The Five Activities of the Mind

According to the Yoga Sutras there are five activities of the mind – the vrittayah panchatayah. They are pramana, viparyaya, vikalpa, nidra, and smriti and Patanjali discusses them in sutras 6 through 11 in the Samadhi Pada. The first category is pramana which means right and unchanging knowledge of what was previously unknown. According to the sutras, we gain correct knowledge three ways. The first is pratyaksha which literally translates as that which is visible to the eye. Information from the outside world is presented to the mind and thoughts arise in response. I like to think of the phrase: “I saw it with my own two eyes” but it applies to direct perception with all of our senses. The second way to attain right knowledge is through anumana, logical inference, where we establish the correct cause and effect relationship about something. The ancient

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