Viparyayah mithya jnanam – selective perception

Book 1:8

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


Incorrect knowledge is based upon perception of the form and not upon the state of being.

This sutra is somewhat difficult to paraphrase. Its significance consists in this: Knowledge, deduction and a decision which is based upon externals, and upon the form through which any life in any kingdom of nature is expressing itself, is false and untrue knowledge. At this stage in the evolutionary process no form of any kind measures up to, or is an adequate expression of, the indwelling life. No true adept judges any expression of divinity through its third aspect. Raja Yoga trains a man to function in his second aspect and through that second aspect to put himself en rapport with the “true nature” latent in any form. It is the “being” that is the essential reality, and all beings are struggling toward true expression. All knowledge therefore which is acquired through the medium of the lower faculties and which is based upon the form aspect is incorrect knowledge.

The soul alone perceives correctly; the soul alone has the power to contact the germ or the principle of Buddhi (in the Christian phraseology, the Christ principle) to be found at the heart of every atom, whether it is the atom of matter as studied in the laboratory of the scientist, whether it is the human atom in the crucible of daily experience, whether it is the planetary atom, within whose ring-pass-not all our kingdoms of nature are found, or the solar atom, God in manifestation through the medium of a solar system. Christ “knew what was in man” and therefore could be a Saviour.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul


Earlier in the blog I mentioned getting the wrong end of the stick and the idea of selective perception, but these are only touching the tip of the iceberg {see above}. So many times, and so very often we interact almost entirely through our selective perceptions. When one selective perception attempts to communicate with another, is it any wonder that confusion abounds?

If one perception is located in ambition, which is another way of saying desire-mind, that colours pretty much everything they observe. I have used the analogy of lens, previously. No matter how clear they think they are, desire-mind occludes. It fails to see the scope of what actually is. This is partially because it selects or chooses not to. It negates possible consequences which might interfere with the fulfilment of ambition or desire. It explains them or justifies them away in order to satiate the ambition. It may even be blind to things which would further the ambition, if they look somehow “wrong”.

Here is the really weird bit. People will go to great lengths to defend their selective perceptions, their false knowledge, even after they have an inkling it may be off. Once they start down such a track it gets messy very quickly. Here Face lends a hand. And people will carry on digging a hole for themselves, they may even snatch the shovel out of your hands in haste, so to do.

Hooked to the social face value, the being is forgotten. All notion of true nature flies out the window and it gets personal. It descends into personality spats so quickly. Before long there is a veritable morass and much drama. If for example you knew someone who spoke a lot of sense and they said something you did not like or agree with, in an instant prior knowledge flies out the window and that person might become at least for a few minutes or hours, your perceived mortal enemy. Your selective perception has changed a sage into a ninja assassin armed with poison tipped shuriken.

There is a lot of false “knowledge” out there, it is also propagated when others share of their own selective perceptions. This simple sutra, only a few words long, has behind it a vast amount of human folly. It is both very sad and very beautiful at the same time.

Misperception is false knowledge, not based on what actually is.