avidyāDevanāgarī: अविद्या Translation: illusion; spiritual ignorance; connate misidentification Similar words:viparyaya Opposite words:vidyā, saṃvid, kaivalya Related concepts:puruṣa, cit, prasupta, tanū, vicchinna, udāra, kleśa, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa, abhiniveśa, duḥkha, viveka
Appears inYoga Sūtra:
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“The arrangement of Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two involves four components:
1. Duḥkha –
What is it that I want to avoid?
2. Avidyā/Saṃyoga –
Association or from where has this come?
3. Kaivalya/Viveka –
Where should we be in order to be free from this association?
4. Viveka/Aṣṭāṅga –
What is the way?
What is the discipline that will give Viveka,
not just for a moment, but there all the time?
This is the place of Yoga.”
– TKV Desikachar January 9th 1999
“When something is understood differently from what it truly is, it is called Avidyā.
What is changing is taken to be non-changing. For example the mind.
What is subjected to decay is assumed to be pure. For example the body.
What is leading to suffering is taken to be the source of pleasure.
What is not conscious is assumed to be conscious.
All these errors in perceptions have many possibilities.
But the ultimate stage of Avidyā is to assume that we are the Masters, not Īśvara.”
T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 5
“Avidyā is the illusion of experiencing
what feels real, as if it is actually true.
However, that we experience a feeling as real,
does not in fact actually mean that it is true.
So how to discern as to whether a feeling
that we experience as real, is really true?”
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 5
“‘Who’ is it that misidentifies?”
– Reflection on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 5
“Better to be clear about being confused,
rather than being confused about being clear.”
– Reflection on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 24
“Avidyā and Freedom do not exist together.
Here Avidyā represents both the basis and attitude towards our action.
The aim of Yoga is to reach that state where our actions are not based on Avidyā.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 25
“Feelings from the past remain eternally potent ravagers,
especially pervasive within the illusion of our present and
with it a tendency to recreate an old shape from our past,
whilst we are believing it to be a new shape for our future.”
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 27
“Some define their experience of life by seeking Duḥkha,
some by seeking Sukha.
The Yoga Practitioner sees both as Avidyā
and defines their experience of life by seeking
what lies beyond duality through unwavering Viveka.”
– Reflections around Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 26
“Sāṃkhya – Redefining the Marriage of Wisdom and Action –
Until the Dancer (Citta) deeply realises that
the Observer (Cit) of the Spectacle (Viṣaya)
is not interested in the drives (Avidyā) which animate the dance,
the Dancer continues to Dance.”
Sāṃkhya Kārikā Āryā 59
“While it is used as a metaphor that the Kuṇḍalinī
is going up, really, it does not make sense.
If we say that Kuṇḍalinī is an energy that gives us truth,
then we have to a accept the fact that we have
two energies in life, Prāṇa and Kuṇḍalinī.
Some also say that energy is sleeping.
What is meant by this?
Many of these ideas, Im sorry to say,
are based on incorrect translations.
Kuṇḍalinī represents Avidyā,
and the absence of Avidyā
represents absence of Kuṇḍalinī.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 248
“A Yogi is one in who Pariṇāma and Saṃskāra are in harmony.
When there is no harmony there is the wrong
combination of Pariṇāma and Saṃskāra.
This is known as Avidyā or not knowing a thing as it is.
The right combination is Vidyā.”
– TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga
“Our action has two foundations.
One, Vidyā never leads us into trouble.
Two, Avidyā leads us into troubl
because of something we did into the past
influencing our present action.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
Question to TKV Desikachar on Pariṇāma:
“Change is universal but not the same for everybody.
Pariṇāma gives life to Saṃskāra.
Saṃskāra gives stability to Pariṇāma.
So there is an order in any change.
If there is no Pariṇāma or Saṃskāra there is no Vidyā or Avidyā.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“We can summarise all the Bheda into three:
– Saṃskāra Bheda (division by tendencies)
– Pariṇāma Bheda (division by transformation or change)
– Avidyā Bheda (division by illusion)
They are not bad things, only different.
We need to recognise and do something so the negative differences don’t take us over.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983
“Suffering is the starting point for the Yoga journey of four steps from:
the symptom (Duḥkha or suffering);
through to the cause (Avidyā or illusion);
to the path (Kaivalya or independence);
and the means (Aṣṭāṅga or 8 limbed path) for Viveka or discrimination.
This fourfold process is at the heart of Yoga, Āyurveda and Buddhism.”
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