International Journal of Yoga - Philosophy, Psychology and Parapsychology

: 2019  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--2

Seeing the truth: Yoga for health and harmony

HR Nagendra 
 Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, 19, Eknath Bhavan, Gavipuram Circle, K.G. Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 019, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. H R Nagendra
Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, 19, Eknath Bhavan, Gavipuram Circle, K.G. Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 019, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Nagendra H R. Seeing the truth: Yoga for health and harmony.Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2019;7:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Nagendra H R. Seeing the truth: Yoga for health and harmony. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Aug 8 ];7:1-2
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According to Patanjali, there are five modifications of mind: pramana, the right knowledge; viparyaya, wrong knowledge; vikalpa, distracted mind; nidra, deep state sleep without dreams; and smriti, memory.[1] Viparyaya is erroneous perception or misapprehension arising out of wrong knowledge and causes illusion and distraction of mind. In the Sankhya philosophy, which is considered as the basis of Yoga, it is said that viparyaya is caused by ignorance (avidya), sense of I-ness (asmita), attachment (raga), hatred (dwesha), and deep attachment toward the life (abhinivesha). Wrong knowledge is a false conception of an object, and that mental conception does not match with the actual reality.

One time or the other, we all have experienced erroneous perception. The train that we are in appears to be moving while in reality the adjacent train moves. While the boat appears to be still and the shore seems to be moving, but it is the other way around. When we see a rope as a snake in a dimly lit room, viparyaya is said to have happened. Different blind men touch and describe an elephant as they have perceived exemplifies viparyaya. If a person with Jaundice thinks that the whole world has become yellow, it is viparyaya. Hence, viparyaya is said to happen when our perception and cognition do not match with the actual nature of reality of the object of perception. They all are wrong knowledge or distorted knowledge.

Interestingly, in our body also something similar appears to happen at psychological and cellular levels. Schizophrenia is a manifestation of viparyaya thinking that I am fine, nothing is wrong in me; so, no treatment is needed, and wrong things are with others. Like a person with Jaundice thinks that the whole world has become yellow, a person with Schizophrenia perceives the world in his own way assuming it to be the reality. In Diabetes the immune system thinks that insulin is an enemy and starts preventing it to reach the bloodstream. In cancer, the immune system thinks that cancer cells borne in our body are good friends and allows them to grow. The root of all these is viparyaya. Abandoning viparyaya at all levels can be the mantra for effective conflict resolution and thereby overcoming all sources of tension and stress.[2] However, how do we overcome this viparyaya which appears to be a very common phenomenon?

Even though this erroneous perception (viparyaya) appears to be a universal phenomenon, it does obscure the way we see our world around us, including the people, place, and events. A very few seekers of truth would actually venture into finding the reality and coming out of the illusory world of perceptions. The only solution to this problem of viparyaya is to cognize and experience things as they are. Shankara strongly emphasizes that the root cause of the problem, the illusory perception must cease first before the actual truth is experienced as they are. Yoga also attempts to achieve this same goal. Yoga highlights that the ultimate goal is to get established in the inner Self, overcoming all the modifications of the mind. Mastery over the mind by the systematic practice of Yoga will meet the challenge. At the practical level, to the extended sense of I-ness (asmita), attachment (raga), hatred (dwesha) are overcome, to that extent we weaken the field for viparyaya to flourish. This can be effectively practiced through selfless service and love. Staying in the state of awareness and conducting our daily activities can further support this practice of overcoming viparyaya. It is not only dissociating with all sources of wrong knowledge, and associating with the right knowledge, but also going beyond them both so that no mental modification can ever affect the established inner Self. This is the ultimate state of being that the Yoga philosophy suggests a seeker to follow.

Concluding this discussion, we can clearly observe that an earnest attempt to see only the truth, things as they are brings in great clarity and peace and can take us out of our eternal misery. When such an ideal is lived every day the very same essence percolates into our whole being, even to the smallest cell of our body and opens the gateway of abundant health, happiness, and harmony.


1Taimini IK. The Science of Yoga. Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House; 1986.
2Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R. New Perspectives in Stress Management. Bangalore, India: Swami Vivekananda Yoga Prakashan; 1997.