Patanjali states in Yoga Sutra 1.7 that the sources of right knowledge are direct perception, inference and authoritative testimony.
I’ll break this down simply…
Example: Being hungry
1. Direct Perception: My stomach hurts and is making loud noises. I am directly experiencing this.
2. Inference: I just started crying over the stupidest thing and practically anything sounds good to eat, along with the pain in my stomach and loud grumbling noises… I can infer that I am hungry.
3. Authoritative testimony: As I am only a few months old, my mother comes and picks me up and offers me a bottle. She has confirmed that she knows I am hungry.
I struggle with this Sutra because our experiences are limited to what we experience… Even reading this blog- you are not experiencing this Sutra, simply taking my word for it. You would need to go read the book, practice a flow with this in mind to really experience it. It makes sense for sure, but there are a lot of variables that can stand in the way of ‘right knowledge’ and that is what next week’s sutra explains :).
For this week, notice when you are assuming things without actually knowing them. For instance, sometimes I will go to a yoga class and assume the next posture in a sequence (assuming it is NOT an ashtanga class)- however I have a 50/50 chance of getting it right in a vinyasa flow. That’s not right knowledge, that’s an assumption. As we all know, to assume makes an ass out of u and me!
Another way to think of it is when your friend has a shitty experience with someone else. As a loyal human, I usually take their word for it and immediately discard this person in my friend bank- HOWEVER this is not the best way to approach the situation. I did not directly experience this person being a weasel. I don’t know them so I cannot infer the activity. As much as I love my friend, they are probably not Buddha, Jesus, God, my or Patanjali so they aren’t necessarily an authority figure. Man up. Don’t just assume this person sucks. Take them out for coffee. DISCUSS the situation with them. Don’t be a dick :). Experience this person for yourself. Be sure to let your other friend know as well, so they don’t infer that you are two timing them and get the wrong knowledge about the situation.