New Page 1
Lesson 6 - The Five Emotional Disturbances
Lesson - 4 you learned several obstacles to Yoga. In addition to these
obstacles certain emotional fluctuations or disturbances also hinder your
progress. This lesson is going to elaborate these disturbances.
Emotion can be described as a are strong feeling about something. Yoga
identifies five emotions that are disturbing in nature. They are - Avidya,
Asmita, Raga, Dwesha and Abhinivesha. Let's try to understand each of these
emotional disturbances one by one.
Avidya means ignorance. Yoga and Upanishads time and again proclaim the same
fact - "I am Bramhan". Avidya means ignorance about this very fact. We all
ignore this fact and identify ourselves with this non-eternal material world.
Suppose that you are tracking in a deep forest. Suddenly you came across a piece
of rope and immediately you feel that it is snake. You start shaking with fear.
Why this happens? Because of ignorance. You don't know the real nature of the
"snake" and hence you take false thing as true. This ignorance is the root cause
of the remaining four disturbances.
Asmita means ego or I-feeling. Ego is the consciousness that identifies Atman
with this gross body. We all perform so many Karmas and while doing them we
always identify ourselves with them as a doer. When we speak words it is the
power of Bramhan that is responsible for it but we say - "I" am speaking. Thus
"I" eats, "I" sees, "I" enjoys and "I" dies. In normal English the word ego is
often used to indicate an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to
others. However, Asmita has much broader meaning. It is applicable to every
flavor of "I"-ness. Let's take another example. Suppose that one fine day you
left for the office in joyous mood. You had just finished your meditation. Your
mind is full of Sattvic thoughts such as "I am Bramhan" and "All the universe is
one". So far so good. You get into the local train and while doing so a
co-passenger steps onto your new shoes. The moment this happens you forget that
you are Bramhan. You forget that all the universe is one. Your ego awakens. You
identify yourself with your body and angrily utter some ugly words. This is
Raga means a feeling of anger born when pleasure is prohibited. Imagine that
you wish to travel by bus to some place. You get into the bus and happen to
notice a vacant window seat. Feeling happy you immediately rush to grab the
seat. But just then a fellow passenger grabs it instead. Suddenly anger rushes
in your mind and you start arguing with him. This is Raga.
Dwesha refers to aversion or hatred when you taste sorrow. Suppose that your
colleagues complain about your mistake to your boss. He yells at you and warns
of a strict action if you repeat your mistake. You feel hurt and start hating
your colleagues. This is Dwesha.
Abhinivesha means clinging to life. We all have fear of death. We love this
life so much that even a thought of death scares us. It is often said that death
is not bad but the fear of death is. A 90 year old person who has enjoyed his
life to the fullest still feels that he should remain alive. This is Abhinivesha.
The Abhinivesha exists because of our attachment with this body and world around
us. Except for a few advanced Yogis and Sanyasins Abhinivesha can be seen in
every individual living being.
All these emotional disturbances are to be destroyed only when they are
subtle. Once they become gross they rule you. To understand this observe
yourself whenever you are angry. You will find that anger "builds" up and at
some point it bursts. If you learn to destroy the anger when it is just
"building up" then you can get rid of it easily. The same thing can be said
about other disturbances also. You must control them when they are in subtle
state else they will control you.
These emotional disturbances can be destroyed through various means. What are
they? That is what you will learn in the next lesson.
Just to summarize this lesson:
- Yoga identifies five emotions that are disturbing in nature
- They are - Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dwesha and Abhinivesha
- Avidya means ignorance
- Asmita means ego or I-feeling
- Raga means a feeling of anger born when pleasure is prohibited
- Dwesha refers to aversion or hatred when you taste sorrow
- Abhinivesha means clinging to life