In Sanatan Dharma we come across the Arishadvarga or the Shadripu, which means the Six Internal Enemies of a human being. A man’s real enemies are not outside but within his own mind. These are mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita as – Kaam (Lust), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed), Moha (Delusion), Mad (Arrogance) and Matsarya (Envy). Let us look at them in detail.
Kaam means Lust and craze. Born out of lack of self-control, it is the intense desire to obtain an object of pleasure for the senses, be it for food, sex or power. All kinds of addictions are also born out of lust. It is the uncontrollable desire which overpowers our good sense and critical thinking ability. In Bhagavad Gita 3.37 we come across a verse –
काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः ।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ॥ ३७ ॥
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ
mahāśano mahā-pāpmā viddhy enam iha vairiṇam
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.
Krodha refers to anger and hatred. When Kaam is unsatisfied, it leads to a strong feeling of displeasure and hostility. It gives rise to grudges and bitterness. Uncontrolled Krodha can lead to violence and even destruction.
In the Bhagavad Gita verse 2.62 – 2.63, we see a description of the workings of Krodha.
ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते ।
सङ्गात्सञ्जायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥ ६२ ॥
dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣūpajāyate
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.
Lobha means greed and miserliness, the excessive desire to acquire and possess something which one doesn’t need and deserve.This desire, driven by the ego, can be of wealth or possessions. Unwillingness to share, being miserly and stingy are the characteristics of Lobha which comes from a sense of insecurity and lack. No amount of accumulation can truly bring happiness or satisfaction in a person, because that comes from within by cultivating ‘Santosh’.
Moha is the infatuations and the delusory attachments which cloud the mind. These attachments can be of wealth, beauty or possessions. It is the refusal to give up control and possessiveness or accept changes in life. Moha also means attachment to one’s family. To overcome Moha we must continue to perform our duties without the expectations of the fruits of those actions.
Mada means arrogance and stubbornness, born out of pride. It is the haughtiness and excessively high opinion of oneself, the total intoxication of one’s wealth, glory and influence. Such a person does good externally just to boost his own ego. He is full of vanity. It is like a balloon in the head which will burst sooner or later, in the form of a rude shock. Again Mada is born out of a lack of knowledge of the true nature of reality.
Matsarya means envy, jealousy and covetousness. It is to be excessively desirous of possessions of the other. It stems from a sense of non-contentment and inadequacy, being unable to see and appreciate what one already has.
There is a verse in the Bhagavad Gita – 16.21 which goes like –
त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मन: ।
काम: क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् ॥ २१ ॥
tri-vidhaṁ narakasyedaṁ dvāraṁ nāśanam ātmanaḥ
kāmaḥ krodhas tathā lobhas tasmād etat trayaṁ tyajet
“There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.”
These six enemies work together to overpower the critical and discriminatory ability of the intellect and deviate one from the path of spiritual progress. Without overcoming or defeating these six enemies of the mind, one cannot hope to find lasting peace and happiness and be on the path of Dharma.