From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Kaivalya literally means 'being all alone’.

Liberation from the endless cycle of birth and death has been posited by all the six systems of philosophy as the final goal of life. This goal has been variously described as:

  1. Mukti
  2. Mokṣa
  3. Kaivalya
  4. Nirvāṇa

Kaivalya is a technical word used mostly by the Sāṅkhya and Yoga philosophies. Literally it means ‘kevalatva’ or ‘being all alone’. The puruṣa or the individual soul in the bondage due to his association and identification with pradhāna or prakṛti[1] realizes by the practice of yoga that he is absolutely different and separate from it. This knowledge is called as ‘vivekakhyāti’. It frees him from the bondage and becomes himself once again. He becomes ‘all alone’ who is never under the slavery of prakṛti.[2]


  1. Prakṛti means the insentient nature, matrix of material creation.
  2. Yogasutras 4.34
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore