Sage Patanjali in his next aphorism explains about Vikalpa, the third Vrutii (nature) of our Buddhi (mind) that poses as a distraction in the journey of an aspirant.
शब्दज्ञानानुपाती वस्तुशून्यो विकल्पः ।
Translation: “Knowledge gained by words, but devoid of a corresponding object is vikalpa.”
Here, the word Vikalpa means fantasy, imagination, projection, mental concepts or theories.
Imagination is that which, due to the usage of words, appears to have content but in reality is not correct.
Do not confuse Vikalpa with Viparyaya which is the 2nd Vrutti as discussed in previous articles. Viparyaya means misconceptions and involves false interpretation of an object (a physical form or idea). Vikalpa results from drawing conclusions without any concrete object for a basis.
The correct conceptualization is a process that involves coming up with clear and concise definitions for which an object of basis is necessary.
We have to focus on the fact that some concepts have multiple elements or dimensions and the authenticity of our concept can be cross checked in various scenarios on the basis of a tangible object.
Vikalpa or fantasy often distances a person from reality or present. A person starts living in his self-created shell of fantasy or imagination of future, losing out his focus on present actions to be taken. Be it in practical worldly life or the journey of Yoga, fantasies often de-rail the aspirant from his way to his goals.
An interesting fact to be considered is that Vikalpa is not always “bad”, because it is also the source of creativity. When you use vikalpa consciously at moments in which you want to be creative is very useful! To design something new, to express yourself in a creative way through dance, art, and music, to find a solution for a problem are all examples of “useful” vikalpa. You will have to learn to discern for yourself when your Vikalpa useful or not-useful.
Let us understand the nature of our fantasies, sort them consciously and improve our process of correct conceptualization.
Love, Light and Peace.