By Swami Harshananda
Alabdha-bhumikatva literally means ‘non-attainment of yogic states’.
Yoga is defined as union of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul through samādhi. The path to this union is fraught with several obstacles. Of the nine obstacles technically known as ‘antarāyas’ mentioned by Patañjali in his Yogasutras ‘alabdhabhumikatva’ is the eighth.
‘Alabdha-bhumikatva’ occurs when an aspirant who is correctly practicing the various steps and disciplines of yoga, fails to attain any of the yogabhṅmis or planes of psychic and spiritual experience mentioned in the text books of yoga. This is primarily due to the limiting sanskāras carried over from past lives, that drain all the energy generated by yogic practices like 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 the aspirant can discover his weaknesses and eliminate them with appropriate practices.
- Yogasutras 1.30
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore