13 impurities of mind

Posted: July 11, 2016 in education, inspiring, philosophy, sanatana dharma, sanskrit
Tags: , , , ,

The negative energy which manifests within an individual, and consequently, a negative energy within the society is basically due to the imbalance of human mind. This imbalance of mind eventually leads to sufferings. Every life is an integral part of the divine, and is capable of rising to experience the bliss. This capability is dormant with some, and with others they are active, or more conducive to be activated quickly. To bring the mind to a balance towards activating the bliss, the following 13 impurities of mind should be controlled which are the root cause of suffering:

1) Ragam: desire to indulge in recreational sexual activities rather than for procreation.
2) Dvesham: to take revenge on those who disturbed us or inflicted pain.
3) Kamam: desires or passion for materialistic pleasure.
4) Krodham: anger, or restlessness due to unfulfilled desire.
5) Lobham: unwillingness to give or share with others.
6) Moham: blind towards distinguishing good and bad while satisfying the desire.
7) Madham: arrogance in achieving the desire based on wealth and power.
8) Maatsaryam: envy/jealousy upon the success/achievement of others.
9) Irshya: thoughts about why do I experience this sorrow and not others.
10) Asuya: indignation at the merits or goodness of another.
11) Dambham: pretending to do good things for publicity/popularity (hypocritical/deceitful).
12) Darpam: pride in believing that no one else can match with one’s quality or skill.
13) Ahamkaram: impudent or insolent behavior.

Even if any one of the above impurity dominates the mind, we end-up driving ourselves to inauspicious circumstances eventually. We should learn to eradicate any impurity arising in our mind at its beginning stage itself. Then, we will be able to put ourselves in auspicious circumstances to experience the divine bliss.

  1. Gayathri says:

    It is correct that if any one of the above13 qualities dominates ones mind it will lead him to misery. But they cannot be termed as impurities. They are just qualities or feelings experienced by a human and they are required to some extent to realise life or to know the purpose of life. Like how gold in its purest form cannot be moulded into a statue or crafted into an ornament, pure form of oxygen can lead to death… these qualities are required to some extent or they should be used in right way to achieve ones goal. After all the world is made up of both positive and negative energy and they are in balance and that’s why life is existing. Similarly human is made up of both good and bad. The trick is how he balances both. Misery starts only when the balance is lost.

    • rpk says:

      Thanks Gayathri for your insights. Using these qualities in right way to achieve the goal is a beautiful line of thought.

  2. Radha says:

    What is the solution? There is kama, artha, dharma moksha, then kama, krodha, lobha etc. So in once sense we are asking for kama in another sense we are avoiding kama (desire). Then there is kodha and then roudra. How to understand this as many behave like a roudra thinking its okay in the name of good?

    So I get very confused. Please clarify.
    Like we get angry if someone insults something sacred to us or tries to do harm to us. Or if I can’t get quality food to eat I get upset as I really need food.

    How can we achieve what we need
    not want but need without
    falling into bad traits? And how to deal with others that are horrible in character
    that constantly show anger and greed and harm upon us?

    • rpk says:

      1) The kama addressed in the purushartha (i.e, dharma, artha, kama and moksha) is a necessity, and it is for people who have already achieved good dharma and artha in their life. A dharmic person will pursue the kama in the right way, and the kama here refers to desires for materialistic fulfillment. The society disturbance we see as kama, krodha, roudhra etc are the nuisance done by people who do not possess good dharma in mind. The purushartha is to be achieved in a sequence, starting with dharma and ending with moksha. If everyone follows this sequence, then there will be tranquility in the society.

      2) When we try to understand in depth about the nature of the self, i.e, the jivathma, then the ego residing in us will start to vanish. We will not get hurt mentally by people who try to harm us if we surrender our life completely into the hands of God, and do not give importance to people whom we don’t like. It is the ego residing in us which is getting hurt. If we become restless because of others, it means that our ego is not fully eradicated.

