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Vatsu Shastra

Multiple shrines are organized into a Temple so that the practices undertaken at each shrine does not conflict with another.

Cardinal directions are utilized to divide the space: some rituals require the morning light, others the evening light, and others should take advantage of weather patterns, or other natural phenomenon.  The two directions of the sun (rising - east - and setting - west) are divided in half (north and south).  These are then divided again into a total of eight directions (northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest). 

These are then divided in three: from the northern most extent of the sun and the southernmost extent of the sun, and its average mean extent at the equinox. 

These eleven directions are then divided in three heights: above, below and upon the surface.  These heights are then divided again to below the sky and above the surface, and to what is below the surface but above the depths. 

This subtotal of 99 divisions is then divided again by major and minor divisions of time: day and night, portions of each day and night (hours), and even minutes and seconds - sometimes two practices might need the same space, but for time-sharing, this could not be accomplished.

The days are then combined into months, seasons, years, and even epochs: there are practices which are not yet inappropriate (not currently scheduled) for the Satyayurga, and even which are past-due (whose time has past).

DOMAINS

The divisions of space and time are then grouped into domains of authority, so that organization is possible: there are far too many divisions to be managed by one authority alone.  These are understood through various Devas, Asuras, and other beings.  Many superstitions have arisen over which is primal, but as mentioned, the divisions are too great for any one authority: a degree of co-operation is required which precludes primal power.

EAST: Indra.  This is where beginnings of practice are best held.  This is where the entrance is commonly placed.
WEST: Varuna.  This is where conclusions of practice, their completed products, or achievements are best held, displayed and honored - before being stored in the Treasury.
NORTH: Kubera.  This is where fragile items are stored, where the treasuries are kept, where the requirements for practice are best kept.
SOUTH: Yama.  This is where sacrifices are best undertaken.  This is where the exit is commonly placed.
NORTHEAST: This is where long-term practices, complex practices, pujas and other practices that do not bear interruption or are of uncertain success are to be held.  These are prevented from becoming disturbing to the other areas by various Devas and friendly, helpful beings.
NORTHWEST: This is where short-term, immediate, and other simple practices certain of success are to be held.  Especially Kirtan.  These are confined to the Northwest by Hanuman, who acts in dominion over it.
SOUTHEAST: This is where the sacrificial fire is kept, and is confined and kept by Agni, who acts in dominion over it.  This is also where Kitchen and other practices which similarly accomplish the goal of sacrifice are undertaken.
SOUTHWEST: This is where storage of durable items, and heavy unmovable but necessary items are kept, like a garage or utility room.  The clutter and maintenance is prevented from becoming disturbing to other areas by various Asuras, and other grudgingly helpful (cantankerous) beings.

It should be said that such domains are not firmly fixed: if circumstances require, they may even be moved in the middle of practice.  For example, in some places, the best place to keep the fragile items in the south instead of the north - due to temperature and humidity concerns.  Or the nature of the fragile items may be such that they are not so fragile, but that an adjacent domain needs greater space.  However, this is a common division.

TEMPLE AS HOUSE

A Temple is a house, intended for residential purposes.  Though some Temples are in fact public facilities, their origin as a residential structure remains the fundamental guiding principle of their architecture.  This is because homelife is Ashram practice.  There is no difference between a family of monks and a family of householders. 

The principle domain of any Temple is the place where Pujas are undertaken. This domain should be given its own room or space if possible.  The northeast, as previously described, is the more typical location.  This is because it is convenient to fragile items, and the entrance.  But in your home, there may be a more suitable place for Pujas. 

It is customary for the object of the Puja, or the idol, to face westward, toward their completion.  As a pujari will face east in undertaking the practice, and then turn around at the end.  Just as a person enters the Temple to be immediately shown and reminded of their necessary exit.

Nevertheless, two different idols should be placed in front of each other, nor should any practice be undertaken in a way that disturbs another.   If more than one idol is enshrined, they should be placed in a straight line.  If more than one practice requires the same domain, at the same time, they must join in a way that is non-disruptive - so that, just as the idols do not "see" each other, the different practitioners are not even aware of the other's presence. 

