--> Skip to main content

Sapta Bhumika – Seven Stages In Liberation

Sapta Bhumika is the seven stages in the process of liberation in the Yoga system. Bhumika means ‘a stage in a process’.

  1. The first stage is shubhechha (auspicious desire).
  2. The second is vicharana (discussion with learned and the adept).
  3. The third is tanumanasi (suppression of physical sensual passions).
  4. The next stage is sattva patti (attainment of sattva quality).
  5. The fifth stage is named asamsakti (non attachment of the mind to sensuous objects).
  6. The sixth is padartha bhavini (introspection of the truth).
  7. The final stage is turiya (fourth stage of Absolute or negation of diversity and experience of unity).

These seven stages are inter-related and form a chain. First, there is a desire to know something nobler than the ordinary life. Naturally, one seeks the guidance of learned and experienced seniors. Their guidance leads to the weakening of passions. As a result, the sattva quality (purity as against passion and passivity) becomes strong. The natural consequence is non-attachment to sensual objects. The mind is not forcibly diverted, but of its own accord it ceases to harbor carnal thoughts. The mind, blocked from external objects, becomes introspective and realizes the truth. In the final stage, turiya, the individual self becomes one with the supreme self or realizes its own self, bereft of all other existence. Through long, continuous and sincere practice, one normally advances and realizes the final goal.

Varaha Upanishad of Krishna Yajurveda sets out the same stages of explanations in IV.1-10. Annapurna Upanishad of Atharva Veda narrates seven stages in its V.9-89, but with different names – Mumukshutavapradayaini, Vicarana, Sangabhavana, Vilapini, Panchami, Asamvedanarupa and Turiya.

Yoga Vasistha and Laghu Yoga Vasistha also mention the seven stages. But strangely enough Maha Upanishad mentions and explains the seven stages of ajnana (ignorance) also in V.8.

These are Bijajagrta, Jagra, Mahajagra, Jagrtasvapna, Svapna, Svapnajagrta and Susupti.

A child is aware of its existence, but its ego is in seed-form. In the second, the ego gets awakened but ownership is absent. The fully awakened ego is the third stage. It has daydreams in the fourth and dreams in the fifth. The stage of confusion and disgust after the incomplete dreams is the sixth, and the final stage of deep sleep when the person is totally unconscious about existence.

The seven stages of knowledge and of delusion are not restricted to the field of Yoga only, but they are the experience of every individual in daily life.