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Yoga Sutras
Sutras 1.9

śabda-jñānānupātī vastu-śūnyo vikalpaḥ

"A concept arising from verbal knowledge is devoid of substantial reality."

Translated - Swami Satchidananda

This phrase discusses the concept of conceptualisation that arises based on verbal knowledge. Let's break down the meaning of each component: śabda-jñānānupātī: This part signifies "following verbal knowledge" or "resulting from linguistic understanding." It refers to a process of forming ideas or concepts based on information acquired through language or verbal communication. vastu-śūnyo: "vastu" means "reality" or "object," and "śūnyo" means "devoid" or "empty." So, "vastu-śūnyo" conveys the idea of "devoid of reality" or "lacking a substantial basis." vikalpaḥ: This term refers to "concept" or "mental construct." It denotes the imaginative or conceptual aspect of thought, which is not necessarily tied to concrete reality. This phrase reflects a philosophical perspective on the nature of concepts or mental constructs that arise in the mind. It suggests that when ideas are formed primarily through language or verbal communication, they might lack a direct connection to the concrete reality they attempt to represent. Instead, they exist more as mental abstractions or constructs influenced by linguistic descriptions. In philosophical discussions, this concept is often explored in relation to how language shapes our understanding of the world and how concepts may or may not accurately reflect the true nature of reality.
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