By Swami Harshananda
Antarāyas literally means ‘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 concentration (yuj = to get samādhi or superconscious state). All attempts of 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.
Antarāyas in Patañjali
- Vyādhi or illness
- Styāna or languor of the mind
- Saṅśaya or doubt
- Pramāda or heedlessness
- Ālasya or laziness of the body
- Avirati or absence of dispassion
- Bhrānti-darśana or false perception and hallucination
- Alabdhabhṅmikatva or non-attainment of yogic states
- Anavasthitatva or instability of a yogic state when obtained.
There is a second set of such antarāyas which ‘co-exist with mental distractions’ and are hence called ‘vikṣepa-sahabhuvah.’ They are classified into five parts :
- Duhkha or sorrow
- Daurmanasya or disappointment
- Aṅgamejayatva or restlessness of limbs
- Śvāsa or forcible inhalation
- Praśvāsa or forcible exhalation
All these disturb the mind and hence prove to be obstacles to the attainment of yoga.
- Yogasutras 1.30
- Yogasutras 1.31
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore