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By Swami Harshananda

nitya (‘that which exists always’)

The word ‘nitya’ is generally used in the Hindu scriptures, in two senses: what is eternal; daily.

That which is beyond time, space and causation, and hence unaffected by them is called ‘nitya’. Only the ātman (the Self or the soul) and Brahman (the Absolute or God) fit in with this definition.

In some of the darśanas (philosophies), some other objects like paramāṇus (atoms) or kāla (time) or pradhāna or prakṛti (Nature, matrix of all insentient objects comprising the three guṇas, sattva, rajas and tamas) are also considered as nitya or eternal.

As applied to karmas or prescribed rites, nitya (or nityakarma) refers to the obligatory duties to be performed daily, such as the sandhyā, gāyatrījapa and pañca-mahāyajñas. They gradually lead to citta-śuddhi or purity of mind.

Practising any yoga should be

preceded by tlie performance of nitya

and naimittika karmas (occasional, but compulsory, rites).


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore