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  • Writer's pictureAnastasia

Right knowledge consists of sense perception, logic, and verbal testimony

Pratyaksanumanagamah pramanani (in Sanskrit)

The Yoga Sutras - Chapter 1, Sutra #7

Let us continue our study of the Yoga Sutras.

As it was stated in the previous Yoga Sutra, five types of “vrttis” or changing states of mind such as right knowledge, error, imagination, sleep, and memory, constantly absorb the pure consciousness or our soul away from its pure nature, thus binding our pure consciousness to the world of “samsara” (the cycle of birth and death). Today we will focus solely on the first vrtti - the right knowledge (“pramanas”).

What is considered to be the “right knowledge”? How can we ensure that the information about the reality we have is accurate and valid? The Yoga school and the Sankhya tradition accept three sources of receiving the right knowledge which are sense perception, logic, and verbal testimony.

Sense perception: We can know that something is true or valid if we experience it through one or more of our senses - if we see, smell, touch, hear, or taste it.

Logic: It is defined as the assumption that an object of a particular category shares the same qualities as other objects in the same category.

Verbal testimony: The valid knowledge can be received through the medium of words by a trustworthy person who has perceived the existence of an object to someone who has not. According to traditional commentators, a trustworthy person here means someone whose statements cannot be contradicted.

Next time, we will discuss the second changing state of mind, which is an error.


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