Definition - What does Indriya mean?

Indriya is a term in Indian philosophy that refers to the sensory, spiritual or phenomenological faculties. It is a Sanskrit and Pali word that translates as “belonging to/agreeable to Indra,” who is the king of the gods in the "Rig Veda."

In Buddhism, the term refers to the five spiritual faculties, five or six sensory faculties or 22 phenomenological faculties, depending on the context. In yogic philosophy, it refers to the five sense organs, the five action organs and the mind.

Yogapedia explains Indriya

In traditional yoga, pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga as described in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and a key component on the path to enlightenment.

The indriyas include the manas (sensory or processing mind), the five karmendriyas (means of expression, action or senses) and the five jnanendriyas (wisdom or knowing senses). As part of yogic meditation, the yogi perceives the world through the jnanendriyas and responds via the karmendriyas. The manas is affected by what it perceives through the indriyas.

Jnanendriyas are the five lower sense organs, referred to as ears (shotra), eyes (chakshu), nose (grahnu), tongue (jivha) and skin (tvak).

Karmendriyas are the organs that interact with the material world. The feet (pada) move, the hands (pani) grasp and hold, the rectum (payu) eliminates, the genitals (upastha) procreate and the mouth (vak) speaks.

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