The Three Sources of Right Knowledge

Do you know there are three sources of right knowledge?

In Yoga Sutra Verse 7th, Patanjali gave us the three sources of right knowledge: Direct Perception, Inference and Competent Evidence constitute right knowledge. If one were to read this sutra without the right context from an enlightened consciousness, he or she will not be able to grasp the underlying truth behind this sutra.

I have the great fortune to hear the Yoga Sutra from a living incarnation, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji) who not only shared the sacred secrets of this sutra but also gave the techniques to experience this sutra. In Yoga, it is absolutely important that you catch the right Guru. By having the right Guru, I can say 99.9% of the work is done because he will be constantly reminding you of your original divine state. You only have to remember, reclaim and live it. That’s all. Instead of wasting time experimenting from the wrong knowledge and create more and more stupid bondage for yourself.

Swamiji told us that direct perception means the perception, when your five senses are fresh, alive and pure, gives you the ability to grasp the reality as it is without any perversion or tiredness. If your senses are tired, overworked, overwhelmed, they cannot give you the right perception because you will be reacting from your incompletions and patterns. What would happen? You are likely to end up picking a fight or argument with someone or thinking how to get out of there quickly. To keep our senses constantly in its peak capacity, He taught us the power of authentic listening, Yoga and Pancha kriyas for purification of the body and five senses so that we are constantly ready to have direct perception.

The second way to gain right knowledge is by the cognition that happens through the senses. Cognition means when you perceive through the five senses, you analyze and process the information internally and take it to a logical conclusion and finally you make a decision. Swamiji went one more step further by gifting us a powerful Science called Science of completion which purifies the mind by removing all the past hangovers which is nothing but a cloud of ignorance. Next he revealed that 4 tattvas or spiritual principles of Integrity, Authenticity, Responsibility and Enriching.  When we live these four tattvas, we awaken the four powers: Vaak Shakti (power of words), Mano Shakti (power of thinking), Prema Shakti (power of feeling), Atma Shakti (power of living). The entire intellect becomes so sharp for the flowering of right cognition.

The third way to gain right knowledge is the competent evidence which means the words of an enlightened Master. All the words of an enlightened master, whether you perceive it with your senses or not, whether you cognize it through your mind or not, are right knowledge. The words that come out of an enlightened master are straight, complete right knowledge. However, in modern day, humanity can only accept that perception through the five senses and cognition through the five senses is right knowledge, but they don’t believe the words of an enlightened Master can be a source of right knowledge. People constantly demand proof and they don’t have the patience to wait till the Master comes to the conclusion and give them the experience. An enlightened Master is one who has already experienced it and he is trying to teach you in the language in which you will understand which takes time. You just have to be patient for the transfer of knowledge to happen naturally. Patanjali says “The words of an enlightened Master are a way to gain right knowledge. Till you experience it, respect His words and go with them, they will become your experience.” If you are intelligent enough to do a little research, you will notice that all the traditions which accepted the words of an enlightened Master as a source of right knowledge, they lived ecstatically and radiated enlightenment.

To recap, the direct perception without perversion of senses, inference from right cognition and competent evidence from the words of an enlightened Master are the three sources of right knowledge. Catch it! Namaste 😀

  • Source – 108 truths of the Yoga of Enlightenment by Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

Understanding of modifications of the mind

For those intellects out there, this is a sutra for you from Patanjali, the great sage of yoga.

In the 6th Sutra, he states that “Right knowledge, wrong knowledge, imagination, sleep and memory – these are the 5 modifications of the mind which may lead to suffering or joy, anguish or non-anguish.”

The revelation is right knowledge can lead to suffering or joy! Even though it is right knowledge, it is still a modification of your mind which is bondage. The mind leads you to bondage or freedom, you mind can make anything out of anything. Any situation can be experienced in any way. The mind can enjoy a certain happening or suffer due to it. It can experience joy or suffering in the same situation, it can comprehend pleasure or pain in the same situation, it can make you experience anything out of anything! That is the power of the mind.

Have you seen people creating guilt out of right knowledge? With the right knowledge, when you misunderstand it and apply it in the wrong way or when you misuse it, you can create agony, guilt and doubt inside you and other people. In the hands of wrong people, even the right knowledge can create suffering!

Next, all of us know that wrong knowledge can also lead us to suffering or joy. This is because wrong knowledge comes from our emotions, mood swings which are nothing but the function of liver and hormones. Do you notice how your mood changes during morning, at noon and at night? Your thought patterns and moods are all based on your liver function which is wrong knowledge. Another example, when you are hungry, your idea about food is very different, after you finish your meal, suddenly your idea about food is different. This also applies to lust: when you want the experience, your idea about the other person, your idea about beauty, your idea about the act, everything is different. When you are finished with the act, suddenly everything is different! Hence, Patanjali says any knowledge based on your senses, your hormones which changes from time to time, is wrong knowledge. That’s why Paramahamsa Nithyananda (fondly known as Swamiji) who is a living incarnation, emphasized that during the hormonal hijack, one should never make any important life decision.

You may ask – How can wrong knowledge create joy? According to Swamiji, wrong knowledge can lead one to joy for only a short period, but it is not permanent joy. It is joy that leads to bondage, to more suffering. So even if it gives you temporary joy, wrong knowledge is still wrong knowledge.

There are only 2 things your mind can do – it can either continuously condition you or it can continuously liberate you. Your imagination can either go this way or that way, it cannot stay still. You either progress or you go down, in the inner world there is no such thing as being stuck. If your imagination is used by you to liberate yourself, to remove all conditioning, it is called meditation. If your imagination is used by you to bind you more and more, to create more and more bondage for you, it is called mind. Imagination can either lead you to hell or heaven. People can either move completely away from the spiritual path or completely get enlightened.

Even with this great knowledge of Yoga, I’ve seen people create one more bondage – like feeling depressed due to misuse of this knowledge or misinterpretation of this great truth. That is why these great truths should be heard directly from an enlightened being. The enlightened being knows how to interpret Patanjali and from what context the truths are expressed.

Here Patanjali emphasized the importance of a cognitive shift by a master. The moment we experience a cognitive shift, our comprehension is illumined. We will be able to directly relate with the truth without difficulties or complications, without torturing ourselves. This cognitive shift happens with the initiation of an enlightened master. For instance, the science of unclutching is the direct initiation (energy transmission) by Patanjali where he spoke about in the 2nd sutra – “Mind is an action, you can stop it”. In the entire Yoga Sutra, Patanjali did not mention about initiation because he already knew that enlightened beings will continue to come down to planet earth to remind humanity of this science as a form of initiation and keep this tradition alive for future generations. It is only with a living master who can take you to the right imagination and lead you beyond the mind, the no-mind state of ecstasy!

In sum, the right knowledge, wrong knowledge and imagination are different modifications of the mind which only lead us to the extremes of joy or suffering, anguish and non-anguish. Beware of them! Namaste. 😀

  • Source – 108 truths of the Yoga of Enlightenment by Paramahamsa Nithyananda.