      3) To achieve what we need without falling into bad traits is by pursuing our dharma rightly. One should accept that whatever good or bad occurs in life as the will of the God and focus on realizing the self alone. Keeping on thinking about past events will only lead to waste of time, and it does not do any good to us. Focus all the energy to pursue a virtuous and righteous life. That which one deserves comes. It comes immaterial of whether one wants it or doesn’t. The same is the case with blessings. When actions get ripe, the results follow, call it blessings or something else.

  3. Radha says:

    why in the purushartha (i assume this means 4 wealths for human beings)
    why kama or desire comes 3rd? Dharma or the genuine truth/knowledge, artha the wealth we need for survival, then desire?, then liberation?

    (I don’t think higher power’s will wants us to ever suffer… always higher power wants only the pure good thing for us)…

    • Radha says:

      I am also not clear on what the solution is.

      I think we are getting most hurt not by stranger, but by people who are most close to us like family and friends. There is no way to escape because we are blood related to such people or having to face such people daily. I feel these traits are not only within us but we are suffering the most from them due to others.

      Actually what causes the krodha is insult to what is near and dear to us, or what we need for survival. There are just some people who exhibit the asuya character all the time that no matter how much good we do (dharma) or in our purusit of dharma we are always hurt. The more Durga battled the demon the more it multiplied itself and the more power it got. That is the problem.


      • Radha says:

        Also the thing that is causing krodha often is not due to materialism but lack of love from others.
        If you don’t even say hello to someone they easily get angered and will but bad eye just for this simple matter. People are constantly seeking love, affection and recognition from others that when they don’t get it the anger rises.

        There is something that just naturally occurs within the heart or arises within the heart that remains and affects. You can’t ignore it as people often say. Please clarify.

        We are normal in this response. Love creates attachment and attachment is considered not good however at the same time Love is a requirement for life and an expectation even if we force ourselves not to expect it because somehow the heart is wanting it without our control. Again another contradiction. Anbe Sivam Anbe Shaktiam, the Love itself is the God, God is Love, the source of Love.

        it is also creating attachment and a suffering for us when it is not received either from others
        or from the God itself. Others like not total stranger but people very close to us. So from this Kama the Krodha arises. I was even told that one religious writer and follower says in devotion to Siva, we shouldn’t even desire Siva due to this problem!
        And due to this problem other religions in India rose.

        Please clarify.

        I am writing this because priests constantly blame the devotee for their karmas however
        it is not our karma in a materialistic shallow sense. We are genuinely seeking out good, seeking out what we need to biologically live and survive and when this basic necessity isn’t getting met like good health we get upset, yet are further blamed. We are also suffering from the karmas of others afterall why they are doing drishti after Bhagvathi pujas that means it is not always our fault. They’re even doing drishti for the deity itself! After Sita Rama Kalyanam they do Drishti!
        We are suffering from the Asuya of others for no matter how much good we do they want to pull us down and put bad eye.

      • rpk says:

        The kama or desire comes 3rd because people who have attained good dharma and artha in life will pursue kama in a refined way such that it never bring havoc to the society.

        It is eventually true that higher power wants good things to happen to us. But in that process, it is inevitable that we undergo suffering. These suffering we experience in life are the fruits of bad-karmas we accumulated in the current birth as well as from all previous births.

        All the family relations and friends we acquire in the course of life are definitely linked with several of our previous births, and they come in for a purpose. Some people remain only for a short period in our life, but others lasts long. We experience both joy and sorrow from them. Depending on the purpose of current birth, for some people, the joy dominates sorrow, and for others, sorrow dominate joy. We have to helplessly undergo both these extremes. This is to eradicate all the good and bad karmas associated with our soul.

        In the pursuit of dharma, it is for sure we will get hurt. Not only in the current era it is the case, but also it is the case from long past. The great epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha also conveys this message that in the path of dharma, one has to face lots of challenges, and we will get hurt. Life is like that.

        There is nothing wrong when people seek love, affection and recognition from others. It becomes wrong when they become selfish, and do not want to show the same love, affection and recognition to others. This happens when such people do not have good refined thoughts and intellect. Some people over the course of time learn and evolve, but other do not. It all depends on the samskara and vasana of the individual. Beyond a certain point, we shouldn’t bother about how others rate or think about us. If we resort to this, then we will have peace of mind.

        Other religions in India rose because of the misinterpretations on the philosophy of sanathana dharma, currently known as Hinduism. One should desire for God from the core of heart, and surrender completely. It is the sharanagathi which will help us evolve to reach God.

    • Radha says:

      I am not clear what the word kama in the purushartha context means? Desire? I would think desire for dharma is first needed?

      Also there is vairagya, without raga and then in music there is raga.
      So in once sense the word is to be avoided in another sense it is the basis of music!

      I was told the arishadvargas are very difficult to overcome as it could be
      a product of deeply rooted karmas and on the other hand they serve a purpose.
      What is the purpose and was surprised to hear this…
      These contradictions abound its so hard to just say this is bad and it should be avoided when it is serving purpose in another sense. Need clarification.

      • Radha says:

        or kama in itself considered a weatlh which is translated in this sense as love, or genuine enjoyment or desire achieved? Like kama is a word often misunderstod mistranslated as it has many meanings in different situations. Perhaps once we are able to do the good things, we get wealth from that and then we feel enjoyment. Like if we do genuine good for others then they reward us with what we need to live then only we can enjoy life? Hence the kama part. Not sure how to understand kama especially when related to Kamakshi.

      • Radha says:

        what i meant to say is drishti removal that is…

        Priests blame the devotee for not being happy and that whatever is within us comes to us.
        I want to say that we as devotees are happy, however people are not letting us be happy. Again the asuya problem.

        If we say something positive some minds are such that they convert it into negative. In fact they convert everything into a negative that comes back to physically harm us or promote false information. Saying is one thing, but doing and putting into practice is another. In all these battles the deity engaged in , deity suffered from a lot of trickery, manipulation, and disguise. For every tactic the deity had there was already a tactic to planned to go against it.

        The classic example is Sita wanted to help the beggar in need, but it was a trap that wasn’t a beggar as we know it was a beggar in disguise. So is she to be blamed for her karma? This is the social reality of what happens when we try to put things into practice it isn’t easy and priests shouldn’t blame us all the time for our karmas. Instead they should try to understand the devotee’s position and be more empathetic, putting themselves in our shoes and to see what we go through daily as a regular person outside of the temple. And rarely I see genuine love coming from them, only blame and this makes our wounds burn more and deepen more. Even today a priest was telling devotees just make excuses and this really hurts. It just adds on to more blame. Karma isn’t just about what we do its also about what happens externally also. Even a sage who composed a dance performance I saw wrote that karmas are also external forces, even coming from just nature itself…

        Sometimes I feel people who give advice don’t even follow it themselves. (I am not suggesting you sir, this article is very good btw). Females especially are getting extreme amount of blame without people understanding what they go through just to exist and stand as a female, and to pursue Bhakti.

        I am writing this because I along with many devotees try extremely hard to read, learn, and follow but it is more difficult than what we’re told and like any battle we’re getting hurt as we engage in it without any care or support for what we go through in the pursuit of good.

      • rpk says:

        I am sorry to say that I do not have a good understanding about bad-eyes or dhrishti. My initial thoughts are that they lie in the intersection of both rituals and superstitions, but I cannot comment anything related to that.

        Arishadvargas are indeed difficult to overcome for common people. They do serve a purpose, but it becomes bad when it is not in control. The path of yoga will help us in progressing towards that.

        Do not bother about how others treat you in response to the bhakthi you are pursuing. Also, do not bother to see if the people who are giving advice are following it themselves. Their discourses will give us some helpful light to adapt in our life. When one persists with single minded devotion to merge into the God, the path becomes known and clear.

  4. Radha says:

    I am also curious why 13 traits are in this list because usually we hear of only 6.
    Are there perhaps even more traits beyond the 13 as well?

    • rpk says:

      The 13 traits are just a guideline. One shouldn’t bother about such numbers. The idea is to absorb the essence, and try hard to apply the right thing in life.

      • Radha says:

        1. please explain this path
        “The path of yoga will help us in progressing towards that.”

        2. Most people don’t bother with what others say. The problem is when people make a habit of constantly going after your mind repeating the same blame, question, complaint or bad eye and they don’t STOP no mater what tactic or strategy we do. That is why I mentioned the more the deity fought the opponent the more it multiplied itself. This creates a bad vibration or negative energy that builds and builds upon itself and then penetrates deeply which makes it impossible to ignore when people just don’t stop. That is how energy works. That is the problem. It then begins to affect the health, the emotions and the mind.

        Bad eye is when the energies of mind and emotion combine to create a negative energy that affects someone else’s energy field it’s not superstition there is truth to it.

        3. The mental impressions we acquire have a truth to it. That is how we base our actions. Today there is a lack of trust because cheating, manipulating mind and emotions, physical hurt and harm to others for money and desire is the trend. Thus, its not karmas we did but the lack of trust due to this and the want to keep safe and protected that is the issue. Priests need to understand this.
        This lack of trust is affecting how love manifests into the world and that is why we see less and less love and thus we are getting pulled more and more away from the Deity (Anbe Sivam Anbe Shaktiam). Love, truth and trust is the most abused thing in this world today. By faking truth and faking love to get trust, people are getting cheated. From this mental impressions come and the actions based on it. Often what is seen as arrogance is just lack of trust.

        Priests say no one cares but its not that we don’t care we do care its just people are not allowing us to care and when we do care we are getting cheated or taken advantage of. Priests say be happy, but people are not letting us be happy due to their asuya character. I am putting this out there so that priests understand devotee perspective because they blame us too much and its makes our wounds more deep. We are already victims of so many cruel things why they need to victimize us more and blame us more for karmas.

        I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of what karma is and I think it is more complex word then how we or priests understand it because we get too much blame from them. These words in Sanskrit have more meaning then we causally know. Cause and effect can come from so many things, our own and others thoughts, feelings, actions, and the nature. Knowingly, unknowingly. We need deep clarification on karma because even the different religions that arose in India have their own understanding of it. That if everything is cause and effect then what actually remains fixed to be pursued and is not a maya? How then this that remains manages to supersede cause and effect and the karma when everything in this world is subject to it and is getting suffering?

        We also need clarification on what dharma and artha , kama and moksha truly means? The Sanskrit words are loaded with meaning…..I don’t know what to pursue because I don’t really understand the depth and meaning to these words.

  5. Radha says:

    To put it simply
    a flower needs certain conditions to bloom, rain, water, sun, air, space, earth food. Without these conditions it can’t flower, likewise the mind and heart are this way as well. They can’t flower either unless given the conditions to do so. If someone tries to obstruct the light, the water or energy flow, flower can’t grow. Priests need to understand this not blame. If someone is not flowering it means the conditions for it are lacking.

    • rpk says:

      1) The path of yoga constitutes eight aspects to be culminated into our life which is summarized here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras_of_Patanjali

      2) The ill-effects caused to our mind by others will gradually go away once we put the effort to reside the mind on the athman. To make this happen, the systematic way is to adapt the path of yoga into life. Once we attain this perfection, I believe other negative energies will not affect us, for example, the bad-eye negative energy as you mentioned.

      3) It is correct that love, truth and trust is misused by some people to fulfill their selfish desires. But, this is how the world is. We don’t know who is true and trustworthy for sure. Sometimes people change based on the circumstances. We have to accept it as our fate/destiny of current birth and experience the suffering. It is not possible to change others.

      Priests do not have any rights to blame the devotees. They are our servants in spiritual path, and do not allow them to dominate the mind. They always try to induce fear in the devotees, people usually very easily fall as their prey because we think they know more about spiritual path and salvation. Many priests are not learned scholars, and they only memorize some mantras and perform the rituals. If a priest is a learned scholar, his interaction or presence will only induce positive energy in our mind, and he will never blame the devotees. It is difficult to find such scholarly priests, but they do exist. So, if your priest is blaming the devotees, then he do not deserve any respect, and you can happily discard his comments. God will not be angry, or bring in inauspicious events in your life for doing so.

