दर्शन- dahr-shahn

What is Darshan?

The blessing which flows from the mere sight of a saint. (1)

Darshan Explained

Darshan is derived from the Sanskrit word darsana meaning “sight,” “vision,” or “appearance.” (2) In the Hindu tradition, darshan refers to the beholding of a holy person, sacred object, natural phenomenon, or deity especially in imaged form. Darshan implies a mutual interaction between the viewer and the perceived object or being. (3) Although it requires nothing more than the performance of seeing, darshan is considered a powerful form of worship and process of spiritual fulfillment. (2)

Often a pilgrim, the viewer receives a divine blessing. Darshan may occur in the home, for example in front of an altar with a picture of a deity. It may also occur in a site of worship or a visualized setting during meditation. Darshan is often bestowed by a guru to his follower. (3) For example, many devotees used to visit Swami Sri Yukteswar at his hermitage for a darshan. (1)

The term darshan in Hindu philosophy also refers to the six main systems of “looking” at the scriptures and sources of sacred knowledge. Listed, they are Shankya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. (3) Yoga darshan refers to the acquisition and perpetuation of two states of mind: one-pointed concentration and neutralization of habitual thought patterns. (2)

  1. a b Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 16, “Outwitting the Stars.”
  2. a b c “Darshan,” Yogapedia. https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/4965/darshan.
  3. a b c “Darshan,” Encyclopedia Brittanica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/darshan.