Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 5

अनित्याशुचिदुःखानात्मसु नित्यशुचिसुखात्मख्यातिरविद्या ॥५॥

anitya-aśuci-duḥkha-anātmasu nitya-śuci-sukha-ātma-khyātiḥ avidyā ||5||

Illusion is recognising what is
transitory, impure, suffering and other than essence,
as eternal, pure, happiness and essence.

anitya - transitoryaśuci - impureduḥkha - suffering, pain, sorrowfulanātman - other than essencenitya - eternal; constantly dwelling or engaged inśuci - puresukha - pleasure; happiness; agreeable; ease; comfortable; pleasantātman - essence; the highest personal principle of life; the individual soul, selfkhyāti - recognition; perception, knowledgeavidyā - illusion; spiritual ignorance; connate misidentification

Commentaries and Reflections

Commentary by T Krishnamacharya:

“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.”

Commentary by TKV Desikachar:

Commentary by Paul Harvey:

Patañjali now reminds us of
the pitfalls of the illusion of
recognising psyche as awareness.”

Avidyā is the illusion of recognising:
the ephemeral as the eternal,
the profane as the profound,
pain as pleasure and
the silhouette as the source.”

“One of the artful illusions presented by the Citta,
is its ability to as if dress in disguise,
so as to appear as if the Cit.”

“A necessary step in Yoga is to experience
a state of complete and utter disillusionment.
Arising from that is a state of Citta prepared
to give up its conviction of being the Cit.”

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?”

“The Yoga Sūtra says you can’t change your life,
however you can change your perception of it.”

“The search for understanding is driven by misunderstanding,
though not always in the right direction.”

“What keeps you away from your self?”

“‘Who’ is it that misidentifies?”

“Still subtler layers of meditative reflection
as in Samādhi, can reveal the source of this
confused sense of “I” Am-ness, as in leading us
to the roots from which the tree trunk, and then
the branches grew, namely the ultimate illusion.
These hidden roots sustain this existential illusion
where, what in reality is transient, adulterated,
infused with suffering and non-Spiritual,
is personally lived and experienced as if
everlastingunadulterated, infused
with pleasant feelings and Spiritual.”