Sesame is an important oilseed crop in India. To determine potential traits and selection criteria for yield improvement, ninety sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) genotypes were studied in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The data collected on 13 characters were subjected to three different analyses. In variability analysis, high heritability was accompanied by a high genetic advance and a high genotypic coefficient of variation (GCV) for capsule numbers, biomass yield, harvest index and seed yield. In correlation analysis, biomass yield, capsule number and harvest index showed a significant positive correlation among them and with seed yield. In path analysis, reproductive period was the highest direct contributor, while capsule number was the highest indirect contributor via primary branches. The indirect effect of days to maturity was negative via primary branches and positive via biomass yield per plant. Plant height had a direct effect and an indirect effect via biomass yield and harvest index. Biomass yield and harvest index showed a substantial direct effect on seed yield. Therefore, plant height, biomass yield, days to maturity and harvest index should be used in selection, while care should be taken for the handling of reproductive period and capsules per plant in breeding programmes to increase sesame yield.