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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by Yogi Kalinath - Chapter 1, Verse 9

Pada 1, Sutra 9

Sanskrit Verse

Shabda-Jnananupati vastu-shunyo vikalpah


Conceptualization is without an actual or perceivable object, relying upon concept in language.


Concepts and reality can be and are often incongruent. Words that comprise the art of verbal communication (whether internal as self-talk or external as a mean of communication with others) are limiting and can be construed at best as the projection of an individual’s awareness (however constricted or expansive that awareness is!). Talk is indeed cheap!

Here Rishi Patanjali is referring to modifications in consciousness that are purely internal without the support of an external object and are therefore called subjective. These purely internal mind modifications can be classified into two categories: memory and fancy. Memory is modification in the mind based on previous experiences while fancy is the creation of mental images which does not correspond to an actual experience.

Therefore what we tell our self and believe to be true is not necessarily truth. For the most part, we are just caught up in our own thought process.

Contemplation Exercises

Reflect on instances when you have taken something to be true and either based your decisions or world views on that belief later to find out that it was ultimately not based on truth. In fact it was your internal language, your conceptualization of that something that led you to that certain world view in the first place.

In your daily life, observe any tendencies to jump to conclusions especially so in connection with verbal language, either through your self-talk or through the misinterpretation of others’ verbal communication.

Incessant self-talk and verbal delusion is indeed the bedrock of Maya.

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