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By Swami Harshananda

Āśaya literally means ‘that which rests in the mind’.

The soul of any being, though immortal, continues to be born again and again due to its karma or the subtle unseen deserts. This goes on until it gets mokṣa or liberation from this cycle of births and deaths.

It is this ‘karma’ that has been called ‘āśaya’ or ‘karmāśaya’ by some scriptures like the Yogasutras of Patañjali.[1] It has been called ‘āśaya’ since it ‘rests in the mind’ (śaya = resting) ‘until’ (ā = until) it fructifies. It is a form of puṇya (merit) and pāpa (de-merit). Its results may be experienced either in this life itself or in future births. It is generated by the following :

  1. Kāma - Desire
  2. Lobha - Greed
  3. Moha - Delusion
  4. Krodha - Anger


  1. Yogasutras 1.24; 2.12
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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