Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Mati Mean?

Mati is a Sanskrit word that means “intelligence,” “understanding,” “mindful,” “intuition” and “perception.” In the context of yoga and Hindu philosophy, mati describes a spiritual intelligence that is associated with a state of awareness.

Mati is also sometimes described as willpower, but it is a spiritual willpower of acquiring knowledge and understanding — the Self harnessing intelligence to grow spiritually. Once this state of mati is achieved, the yogi has the higher knowledge that eliminates the need for worldly pleasures and attachments.


Yogapedia Explains Mati

In some traditions, mati is one of the niyamas, or moral observances, that comprise the second limb of the eight-limbed path of yoga. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras lists just five niyamas, but other texts — including the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and Shandilya and Varuha Upanishads — list 10. Mati is included in the longer lists. The other niyamas are:

  • Santosa (contentment/acceptance of circumstances)
  • Svadhyaya (self-study)
  • Tapa (penance, perseverance or austerity)
  • Astikya (faith in the higher Self, or God)
  • Dana (generosity or charity)
  • Isvarap pujana (worship of the Supreme Being)
  • Siddantasravana (listening to the scriptures/doctrines)
  • Japa (incantation or reciting mantras)
  • Hri (shame, remorse, modesty or humility)

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