Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Pranidhana Mean?

Pranidhana is a Sanskrit word that means “surrender,” “devote” or “be supported by.” Ishvara pranidhana is the final niyama in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and refers to surrendering to a higher source (Ishvara). It is the spiritual act of surrendering the self fully to the divine consciousness, and trusting the divine wisdom to guide the life and actions of the self in order to work in the world.

In Buddhism, pranidhana is a vow typically made by a bodhisattva that he/she will strive to help all humans to enter nirvana and will not enter him/herself until this goal is achieved.


Yogapedia Explains Pranidhana

In yoga, ishvara pranidhana can be exercised through practicing asanas along with a mantra and mudra, through meditation, and/or through the yogi’s actions of daily living.

By practicing ishvara pranidhana, the yogi surrenders to his/her ishta devata (personal deity), creating his/her own connection to the universe. It is believed that surrendering to the Divine leads to enlightenment and, finally, union or oneness with the ultimate reality, or Brahman. But to practice ishvara pranidhana, the yogi does not necessarily have to choose an ishta devata; instead, he/she can focus on an idea or spiritual wisdom that gives him/her inspiration.

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