The 5 Kleshas – Barriers on the Path of Self-Realization

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Yoga for Mental Health
  4. /
  5. The 5 Kleshas –...
The Spiritual Power Of Chanting Gayatri Mantra (गायत्री मंत्र)

By Rishikul Yogshala

July 15, 2024

Understanding the 5 Kleshas in Yoga Sutras

The world today often seems like a graveyard of buried emotions, shattered morals, and lost self-realization. Discontent and misery pervade many lives as people struggle with the false narratives surrounding their existence, goals, and happiness. According to the Yoga Sutras by Sage Patanjali, the root of worldly miseries can be traced to five main causes known as Kleshas. Understanding these Kleshas is crucial for personal growth and global peace.

The 5 Kleshas

1. Avidhya (Ignorance or Lack of Discretion)
Avidhya, the first Klesha, signifies deep-rooted ignorance and incomplete knowledge. This stage represents an initial lack of awareness, similar to that of a child. Ignorance perpetuates a life focused solely on the physical body, leading to various miseries and failures. To overcome Avidhya, one must seek deeper understanding and acknowledge the soul’s true needs.

2. Asmita (Ego & Pride)
Asmita, the second Klesha, involves ego and pride, which can destroy relationships and peace. Ego acts as a destructive force, leading to conflict and regret. When ego dominates, it disrupts harmony and fosters negative behavioral patterns. To counteract Asmita, it’s important to cultivate humility and seek harmonious connections with others.

3. Raga (Attachment)
Raga, the third Klesha, refers to attachment and its impact on our well-being. Excessive attachment to people or things can lead to regret and sadness when these attachments are lost. Learning to let go and understanding the temporary nature of life can help manage Raga and promote emotional resilience.

4. Dwesha (Hatred)
Dwesha, the fourth Klesha, embodies hatred and its consequences. Hatred creates negative karma and damages relationships. It fuels a cycle of anger and dissatisfaction. Recognizing that peace cannot arise from hatred and working to dissolve these negative emotions is essential for personal and communal harmony.

5. Abhinivesha (Fear of Death)
Abhinivesha, the final Klesha, is the fear of death and its impact on life. Death is a natural part of existence, and fearing it prevents us from living fully. Embracing the reality of death as a transition rather than an end can transform our approach to life, allowing us to live more fully and with less fear.


The Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali offer profound insights into the causes of human suffering through the concept of the 5 Kleshas. By addressing Avidhya, Asmita, Raga, Dwesha, and Abhinivesha, individuals can work towards personal enlightenment and contribute to a more peaceful world. To explore these teachings further and integrate them into your life, consider participating in Yoga Teacher Training in Kerala, Ayurveda Retreats, or a Yoga Retreat to gain deeper knowledge and practical experience. For a comprehensive journey, explore the 300-hour or 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training programs. Embrace these teachings and transform your life and the world around you.

You may also like