The bedroom is typically in the southwest: sleep and other similar personal care is treating the body like a durable item, the body is objectified in this way.  It is stored for the night.  Like a car in the garage.  But it is typical to sleep facing north (head in the south), reminded of the finer storage items: so that when one wakes, one is reminded of the finer skills to practice, the finer things stored inside the body like experience and thought and strength and skill, the source of prosperity. One is reminded of the vast treasury produced through practice at the Temple.  One fills oneself with motivation for practice.

In similar theory, the northwestern side of the house is used for storing items of frequent necessity, like perishables - food, and frequently used tools.  And the southwest should be unlit, unheated, dark and dismal - like the grudgingly helpful and cantankerous beings prefer it.

The sitting room, living room, or parlor is an important room: it keeps visitors out from disturbing the practice of the Ashram while also entertaining the visitors attracted by the Ashram's successful practice.  Visitors are to be guarded against to ensure privacy.  But treated hospitably.  This conflict is resolved through the visiting room.  It should be adjacent to the entrance.  The furniture should face the south and west, welcoming more visitors - and delaying their entrance.  There should be no use of this room for display of treasures.  It is a highly utilitarian place: intended wholly for entertainment.

Bathrooms should be located not only where their smell and sound causes the least disturbance to all the other domains, but also where convenient to the practice areas - because bathrooms are also where the physical care of the body is undertaken - an essential practice for maintaining and honoring the chief treasure of the house: the yogis themselves.   Consequently, the washing basin, where shaving, haircutting, and ceremonial bathing is undertaken, should be in the north.  There should be considerable joy in this self-care.

In the Kitchen, try to prepare ingredients for cooking while facing east: this is an act of puja.  The food sacrifice is one of the most important practices, after all.  For the same reason, the dining hall, where the food is consumed, should be in the West: the meal is an accomplishment, intended for display and praise.  Further, the act of enjoying the meal, the family gathering, this friendship and joy is the purpose and achievement of practice.

Verandas and porches are to be constructed on the north and east sides: the cool morning and cool shade being delightful.  But, in colder places, this should be located in better directions. 

It is good practice to keep the main entrance in line with the gate of any wall or fence surrounding the Ashram, to not hinder visitors (that's what the porch or parlor or entertainment room is for!).  Any wall or fence surrounding the Ashram should be only of sufficient height to serve its purpose: it is best to have no wall or fence at all, but obviously sometimes circumstances require a defensive barrier. 

It is also good practice to keep the southern side of the house high and heavy - to shade and cool the rest of the home.  Or, in cold climates, to keep the southern side exposed for the opposite reason.  Landscaping should slope in a way that stabilizes the structure. 

Columns and beams crossing rooms of the house create divisions where there shouldn't be, and so should be avoided for better harmonization of the domains.  A well, or other community resource shared by other homes, should not be in the front of the house - it is so busy that it creates an environment unconducive to practice. 

The Ashram should not face another Ashram, in the same way that idols should not face another: it is not good to compare one practice to another, to "keep up with the Joneses."  Similarly, it is good to keep fragile treasures protected in cupboards or closets or shelves.

It is considered inauspicious if there is no roof - for obvious reasons.  Roofs are conducive to practice. 

If the previous occupant has committed suicide (intentionally or accidentally), or had a catastrophe, consideration should be made as to whether the home was in any way responsible for the misfortune. 

Keep no more treasure than is needed.  And don't become preoccupied by its accumulation - its purpose is sacrifice.  Even the difficulty of circular plots of land makes for bad neighbors: straight boundaries are easily maintained.  And boundaries formed at right angles are easily observed. 

It is highly inauspicious to keep pets, inside or outside the house.  The enslavement of other beings is prohibited by the rules of practice, as it is not conducive to success in a practice intended toward freedom and unattachment.  However, wild animals (songbirds, especially, which can be attracted by gifts of seed), and especially freed domestic animals, are highly auspicious.  Animals which are free, but enslaved by processes of domestication, conditioning and training, are considered pets.  As are wild animals which are dependent upon a person.  However, it is not prohibited to provide aid to wild animals during moments of need - so long as they are restored to their independent status as soon as is possible.  If possible.

It is not auspicious at all if while preparing the foundation, water springs up: this is a bad place to build a home. 

A pole or post in the front of the entrance is inauspicious, as it is dangerous.

There are numerous other auspicious and inauspicious practices to housekeeping and architecture, but the general rule is to ensure that housekeeping and architecture is conducive to practice, and the ease of the occupants.  Why make more difficulty and attachment?