In this series, Yogic terminologies will be taken up and their -
- Etymological analysis,
- Lexical descriptions and
- 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
वस्तु = वस्+तुन्
Vastu = vas+tun
- The root word is वस् vas that means निवासे nivāse – to reside, stay
- The suffix तुन् is added as per the grammatical rule वसेस्तुन् vasestun (uṇādisūtra75) to indicate the doer (कर्तृ)
Based on the above details the derivative statement is वसतीति वस्तु - vasatīti vastu – that which stays.
Lexicon - There is no entry to the is word in Amarakośa
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. शब्दज्ञानानुपाती वस्तुशून्यो विकल्पः ॥ १.९ ॥
śabdajñānānupātī vastuśūnyo vikalpaḥ .. 1.9 .. - This reference has been explained while discussing the previous word śabda.
2. परिणामैकत्वाद्वस्तुतत्त्वम् ॥ ४.१४ ॥
वस्तुसाम्ये चित्तभेदात्तयोर्विभक्तः पन्थाः ॥ ४.१५ ॥
न चैकचित्ततन्त्रं वस्तु तदप्रमाणकं तदा किं स्यात् ॥ ४.१६ ॥
तदुपरागापेक्षित्वाच्चित्तस्य वस्तु ज्ञाताज्ञातम् ॥ ४.१७ ॥
pariṇāmaikatvādvastutattvam .. 4.14 ..
vastusāmye cittabhedāttayorvibhaktaḥ panthāḥ .. 4.15 ..
na caikacittatantraṃ vastu tadapramāṇakaṃ tadā kiṃ syāt .. 4.16 ..
taduparāgāpekṣitvāccittasya vastu jñātājñātam .. 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.
There are three references to the word Vastu in this text. They are as follows –
1. तत्र वस्तुद्वयं वक्ष्ये दुर्लभं यस्य कस्यचित् ।
क्षीरं चैकं द्वितीयं तु नारी च वशवर्तिनी ॥ ३.८४ ॥
tatra vastudvayaṃ vakṣye durlabhaṃ yasya kasyacit .
kṣīraṃ caikaṃ dvitīyaṃ tu nārī 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.
2. अर्धोन्मीलितलोचनः स्थिरमना नासाग्रदत्तेक्षणः
चन्द्रार्कावपि लीनतामुपनयन् निस्पन्दभावेन यः ।
ज्योतीरूपमशेषबीजमखिलं देदीप्यमानं परं
तत्त्वं तत्पदमेति वस्तु परमं वाच्यं किमत्राधिकम् ॥ ४.४१ ॥
ardhonmīlitalocanaḥ sthiramanā nāsāgradattekṣaṇaḥ
candrārkāvapi līnatāmupanayan nispandabhāvena yaḥ .
jyotīrūpamaśeṣabījamakhilaṃ dedīpyamānaṃ paraṃ
tattvaṃ tatpādameti vastu paramaṃ vācyaṃ kimatrādhikam .. 4.41 ..
Vastu paramaṃ - the ultimate object – is the expression to be noted. Śāmbhavīmudrā is discussed in this verse. As the outcome of the practice attainment of the ultimate object – the supreme consciousness – the paramātman is mentioned.
3. ज्ञेयवस्तुपरित्यागात् विलयं याति मानसम् ।
मनसो विलये जाते कैवल्यमवशिष्यते ॥ ४.६२ ॥
jñeyavastuparityāgāt vilayaṃ yāti mānasam .
manaso vilaye jāte kaivalyamavaśiṣyate .. 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.
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…