Definition - What does Anitya mean?

Anitya is a Sanskrit word for the Hindu concept of impermanence. It refers to the idea that suffering does not last, but neither do the material comforts of life. Anitya is also known in Buddhism by the Pali word, anicca.

The concepts vary based on the tradition. The doctrine of annica maintains that all that is physical and mental is not metaphysically real and, therefore, not permanent. In Hinduism and yogic traditions, however, the belief is that people have both permanent and impermanent aspects.

Yogapedia explains Anitya

Hindu and yogic philosophy asserts that humans are trapped in a cycling of suffering, death and rebirth. To achieve liberation from this cycle, the yogi must overcome anitya by finding the permanence (nitya) within oneself. In yoga, that means union with the universal Self, or Brahman.

In the Jain tradition, anitya is one of the 12 bhavanas, or reflections. Anitya bhavana is reflection on the impermanence of the world. Striving for spiritual values, therefore, provides freedom and stability by helping to remove all worldly attachments.

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter