The Kleshas which keep you Earthbound

The Kleshas which keep you Earthbound

Kleshas are five negative qualities which cause an individual many rounds of birth-death-rebirth until he or she gets rid of these through self-efforts.


Klesha is a Sanskrit word which as per Indian philosophy and the science of Yoga stands for sort of poisons which keep purity at bay. In other words these can be viewed as five anchors which keep the ship of human entity earth bound for many rounds of birth-death-rebirth until one gets free from these.

The following verse from sage Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutras’ says:
“Avidya smitar agadve? abhinives a?pañcaklesa?”

What is Moksha? …

The most misunderstood term ‘Moksha’ or emancipation actually means freeing oneself from the shackles of these five kleshas. And this gigantic task can be accomplished only through incarnations on this earth.

So the reward one gets when one gets rid of these five kleshas is Moksha. It is freedom from forcible life cycles on earth and moving to a higher and much better plane of existence elsewhere.

Ignorance is the Root Cause …

Out of the five kleshas viz. Ignorance, Vanity, Cravings, Aversion and Possessiveness the root cause is the Ignorance or Agyanta.

The whole idea is beautifully illustrated through a sketch as above. The tree of kleshas carries branches of four kleshas which are rooted to life on earth through the klesha called ignorance.

Description of the Five Kleshas …

Let us look at each of these kleshas in order to understand these fully:

(1) Ignorance: This is the root cause and it comes through lack of awareness of the reality of existence. Life on earth is hard and full of sufferings because it is a learning place and each soul incarnates in order to evolve. It is a tragedy of life that human beings do not learn through comfort. True learning is only through hardships.

Through varied experience spread over thousands of incarnations on earth in human form the increase in awareness gradually takes one to self-realization.

This process of evolution can be quickened with conscious efforts through righteous living, Meditation and breathing exercises.

(2) Vanity: It is false pride or self-importance. A person may form wrong views of one’s power sand capabilities and think that he or she is a special being. This false pride or self-evaluations keeps one from knowing one’s faults.

(3) Cravings: Desiring or craving for things which one does not need halts true spiritual progress of a person. These cravings do not give one time for introspection and self-development.

(4) Aversion: One may develop too much attachment with someone or get repelled through hatred. Both these are harmful. Either falling in love too often or developing hatred sets a karmic bond which may take many lives to workout. Therefore follow the middle way.

(5) Possessiveness: This is greed which makes one a miser and grabs all type of person. One needs to know that as per the law of nature one has to give first in order to receive. The more you give of your kindness, money and love to others the more you get in the hour of your own need.

Article by: Jyotirvid Pawan Kumar

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