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.
- The Sun sustains 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.
- The Sun 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 color variations. When sunlight falls on a coloured object, it reflects the light of the object's color into our eyes while all the other colors of the light are absorbed into that object, giving us the perception of color. Thus, an apple appears red because it reflects red light.
Sunlight has two spectra - the visible spectrum and the invisible spectrum.
- Visible Spectrum - The visible spectrum 'VIBGYOR', 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. consists of white light which is a combination of seven main colours,
- 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 can kill bacteria as well as aid in the synthesis of Vitamin D in our bodies, on exposure to the bare skin. The Infra Red rays have a longer wavelength than the visible light rays and are the cause for the heat of the sunlight.
IMPORTANCE OF SUN TO HUMANS:
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 in our bodies.
- Endorphins: Sunlight increases the amount of endorphins in our blood which creates a feeling of well being in us and reduces the incidence of depressive conditions like SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a kind of winter depression that affects lots of people during winter due to shortening of daylight hours.
- Weight loss: Sunlight reduces weight caused by water retention.
- Lowers Blood Pressure (BP): Sunlight lowers blood pressure.
- Good for the immune system: Sunlight strengthens the immune system.
- Positive effect on cholesterol: Sunlight increases the good cholesterol and lowers the bad.
- Normalises blood sugar: Sunlight increases low blood sugar and lowers high blood sugar.
- Good for the Liver: Sunlight helps detoxify the liver.
- Increases endurance: Sunlight increases muscle tone and endurance.
- Good for healing: Sunlight speeds up healing of unwell people.
- Kills germs: The UV rays of the sunlight kills germs.
- Increases alertness: Sunlight boosts serotonin levels which help a body stay alert.
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 sun light and heat is related to the height of the sun in the sky. At mid-day the sun is almost directly overhead and therefore 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.
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 designing.
- Constant light from the North direction: In India, since it is in the northern hemisphere, there is constant light from the North side throughout the year.
- Morning light from the East direction: When the Sun rises in the East in the morning, the intensity of the sunlight is much less while at midday, the intensity of the sunlight and heat is maximum. Also, the Earth is cool because of the night before.
- 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.
- 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 can engulf the house, brighten it and kill the germs and bacteria that would have multiplied during the night.
- Open spaces, Terraces, Balconies: More balconies, terraces and open spaces are desirable in the East and North sides again for the same reason as above.
- Water source: The water source, wells etc are preferred on the East and North sides of the house, where there is open space and so that the UV rays can kill the germs and keep the water purified.
- Kitchen: It is advisable to have the kitchen platform on the Eastern side, so that the morning sunrays will kill the germs on the kitchen counter and keep the food from spoiling. Also, the lady of the house will face the morning sun while cooking and thus benefit from the sun rays ( 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 Est to allow light into the House.
- Toilets, Store rooms: It is better to have the lesser used rooms like the toilets, store rooms etc on the West side, as they tend to be hotter and will be uncomfortable in the evening and night.
- Trees: Also 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 Vaastu Shastra Factor | Effects of the Sun on living things. Read about another Vastu Shastra Factor that affects us and the design of our buildings, namely:SUGGESTED READING:
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