Definition - What does Abhava mean?

Abhava is a Sanskrit word meaning “non-existence” or “absence.” Abhava is the direct opposite of bhava, meaning “existing” or “becoming.” Abhava is considered the place of absence out of which bhava materializes, or arises from.

Within a yoga practice, yogis may have the objective of abhava, or the goal of moving away from something in their life that they find negative, unhealthy or hindering, by facilitating the deeper teachings of yoga (bhava).

Yogapedia explains Abhava

A yoga practice allows for individuals to invite the benefits and gain of yoga (bhava) into their life. Many yogis begin incorporating yoga into their life with the goal of losing emotional or spiritual hindrances, rendering them non-existent (abhava).

In Hindu philosophy, abhava is considered to be of the following four kinds:

  1. Pragabhava: the non-existence of something before it comes into being, like a drum before it is created by someone.
  2. Pradhvamsabhava: the non-existence of something after it is destroyed, like the same drum after it is destroyed completely.
  3. Atyantabhava: the mutual non-existence of two different objects within one another, as in a flute cannot exist within a drum and a drum cannot exist within a flute.
  4. Anyonyabhava: the concept of absolute non-existence, like the sound of a flute coming from a drum or the sound of a drum coming from a flute.

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