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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pramāda literally means ‘heedlessness’.

In general, the word means heedlessness or carelessness and a blunder that arises out of it. However, in the Yogasutras[1] of Patañjali,[2] it is used as a technical term and listed as an obstacle to yoga or samādhi. It is defined as neither remembering nor practicing the basic virtues like ahiṅsā[3] and satya,[4] which are essential for attaining samādhi.

Once the mind is allowed to slip from the path of yoga due to pramāda, it can result in a total fall.[5] The famous sage Sanatsujāta compares pramāda to mṛtyu or death since it ultimately leads to sansāra or trans-migratory existence.[6]


  1. Yogasutras 1.30
  2. He lived in 200 B. C.
  3. Ahiṅsā means non-injury.
  4. Satya means truth.
  5. Vivekacudāmaṇi, 324
  6. Sanatsujātīya 1.4
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore