alabdha-bhūmikatva

(‘non-attainment of yogic states’)

Yoga is defined as union of the indi-vidual soul with the Supreme Soul through samādhi (perfect concentration, super-conscious experience). The path to this union is fraught with several obstacles. Of the nine obstacles technically known as ‘antarāyas’ mentioned by Patañjali in his Yogasūtras (1.30) ‘alabdhabhūmikatva’ is the eighth.

In spite of the fact that the aspirant is correctly practising the various steps and disciplines of yoga, he fails to attain any of the yogabhūmis or planes of psychic and spiritual experience mentioned in the text books of yoga. This is called ‘alabdha-bhūmikatva.’ This is primarily due to the evil saṁskāras or impressions carried over from past lives, which drain all the energy generated by yogic practices even as rat-holes in a field drain the water with which it is irrigated. With the help of the guru (spiritual preceptor) and by deep introspection he can discover his weaknesses and try to eliminate them by proper practices.

See also ANTARĀYAS.