Yoga Sūtra Verse 1.8
July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
viparyaya – n. mistake, misperception, illusion, contrary; literally (vi) against (paryaya) revolution-the normal succession
mithyā – false
jñānam – knowledge
atadrūpa – not factual, literally (a) not, (tad) that, (rūpa) form, an actual thing
pratiṣtha – a standpoint, resting-place, ground, base, foundation, prop, stay, support
“Misperception arises when you accept the unreal as real”
Patañjali is telling us that perception is not fact and that misperception leads to misinformation. In other words, you fall into illusion when you cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is unreal. Error, or being in illusion, compounds ignorance (avidya) which is at the heart of our suffering. Ignorance begins when you misidentify your body and your mind as you. From this point of ignorance and misidentification, everything that happens to your body and/or your mind, is experienced as happening to you, a misperception that leads to anxiety.
This is how the process of misidentification occurs. A desire arises within you, which is triggered either by something in the physical world, or from your inner world. Because you identify as your mind and body, all your desires relate to your false sense of self (ahaṃkāra). Desires will be either fulfilled, or unfulfilled; if fulfilled, you will temporarily feel good. This temporary satisfaction won’t last however, because every desire begets hundreds of new desires leading to more anxiety that arises as you struggle to fulfill them. Even if your material desires are fulfilled, you might worry your fortune won’t last, or want more, or want less, or want the same for others. If a desire remains unfulfilled, you will naturally be unhappy, or peeved, or irritated, or frustrated, or angry, or rageful. Whether a desire is fulfilled or unfulfilled, it will lead eventually to anxiety or discomfort. Yoga therefore, is a way to get out of the vicious cycle.
Start with the idea that you do NOT have a soul, that you do NOT have consciousness. Instead, practice remembering that you ARE a soul, you Are consciousness. What you HAVE, is a body and a mind. Practice thinking and feeling gratitude for these gifts; marvelously elaborate and temporary. Your opportunity (and responsibility), is to use your body and mind to discover that you are in fact a being of pure consciousness. So put this message on your mirror, “I AM a soul. I HAVE a body and a mind, and I will use them to discover my true nature.”