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Yoga Sutras 1.8: Meaning of Incorrect Knowledge

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.8: Meaning of Incorrect Knowledge (viparyayah) http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10511.htm#1.8 (Useful graphics are shown at this link
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2005
      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.8:
      Meaning of Incorrect Knowledge (viparyayah)
      (Useful graphics are shown at this link along with text)

      YOGA SUTRA 1.8: Incorrect knowledge or illusion (viparyaya) is false
      knowledge formed by perceiving a thing as being other than what it
      really is.
      (viparyayah mithya jnanam atad rupa pratistham)

      VIPARYAYAH = unreal cognition, indiscrimination, perverse cognition,
      wrong knowledge, misconception, incorrect knowing, not seeing clearly

      MITHYA = of the unreal, of the false, erroneous, illusory

      JNANAM = knowing, knowledge

      ATAD = not its own, not that

      RUPA = form, nature, appearance

      PRATISTHAM = based on, possessing, established, occupying, steadfast,

      CLASSIC EXAMPLES: A classic example of the shifting perception is the
      Rubin Vase, which is both a picture of a vase and a picture of two
      faces at the same time. Two classic examples are given by the Yogis
      for the misperception called viparyaya. First is the mistaking of a
      rope for a snake when the light is low, such as the twilight hours
      between day and night. The rope is always a rope, although the mind
      misperceives it in the moment. The second is similar, and is
      mistaking a post in the distance as being a man standing in the

      CLEARING MANY LEVELS OF MISPERCEPTION: During the inner journey of
      Yoga meditation, there are many currents and crosscurrents that are
      explored and examined (2.1-2.9, 2.10-2.11, 3.9-3.16, 4.9-4.12). One
      way of describing this process is that we are trying to see where we
      have made mistakes in perception (viparyaya), and are trying to see
      clearly (pramana, 1.7). Then we can transcend that object in the mind
      field, getting past the four forms of ignorance, or avidya (2.5), and
      experiencing our true Self (1.3).

      OBSERVE THE MISPERCEPTIONS OF DAILY LIFE: If the reason we are not
      experiencing our true nature (1.3) is the clouding of false
      identities (1.4), then we want to become adept at noticing the ways
      in which we are not seeing clearly, so as to correct the
      misperceptions. For most of us, this process of mistaken identity is
      easily done in daily life.

      RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE: Recall how often you see some situation or
      person to be one way, only to later to discover that there was some
      missing piece of information that change it completely. For example,
      imagine you see a friend or co-worker who has a scowl rather than a
      smile, and whose attitude might seem negative towards you. That
      person may actually be angry from having had an argument with a
      family member, and the reaction had nothing to do with you.

      MISPERCEPTIONS CAN CAUSE COLORINGS: The problem with these
      misperceptions is that they can lead to the colorings, kleshas (1.5,
      2.1-2.9). If they were simply misperceptions with no coloring, there
      would be no problem. But imagine the potential of the misperceptions
      of relationships with people, as in the example above. The result
      might be increased egoism, attractions, aversions, or fears. Thus, we
      want our misperceptions (viparyaya) to become correct perceptions
      (pramana, 1.7).
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