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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Jātijñāna literally means ‘knowledge of previous births’.

A yogi develops extraordinary powers by ‘saiṅyama’ or samādhi[1] preceded by dhāraṇā[2] and dhyāna.</ref>Dhyāna means continuous meditation.</ref>

If he practices saiṅyama on his own sanskāra-s or residual potencies of his mind, he will get a direct knowledge of his previous births or lives.[3] This happens due to the sanskāra-s caused by the experiences in those lives.[4]


  1. Samādhi means perfect concentration.
  2. Dhāraṇā means fixing the mind on an object.
  3. Jāti means birth and jñāna means knowledge.
  4. Yogasutras of Patañjali 3.18
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore