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By Swami Harshananda

Gati literally means ‘movement’ and includes several other meanings like consequence, path, nature, progress.

Gati as per Upaniṣad and Bhagvad Gitā

The Upaniṣad and the Bhagvad Gitā describe two types of gati-s (or paths) leading to a destination:

  1. The śukla[1] for the fortunate souls
  2. The kṛṣṇa[2] for the ordinary souls

Gati as per Purāṇa

The Purāṇa-s predicate following four gati-s (or results) for human beings:

  1. Reaching the presence of a deity through yajña
  2. Intense spirit of renunciation through tapas or austerity
  3. Status of brāhmaṇa through karmasanyāsa or renunciation of desire-motivated actions
  4. Kaivalya or mokṣa[3] through jñāna[4]

Gati as per Matsyapurāna

The Matsyapurāna describes gati as one of the eight daughters of Kardama Prajāpati. She was married to the sage Pulaha. Her three sons offended Śiva and were cursed by him to die drowning in the Brahmaputra.


  1. Śukla means the white and also called as ‘arcirādimārga’.
  2. Kṛṣṇa means the black and also called ‘dhumādimārga’.
  3. Mokṣa means liberation.
  4. Jñāna means spiritual wisdom.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore