Analytical Yoga
Analytical Yoga

AVIDYA

Avidya

(Ignorance of Reality)

in the light of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Excerpt from my book YOGA: An Analytical Release

 

Avidya (Ignorance of Reality) is defined as perceiving or misjudging impermanent, impure, pain (duhkha), and non-self as permanent, pure, pleasure (sukha), and Self (Atma), respectively. (II.5 ibid.)

In its first impression, it looks ridiculous!  It just talks about the obvious proposition.  Something is not its negation!  Yes, true, that is always the case.

Regarding impermanent as permanent et al is fallacious and illogical.  So too regarding permanent as impermanent et al.  BE CAREFUL!  Second assertion is though equally fallacious but it goes against Avidya Sutra!

Then, is Avidya Sutra mystic despite its deficiency?  Perhaps, we have to trust its wisdom!

Definition of Avidya alerts us precisely against regarding impermanent as permanent, impure as pure, pain as pleasure, and non-self as self (but not vice versa). …

To our relief and amazement, the definition will be found stunningly brilliant. … It in fact takes us to the most trusted and practical guide (guru) for our redemption!  This is so because we shall see in the next chapter that permanence, purity, pleasure, and self (personality) are paradoxes of life.  We cannot find any object in the world (Drishya) that could truly be called permanent, pure (virtuous or determinable), pleasure, or Self. … However, it is initially difficult to swallow.  Reader can get a clue to this in the universality of pain discussed in chapter 1.1 or yoga sutra II 15.  Moreover, every object is an object of knowledge and therefore non-self (i.e., other than me) in terms of Viveka.  Therefore, even if objects or world were permanent, pure, and pleasure, it can be of no avail to Self (me)!

In other words, this whole world (Drishya, Seeable) is impermanent, impure, pain, and non-self.  Impermanent could be changing, transient, or short-lived; and impure signifies unclean, imperfect, immoral, elusive, or indeterminate.  Impermanence, impurity, pain/suffering, and non-self are predicates or rather the dharma (law) of all objects and ideas.

 


 
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