A devout Vasthu Sastra follower observes a sacred ritual to invite the right energies to govern land on which he plans to build a new home.
A GROUNDBREAKING ceremony is an important event that should be performed to inaugurate a new site before the start of any construction, to appease and protect the space.
Although this ancient ritual is rarely performed these days, I was recently invited to witness one in Darwin, Australia, by teacher D. Sukumaran, who is building a bungalow at Murhead.
He was fulfilling his dream to design and build a house conforming to Vasthu Sastra standards and to observe the Hindu sacrament that dates back several thousand years.
Sukumaran, an ardent follower of my writings on Vasthu believes that by performing the ceremony on an auspicious date and time following Vedic astrology will invite the right energies and elements to govern his land and enable the trouble-free erection of his northwest facing house.
He flew in priest Siva Sri Murali Ramoo Gurukkal and assistant priest Murugan Kandasamy from the Arulmigu Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Shah Alam to conduct the two-hour ceremony, which began at 4.30am. Besides Sukumaran’s family members and elders, Greek builder George Sfouggaristos was also invited to participate in the sacred ritual.
The preparation also involved flying in special herbs, spices and prayer items from Chennai and Kuala Lumpur to Darwin.
According to Murali, it doesn’t matter what faith an individual follows as any sort of divine approach to invoke the blessing of the Almighty will be effective in clearing out negative energy that tends to collect in empty spaces and allow the flow of positive energy into that space.
Sukumaran had spent over eight months designing his four-bedroom house with an Australian architect to come out with drawings that incorporate close to 100% Vasthu recommendations.
The prayer started after the erection of a makeshift fire pit before a one-metre hole at the northeast quadrant of the land, the spiritual sector in Vasthu.
Sukumaran, his wife Meena–kumari Govindan, son Santos Kumar and daughter Sweetha, all dressed in traditional wear, sat around the fire pit facing east before Murali who chanted mantras to purify the space and make symbolic offerings of thoughts, desire and action to the cosmic forces. Chanting mantras in Sanskrit, the priest rang a small bell regularly and set alight incense and camphor.
Nine saffron-coated coconuts, signifying deities from the nine planets, were then placed on top of small containers filled with water.
Murali then performed a purification ceremony by circling incense smoke and camphor fire over the “deities”. This was to seek permission to cleanse and occupy the rectangular piece of land.
Sandalwood, branches of a mango tree, herbs, spices and roots were reduced to ashes in a makeshift fireplace so that pungent smoke filled the air. Through all this, the family remained with their hands clasped in deep prayer and they repeated several chants after the priest.
Sukumaran was then called on to cut a pumpkin, denoting a sacrifice to demons.
The pumpkin was cut into eight pieces and coated with kum kum (red powder), symbolising blood; the pieces were placed at the eight cardinal compass points – north, south, east, west, northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest – within the land.
Following this, Sukumaran and his family were requested to coat the nine bricks with turmeric paste, a powerful agent to remove negative energies.
The final part of the ceremony saw Sukumaran, his family members, invited guests and Sfouggaristos placing a brick each into the hole.
Murali then chanted mantras and placed nine gemstones representing the nine planets into the hole, and a silver Trishula, a religious symbol which represents trinities of creation, maintenance and destruction.
Among the offering that were used in the ceremony were betel leaves and nuts, rice, bananas, herbs, spices, water, coconuts, flowers, camphor and limes.
The ceremony included a prayer seeking apologies from Mother Earth for any errors that may have committed during the ritual, after which the hole was sealed with cement and earth.
The lengthy event concluded with Sfouggaristos receiving holy offerings with some money from Sukumaran, who gave the builder the go-ahead now that the land is ready for foundation works.
Shortly after the ritual ended, a dog was heard howling a distance away from the land, a good omen indicating unseen entities had left the land.
Two weeks after the ceremony, Sukumaran received news from the Darwin local authority that his Vasthu-friendly building plan had been approved and he could start construction.
Sukumaran, who moved from Chennai to Australia eight years ago, hopes to shift into his home sweet home after it is completed in the middle of 2013 after performing another ancient ceremony – the housewarming ritual.
Vasthu Sastra talk
T. Selva will present a talk on choosing an auspicious property following Vasthu Sastra and ancient secrets on Dec 1 at 3.30pm, at The Star Property Fair 2012, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). Admission is free. To register, call 012-329 9713.
T. Selva, chief news editor at The Star, is the author of the Vasthu Sastra Guide and is the first disciple of 7th generation Vasthu Sastra master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India. Selva provides tips on Vasthu Sastra on RTM’s TRAXX fm at 11.15am on the last Friday of every month. You can follow him on twitter at @tselvas. This column appears on the last Sunday of every month. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.