Book 1, Sutra 8: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra


The most common examples of “viparyaya” are cases of mistaken identity. For example, if we see a rope in a darkly lit place and think that it is a snake, our mind is filled with “viparyaya.” When a group of blind men, after touching an elephant, each come up with a different answer as to what they were touching, they experienced “viparyaya.” When a rope is burnt, it often retains the appearance that it is still whole and usable. Seeing a burnt rope and thinking that we have a rope with which we can tie up our dog is also a case of “viparyaya.” In all cases, the object we are cognizing is not what we think it is and so, it is wrong knowledge or misconception.

It is interesting to keep in mind that in this sutra, Patanjali is listing another type of “knowing,” all of which must be let go of in the practice of Yoga. Yoga as he stated earlier describes a mind that doesn’t change in the process of knowing or not knowing things. The yogic mind is somehow always the same. But the important point here is that Patanjali is describing all the different types of thoughts that the Yogic mind is unconnected with. It’s not that the Yogic mind is connected with right thoughts or knowledge (pramana) and disconnected with wrong or false knowledge (viparyaya), rather it is disconnected or unaffected by both equally. This tells us that he is describing a very uncommon, hard to imagine even, state of mind.





About Kilaya

Kilaya is a yogi who is also well-versed in the sciences. He studied physics and mathematics at college, biology and molecular biology on his own, fluid dynamics while working as a professional plumber and has always had a passion for in-depth psychology. Now he adds what he has learned from his spiritual master, Amma, and from his life as a professional astrologer to his writings in order to make discoveries that may inspire others.

Posted on October 30, 2015, in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I don’t know if you have any time on the Europe tour, but it would be great to have a guest post from you for the November event at the Seeker’s Dungeon. If you’re interested you can find the full details here:


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