Sunlight has two spectra – the visible spectrum and the invisible spectrum.
VISIBLE SPECTRUM – The visible spectrum consists of white light which is a combination of seven main colours called ‘VIBGYOR’ which stands for the colours, Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red. These Colours, depending on the colour and intensity have deep psychological effects on a person’s moods and hence have to be used sensibly for creating a good, positive environment. The effect of colours has beeen explained under Vastu Colours of a House.
INVISIBLE SPECTRUM – The invisible spectrum flanks the visible spectrum on either side and consists of the Ultra Violet (Chemical) Spectrum and the Infra Red (Thermal Heat) Spectrum. The Ultra-Violet (UV) rays have a shorter wavelength than the visible light rays and are invisible. They kill bacteria and aid in the synthesis of Vitamin D in our bodies. The Infra Red rays have a longer wavelength than the visible light rays and are also invisible. They are the cause for the heat of the sunlight.
The Sun illuminates the Earth and it sustains life. It is for these reasons that Indians, from time immemorial, worship the Sun God also known as Surya.
Sustain life – Plants make glucose (energy rich food) from Carbon dioxide of the air and water in the presence of sunlight and release oxygen as a by-product into the air. This process called Photosynthesis, is absolutely necessary to sustain life on Earth, because all living things get a continuous supply of oxygen and animals get food (Carbohydrates) from the plants.
Illuminates the Earth – The white bright light of the Sun illuminates the Earth and is the reason we are able to see. Even the colours we see all around is because of the Sunlight since it contains all the possible colour variations. When sunlight falls on a coloured object, it reflects the light of the object’s color into our eyes while all the other colours of the light are absorbed into that object, giving us the perception of colour. Thus, an apple appears red because it reflects red light.
Synthesis of Vitamin D: Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, a very important mineral (new research suggests it is a hormone) for supporting and maintaining the overall health in our bodies, by exposure of our bare skin to the Ultra-Violet rays of the sunlight. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency causes brittle, soft, thin bones, and leads to bone softening diseases like rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, and possibly contributes to osteoporosis. Also recent research suggests that Vitamin D deficiency is linked with a higher incidence of Cancers and Parkinson’s disease. It has been observed that in countries further away from the Equator, like U.S.A., Great Britain, Canada, there is a high incidence of Vitamin D deficiency as there is a need for longer sun exposure for Vitamin D synthesis.
Regardless of the season, it is important for our bodies to get at least 15 to 20 minutes of natural sunlight every single day, to provide us with positive health benefits. However, we need to protect ourselves from over-exposure for long periods of time as it can be harmful.
It is best to expose to the Sun when it is not too hot to cause sunburn and other harmful effects. The intensity of the sunlight and heat is related to the height of the sun in the sky and the pathway of the beam of sunlight through the atmosphere. At mid-day the sun is almost directly overhead and therefore, the pathway of sunlight is half the length compared to the pathway in the morning or evening. Hence the intensity is maximum at noon and least in the morning or evening.
However it feels hotter in the evenings as compared to the mornings, because the ground reflects and re-reflects the heat waves back into the air. Whereas, in the morning, since the sunlight just starts to heat up the cold Earth after a dark night, it feels a lot more pleasant. Also, since the morning air is thick with carbon dioxide (exhaled by living things through the night), it filters out most of the UV radiation allowing only a small amount which is not harmful to us.
Hence it is most comfortable and beneficial to expose ourselves to the morning sunlight – when it is not too hot – for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day.
Scientifically, it has been proven that the Sun is very important and essential to humans in their day to day life and surprisingly, the Vastu pundits knew this fact, so many thousands of years ago. Therefore, the Sun’ became an important Vastu factor and was taken into account in the design of buildings. Vastu Shastra takes into consideration the the changing intensity of the sunlight from place to place, sunrise to sunset and from season to season in the design of buildings as explained here:
Constant light from the North direction: In India, since it is in the northern hemisphere close to the equator, there is constant light from the North side most of the year.
Morning light from the East direction: When the Sun rises in the East in the morning, the intensity of the light is much less and so this is the right time to expose. Also, the UV rays of the morning sunlight can destroy the germs that would have multiplied during the night.
Infra-Red heat in the West and South direction: When the Sun sets in the West in the evening, the intensity of the sunlight is reduced. However, the Infra Red heat rays of the Sun are projected to the South and West sides. And since the infra-red rays get reflected and re-reflected by the ground, the West side and the South side are much hotter in the evenings and even at night.
The main aim of Vastu Shastra in designing a house, is to ensure that the inmates of a house are inadvertently exposed to the useful rays of sunlight while performing their activities, even if they are inside the house the whole day. But during a day, people perform different activities in different rooms at different times and the Sun’s position keeps changing from sunrise to sunset. So to ensure that the inmates get exposed to sunlight constantly, each room is positioned so that it faces the Sun at the time of the day when it is most likely to be used by them. This has been prescribed in an ideal plan called the “Vastu Purusha Mandala”.
The Vastu Mandala is a square, metaphysical plan of a house which shows the position of the rooms of a house. In the Vastu Mandala, the rooms have been positioned in specific directions, keeping the beneficial effects of the Sun in mind. They are explained here:
Water source, wells: The water source, wells are preferred on the East and North sides of the house so that the UV rays of the morning sunlight can kill the germs and purify the water before you start using it.
Kitchen: It is advisable to have the kitchen platform on the Eastern side so that the morning sunrays will destroy the germs on the kitchen counter and prevent the food from spoiling. Moreover, the person who is cooking is inadvertently exposed to the useful, morning sunlight. (In the olden days, women stayed at home and never stepped out, and so this was a way for them to get exposed to the beneficial sun rays).
Windows: There should be fewer windows on the South and West side, and the walls should be thicker to reduce the heat. However there should be more windows in the North and East to allow constant sunlight into the House.
Toilets, Store rooms: Lesser used rooms like the toilets, store rooms etc should preferrably be on the West side as they tend to get hotter. Moreover they serve as buffers and prevent the rest of the house from getting heated up. And the heat keeps these rooms dry and free from moisture, germs, fungus etc.
Obstacles: There should be no obstacles, tall trees, high compound walls on the North and East sides of the house, so that the constant sunlight from the North and the morning sunlight from the East, can engulf the house, brighten it and kill the germs and bacteria that would have multiplied during the night.
Balconies, Terraces, open spaces: More Balconies, terraces and open spaces are desirable in the East and North sides again for the same reason as above.
Trees: It is advisable to have tall trees on the South and West sides, to protect the house from the direct sunlight and also to give pure oxygenated air to the inmates (since trees and plants produce oxygen during the process of photosynthesis).
This post is about the Vastu Shastra Factor, the effects of the Sun on living things. Read about another Vastu Shastra Factor that affects us and the design of our buildings, namely:
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