      4) My understanding about karma and its effect can be read from my post: https://ramprasadk.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/topsy-turviness-about-karma/

      5) To understand more about dharma, artha, kama and moksha, we definitely need some fine-tuning/preparing of our mind. I suggest you to read this discourse on Katha-Upanishad to build a proper foundation: http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/katha_0.html

  6. Radha says:

    1. “It is correct that love, truth and trust is misused by some people to fulfill their selfish desires.”
    this connects to dhambam and is most prevalent problem.

    Often people say those that give advice don’t even follow it themselves because there are pros, cons and hidden dangers to that advice. If they followed it themselves they would know and would warn the devotee to avoid such problem. Example, when following ayurvedam, people will suggest such herb is good but will never caution on its misuse or misapplication. It means they don’t even understand the reality to that herb from experience they just tell. I experienced similar problem which is why I say this, but I have to bear the karma for it.

    2. Often people say ignore but from my experience in acting upon this advice the more you ignore the more angry and the more they come after you for attention. They even get more aggressive and belligerent and unsafe. So ignoring doesn’t work. In an effort to avoid bad karmas we are actually creating more bad karma for ourselves. Such people put more bad eye (drishti) or negative energy towards you. You can ignore for 10, 15, 20 years and still the same character comes after you. That is how strong the kama is today. I don’t know wear its source of power comes from but it seems like an infinite unstoppable power! Devotee will look so worn out and all the energies pulled out of him/her from this energy draining tension generating person/people.

    The asuras study Brahman very carefully and have a counter response for each and every advice Brahman gives to us. This is the problem. Often Asura itself will pose like Brahman and this is most miserable for the devotee. Like Sita wanted to help the beggar but it was not a beggar. According to scripture you can’t deny help to one in need however this manipulation of scripture was used to trap her. This is the SUFFERING that I speak of and the karma that we are carrying that is caused by OTHERS. Speak to everyday people they will tell so many situations of how they wanted to do good and acted on these dangerous generalizations people put out there to push others to do good but the outcome was being cheated. Or they were simply trying to get some basic need like food or knowledge.

    It is this innocence that is getting exploited by some false people like we hear in the news (Nithyanandam i.e.). That character is a bit extreme but even everyday appearing people are doing such. Devotees do care, however in this pursuit of spiritual path they are getting cheated and the emotional feeling is immense pain and sorrow hard to overcome. I often hear devotees don’t care, there are very few genuine devotees. I think there are very good people out there its just they are not allowed to be good, for every good act they try to do it is getting blocked or pulled down, or counteracted by someone who wants to physically harm them or threaten them.

    We are yearning for this Shakti to love us, to protect us, and we suffer when we don’t get her love and protection. We are getting instead health problems. All devotees are like children yearning for mother’s love or just that positive energy to remove negative energy. I don’t expect anything from others, not even a hug, hi, smile, or compliment. NEVER. That will lead to attachment and misery. However, what I do need is for others to not hurt and harm my health with their negative energies which are not needed.

    Simple example, I told prasadam cook not to burn the dal and he got raging mad with me. I simply tell don’t put too much salt, too much chilli or too much refined oil and him along with others in his same profession get wildly angry like an asura. Now I have to bear the tension, stress, and fear and whatever biological stress and karmas that person did to me and it doesn’t go away it affects you for the whole day if not week biologically. And if I casually pass this person in hallway he will put big Drishti and send negative energies my way. If you turn on the Indian TV every family every neighborhood or workplace as this toxic character inflicting misery on others for one simple comment. Hence if frog simply makes the slightest move, not even a sound, all the snakes go after it.
    (ancient saying).

    3. I am going to carefully study your responses and links in silence and depth. I really appreciate this article a discussion. I am a devotee and to be one has been very painful experience however I think others are going thru same thing and I wanted to put out this perspective to counter act the blame we get.

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