Thought Bite: Adhikāra

Many times over the years of studying with Swami Veda Bharati, I heard him use the Sanskrit word, adhikāra. He might have said: "Do you have the adhikāra to do this practice?"

Adhikāra is an important concept in Yoga. 

So what does it mean?

As is often true for Sanskrit words, there are many possible English translations of adhikāra, including, authority, authorization, post, and passage.  I've also heard adhikāra used in the sense of "preparedness," as in "are you prepared?"

So, having adhikāra means one is prepared, has done the proper practices, and is at a certain level of development that gives him/her an authorization or the authority to speak on a certain topic, to understand a certain spiritual concept, to undertake a certain practice, among other things.

As a Yoga practitioner, it's important to consider one's own adhikāra in determining what practices to attempt, and what one is able to understand. If a person has a kindergarten education, it would not do to try and understand a PhD thesis!

Similarly, when teaching yoga and meditation, it's essential to consider the adhikāra of those we teach. Is s/he ready for this practice? Has s/he mastered the preliminaries or not? Will s/he benefit from it or will it just be a source of confusion? 


19 Dec 2021;
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Full Moon Meditation 2020