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Sutra 1.7: Right Knowledge

In life, sometimes we get things right, and sometimes we get things wrong. Oftentimes, what we get wrong we only see in hindsight. Sutra 1.7 emphasizes the importance of right knowledge, and says that there are three sources of right knowledge (or truth.) We can gain right knowledge from three sources: perception, inference and testimony.

The problem is that sometimes the truth can be painful, so we avoid it and linger with the wrong knowledge. Sometimes the wrong knowledge is easier or less painful. Keeps the peace. We avoid the right knowledge by getting drunk, by sweeping our secrets under the rug, by ignoring the glaring red flags about our partner.

I’ve been the queen of all that, but especially the last one.

When I was twenty one I had my first narc relationship (that I was aware of). There clearly was something off about the guy who kept me at a distance from all his friends, said terrible things about his ex girlfriends, and constantly “had to work” on valentines day and other special occasions. But I was so committed to believing he was my knight in shining armour, that I would deny these red flags. When I finally was faced with the right knowledge, it broke my heart.

The first source of right knowledge is perception: Pratyaksha Pramana. I walked into him holding hands with and kissing another woman in a bar. Through my own perception I saw he was with another woman. That is right knowledge.

The second source of right knowledge is inference: Anumana. This is based on sound reasoning, or your own logic. For example, when you see smoke, you know there is fire. Or by the way they were having this intimate moment, I could infer that she was also his girlfriend and he was dating both of us. Through my inferences, I gained right knowledge.

The last source of right knowledge is testimony: Agama. This is reliable sources either written, or told to you by people you trust. I befriended two other ex-girlfriends of his, and through their stories, was able to piece together that he was having multiple relationships behind my back. Through their testimony, I gained right knowledge.

The tricky part is processing all this with Vairagya - letting go. When this happened to me, I took this all on as mine. This defined me. This shaped me. He did this on purpose to hurt me. I held onto this story of being the victim and unworthy of love so tightly.

The trick is to let it go. To detach. To feel the emotions, to process and practice, and come back to another truth: that nothing is personal. Nothing he was doing was because of me. Nothing anyone does is because of me. I just unfortunately ended up as one of the victims on his path.

Right Knowledge. And Letting Go. It is hard. It is uncomfortable. But there is a huge amount of freedom that comes from the truth. (and letting go.)

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