July 11, 2022
The subtle influences of the traditional concepts of Vastu can help make the kitchen create a conducive ambience and effect on the residents of any house.
For a country with such traditional ideas about the kitchen space, the ancient understanding of Vastu principles is fast gaining a lot of attention. Vastu - a science for those who believe in it - balances subtle influences of nature and directions on the activity in a certain physical space.
In Vedic Cosmology, developed aeons before Galileo, the surface of the earth is represented as a sphere and not as a flat surface. The exact words used are Cakracasah parinaham prthivya, which means ‘people who reside on the surface of earth circumference" [Rig Veda 1.33.8].
The importance of food being cooked in the right direction, i.e., southeast, is crucial in Vastu. Photo Courtesy: Dane Deaner on Unsplash
Vastu at home
A house is traditionally taken as the body of a human being, described in Vastu literature as Vastu Purusha. Roughly drawn as a squat human figure, he is depicted as lying on it with his head in the North-East and legs in the South-West. Vastu shastra prescribes desirable characteristics for sites and buildings based on the flow of energy within the body of this purusha and how it interacts with the changing seasons and directions. It exercises subtle and subliminal control over its inhabitant’s health, moods and inner equanimity. The study of Vastu and its application helps to balance it all for the good of those who inhabit the space.
According to Vastu, the area that defines the part of the house where food is cooked, stored and prepared, and often served as well, should necessarily be situated in the South-East direction. Traditionalists aver that all directions have a presiding deity and, the deity of the South-East is Agni Shakti. They claim that this direction is governed by the influences of Mars. The planet is fiery, and since the essential feature of the kitchen is fire - as it is on fire that any food is cooked - it becomes important to take the fire element into account while positioning the kitchen space. Therefore, Agni or the ‘fire element’ should be located in the South-East direction in any residence.
Colours have a role to play in the kitchen area according to Vastu principles. The kitchen is ideally painted in white. Photo Courtesy: Designer Vaishali Lahoti Shah
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Importance in the kitchen
Food impacts individuals’ lives in so many ways - physically, emotionally and spiritually - thus, the importance of food being cooked in the right direction, i.e., southeast, is crucial. The subtle effect of directions comes across in equally subtle ways since food is verily the life force.
Unlike in the past, when the principles of Vastu were framed, there is hardly any kitchen today in urban India - except perhaps in remote towns - where the fire is lit without gas stoves, ovens, or electrical or electronic appliances. These appliances generating fire should be placed in the South-East direction. The cooking platform, too, should be stationed in the same direction. The idea behind this is that the person cooking the food stands in such a way that he or she faces the East.
The area that defines the part of the house where food is cooked, stored and prepared, and often served as well, should necessarily be situated in the South-East direction. Photo Courtesy: Bilal Mansuri on Unsplash