Patanjali 1:3 – 1:7

patanjali

These explanations are from the writings of Swami Vivekananda.

तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम् ॥३॥

3. At that time (the time of concentration) the seer (Purusha) rests in his own (unmodified) state.

As soon as the waves have stopped, and the lake has become quiet, we see its bottom. So with the mind; when it is calm, we see what our own nature is; we do not mix ourselves but remain our own selves.

वृत्तिसारूप्यमितरत्र ॥४॥

4. At other times (other than that of concentration) the seer is identified with the modifications.

For instance, someone blames me; this produces a modification, Vritti, in my mind, and I identify myself with it and the result is misery.

वृत्तयः पंचतय्यः क्लिष्टा अक्लिष्टाः ॥५॥

5. There are five classes of modifications, (some) painful and (others) not painful.

प्रमाण-विपर्यय-विकल्प-निद्रा-स्मृतयः ॥६॥

6. (These are) right knowledge, indiscrimination, verbal delusion, sleep, and memory.

प्रत्यक्षानुमानागमाः प्रमाणानि ॥७॥

7. Direct perception, inference, and competent evidence are proofs.

When two of our perceptions do not contradict each other, we call it proof. I hear something, and if it contradicts something already perceived, I begin to fight it out, and do not believe it. There are also three kinds of proof. Pratyaksha, direct perception; whatever we see and feel, is proof, if there has been nothing to delude the senses. I see the world; that is sufficient proof that it exists. Secondly, Anumâna, inference; you see a sign, and from the sign you come to the thing signified. Thirdly, Âptavâkya, the direct evidence of the Yogis, of those who have seen the truth.

We are all of us struggling towards knowledge. But you and I have to struggle hard, and come to knowledge through a long tedious process of reasoning, but the Yogi, the pure one, has gone beyond all this. Before his mind, the past, the present, and the future are alike, one book for him to read; he does not require to go through the tedious processes for knowledge we have to; his words are proof, because he sees knowledge in himself. These, for instance, are the authors of the sacred scriptures; therefore the scriptures are proof. If any such persons are living now their words will be proof. Other philosophers go into long discussions about Aptavakya and they say, “What is the proof of their words?” The proof is their direct perception. Because whatever I see is proof, and whatever you see is proof, if it does not contradict any past knowledge. There is knowledge beyond the senses, and whenever it does not contradict reason and past human experience, that knowledge is proof. Any madman may come into this room and say he sees angels around him; that would not be proof. In the first place, it must be true knowledge, and secondly, it must not contradict past knowledge, and thirdly, it must depend upon the character of the man who gives it out.

I hear it said that the character of the man is not of so much importance as what he may say; we must first hear what he says. This may be true in other things. A man may be wicked, and yet make an astronomical discovery, but in religion it is different, because no impure man will ever have the power to reach the truths of religion. Therefore we have first of all to see that the man who declares himself to be an Âpta is a perfectly unselfish and holy person; secondly, that he has reached beyond the senses; and thirdly, that what he says does not contradict the past knowledge of humanity. Any new discovery of truth does not contradict the past truth, but fits into it. And fourthly, that truth must have a possibility of verification. If a man says, “I have seen a vision,” and tells me that I have no right to see it, I believe him not. Everyone must have the power to see it for himself. No one who sells his knowledge is an Apta.

All these conditions must be fulfilled; you must first see that the man is pure, and that he has no selfish motive; that he has no thirst for gain or fame. Secondly, he must show that he is superconscious. He must give us something that we cannot get from our senses, and which is for the benefit of the world. Thirdly, we must see that it does not contradict other truths; if it contradicts other scientific truths reject it at once. Fourthly, the man should never be singular; he should only represent what all men can attain.

The three sorts of proof are, then, direct sense-perception, inference, and the words of an Apta. I cannot translate this word into English. It is not the word “inspired”, because inspiration is believed to come from outside, while this knowledge comes from the man himself. The literal meaning is “attained”.

~ Swami Vivekananda

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Comments

  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:26 AM

    “I see the world; that is sufficient proof that it exists. “

    This is direct perception. It has many levels of abstraction.

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    “You see a sign, and from the sign you come to the thing signified.”

    This is the use of association, inference, or logic.

    .

  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:31 AM

    Then there is “the direct evidence of the Yogis, of those who have seen the truth.”

    You look in the direction indicated, and with concentration, you see it.

    .

  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:35 AM

    “There is knowledge beyond the senses, and whenever it does not contradict reason and past human experience, that knowledge is proof.”

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    • Chris Thompson  On June 18, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      This is one of the definitions of faith. Faith is like this only a step deeper.

  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    “Any madman may come into this room and say he sees angels around him; that would not be proof. In the first place, it must be true knowledge, and secondly, it must not contradict past knowledge, and thirdly, it must depend upon the character of the man who gives it out.”

    .

    How does one know that it is true knowledge? True knowledge would lie beyond all inconsistencies.

    How is the character of the man, who gives it out, meaningful? There shall be no inconsistencies within that character.

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    • Chris Thompson  On June 18, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      ““Any madman may come into this room and say he sees angels around him; that would not be proof. In the first place, it must be true knowledge, and secondly, it must not contradict past knowledge, and thirdly, it must depend upon the character of the man who gives it out.”

      Chris: This is biased and useless.

      • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        I think what is stated here sums up to saying that proof of right knowledge lies in the lack of inconsistency in knowledge. A madman will be quite inconsistent both in what he says and also in his character.

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        • Anonymous  On June 18, 2013 at 7:37 PM

          What you’ve written is fine. What you quoted is not per discussion policy.

        • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 8:38 PM

          I don’t think I understand you.

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    “I hear it said that the character of the man is not of so much importance as what he may say; we must first hear what he says. This may be true in other things. A man may be wicked, and yet make an astronomical discovery, but in religion it is different, because no impure man will ever have the power to reach the truths of religion.”

    This is an interesting thought to pursue.

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    “Therefore we have first of all to see that the man who declares himself to be an Âpta is a perfectly unselfish and holy person…”

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    Here selfish would mean a person focused on survival of self. Such a person is looking through the filter of self. Hence, that person’s direct observations shall be colored and not pure.

    So, for a person, who can be trusted with his direct observations, should not be using the filter of self.

    The word “holy” seems to mean, “having a spiritually pure quality.” In other words such a person’s observations shall be consistent throughout.

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    “…secondly, that he has reached beyond the senses…”

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    This simply means that the person should be able to look at the abstract patterns underlying what we sense through our physical senses.

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    “… and thirdly, that what he says does not contradict the past knowledge of humanity. Any new discovery of truth does not contradict the past truth, but fits into it.”

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    There should be no inconsistencies present in all the direct observation made without filter.

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  • vinaire  On June 18, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    “And fourthly, that truth must have a possibility of verification. If a man says, “I have seen a vision,” and tells me that I have no right to see it, I believe him not. Everyone must have the power to see it for himself. No one who sells his knowledge is an Apta.”

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    So true.

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  • freebeeing  On June 18, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    You may find this to be of interest. http://www.lightlink.com/theproof/

    The Valentine’s Day Lectures I – V are best place to start.

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