Tuesday, March 29, 2011
PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS = POST-8 :VERSE.8 = WRONG KNOWLEDGE = SENSE-BASED, HABIT BASED KNOWLEDGE = AS IS THE KING, SO ARE THE PEOPLE
Summary So Far :
Aphorism.1:“now, the discipline of Yoga” begins. For being in a discipline, one necessarily has to be a devoted disciple of that discipline. One must have respect for the Guru and the Science.
Aphorism.2 :“yogah chittha vritthi nirodhah”. Yoga is the mastering / controlling /restraining of the oscillations of (in fact, all types of work done in) chittha.
Aphorism.3:“thadhaa drashtuh svaroopevasthaanam”. When Chittha vritthis are restrained (kept outside the chittha itself!) - the watcher / witness (the real self) returns and abides in his real form , unobstructed by the veil of Chittha.
Aphorism.4 : “Vritthi saaroopyam itharathra”. When the chittha Vritthis are not restrained and the watcher/ witness is not abiding in his real self, he identifies with the chittha Vritthis.
Aphorism.5 : “Vritthayah panchathayyah klishta aklishtah”. Vritthis are of five types and they may be either painful or painless.
Aphorism.6 : “pramaana viparyaya vikalpa nidraa smritayah” are the five types of chittha Vritthis. These are (1) pramana is right Knowledge having valid proof; (2) viparyayah is wrong knowledge; (3) vikalpah is imagination / fantasy (4) nidra is deep sleep and (5) smritayah is remembering or recall.
Aphorism.7 : “pratyaksha anumana agamah pramanani”. Direct perception; inference or sound reasoning; scriptural testimony and other competent evidence; are the valid sources of right knowledge
We have seen that – even right Knowledge from valid sources has to cease, as this also is a Chittha Vritthi – if the SELF has to perceive itself and abide in its true form.
viparyayah mithya jnanam athad roopa pratisthaam
Ø viparyayah = wrong knowledge, misconception, incorrect knowing
Ø mithya = of the unreal, false, illusory
Ø jnanam = knowledge
Ø athad = not really its own
Ø roopa = form, nature, appearance
Ø pratisthaam = established, standing
This aphorism gives a very simple definition of what wrong / incorrect knowledge is. Wrong Knowledge is also a type of knowledge and not total non-knowing or Ignorance of a thing. This needs to be understood clearly. It is - perceiving a thing as some thing that it actually is not.
If sense perception results in accurate information of what is – it is Prathyaksha Pramaana or Direct, right perception.
But, the same sense perception can result in Mithya Jnanam as well – for various reasons. What is famously called Rajju-Sarpa Bhranthi comes under this category. You are seeing a rope. Either the lighting is insufficient to see, or, even if it is sufficient, your mental mood of the time, makes you mistake the rope as a poisonous snake, and you are afraid.
None of our five senses have one hundred percent accurate perception capabilities. They are imperfect instruments, given to us, for certain range of purposes. Beyond that range, they are ineffectual.
Also, over a period of time, due to use and misuse, their capabilities come down. Some one can’t see a board on a train or Bus. Some one else can’t even see the bus coming on the road. Some one can’t hear what you or I or some one else is telling him. Some one’s taste is beyond recognition of the actual taste of the food before him. Some one can’t perceive even strong smells.
Some people make their skin rough and tough – for fighting purposes or some other purposes (like lifting rocks or huge loads). But then, the rough skin loses a lot of its touch sensation capabilities. Your senses can therefore perceive, and, deceive.
Some times - our senses are habit bound. Feed them on wrong habits , and, they will perceive everything wrong.
For a drunkard, there is no right knowledge at all. For a drug addict, there is right knowledge at all. For an untruth-addict, there is no right knowledge at all. For a person with wrong, untruthful friends, there is no right knowledge at all.
Our external environment also has a huge effect on sense capabilities. What you perceive well in moderate Sun-light, you may not perceive well in extreme Sun light or after Sun set. Our night vision is very bad indeed – compared to that of all nocturnal birds and animals. Our short distance vision and our distant vision are again – very moderate and nothing to boast of.
