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By Swami Harshananda

Parikarma literally means ‘means of refinement’.

Parikarma Definition

The Yogasutras of Patañjali[1] is a standard work on religious psychology. It deals with the normal mind and suggests the means and methods of raising it to super normal levels. Though it deals with the aṣṭāṅgas or the eight steps as the primary means of controlling the mind,[2] it also prescribes seven methods by which the turbulence of the mind can be controlled and peace and concentration can be attained. These are called ‘parikarmas’.

Types of Parikarmas

‘Parikarma’ means ‘that which refines or purifies’. These are:

  • Cultivating an attitude of friendship towards happy persons
  • Developing compassion towards the afflicted
  • Developing joy towards the lucky ones
  • Developing indifference towards the sinners
  • Prāṇāyāma or control of the prāṇic energy through the control of breath
  • Experience of supernatural smell, taste etc., through certain meditations
  • Seeing a divine light in one’s heart
  • Thinking of the state of mind of a person who is free from all attachments (i.e., a jīvanmukta
  • Remembering any divine or holy experience got in a dream
  • Meditation on those objects sanctioned or recommended by the scriptures

By these methods, the turbulence of the mind can be brought under control.


  1. He lived in 200 B.C.
  2. Yogasutras 2.29 to 3.3
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore