Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Parinama Mean?

Parinama is a Sanskrit term describing transformation or change, on both a philosophical and practical level. It is one of the most important ideas in “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” and is described as the transformation which takes place when one is leaving a period of suffering or dukha.

There are other kinds of parinama, each leading to the same goal of yoga. Patanjali outlined six kinds of parinama: nirodha parinama (the suppression of the vrittis), samadhi parinama (development of samadhi), ekagrata parinama (one-pointed transformation), dharma parinama (transformation of appearance), lakshana (transformation of character) and avastha parinama (transformation of condition).


Yogapedia Explains Parinama

Parinama is transformation not only of the mind, but also of the body, elements and senses. Parinama is also the cause of creation of the universe, which is still in constant parinama, or change. It always exists in prakriti (matter) that is constantly changing because of its three qualities of creation, preservation and destruction.

Parinama is the essential idea behind the Samkhya and Vedanta philosophies. Both Samkhya and yoga schools of Hinduism believe that everything is a projection of something that has already been present or hidden. That is also why these schools of thought believe that the world has materialized out of the world that existed in a hidden way before. This is called the “Parinama Vada,” the transformation theory, established in yoga and Samkhya philosophies.

This theory applies to yoga practice itself. It is believed that all results and progress are a transformation of something that was already hidden and unseen deep inside.

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