From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshanand

Viparyāya literally means ‘contrariety’.

This is a technical term used in the Yogasutras.[1] The cittavrttis or the modifications of the mind, though they appear to be infinite, can be classified into five broad groups:

  1. Pramāṇa - means of valid knowledge
  2. Viparyāya - contrariety
  3. Vikalpa - mere concept
  4. Nidrā - sleep
  5. Smṛti - memory

Viparyaya, the second, is defined as mithyājñāna or false knowledge. It is not based on reality. When we see a snake in twilight in a rope lying on the ground, it is viparyāya, seeing one thing for another. Avidyā is an another name for it.


  1. Yogasutras 1.6, 8
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore