Philosophy Focus: Sutra 1.6 Pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrtayah

Key words:

Pramana –          Factual knowledge

Viparyaya –       Wrong perceptions, faulty data

Vikalpa –              Fanciful knowledge, asking yourself endless “What if’s?”

Nidra –                 Sleep, dullness or inertia

Smrtyayah –        Remembrance of previous experiences and unquestioning acceptance

There are many methods people use to hide from the truth. I can understand why – the truth or extreme consciousness can be new, unfamiliar and (worst of all for me) lonely. It is difficult to step away from the status quo. When things seem to work fine as they are, why change them?

When I first read this sutra, I immediately saw many parallels with my career path. I had a good job in Hong Kong. I knew that my salary and hours were decent (pramana). My experiences told me that I wasn’t doing badly (viparyaya). Friends told me that I should be grateful for a job in these economic times (smrtayah and vikalpa). Most of all, I could sleepwalk my way through a work day with no difficulties (nidra). There was no reason to leave. But I did.

I had the appearance of a satisfying career but I wasn’t happy with it. Despite the facts that pointed to a good job, this was the truth of how I felt.

Today, I’m jobless and I don’t know what the future holds. But after abandoning these “kleshas”, I feel better. The “vrittis” I used to have about whether I was doing the right thing, are gone.

I know my (very uncertain) career story is hardly Samadhi, but it’s a micro-example of how removing barriers to truth can bring a person closer to a state of super consciousness. Similarly, Yoga is the process of steadying and clarifying your perception so that you can liberate and empower yourself.