bhrāntidarśana

(false perception)

Patañjali (200 B.C.) in his well-known treatise, the Yogasūtras, lists eight serious obstacles to yoga. Out of these—technically called ‘antarāyas’—bhrāntidarśana or false perception, is the seventh. It is a serious obstacle and requires greater effort as also more tactful handling to prevent it or eliminate it.

At the intellectual level, false perception can manifest itself as misunderstanding the teachings of the guru and the scriptures. This can be due to dullness or perversion of the intellect or even self-conceit. Discussions with the guru in all humility can help in solving it.

False perception is possible at the psychic level also. Wrong methods of practice can lead to hallucinations. They can be remedied by consulting spiritually advanced souls.

True experience gives joy and peace whereas the false one may not have any impact or may even cause unhappiness, fear, restlessness and tension.

Psychic experiences like clairvoyance and clairaudience, though true in themselves, can produce a false sense of self-realization thus blocking further progress. They too come under ‘bhrāntidarśana.’ It needs great strength and wisdom to transcend the temptations of such psychic powers as they often develop as a matter of course in spiritual aspirants. Patañjali himself gives the warning in the sūtra 3.51.

See also ANTARĀYAS.