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Yoga Sutras 1.9: Fantasy or Imagination (vikalpa)

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.9: Fantasy or Imagination (vikalpa) http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10511.htm#1.9 YOGA SUTRA 1.9: Fantasy or imagination (vikalpa) is a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2005
      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.9:
      Fantasy or Imagination (vikalpa)

      YOGA SUTRA 1.9: Fantasy or imagination (vikalpa) is a thought pattern
      that has verbal expression and knowledge, but for which there is no
      such object or reality in existence.
      (shabda jnana anupati vastu shunyah vikalpah)

      SHABDA = word, sound, verbal expression

      JNANA = by knowledge, knowing

      ANUPATI = following, in sequence, depending upon

      VASTU = a reality, real object, existent

      SHUNYAH = devoid, without, empty

      VIKALPAH= imagination, verbal misconception or delusion, fantasy,

      THERE IS NO PERCEPTIBLE REALITY: Our minds are often thinking and
      creating chains of words and images. Often this process leads to
      thoughts or impressions that have no actual reality. The two kinds of
      thoughts discussed in the past two sutras both related to realities,
      whether seen clearly (1.7) or not clearly (1.8). However, vikalpa has
      no such corresponding reality, whether seen clearly or not.

      CLASSIC EXAMPLE: A classic examples that the Yogis use is that of the
      horns of a rabbit. A rabbit does not have horns, although it can
      easily be conceptualized. The thought and the image are there, but
      there is no corresponding reality.

      WITH OBJECTS AND PEOPLE: It seems to be a habit of the human mind to
      form all sorts of fantasy ideas in relation to objects and people. I
      might fantasize having this or that object, doing or saying something
      with some person, or creating in my mind field both the objects and
      the people. For example, wiith the real objects and people in my
      world, I might even create the fantasy idea that these are mine. The
      mental impressions of the objects and people might be real (1.7) or
      misperceived (1.8), but the impressions related to the concept mine
      are complete fantasy, or vikalpa.

      LIVING IN THE FUTURE: Often we speak of a thought process, which is
      one of living in the future. The mind is really taking the current
      thoughts, rearranging them this or that way, and then fantasizing
      some new combination as being the future, even though that fantasy is
      occurring in the present moment.

      VIKALPA AND AVIDYA: It is useful to reflect on the relationship
      between this fantasy process of mind and the four forms of ignorance
      (avidya) that are described in sutra 2.5.

      CREATIVITY: While we are talking about how to deal with the thought
      patterns of the mind (1.2) so as to attain Self-realization (1.3), it
      is important to note that these mental processes are not bad in the
      context of life and the world. The same fantasy or vikalpa that
      clouds over our true Self is also the creative mind that finds
      solutions to problems in the external world or at our personality
      level of being. It is even the vikalpa that creates the helpful
      lifestyle and environment in which we live so as to be able to do our

      THE SUBTLER EXAMPLES: Eventually, as meditation deepens, we come to
      see ever more clearly that virtually our whole perception of external
      and internal reality is vikalpa, a product of imagination. Notice
      that even the root of the word imagination is image; countless images
      are produced, stored, and then arise. Even the subtleties of the five
      elements (earth, water, fire, air, space), the cognitive and active
      senses (indriyas), and the four functions of mind are products of
      this process of vikalpa. This is the process of subtle discrimination
      in the later sutras.
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