Wikipedia defines Feng Shui as a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing the human existence with the surrounding environment. It strikes up a correlation and creates a perfect balance between these elements of nature. The term Feng Shui literally translates into ‘wind-water’ in English. The practice of Feng Shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, among Chinese Astrology Bazi (Four Pillars of Destiny), Divination, Mian Xiang (Face reading) and the science of Chinese Medicine. It explains and discusses architecture along the lines of metaphorical terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and man together, known as Qi. This ancient art based on the principles of mathematics, geology, philosophy, psychology, intuition, astronomy and astrology, draws together an ideal mix of aesthetic and moral ideas. It can help you grow physically, morally, intellectually and spiritually in fields of profession/ career, academics, personal life, health etc.
The principles of Feng Shui have existed for millions of years and can be observed in cultural practices of Taosim, Buddhism, Shinto, Confucianism and Vaastu Shastra. As a matter of fact, India and China both lay claim to Feng Shui’s ancestry and origin. Archaeologists have found evidence that date around 5500 years ago to reinforce the presence of Vasstu Shastra (building science). As of present claims, Yangshao (a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the Yellow River in China) and Hongshan (a Neolithic culture in northeastern China) cultures are said to have evidence of the earliest use of Feng Shui. Astronomy forms the basis of early practices of this ancient art. In 4000 B.C. during the Zhou Era, a constellation called Yingshi (the then Ding) was used to indicate the appropriate time to build a capital city. A grave at Puyang that contains mosaic which actually is a Chinese star map of the Dragon and Tiger asterisms and the Beidou (the Big Dipper) is oriented along a north south axis. The presence of both round and square designs in the Chinese architecture of these times suggest the presence of gaitian cosmography (the belief that Heaven was round and Earth was in the shape of a square) in the Chinese society and its’ influence on ancient Feng Shui.
The organized body of knowledge of Feng Shui was first studied and practiced in the Tang Dynasty in around 888 A.D. Another exemplary application of Feng Shui was seen during the Han Dynasty (206B.C. to 220A.D.) wherein the expansion of this empire incorporated a multitude of geological zones and climates keeping in mind the principles of Feng Shui. The Great Wall of China was built during 771-476 B.C. keeping in mind the ideas of Feng Shui.
One of the most famous Feng Shui masters is Master Yang Yun Sang, who left a legacy of many classical Feng Shui texts. He is said to be the founder of what is called the Landscape school of Feng Shui. In the nineteenth century AD, Yang Yun Sang collated the first ever physical compilation of Feng Shui principles, systematically describing the characteristics of land and water formations which then became the standard text of the Landscape (or Form) School of Feng Shui. His writings suggest the importance of selecting an auspicious site that has the dragon’s energy or the dragon’s breath and hence emphasizes on careful examination of land formations like hills, mountains, valleys and even water formations. This is because the vital energy or Qi (‘Ch’i) contained in specific parts of the Earth was described as finding the Dragon and it lair. The Form school is the oldest school of Feng Shui.
Almost a century later, another school of thought called the Compass school of Feng Shui became popular. Master Wang Chih was the main influence in this school and he developed his teachings during the Song Dynasty (960 A.D.-1279 A.D.). The ideologies of this school of thought are based on the compass directions and the I-Ching trigrams arranged in the octagonal symbol of the Feng Shui energy map (the Bagua, meaning 8 areas). The Yin-Yang theory and the Theory of Five Elements are some of the other theories that were developed under this school of Feng Shui.
The theory of Yin and Yang in Chinese philosophy indicates how opposite or contrary forces are actually relative and complementary to each other. Yin (the Moon; feminine) and Yang (the Sun; masculine) are the two opposing cosmic forces of nature that interact to form a dynamic environment of existence where the assembled model is greater than the individual constituents. Another basic principle of Feng Shui is the Theory of Five Elements viz. Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These elements interact among themselves through processes what are known as the Productive and Destructive cycles. Colours (derivation of Light) are assigned to each elements and they are said to be identified as the expression of each elements. The colour correspondence of each elements is as follows:
WOOD: Green, Brown
FIRE: Red, Strong Yellow, Orange, Purple, Pink
EARTH: Light Yellow, Sandy/Earthy, Light Brown
METAL: White, Gray
WATER: Blue, Black
Some theories also identify the elements with shapes. The correspondence is as follows:
Some other widely popular concepts of Feng Shui are the Lo-Shou square and the Kua number concept to name some. The Kua number concept was used to determine the most auspicious positions or directions based on the persons’ date of birth. The Lo-Shou square is an ancient theoretical and conceptual tool applied by Feng Shui practitioners till date. The square so mentioned is a 3×3 symmetric square with numbers 1-9 written in the unit squares as shown in the diagram below. Among various stories of the origin of this tool, also called the Magic Square, one of them is the most popular. It is said that Emperor Yu was walking along the river Lo, thus lending it the name. Lo Shou Square literally translates into the Scroll of River Lo. This legend dates back to 650 B.C., when the great floods had hit China.A turtle that emerged from the river had an unusual 3 x 3 pattern on its shell. This thus became the core idea of the Lo Shu Square, a mathematical grid where the sum of numbers from each row, column or diagonal is the same and equals 15 in any direction. As we see from the pattern of the numbers the even numbers (representing the Yin energies) are at the 4 corners of the square and with 5 in the centre, the odd numbers (the Yang forces) form a cross. Each number has a specific energy correspondence to it, say for instance, the number 9 carries a strong fire influence while 1 is a water-associated number.
This art has thus influenced Asian architecture for millions of years and has now even reached the West. Some basic Feng Shui tips are:
If you can get rid of even half the unnecessary stuff in your home and office, it eases the flow of energy in the premises. This is the first step that should compulsorily be followed.
2.) Avoid working with your back facing a door.
If your desk is positioned in a way that your back has to be towards a door, or if there is no way to alter the position, put a mirror above your desk or a reflective surface on your desk that enables you to see the door in the reflection. This fills the work or study atmosphere with positivity and moral strength and security. Also, it lets you concentrate better.
3.) Flora Cure!
Plants symbolize culture, growth, freshness and life besides performing an excellent role in air purification. They also beautify the place. No harm in letting the plants grow where you stay. They always do you good!
4.) Keep the Toilet Seat covered!
The Feng Shui perspective says that a toilet seat is a drain and it lets the good energy in your homes flow away through it. So, keep it covered. There is nothing appealing about an exposed toilet seat!
5.) Fix what’s broken!
Broken things should not be kept at home or in the office as they would neither serve their purpose nor look good. So, try repairing them or if they are beyond repair, I’d suggest discarding them off and getting them replaced.