Definition - What does Tanu mean?

Tanu is a Sanskrit word that means “small,” “minute” and “attenuated.” Tanu is one of the four stages that a yogi goes through in dealing with and overcoming the negative mental states known as kleshas, which cause suffering and are obstacles to enlightenment.

Tanu is the weakened state in which a klesha exists in the subconscious, but doesn't agitate the mind. The kleshas as described in the Yoga Sutras are: raaga (attachment), avidya (delusion), dvesha, (repulsion), asmita (egoism) and abhinivesha (will to live).

Yogapedia explains Tanu

To overcome the influence of the kleshas, the yogi goes through the four stages, but in no set order. For example, the yogi might pass out of the active stage of attachment to material things and into the stage of tanu in which the attachment is weakened and exists only in the subconscious. But, he may fall back into the active stage before progressing further.

Even though the order of the stages varies, a common path might be:

  • Udaram, the active stage of the klesha when it has its strongest influence
  • Vicchinna, the separated stage in which the klesha may be active, but not fulfilled because it is out of reach
  • Tanu, the weakened, subconscious stage
  • Prasupta, the dormant stage in which the klesha resides in the unconscious mind

Awareness and observation of the kleshas begins the process of overcoming their influence. Yogic practices such as meditation and pranayama are tools that assist in this journey.

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