Science may tell you that the distant star is bigger than the Sun and earth combined. But, your eyes still see it as a small, twinkling beautiful object, less than the tip of your finger in size. Can your mind ever see it through the eyes and really, really perceive it as a huge object? No way. There has been huge wrong knowledge gained through the 5 senses all along.
One way speaking – ALL KNOWLEDGE GAINED THOUGH THE FIVE SENSES – is wrong knowledge only!!
When you change your eye glasses – suddenly your vision is much better. Does it not show that you saw less and saw wrongly too, earlier. That was what made you go for new glasses for the eyes, in the first place.
Our hearing faculties are also coming down. We may be aware or unaware; but they are. Most of us don’t wear any hearing aids – which are out of fashion.
There is nothing for improving the taste buds, the smelling sensation and touch sensation. We are satisfied with the eye-glasses for the present. What it means is – All knowledge we are gaining is, in effect, wrong perception and wrong knowledge only – but good enough for normal, living.
If pratyaksha pramaana received through the five senses can be wrong perception and wrong knowledge, the next way of gaining right knowledge, by inference, is also equally so.
It is the mind – that transforms the wrong knowledge into right knowledge many times through its reasoning and inference capabilities. But many times, it is satisfied to record the wrong knowledge received as such. Many times, the mind converts the right inputs received through sense instruments – into wrong knowledge by its wrong interpretation! This also happens.
Mind is a constant chatter Box. It can not sit on one thought, or, even one single stream of thought process, for even a short time. Its inference and reasoning capabilities are never perfect and they can never be employed to the logical end of any one thought process adequately.
So anumaana pramaana also is highly suspect in many cases. Not that – it is always suspect. But, wherever, intense long reasoning is necessary, mind fails.
The last means of right knowledge Patanjali talked of - was Aagama Pramaana.
The Sruthis and Smrithis are called Apaurusheyaas, or knowledge from non-human origin.
They have been transmitted from times immemorial by word of mouth from one great sage to another. These sages were wedded to Truth and would not utter untruth under any circumstances. They were always in quest of right knowledge.
And, coming from such great, truthful sages, the Aagamas are considered the repository of the highest truths. Likewise, any advices coming from such great sages is considered as the HIGHEST POSSIBLE TRUTH.
Why are we studying Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – as if it is the Best truth on the science of Yoga?
Because, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras come from one such Great Sage, who is wedded to the absolute truth. So is the case with Adi Sankaracharya’s writings; so is the case with Bhagavad Gita; So, is the case with the writings of many, many sages.
When the Sage speaks, listen with respect. Else, we will never know the truth, or, even the meaning of truth.
One person in very recent past who tried to adhere to the absolute truth is –Mahatma Gandhi. He is in the Political arena. But, he is also a great Yogi in his own right. No ordinary person could have written what he had written in his “my experiments with truth”. We need such Yogis in Political arena too, today, to cleanse the Augean stables. There is a saying “Yathaa Raajaa, Thathaa Prajaa”, which means, as is the King, so are the people. If you elect an honest, non-corrupt, non-corruptible, yogi-like person to the helm, the country will be clean, happy and prosperous.
There were greater Yogis of course, like Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa etc – who remained in a much higher plane than Political. So, we, also have the option, of selecting leaders (in politics and other fields) from amongst the followers of such Yogis. You and I may not be that good – but, our kings and leaders must be.
Why was Sita Maa tested in public so many times – despite Ram knowing her all too well? That is the Kingly Dharma. Why is it said in the west – Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion? For the same reason.
King must be spotlessly clean.
Now, all the Caesars are under suspicion – a sad commentary on today’s life.
We are all steeped in TOO MUCH OF WRONG KNOWLEDGE.
And, many are unwilling to come out of it.
So, the first requirement for acquiring right knowledge is - we must be willing to come out of our wrong knowledge.
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