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Pancha Klesha In Hinduism – Five Psychic Afflictions

Pancha Klesha in Hinduism is the five psychic afflictions.
They are ignorance, ego or cognition of self existence, attachment to the
pleasurable, hatred of obstructors and fear of death. The concept is mentioned
in Yoga Sutra II/3 shloka (avidyasmita – raga – dweshabhiniveshah).

Chaturbhuj Temple Khajuraho – Madhya Pradesh

Pancha Klesha

  • Avidya
  • Asmita
  • Raga
  • Dvesha
  • Abhinivesha

According to Yoga philosophy, the fivefold activities of
mind, intellect and ego combined are of two types unafflicted (Akilsta) and
motivated or originated by afflictions (kilsta). Pancha Klesha is klista or the
five afflictions.

As per Yoga Sutra, Avidya believes illusion to be true and
by which one is misled. When a person is afflicted by avidya, the person does
not see what is real but delusively perceives the unreal to be real. Such a
person thinks temporary to be permanent, impure to be pure and unholy to be
holy. They are unaware about the source of pain and pleasure. True self is
unknown to them.

Such people forget about the transience of the world. They
chase evanescent pleasures which cause nothing but suffering. They think
everything to be the impermanent body ignoring the true Self.

Mistaking consciousness for mind which only reflects
consciousness is asmita.

Raga is seeking pleasure again and again of the same kind.

Anger and frustration to the obstructions of pleasure is

Abhinivesha as per Yoga Sutra II 7/9 is fear of death which
felt equally by the learned and the fool.

Pancha Klesha may occur in all creatures with a mind in all
conditions. Avidya or ignorance is the root cause of Pancha Klesha.

Pancha Klesha may be due to past deeds. The deeds of the
past and present life give pain in this life and future lives. (Yoga Sutra

How To Overcome Pancha Klesha?

Pancha Klesha can be overcome by penance, study of original
texts, repetition of mantra, complete surrender to God by seeing God in all
animate and inanimate.

Dropping all forms of ignorance and merging with prakriti or
supreme truth puts an end to Pancha Klesha.

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