Today’s fast paced life has made people quite impatient and impulsive. The mounting work pressures, stress has generated dissatisfaction as we are missing out the things we require out of our lives. These emotional disturbances at times cloud our vision so much that we aren’t able to analyze the situations as they actually are. We get misled.
“Pramana Viparyaya Vikalpa Nidra Smritayah”
According to Patanjali’s yoga sutra 1.6, there are five activities of the mind that can be the cause of one’s pleasure or pain in life. These activities are known as vrittis:
1. Pramana (correct understanding)
Pramana is correct understanding and knowledge, but if we gain it through distorted sources or our own disturbed mind, it becomes a cause of trouble.
2. Viparyaya(false understanding)
Second is Viparyaya (false understanding). If we overanalyze something or, at times, don’t comprehend things properly, it takes us towards Viparyaya.
3. Vikalpa (imagination)
Vikalpa is our own imagination which we mostly use to feel happy or, at times, get intimidated by thinking the worst. It is one strong feeling that can drive us to the extremes in terms of actions.
4. Nidra (deep sleep)
Next is Nidra, in which our mind is in a state of deep sleep without any thoughts or dreams, good or bad.
5. Smritayah (memory)
Last comes the Smritayah, memory which occupies the maximum share of our mind consisting of people and experiences.
Now that we know the meaning of “Pramana Viparyaya Vikalpa Nidra Smritayah”, let’s talk about how to vanquish klesha and pain from our life.
“Pratyaksha Anumana Agamah Pramanani”
Patanjali yoga sutra 1.7 explains the path to freedom from suffering lies in gaining the right understanding. Right understanding comes when knowledge is received from three sources:
- pratyaksha- which is felt by our five sense organs,
- anumana- inferences we draw from our experiences and intuition and
- agama- written literature from reliable sources like ancient sages who have undergone experience to derive conclusions.
If a person first brings his mind to a static state through abhyasa and can unclutter his mind from his false perceptions, and can see the world as it truly is. One can attain the state of vairagya or detachment, i.e. his tendency to hold on to things or people or our own misperceptions. He can attain the state of aklista (painless).
Yoga is thus helpful in calming the mind and bringing out the actual ‘I’ free from ego, dissatisfaction and despair. This is where our need for self-actualization gets fulfilled.