Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Vichara Mean?

Sanskrit for 'thought' or 'deliberation,' Vichara is a yogic practice offered by Vedanta philosophy. It is a form of self-enquiry, in which continued awareness of "I" centered thinking unveils the unreality of such thoughts.

Vichara emphasizes the analysis of thought as a means of discerning between the real and the unreal, between Brahman (universal reality) and Atman (the self).


Yogapedia Explains Vichara

Vichara is a contemplative practice, helping to still the fluctuations of the mind in order to connect with pure consciousness. One of the most prominent texts of Vedanta, Yoga Vasishtha, recommends Vichara as the most direct path to self-realization and liberation. It is considered a form of Jnana Yoga, otherwise known as the path of knowledge.

Although Vichara has been practiced since ancient times, a 20th-century sage named Ramana Maharshi popularised the practice in the West. He taught that by engaging in continual inner-awareness and paying close attention to "I" thoughts, these thoughts will eventually dissolve, leaving behind only the true self. This form of self-enquiry can be practiced at all times, and may involve deeper questioning such as "Who am I?" or "Where does the 'I' come from?"

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