1.9 sabdajnananupati vastu sunyo vikalpah
SabdA= word, sound, verbal expression
jnana= knowledge, knowing
anupati= arises, depending upon, following, in sequence
vastu= reality, real object, existence
sunyo=without any, devoid, empty
vikalpah= verbal delusion, fantasy, imagination
An image that arises on hearing mere words without any reality <as its basis> is verbal delusion
FANTASY or imagination is a thought PATTERN that has verbal expression and KNOWLEDGE, but for which there is no such object or reality in existence
Today's Sutra was a perfect contemplation exercise for me as we wandered around the tiny homes of a fantasy village information booth. The sutra itself warns against pure fantasy, and verbal delusion that is not based in reality or even possible. The common examples given in commentaries are you can not have a Barren Mother or a "Dumb" man talking to you. the very concepts are at odds with each other and not possible. I wandered then how the ancient yogis would feel about the pure imagination and fantastical creations of the kinds of stories we come up with for books and movies. Where is creative license allowed to expand the mind and the heart and where does it turn to delusion and bondage.
I worked for many years in the film and stage performance industries. As I look back on it now I can see where some actors (I use this term for male or female) could take on the joy of a role and explore concepts deeply with out letting it overtake their personal world. Others would dive so deeply into a character that I would be extremely concerned about their emotional wellbeing. Could they continue to decipher the imagination required for the script to take shape from the reality they actually lived in. I wondered in what ways do we all escape into fantasy, imagination and gossip in a way that distorts our reality? In what ways does the imagination help us work through potential scenarios and prepare us for new experience?
I consider myself to be a very grounded human. I think that most people who know me would agree that I am incredibly pragmatic and that I really try to look at the reality in any situation. That said, in my mind I can play out some wildly staged scenes and often use my fantasy and a play ground for working on solutions to real world situations.
I think for me this sutra is less about having an imagination, but rather not jumping to conclusions based upon limited information or verbal expressions from another source. For example, I know of a person who will often hear part of what someone may be saying and jump to the craziest conclusions based upon that hearsay. The actual conclusion they make is not based on anything real, in fact it is very rarely based on anything more than a partial comment or newspaper headline. Unfortunately, I don't think it is that uncommon for people to hear or read part of something and then take wild leaps to sharing ideas that are not based upon anything but verbal delusions. I won't claim to be immune from this. It is easy to get caught up in a sweeping mob mentality when an idea is circulating. Facebook makes it worse. People see a headline in a post from a friend and will simply like or share the post with out really giving it a deeper look. I have certainly done this. Lately though, I have really taking the time to read mush of what is going around (if it really draws my attention) and will often fin that I can poke holes in article or its logic in seconds. There is a good deal of hyperbolic information in circulation as well as pure opinion pieces without substantive information to back it.
The story of the hobbits is one of of many tales dealing with the struggles of good verses evil, greed verses compassion and following your life's duty. I supposed this is also a yogic tale of getting grounded and not falling into the evils of delusion. I celebrate this contemplation with a handstand in a hobbit hole (very small doorway!).
Time to go blend with the local customs of intense beer drinking (cider for me, cause I am a bit more girly than I like to admit!) and then to prepare for Claudine Lafond's arrival tomorrow! The 1st Immersion on this tour begins in the evening tomorrow. Claudine arrives late this eve so tomorrow will be a full day of planning, preparation and play. You can check her out at her studio facebook Yoga Beyond!