The Vasthu Vibe

Keeping the gods happy is the key to designing flowing, open spaces that swirl with good energy

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The Northeast is the position for Dharma, the god of righteousness. Hindus typically keep their puja rooms in this position. Since the master bedroom was in the northeast corner of our apartment, I kept a small altar with various gods in the northeast corner of the master bedroom.

Agni, the god of fire, lives in the southeast corner. This presented a considerable challenge. The guest bathroom lies squarely in the southeast corner of our apartment--exactly in Agni's position. If there's anything that the Vasthu rules are strict about, it is that the kitchen be situated in the position of the god of fire. Ancient texts say that locating the kitchen in the seat of Agni ensures 'that the women of the house remained cheerful and of good disposition.' Was this the reason I was so irritable? Though my husband assured me that my irritability had nothing to do with Agni, the thought lingered.

Yama, the god of death, resides in the South. He prevents the evil eye from taking control of our lives. In India, people put a ghoulish pumpkin mask, similar to Halloween masks, in Yama's position to ward off the evil eye. In America, I put my collection of masks from Uganda, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and India all across the southern wall.


Niruthi, who prevents homes from being robbed, dwells in the southwest corner. In that corner, behind our TV cabinet, I placed a pot containing our spare house keys as well as some costume jewelry, loose change and an expired checkbook. I wanted Niruthi to watch over my jewels, money and bank account. To be safe, I also kept our car keys, photographs of my family, and the instruction manual of the new digital camera that my husband had bought and loved. If Niruthi was going to keep things for us, I wanted him to protect our car, our home, and most importantly, ourselves.

Varuna, the god of water, lies to the West, where the bathroom should be. The only problem was that my kitchen was located in Varuna's position. Was that why it had become flooded twice in one year, causing our parquet to rise up like mini-pyramids. My husband reminded me that it had flooded because our toddler had left the kitchen tap on before we all left for a two-week trip. Nevertheless, the kitchen and bathroom were in wrong positions in our apartment. What was I going to do?

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