
him to complete silence.”

For people who do spiritual practices


(sadhana), more and more experiences
like these take place, as this potent
transcendental effect radiates into the
environment, even if you do not notice
it yourself.

Contemporary
Vaastu-
Appropriate Art Is
Healing
Many contemporary artists have healing
in mind when they create, so you should
easily be able to find pleasing art for your
Vaastu home. Include Vaastu-appropriate
artwork in your home that is healing in
influence and radiates life-supporting
energy both within the home and to the
world - a valuable and needed addition
to our world in which so many people
feel anxious, depressed, and tense that
our culture virtually accepts these as
normal experiences.

This evocation of the timeless, the infinite,


the divine, in order to heal the planet,
can be found rather frequently today in
the arts and in art criticism. As a Vaastu
consultant and visual artist, this is a
direction I applaud, include in my own
artwork that I create, and see as Vaastu-
compliant. Constructing Vaastu buildings,
improving existing buildings according
Sherri Silverman, Ph.D., is an artist, writer, speaker, art consultant
to Vaastu guidelines, and installing Vaastu-
and Vaastu design consultant (www.transcendencedesign.com) who
appropriate art in our homes, community
has worked with hundreds of clients in the U.S. and internationally.
buildings, and businesses all help
Sherri taught meditation, yoga, healing breath techniques, and sacred
contribute to enhancing our own lives
text courses from the Vedic tradition for over thirty years and studied
and helping this beautiful planet.
directly with spiritual teachers Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Sri Sri
Ravi Shankar. She was adjunct professor of art history, creativity,
and interdisciplinary studies at several universities. As a visual artist, Sherri has shown
in galleries and museums since 1980; her artwork is in numerous public and private
collections, including the New Mexico Capitol Art Collection. She is also the author of
Vastu: Transcendental Home Design in Harmony with Nature. She lives in Santa Fe.
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