Passions (Kashays)

The Kashaya (passions) means internal desires which move us in all kind of activities in our daily life. The word kashaya can be broken down into kasha, meaning worldly life and aya, meaning gain. Thus the literal meaning of kashaya is to gain worldly life again. This means that as long as we have the kashayas, the cycle of birth and death will continue. There are four types of kashayas (passions) namely: krodha (anger), maan (ego), maya (deceit), lobha (greed). These four can be grouped into two categories: 1) rag (attachment), 2) dwesh (hatred). Rag is formed from maya and lobha and dwesh is formed from krodh and maan.

Spiritually, our goal should be to get rid of worldly life and become liberated. But, when we live in attachment and hatred or passions for worldly objects, we hinder the spiritual progress of the soul. Until we are under the influence of passions, our intellect becomes tainted and we may become vicious in our actions. Thus, the passions are the greatest internal enemies of the soul and we should save or protect ourselves from their influences. Affinity, affection, hostility, dislike, or disgust, etc., are the roots of passion. We develop affinity or hostility for things due to our distorted attitude, ignorance, and false perception and knowledge. We, humans, are opportunistic and when we are deprived of what we want then we react with anger. In the same way, if we do not get the fame we think we deserve, our ego gets hurt and we react irrational. Therefore in reality even the anger and ego are caused by the liking and liking is nothing but one form of an attachment (rag). In other word, attachment is the single root of our all passions. So, those who have conquered attachment that means they don’t have any attachment have conquered everything. It is for that reason that the Lord Jin is called Vitaragi, one who has no attachment.

Passions are caused by the maturing of previously accumulated Mohniya Karma. Therefore, instead of reacting with more passions to the situations we should stay tranquil or calm in order to break the cycle which causes the new Mohniya karmas. Our aim should be to stop the new Mohniya karmas from coming in and get over the effect of old karmas calmly. If we can do that, the door to the liberation will open up.

Each of the four passions, krodh, man, maya, and lobha are further sub-divided into four types depending upon their intensity. They are:

  1. Anantanubadh (extremely severe): This obstructs the right belief and conduct and until it is destroyed, we cannot attain the right belief or conduct. Its effects pursue through a long long time and always operate with Darshan Mohniya Karma.
  2. Apratyakhanavarana (severe): This obstructs the partial renunciation but does not affect the true belief. While it is active, we cannot take the vows even in a limited form even though we know we should take vow for our upliftment.
  3. Pratyakhanavarana (moderate): This obstructs the total renunciation, but does not affect the right belief and partial renunciation. While it is active the partial renunciation is possible by us, but the total renunciation (becoming a monk or nun) is not.
  4. Sanjvalana (slight): This obstructs the attainment of total right conduct, but does not affect the right belief and total renunciation. While it is active, initiation into monkshood or nunhood and spiritual progress are possible, but becoming Vitragi is not possible

There are also nine pseudo-passions (No-kashayas) which trigger our passions. They are:

  1. Hashya – laughing or joking
  2. Rati – pleasure for sensual activities
  3. Arati – displeasure for sensual activities
  4. Shoka – sorrow
  5. Bhaya – fear
  6. Jugupsa – disgust
  7. Prurushved – cause of sexual desires for women
  8. Strived – cause of sexual desires for men
  9. Napumsakaved – cause of sexual desires for both men and women

Manifestation of no-kashayas decreases as spiritual uplift begins. Therefore, we should be careful not only of kashayas but also of no-kashayas.