Roots of Afflictions and Their Nature

Afflictions are attributed as the causes of the human miseries, Yoga philosophy of Maharshi Patanjali provides a detailed account of Pancha Klesha as the source of the sufferings. The practical Training in Yoga as enumerated in the Sadhana pada of Yoga sutras explains the methodology to be free from these afflictions.

3rd Sutra of the Second chapter of Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali outlines the following five afflictions. They are;

  • Avidya It is the Ignorance about the true nature of things or the lack awareness about the reality. This is also the breeding ground for the rest of the four afflictions.
  • Asmita is Egoism which is rooted from the ignorance; it is the phenomenon of superimposition
  • Raga is an attraction, the sequential experience of the enjoyment of the pleasures from the objects or the sources and the memory associated with this experience is leading to an attraction.
  • Dvesha is the Aversion or repulsion, the sequential experience of the pain from an object or the sources and the memory associated with this experience brings the aversion
  • Abhinivesha is clinging to the life on account of the overriding impulses of  above afflictions, Even the wise people are also not free from this affliction

We can find the different degrees of the expression of the afflictions in sequential mutual relationships breeding from the soil of the ignorance.

They have a free play in the lower mind and these afflictions, particularly the attraction and aversion bind us to innumerable things, in which we can’t find the freedom to think, feel and act and they also affect the entire personality.

The force of attraction, as well as the force of aversion, is very strong as they bind the two ends for the two distinct experience either to be attached in case of liking or to be detached in case of disliking. For dispassionate experiencer, both seem like troubling as they influence in their own unique way in order to entangle the human beings in the sufferings.

They are found in the dormant, weak, and distracted as well as in powerful stages, the destruction of the kleshas is means of freedom from the sufferings and they are handled with the help of the practice of meditation while they are in a very subtle state. The practices of Kriya Yoga are the effective means of the reduction of the kleshas and to prepare the mind for the higher experiences of yoga to attain the peace and inner harmony with the divinity.