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ŚABDA-YOGA : The Language Of Yoga Demystified – Part 6.4


Introduction

In this series, Yogic terminologies will be taken up and their –

  • (a). Etymological analysis,
  • (b). Lexical descriptions and
  • (c). Textual occurrences in Yogic literature and their commentaries, as available, will be presented. And finally observations will be made on the references.

Three texts – Yogasūtra, Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā and Bhagavad-gītā are consulted for textual occurrences portion.

Śabda-yoga is intended to help students, teachers, and professionals of Yoga to develop a sound grammatical, contextual, and thereby an authentic and immersive understanding of Yoga terminologies. 

Analysis of Yogic Terms

वस्तुVastu

Etymology

वस्तु = वस्+तुन्

Vastu = vas+tun

  • The root word is वस् vas that means निवासेnivāse– to reside, stay
  • The suffix तुन् is added as per the grammatical rule वसेस्तुन्vasestun (uṇādisūtra75) to indicate the doer (कर्तृ)

Based on the above details the derivative statement isवसतीति वस्तु – vasatītivastu – that which stays.

 Lexicon – There is no entry to the is word in Amarakośa

Textual References

Yogasūtra

There are 5 references to Vastu in this text. It is interesting to note that just one reference is from the first chapter and the rest are from the fourth chapter. All the four references of the fourth chapter are centered on the reality of the objects of the world and hence they will be treated as one unit.

  1. शब्दज्ञानानुपातीवस्तुशून्योविकल्पः॥१.९॥                                                                              śabdajñānānupātīvastuśūnyovikalpaḥ .. 1.9 .. – This reference has been explained                                                                                                                          while discussing the previous word śabda.
  1. परिणामैकत्वाद्वस्तुतत्त्वम्॥४.१४॥                                                                                          वस्तुसाम्येचित्तभेदात्तयोर्विभक्तःपन्थाः॥४.१५॥                                                                        नचैकचित्ततन्त्रंवस्तुतदप्रमाणकंतदाकिंस्यात्॥४.१६॥                                                            तदुपरागापेक्षित्वाच्चित्तस्यवस्तुज्ञाताज्ञातम्॥४.१७॥                                                                  pariṇāmaikatvādvastutattvam .. 4.14 ..                                                                      vastusāmyecittabhedāttayorvibhaktaḥpanthāḥ .. 4.15 ..                                        nacaikacittatantraṃvastutadapramāṇakaṃtadākiṃsyāt .. 4.16 ..                          taduparāgāpekṣitvāccittasyavastujñātājñātam .. 4.17 ..                                            Put together, in all the references on Vastu refers to the object of the worlds. The four Sūtras try to advance arguments to establish that the objects of the world are real and not mere projections of the mind.                                                                In sūtra 1.13 everything is stated to be made up of the three Guṇas. If there are three Guṇas then how come there is identifiable individual entities (how can many produce one?). To this 1.14 is a response. It is stated here that as the (object of) mutation is one (of three Guṇas can join)(one) real entity (is possible). The commentators clarify that many can produce one – just like oil, wick and fire combining to produce a lamp.                                                                                          In 1.15, to establish that objects are not mere projections of the mind as the Buddhist would have it, it is stated that though the object is same, the minds that perceive are different. Hence only when an object is independent of the mind different minds can perceive and that too differently.                                                    In 1.16, to further establish the fact that the object outside is independent of the mind it is stated that –  if the existence of any object is dependent of the mind that perceives it then, when the mind is engrossed with other object then what would happen to the previous object, will it become un-authentic? It would not be so. Still some other mind will be able to perceive it. Hence no object is dependent on the mind. It has independent existence.                                                                    1.17 again establishes the independence of the mind and the object when it says that when the mind and object come in contact the object is known. When there is no contact the object is not known. This is the dynamic between two independent entities the mind and the object.

Bhagavadgītā – There is no reference to Vastu in this text.

Haṭhayogapradīpikā

There are three references to the word Vastu in this text. They are as follows –

  1. तत्रवस्तुद्वयंवक्ष्येदुर्लभंयस्यकस्यचित्।                                                                                    क्षीरंचैकंद्वितीयंतुनारीचवशवर्तिनी॥३.८४॥                                                                            tatravastudvayaṃvakṣyedurlabhaṃyasyakasyacit.                                                  kṣīraṃcaikaṃdvitīyaṃtunārī ca vaśavartinī .. 3.84 ..                                              Vastu-dvayaṃ- two things – is the relevant expression here. They are milk and a co-operating woman.  This verse occurs in the context of practice of vajrolī-mudrā where it is stated that – a cooperative nārī (woman) for the practice of mudrā and good milk (for nourishment of Yogin) is difficult to attain.
  1. अर्धोन्मीलितलोचनःस्थिरमनानासाग्रदत्तेक्षणः                                                                          चन्द्रार्कावपिलीनतामुपनयन्निस्पन्दभावेनयः।                                                                          ज्योतीरूपमशेषबीजमखिलंदेदीप्यमानंपरं                                                                              तत्त्वंतत्पदमेतिवस्तुपरमंवाच्यंकिमत्राधिकम्॥४.४१॥                                                              ardhonmīlitalocanaḥsthiramanānāsāgradattekṣaṇaḥ                                              candrārkāvapilīnatāmupanayannispandabhāvenayaḥ .                                        jyotīrūpamaśeṣabījamakhilaṃdedīpyamānaṃparaṃ                                              tattvaṃtatpādametivastuparamaṃvācyaṃkimatrādhikam .. 4.41 ..                    Vastuparamaṃ – the ultimate object – is the expression to be noted.                āmbhavīmudrā is discussed in this verse. As the outcome of the practice attainment of the ultimate object – the supreme consciousness – the paramātman is mentioned.
  1. ज्ञेयवस्तुपरित्यागात्विलयंयातिमानसम्।                                                                                  मनसोविलयेजातेकैवल्यमवशिष्यते॥४.६२॥                                                                          jñeyavastuparityāgātvilayaṃyātimānasam .                                                              manasovilayejātekaivalyamavaśiṣyate .. 4.62 ..                                                        jñeyavastu – the object to be known/object of perception – is the expression to be noted here. One of the methods of Manolaya (absorption of the mind) is discussed in this verse. It is stated here that when one renounces the objects to be known (attains dispassion about objects outside), the mind (bereft of objects) gets dissolved. By this aloneness – (of the consciousness without the mind to distract, deflect) – Kaivalya remains. 

Observations

From the references from Yoga treatises it could be seen that with and without adjectives the word Vastu is used to denoted –

  • The object of the world
  • Just things/material
  • Object of perception
  • the ultimate entity (supreme/pure consciousness)

These various shades of meanings of the term Vastu are to be noted while using the term in Yogic contexts.

Unit 6 To be Continued…

Links for previous posts in this unit

Śabda yoga 6.1

Śabda yoga 6.2

Śabda yoga 6.3

Feature Image Credit:istockphoto.com


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