Last Updated: October 21, 2018

Definition - What does Bhaya mean?

Bhaya is a Sanskrit word meaning “fear,” “horror,” “danger” or “distress.” It is often used in contrast to its opposite, abhaya, which means “courage” or “fearlessness.” Abhaya can be thought of as what comes afterwards, once an individual has grown out of or beyond bhaya.

In religious law, bhaya can be used as a technical term to describe one of the reasons why someone may give false evidence. It has meanings related to fear and different types of fear in a range of contexts including Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism and Jainism.

Yogapedia explains Bhaya

Yogic philosophy teaches that in this world, as long as humans identify with their physical body, their psyche and their desires, they will experience bhaya. It is a natural state. However, it also outlines there are several paths to overcome bhaya:

  • Through atma jnana, the realization that the self is immortal.
  • Through the understanding of karma, and the concept that all that is experienced is meaningful.
  • Through the practice of yoga, including certain asanas and pranayamas, including shashankasana, which is believed to control the adrenal glands; and nadi shodhana to purify the nadis.
  • Through devotion to God, trusting God and loving God. This is considered by some to be the most effective way to defeat bhaya.
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