One can come across these terms in the Patanjali Yoga sutras and the Tantra texts. I want the exact definition of each of the above, difference(subtle or obvious) between them and examples to illustrate the process/practice in action.

  • Pratyahara - Withdrawal of senses. Dharana - Concentration. Samadhi - Union with Self.s
    – Sai
    Dec 17, 2015 at 16:01
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    When you sleep, your mind gradually withdraws itself from all your senses, doing it consciously is pratyahara. When you watch a movie intensely, you focus all your attention in the movie, sometimes you become part of the movie. When you do this consciously on the object of concentration it is dharana. Samadhi is becoming one with Subject and Object. i.e. Imagine you are watching a movie so intensely, suddenly you become the movie. That is samadhi. You meditate on God, and you realize that You are God. Good question. ALl the best
    – Sai
    Dec 17, 2015 at 16:10
  • //Imagine you are watching a movie so intensely, suddenly you become the movie// This sounds like Samapatti or more specifically Anjanata Samapatti where the mind merges with the object accidentally (as described in Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Samadhi Pada #41). I'm specifically interested in knowing the difference between Samapatti and Samadhi.
    – Naveen
    Dec 17, 2015 at 21:21
  • There is also Samyama - the combination of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The various siddhis are attained using Samyama.
    – Pinakin
    Dec 18, 2015 at 12:46
  • @Naveen Alright I will try to find some good references for samapatti vs samadhi. Secondly, it is sudden in the sense, it could happen in a fraction of a second. Kind of like falling asleep. It happens suddenly, in the sense one moment you are awake, but the next moment you are asleep. But its not 'accidental'. Samadhi is by no means an accident. Just clarifying :)
    – Sai
    Dec 18, 2015 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


Pratyahara: We know how perceptions come. First of all there are the external instruments, then the internal organs acting in the body through the brain centres, and there is the mind. When these come together and attach themselves to some external object, then we perceive it. By Controlling the mind we can control this entire process. If the Mind is not in control it will be disturbed by the other two always. Pratyahara means controlling the mind to dettach it self from the remaining two to get the dettachment from the external world.

Dhâranâ: The main object of practicing "Pratyahara" is get established in "Dhâranâ". Once we mastred in dettaching mind from external world we need to practice concentrating it on something. It will be like feeling one organ at a time and ignoring other organs. This will result in getting extream concentration. This concentration is called Dharana. Like this we get control of body and mind completely.

Dhyana: When the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point. This state is called Dhyana.

Samadhi: When one has so intensified the power of Dhyana as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part, the meaning, that state is called Samadhi. The three — Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi — together, are called Samyama. That is, if the mind can first concentrate upon an object, and then is able to continue in that concentration for a length of time, and then, by continued concentration, to dwell only on the internal part of the perception of which the object was the effect, everything comes under the control of such a mind.

You can refer to Swamy Vivekananda's "Raja yoga" and "Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms" lectures here.There you will find everything explained in detailed.

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    I'm sure these references and many more can be found with a google search. A quote or extract from these references that specifically address the question asked would be more helpful.
    – Naveen
    Dec 17, 2015 at 21:26
  • Thanks Naveen, because of you I have read it once again. :) Dec 18, 2015 at 9:53

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