Spiritual Topics > Faults That Lead to Bondage > 5 Klesas (Afflections of Mind)


These are the root causes of human suffering. It is due to these troubles that we are into the bondage of karma. The Karmas are supported by afflictions and the afflictions are supported by Karmas. This is mutual support. These are the affictions that hinder us from achieving the pure soul awareness.

The kleshas are embossed on Chitta. Even after death the Chitta retains the kleshas in seed form and they germinate to full culmination in the next incarnation. As long as the individual thinks that awareness is limited to the bodily existence, he lives forever in the mercy of forces that are beyond his control. If any action is done under any of the five mentioned Kleshas, its effects have to be confronted by the individual. Once the Kleshas are viewed with a wide outlook and positive thought, they will disappear.

  1. Ignorance (Avidaya): It is the primal ignorance which pervades all of the creation. It is the birth place of all other sorrows/troubles. Spiritual ignorance is fertile soil for all hindrances to soul awareness whether they be dormant or active. Thus lack of spiritual knowledge is the birthplace of sorrows. Spiritual ignorance manifests as mistaking the impermanant for the permanent, the impure for the pure, sorrow for joy, and mistaking the corporeal body as the self.

    e.g [ When there is very little light, we think that there is a snake. We get worried for our life. But when there is full light, we came to know that it was only rope. It was our ignorance due to which we suffered with fear. ]

    e.g [ Once in a village, there was a illiterate man and his wife. The man planned to visit Mela (Fair) but he was scared that he might be lost in the fair. He shared his feeling with his wife. His wife suggested that she will tie a rope around his neck. He should check his rope, if the rope is not there then he should know that he is lost; otherwise if the rope is still in his neck then he is not lost. He agreed to this and wore rope around his neck while in fair. He spent all day in fair and during night someone asked him why he is wearing rope around his neck, he told them the reason. When the man went to sleep, then those persons removed the rope from his neck and tied it to another man's neck. Now, when the illiterate man wake-up in the morning, then checked the rope in his neck but could not find it. Instead he found it in another person's neck. He started saying that "I am you, I am you." Everyone was laughing at this illiterate man. Same way, we are Soul but due to Ignorance we think that we are body. ]

  2. Ego (Asmita): It is the sense of "I-am-ness," the individual Ego, which feels it to be a distinct, separate entity. The purpose of the ego is to hold and retain our body, to retain our individuality. But unfortunately ego gets involved with other things, and tries to get involved with others' individuality as well. The problem with ego is not the fact that we have one; it is useful and even necessary to have an ego in order to function and live. The problem arises when the ego believes it is the Self. If all we do is in service of the little self, our life will be sorrowful. When we serve our higher Self, liberation becomes possible. The ego is involved in identifying the self with the instruments of perception and cognition. Sometimes we get angry, sometimes calm, sometimes laugh and sometimes weep. All this create problems.

    e.g [ Water is part of a wave, is part of the ocean. The wave needs to understand this because it feels like a separate part. You are the water and water is everywhere. All water makes up the ocean. A wave is born out of the ocean, is sustained by the ocean, disintegrates and goes back into the ocean. This tiny wave of consciousness (the small I) is part of the totality. In other words the water of the ocean is present as one. The winds cause ripples, tides, bubbles, foam in it but they are all nothing but another form of the same water. There is nothing else but water. The seemingly separate waves are water too. Similarly, the ocean of Sat-Chit-Anand Formless is also gushing. In conscious-roop winds, the world-roop waves, body-roop bubbles and materials-roop foam appear, but are nothing more than forms of the same joyous ocean of Brahm. It is only that one oceans of joy that is gushing, it is the absolute roop, the entire nature is Samaadh-roop. ]

  3. Attachment (Raga): Attachment occurs when the self focuses on pleasure and is involved with emotion. In life people are emotionally attached to many things. People began to pursue human relationships, knowledge, wealth, status, power or anything, which might be capable of enlarging and protecting the fragile individualised existence. However, change is the nature of creation, all objects within it are temporary, and thus subject to loss at any moment.

    e.g [ If someone near to us dies, we cry and becomes sad. But when someone not dear to us die we do not cry. Similarly, if  our home is infected with pests, then we try to get rid of the pests by killing them; after killing pests we do not cry. Why? It is because we are attached to our near and dear ones. It also proves that sadness/pain is not in the death, it is present in the attachment. ]

    Non-attachment does not mean not to love. Non-attachment is loving unselfishly.

  4. Hatred/Aversions/Dislike/Animosity (Dvesha): Man is hostile and inimical to those whom he does not like. Hatred has its origins in unhappiness and grief. This Klesha occurs when strong dislike arises for anything. In experiencing an object, which gives pleasure, one becomes attached to that pleasure, and desire to experience it once again. When the experience becomes unavailable to the individuals, they feel pain. Eventually the pain and anger turns to depression, helplessness, and finally hatred for the self and the world as well.

  5. Fear of Death (Abhinivehsa): This is the fear of life. We fear that death will kill us. We fear that what would happen to our properties, works, relatives etc. We think that death should not be there. Because of raga and dvesha, a tremendous, continual, and habitual outflowing of energy and attention through the senses to the objects of external world takes place. This outflow of all attention and energy can only increase the identification with the physical existence, making it even harder for the people to perceive or identify with their spiritual nature. Not only do people fear death because it represents an ending of the ability to fulfill our desires, but it also emotionally identifies with the body-mind complex and thus (at least subconsciously, if not consciously) believe that the existence will terminate with the death of the physical body.

States of Attachment (Raga) and Hatred (Dvesha):

  1. Udara (Fully manifest): In worldly-minded people who are sunk in worldliness, Raga and Dvesha assume an Udara Avastha; they are in an expanded state i.e., they have a full and unhampered play.

  2. Vicchinna (Hidden): It is that state in which Raga and Dvesha are hidden. The husband and wife sometimes quarrel; then love is temporarily hidden. Again she smiles; then love comes back.

  3. Tanu (Thinned out): Some people do a little bit of Pranayama, Kirtan and Japa. In them Raga and Dvesha become thinned out (Tanu Avastha).

  4. Prasupta (Dormant): Sometimes, on account of unsuitable conditions, they lie dormant (Prasupta Avastha).

  5. Dagdha (Burnt): In Samadhi they are burnt.