Overcoming the 5 vices of Human Soul
In this blog, I will take you through five major vices that our human soul is vulnerable to. We as human beings are prone to succumbing to these vices and if not controlled they can deprive us of our spiritual essence and rationality.The key to keep ourselves protected from these vices is to understand their sources, reasons and triggers.
Every religious or spiritual path has its own set of vices which its followers are enjoined to avoid.
In this article, I will take you through all the vices one by one along with a few mindful practices to keep yourself protected.
The five vices are —
KAAM; Sexual Desires spilling into lust and sexual perversity
KRODH; Rage and fury taking over our mind and exciting us to act violently
AHANKAR; Ego or excessive pride in oneself causing one to be conceited and arrogant
MOH; Excessive attachment to worldly pleasures and materialism unable to accept its transience
LOBH; Gluttony or greed for material gains, riches and wealth pushing us further away from spirituality and godliness
If you study Ayurveda or chinese five element principle lust is associated with fire element. More fire implies higher lust and less fire implies lower libido or lust. Both are detrimental towards spiritual growth.
Lust is a seeker. It depletes us of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energies.It creates confusion and shadows in our mind, preventing us from choosing right from wrong. It makes us desperate, deeply unsatisfied and causes us to resort to violence and aggression.It causes distortion of a relationship, it seeks seduction and guile over honesty and sharing. Lust becomes the bargaining tool in an unequal relationship leading to manipulation and low self esteem. In our professional lives, this deadly sin becomes disruptive of our goals.It keeps us from a well-rounded life where our love life and our professional life can integrate with balance.
Lust can only be controlled by bringing our inner elements in order through meditation, self reflection and chanting. This invokes love and spirituality within helping us to :Focus on the whole rather than a part. Bring sacrifice and peace rather than violence and sin. Give and Surrender rather than grab and possess. Through self awareness and spirituality even an object can gain life while in Lust even a living being becomes a mere object.
KRODH; ANGER/ RAGE
Anger grows from seeds of avarice and selfishness. We feel angry when we are insulted, abused or criticised or when our defects are pointed out. Anger springs when a desire is not gratified, when we love our own opinion so much that we only desire that it is honoured because we feel we are superior. Anger clouds our understanding, poisons our blood, the nerves and weakens the whole system.
Angers begins in folly and ends in repentance.The fire we kindle for out enemy burns us. Anger influenced even Hanuman the mightiest Brahmachari to burn Lanka. He lost his understanding and then repented. “Alas! I have burnt the whole of Lanka under the influence of anger. This fire might have burnt Mother Sita also. What shall I do now? How can I return without Janaki Devi? I became a victim to anger. How powerful is anger? I am a powerful Brahmachari. I have destroyed passion to its very root and branch and yet I have not controlled anger. How powerful it is! It is more powerful than passion.”
Steps to control anger :
- Before taking an action out of impulse or rage, try to take a step back and think of the consequences.
- Meditate quietly for ten minutes early in the morning , it helps us gain control on our temper.
- Chant the name of God to invoke peace and calm.
AHANKAAR/ PRIDE; EGO
Ego is the worst of the five vices. A vice is a turning away from God and spirituality and into our selfish wants so Ego is essentially a definition and not a type of vice.When we experience conceit, vanity, jealousy or arrogance, it is our Ego thinking aloud. As we move forward on our quest, we will find that ego will be the primary barrier standing in our way to faith. We will see again and again that the challenges we face are all aimed at teaching us the lesson that we need to subsume our ego to our connection to the almighty. It is only then that we will have achieved the goal of our life.
The remedy for pride is humility. Humility, forgiveness and compassion go together. Every religion, every spiritual path urges us to become the dust of the feet of outer people, to dedicate our lives to serve others rather than commanding and exerting power and might on those weaker than us.
It is imperative that everyday we sit with our thoughts and reflect in what ways we let pride and our inflated ego affect our decisions. Through meditating we would find the centre to introspect and gain clarity. We would realise that ultimately in this magnificent Universe created by the almighty, we are but only a speck.
MOH; ATTACHMENT/ DELUSION
Moh is used to convey a sense of delusion, loss of consciousness, bewilderment, perplexity, error and folly. It is an inability to view the values in the right perspective. It casts a net of illusion that creates an attachment with the mundane where we are oblivious to the real and changing nature of the worldly things like wealth, family, material possessions, thus making us delusional.
However the remedy to this vice does not lie in apathy and complete renunciation but a sense of rational non attachment, a matter of the attitude which is not to be realized by leaving the home and running away from social responsibilities, but an inner realisation of an existence of a higher consciousness that can only be amplified through mediation.
LOBH; GREED/ COVETOUSNESS
Lobh stands for greed, an insatiable hunger to amass greater wealth, hoard more possessions, build more properties, have fancier cars. Lobh is where our ambition crosses the line; over to gluttony. Where we do not sit back and reflect if we actually need more.
How often do you ever hear somebody saying that no I have enough? Very rarely. We as human beings are always on a quest to collect more. But what we don’t understand is that constantly running on the treadmill of greed would always leave us feeling unfulfilled.
If we don’t take out time to pause, to sit back and be grateful for what we already have, if we don’t reflect on the purpose of our actions, on the integrity of our acquisitions we would essentially be left feeling hollow,we might so feel joy slipping from our fingers just as quickly as we stretched to grasp all that we yearned for. Greed pushes us to believe no matter what nothing would be enough when in reality if we look through the lens of the unfortunate we are blessed in more ways than we can imagine.
Today take out some time to be grateful for small things like the electricity in your house,food on your plate, the fact that you and your loved ones are healthy. Shun the way the world and all the competition constantly steers us towards dissatisfaction and you will find yourself so much at peace