Definition - What does Dama mean?

Dama is a Sanskrit word that means “punishment,” “self-control,” “subduing,” and “self-restraint.” In the context of Jnana yoga, it is one of the shat-sampat, or six virtues, that is a form of mental training that yogis use to overcome the illusion of the physical world. Dama is the ability to control the senses and, therefore, one's reactions to external stimuli.

Shat-sampat is one of the Sadhana Chatushtaya (Four Pillars of Knowledge) that Jnana yogis on their journey to higher knowledge.

Yogapedia explains Dama

Through dama, the yogi keeps control of both the body and senses (indriyas). There are 10 external indriyas, which are divided into five instruments of perception and five instruments of action.

In addition to dama, the other five shat-sampat virtues include the following:

  • Shama (calmness or peace of mind)
  • Uparati (renunciation of that which doesn't fit one's dharma, or duty)
  • Titiksha (perseverance)
  • Shraddha (trust and faith in the spiritual path)
  • Samadhana (total concentration and focus)
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