Vaastushastra and Yogashastra
Yogashastra is the foundation of Vaastushastra. In Vaastushastra every Vastu is considered to be a living entity. The 'prana' (living breath) which is the essence of Yogashastra is reflected in the Vaastushastra concept of positive energy flow.
Almost all the principles of Vaastushastra can be traced to Yogashastra vision and practice. The Panch-Maha-Bhutas (five great elements) are studied in detail in Yogashastra. The individual qualities and effects of permutations and combinations of these elements - earth, water, fire, wind, and ether - are extensively utilised in Vaastushastra to evaluate the virtues and vices of directions in a Vastu. Vaastu-dosha or flaws in a Vaastu can be treated with the help of helpful properties of particular element.
'Ida' or 'Chandra Nadi' and 'Pingala' or 'Surya Nadi', which are important aspects of yogic practice, are reflected in Vaastushastra as two-stream theory - Jaivik Urja and Pranik Urja. 'Ida' stream gives stability, strength, peace, prosperity and promotes life processes. It's zone of influence extends over North and East directions. 'Pingala' stream is associated with pain, hardship, misfortune, sorrow and is considered detrimental to life. It has control over the South and West directions.
In defining or altering properties of various directions in a Vaastu or a house, Vaastushastra has to take recourse to Yogashastra principles.
Indian yoga codified from esoteric practices that are thousands of years old. It has developed several branches to accommodate different personality styles. The major yogas are Bhakti (a devotional approach that opens the heart, it is best for those who are primarily emotionally-oriented), Jnana (an intellectual approach that leads to wisdom, it is best for those who are primarily mentally-oriented), Karma (an active, service-oriented approach, it is best for those who are more extroverted and who find meaning mostly through relationship), and Raja (a meditational approach, it is best for those who are primarily oriented to the practical aspects of a situation).
For those who are capable, Raja Yoga employs the most powerful and direct techniques for spiritual advancement. In addition, it provides a clear outline of the stages of progress along the path. These teachings were first systematised in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali ( written around 300-500 AD).
The eight traditional stages are:
1. Yama (social ethics of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, continence, and non-coveting)
2. Niyama (personal ethics of purity, contentment, ardour, study, devotion)
3. Asana (discipline of the body through posture to provide a sound base for taming the mind)
4. Pranayama (discipline of the breath to refine the base developed through asana)
5. Pratyahara (beginning mental concentration, holding to a single object for about 10-20 seconds). This is the start of meditation, in proper. Achievement to this level brings mental control over the sense gates, so that one can withdraw from sense experience. This is useful because it allows one to further purify the mind and heart without the normal distractions of the mind and senses.
6. Dharana (intermediate mental concentration, holding to a single object for 2-4 minutes)
7. Dhyana (advanced mental concentration, holding to a single object for 30-40 minutes)
8. Samadhi (very advanced mental concentration, holding to a single object for 6 hours or more). The most advanced practitioners can remain in samadhi indefinitely.
The final practice of this meditational path is to connect the samadhi state with ordinary day-to-day consciousness so that a practitioner is in samadhi regardless of whether he or she is meditating in total isolation or performing daily chores in the normal bustle of people, places, and events. In this way, the accomplished meditator has quite literally passed beyond life's sufferings but yet remains in the world. A spiritual master of this stature experiences every moment as pleasant and peaceful regardless of what may be happening to her or his body and mind. For instance, such a person would be aware of the body's torment when suffering from some terrible disease, such as cancer, but naturally remain in a serene state anyway.
Engineer Rameshwar Prasad
(B.Tech., M.Tech., P.G.D.C.A., P.G.D.M.)