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By Swami Harshananda

Avirati literally means ‘absence of renunciation’.

Patañjali (200 B. C.) the great teacher of yoga, lists nine serious obstacles to the attainment of yoga[1] of which ‘avirati’ or absence of the spirit of renunciation is the one.

Yoga is ‘citta-vṛtti- nīrodha’ or suppressing the modifications of the mind. These modifications continue to rise as long as their causes like kāma or desire for the pleasures of the senses exist. Kāma has to be controlled by ‘virati’ or an intense spirit of renunciation. If this virati is absent, then, that state is called ‘avirati’ which is a serious obstacle to yoga.


  1. Yogasutras 1.30
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore