Definition - What does Dvandva mean?

Dvandva is a Sanskrit term that refers to compound pairs of words, usually pairs of opposites. As such, they are particularly useful for discussing dualities and dichotomies. These are relatively common in Sanskrit.

Dvandvas are important in yoga because several yogic concepts and teachings, including the Yoga Sutras, use them in order to express ideas. The term also appears in the Bhagavad Gita where it refers to the concept of focusing on something unchanging, while seeking something higher than the material world.

Yogapedia explains Dvandva

Dvandva is mentioned in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras where asanas for meditation are described. Here it is stated that the yogi’s posture needs to be both steady and comfortable in order to allow meditation practice to be effective.

In addition, Sutra 2.48 states, “Tatah dvandva anabhighata.” This can be translated as meaning that once a perfect meditation posture is attained and balance is created, there is a freedom from suffering. This can only be obtained once effort is relaxed and attention is focused on the Infinite. It is the balance of dvandvas, or pairs of opposites, in this state which liberates the yogi. For example, in effective meditation, there is absolute freedom from hot and cold, pain and pleasure, good and bad.

Dvandva can also be used as a root word for a dvandvatita. This is someone who is not influenced by the dvandvas. They are unaffected by heat and cold, pleasure and pain, success and failure.

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