antarāyas

(‘those which come in between’)

Yoga or union (yuj = to yoke) of the individual self with the Supreme Self can be attained through yoga or perfect concen-tration (yuj = to get samādhi or superconscious state). All attempts at controlling the vagaries of the mind—which is constantly rising in the form of vṛttis or wave-like modifications—are foiled by antarāyas or ‘intruders’ which are actually obstacles in the path of yoga.

Patañjali lists them as nine in number (Yogasūtras 1.30):

  1. vyādhi or illness;
  2. styāna or languor of the mind;
  3. saṁśaya or doubt;
  4. pramāda or heedlessness;
  5. ālasya or laziness of the body;
  6. avirati or absence of dispassion;
  7. bhrānti-darśana or false perception and hallucination;
  8. alabdhabhūmikatva or non-attainment of yogic states, and
  9. anavasthitatva or instability of a yogic state, when obtained.

There is a second set of such antarāyas (ibid. 1.31) which ‘coexist with mental distractions’ and are hence called ‘vikṣepa-sahabhuvaḥ.’ They are five:

  1. duḥkha or sorrow;
  2. daurmanasya or disappointment;
  3. aṅgamejayatva or restlessness of limbs;
  4. śvāsa or forcible inhalation, and
  5. praśvāsa or forcible exhalation.

All these disturb the mind and hence prove to be obstacles to the attainment of yoga.

For details, see under each title separately.