Definition - What does Alabdha-bhumikatva mean?

Alabdha-bhumikatva is one of the nine antaraya, or obstacles to spiritual growth, according to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and is the inability to attain a particular stage or state on the path to enlightenment. From Sanskrit, alabdha means “unobtained”; bhum means “earth," suggesting groundedness and stability; and katva means “bed," suggesting a sense of comfort and stability.

The reasons for alabdha-bhumikatva can be wide-ranging, but inner issues such as self-doubt, procrastination and lack of motivation are most common.

Yogapedia explains Alabdha-bhumikatva

The antaraya, including alabdha-bhumikatva, prevent mental clarity and lead to suffering. The Sutras name nine of these obstacles to union with the Divine:

  • Vyadhi, or disease/sickness
  • Styana, or fixation
  • Samsaya, or doubt
  • Pramada, or impulsiveness and carelessness
  • Alasya, or lethargy
  • Avirati, or intemperance
  • Bhrantidarsana, or distorted self-esteem, which can be either positive or negative
  • Alabdha-bhumikatva
  • Anavasthitatvani, which is the failure to maintain a yogic state once it has been achieved

In more general terms, alabdha-bhumikatva is the inability to reach a desired goal or to progress on the path to that goal. In Buddhist philosophy, it is the sense that it is impossible to see reality.

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