Aug 10, 2023

Sources of Right Knowledge according to Maharishi Patanjali

 Over the past few days, I have been grappling with this thought of "being influenced" and the factors that lead us in that direction.

In our parent's times (80s and 90s), it was television and advertisements that played a huge role in shaping their thoughts and decisions.

In our present times, it is social media and the so-called influencers.

While reading "Wisdom Bridge" a few weeks back, the author spoke about how there is more involvement and more intensity in today's parents because of a lack of access to the "village" (a.k.a family support) and wisdom that used to flow serenely from one generation to another.

"Prepare is the new care" => He laid forth this apt statement.

It is not only the preparation of our children for better opportunities and skills. It also means preparation undertaken by parents ourselves, so we feel equipped with the "right" knowledge. Fair intentions certainly, BUT have we evaluated our approach to accessing this "right" knowledge?

In Yoga Sutras, Maharishi Patanjali talks about five categories of vrittis (thoughts) that disturb our chitta (layers of mind).

One of them is called pramAna (right knowledge).

The No.1 source of right knowledge is pratyaksha or direct perception - experienced through our own five senses.

When it comes to parenting, most of us are clueless (especially with our firstborn), as we have been brought up in nuclear families and have had no prior experience in raising a baby. Direct perception is NIL.

The second source of right knowledge is anumAna or inference - not directly perceived but we make a calculated guess based on something else that we have perceived.

We might have observed in the past how a friend handled her baby when crying due to colic. We use that experience as an inference to address a crying episode with our baby in the present. The technique may or may not work, as the reason for crying could be different.

The third source of right knowledge is Agama or testimony - "that which has come down" - through scriptures or from other people or sources that we TRUST.

That's where the issue begins.

We don't trust our family elders as their ideologies could be misaligned or misunderstood with ours.

These could also have been tainted due to right intentions but wrong actions.

There is also a sense of EGO within that prevents us from listening to their intentions.

But the MOST important issue is that we don't trust ourselves, and because of this we allow ourselves to be persuaded by random opinions from strangers on social media.

Trust that you have the right intuition within to raise a child.

Trust that you will receive the right knowledge from reliable sources that operate from the space of "aRam" (righteousness) and not from a business motive (charging 1000s of rupees for a 1-hour group / pre-recorded workshop).

Trust that you have enough self-love to accept and learn from mistakes that you might make in being a parent.

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