Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spiritual Tourism Nepal

From the Nepal Tourism Board Brochure 2011

The word "yoga' comes from the Sanskrit word "Yuj" meaning the union or to join. Yoga is a spiritual science that has been practiced and developed by the rishis and sages of India over thousands of years ago. Yoga implies harmoniously integrating the body, mind, and soul to attain a balanced life and spiritually uniting the individual with the supreme. Yoga is the symphony of life

The various assortments of asanas, or postures, works with the body on a structural level providing enhanced physical strength, endurance, resistance to diseases.  At the mental level it strengthens concentration and resilience raising consciousnesss to a level where one can perceive the spiritual dimension.  Yoga attains the state of "Kaivalya"(ultimate freedom) by means of eight paths in sequential order yama(self restraint), niyama(self observance), asana(body postures), pranayama(breathing control), pratyahara(withdrawal of senses) dharana(concentration of mind), dhyana(meditation) and samadhi(self realization, super consciousness).

There is a close inner relationship between yoga and meditation.Meditation is a state of consciousnesss that cultivates a calm and positive state of mind and awareness.  Through regular practice the energy of the body and mind is liberated with a feeling of bliss that yogis say can only be experienced and not described.

In Kathmandu, meditation is taught through the yoga camps Osho tapoban, vipasanna center, kapan monastery, and the art of living foundation. 

Astrology and the Occult
As Hindus, the people of Nepal put faith in rebirth and karma.  They believe that the constellations of the planets exert certain influence over the destiny of a person, which is decided by the alignment of the stars the precise time of his/ her birth.  As such, they have a horoscope made by leaenred astrologers that is said to interpret the guideline of the life of the person, the highs and lows and important incidents in his/her life.
Nepalese people in general have a fair amount of trust in the horoscope, astrology, palmistry, and such other occult sciences when it comes to matters deciding important life occassions in life, especially difficult phases.  They are learned astrologers who make horoscopes of persons if given the precise time and place of birth. 

Vedic Vasstu Shaastra
The word Vaastu originates from the term Vastoshpati uttered in the Rig Veda. Vaastu Shastra is an ancient science that originated in India in the Vedic age where the sages reflected on the effects of sunlight, gravitational and magnetic forces flowing from the different geographical directions and sub-directions. They sougt to stabilize five elements: akash(sky or ether), prithvi(earth), jal(water), agni(fire), and vayu(wind) in a proportionate way so as to bring about a harmonious balance amidst natural energies. The proper combination of these five elements, life force energy and geo-magnetic energy is believed to produce positive bio-electro magnetic energy which moulds the natural environment, creating congenial living conditions for inhabitants leading to happiness, harmony, and peace.

According to Vaastu, two forces "positve" and "negative" are constantly interacting with each other on the surface of the land. These forces get disturbed whenever any structure is erected on a vacant land. If there are more positive energies than negative energies, the result of such a construction would yield more benefits to the inhabitants and vice versa. Vastu Shaastra deals with various aspects of designing and building residential structures that are in harmony with the physical and metaphysical forces in the eight geographical directions.

Vaastu Shaastra has been in practice in Nepal since ancient times dating back to Lichchavi period in Nepal's history when the Lichchhavi kings took recourse to this erudition to build the famous temples. Every detail of Vaastu was meticulously followed from determining the site and direction of the complex to the positioning of deities within and in the periphery of the temple in their respective geographical positions to bring about the most harmong in worship. It played an important role in establishment of local settlements and towns in ancient Nepal. The ancient towns in Kathmandu Valley were designed in certain shapes with the gods and goddesses being established in certain locations along the periphery surrounding the towns according to Vaastu and Tantric principles in such a way that people dwelling in the center remained protected by them. Vaastu was applied mainly in the orientation of the house during the jag puja, meaning the ritual foundation laying, and the alignment of the house interior with the cosmological position of the grahas(planets and constellations).

Jyotish(astrology), tantra, vaastu and yoga constitute four fundamentals that are said to influence a man's life from birth to death. Peace and harmony can be attained if one pays attention to these four fundamentals. Astrology determines the value and timing to do any work. Tantra mitigates thigns that could go wrong and makes the situation favorable. Vaastu balances the five basic elements and geographical directions. Yoga makes for a healthy body and mind. Combination of these four is deemed necessary for a balanced, happy and peaceful life.

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