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

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

This world has turned into a graveyard with emotions buried under the soil, morals crumbled to pieces, and a sense of self-realization flushed deep down a rabbit hole. Looking around, you will see discontent people wallowing in a deep corner of their own lives. Why is there so much of misery in this world? We, for most parts, spend our whole lives believing the false narratives of our existence, goals, exterior, and things that truly make a soul happy.

Rishi Patanjali describes the worldly miseries and their causes in the 3rd Sutra of 2nd Pada of the Yoga Sutras. The lessons in the Yoga Sutra also mention that it is the 5 Kleshas that are responsible for the negative spirals of emotions, physical pain, and traumas in all parts of the world. These roadblocks or Kleshas stops an individual from realizing his own mistakes, work on them, and relate deeply to his dark inner world.  If you truly seek to eradicate the worries and make this planet a peaceful place for all beings, you must be aware of these 5 Kleshas.

  1. Avidhya (Ignorance or No Discretion)
    Belonging to the first stage of Kleshas Prasukt, Avidhya means nurturing ignorance deep down in your conscience and practicing out of half-baked knowledge regarding every sphere of life. According to the Yoga Sutra, since it exists in the first stage, it is believed that this Klesha is not activated, similar to existing in the soul of a child, whose understanding of things is at the nascent stage. Ignorance is an outcome of not realizing the importance of feeding the soul and considering its existence in this real world. The basis of Avidhya lies in the fact that humans perpetuate through a life that gives love to the mortal body that finally results into an array of miseries.
  2. Asmita (Ego & Pride)
    Associated with the second stage called as Tanu, Asmita destroys relationships, peace, and harmony between people, states, and countries. Ego is a part of the shadow world of a human being and if left unaddressed can burn down everything into ashes of sadness and regret. We often tend to leave the broken pieces of a human connection as is because we do not want to be seen as needy and this is where the ego germinates and takes a devilish face. Everything in the right direction and amount gives birth to something fruitful, however, when ego and pride resides in your heart, there is no possibility of a harmonious union. When your mental state suffers, your behavioral patterns change and this results into dissolution of the wrong and the commencement of the right.
  3. Raga (Attachment)
    When Raga or the attachment to an entity is absent or less in its intensity, the third stage of the Kleshas known as Vichinn characterizes its positive effects. However, human soul stay trapped in deep sense of attachment to anything or anyone and forgets its own value in the 3-dimensional world. When we love someone or are lured in by a lifeless thing, our mind could not stop thinking about it and sometimes puts us in a state of regret and sadness. We need to understand that everything is temporary and at your disposal for a limited time period. Therefore, it is important to learn the art of letting go of things and moving on with the right lessons and preaching. Everyone should be thankful of the hurtful incidents in life but try not to dwell on it for long.
  4. Dwesha (Hatred)
    Our Karma decides our old age, next life, and things that we receive in this life in the form of money and success. Reflecting the existence of the fourth stage, Udar, hatred brings us bad karma and dampens our relationship with both outer and inner world. Our negative thoughts dictate our actions towards other person or the community and we do everything in our power to sabotage a thing that we hate or dislike. Misuse of power, spreading hatred, and badmouthing lands you in a vicious cycle and welcomes a venomous spiral of anger, dissatisfaction, and more hatred. Know that nothing peaceful comes out of hate and it is important to understand this in order to end the complexities of life and sadistic karmic returns.
  5. Abhinivesha (Fearing the End or Death)
    Death is an inevitable truth and the most important part of the human carnation in this practical world. Rishis and Munis believed that a human must achieve their real goals that serve the mankind in any way, so that he/she can have a restful final sleep. Death is not an ending but a beginning of a new chapter of an individual’s life but in a different body. When we fear death, we fear life and miss some of the beautiful things in life. We stay sad for no reason and sulk for all the wrong reasons. Imagine if you understand the truest meaning of your precious life and accept that death is a reality. Wouldn’t you turn the tables around? You will live better, enjoy each moment and combat any negative feeling that stops you from enjoying life.

The Yoga Sutra is a beautiful collection of truthful preaching and lessons by none other than the enlightened, Sage Patanjali. Read, practice and adhere to them to change your life for good.

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