Do we recognize our enemies?


In our daily interactions with people; persons whom we like, whom we can trust and depend on, we consider them as our friends; and persons, who are hostile, whom we dislike, we consider them as our enemies. Little do we recognize our true enemies, as our scriptures speak differently. 

Described below are certain vices or weaknesses which we all possess. These are our true enemies as they affect our peace of mind and harmony.

(1) Moha or attachment.


Every living entity has an inherent tendency to seek pleasure or enjoy. In today’s world, our senses are continually bombarded with stimuli – fashion, entertainment - malls, movies and whatnot. Newer models of electronic gadgets are continually replacing old ones; and it becomes difficult to resist the temptation of advertisements shown on television, magazines and newspapers. We tend to focus only on the nice things others are enjoying, become blind to their sufferings and compromises. We tend to equate happiness with money, position. We get attracted, develop an attachment to these sense objects – and soon it is a must-have for us and on our wishlist. We fall into the illusion that unless we get a particular object or position, we cannot be happy. As a result, we are always chasing a sense gratification and seeking a sense of pleasure.


(2) Kama or Lust.


Due to this attachment, we develop a strong desire to enjoy (lust) for these sense objects. 

Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita that pleasure derived from material senses is temporary with a beginning and an end, and the wise man does not delight in them.

An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.


[- Bhagavad Gita 5.22]

So the pleasure we achieve from sense objects is transient and we are continually chasing one object after another. When unable to fulfill our strong desires we are dissatisfied, annoyed and angry.

(3) Krodha or anger.


Krodha develops when we encounter obstacles to our desires for enjoyment. We then get irritated, upset, and have heated arguments leading to outbursts of rage, and are left with a feeling of unpleasantness and repent. This sequence of events i.e. attachment - desire - anger– delusion with loss of intelligence has been described in the Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna explains that:

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from attachment lust develops, and from lust anger develops.

From anger complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.


[- Bhagavad Gita 2.62-63]


(4) Mada or Pride.


Similarly, we also see that whenever we achieve something good or when we excel, we soon become puffed and proud. Pride is a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements resulting in a feeling of being good and worthy. Pride is one of our enemies because it is an obstacle to maintaining good relationships and so affects our peace. In the following verse of Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna clearly classifies pride as one of the demoniac qualities.

Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance – these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Pṛthā.


[- Bhagavad Gita 16.4]


(5) Lobha or Greed.


This is another quality quite characteristic of persons in Kaliyuga. Greed means wanting a lot more than necessary; a very strong wish to continuously get more of something. We often see this happen in our daily lives; whether it is wealth, fame, prestige or power, there is no satiety. Many of the problems we face today – pollution, floods, violence, and global warming are directly or indirectly caused by excessive greed. Thus Krishna classifies greed as one of the gates of hell.

There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul


[- Bhagavad Gita 16.21]


(6) Matsarya or Envy.


Envy is a big enemy for us. Envy denotes a strong wanting to possess something achieved by another or awarded to another. Envy comes so naturally to us that the moment we see our colleague or neighbor possess something which we covet, we become envious. Lord gave a very clear instruction in the following verse;

My dear sons, you should not envy any living entity — be he moving or nonmoving. Knowing that I am situated in them, you should offer respect to all of them at every moment. In this way, you offer respect to Me.


[- Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5.26]


These six enemies (also called shad-ripu) arise from our false ego or ahankar and we are subject to these weaknesses because we are conditioned souls (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, page 101). Conditioned or influenced by the false ego we believe that we are the body and not the spirit soul. As stated in the Bhagavad Gita, it is the ahankar which gives us the feeling of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’.

The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of the false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are actually carried out by the three modes of material nature.


[- Bhagavad Gita 3.27]


In the scriptures, it is stated that Krishna is all-attractive, full of opulence – beauty, wealth, strength, knowledge, fame and renunciation. Krishna is also called Madan-Mohan ie; His beauty is such that even Cupid (Madan) the God of love, is attracted to Krishna. But unfortunately, instead of getting attracted to Krishna, due to illusion, we are attracted to material objects. This is because we are conditioned and governed by the modes of material nature – the ‘gunas’ (guna in Sanskrit means quality or virtue). There are three types of gunas and we are mostly under influence of rajoguna (mode of passion) which is characterized by trishna or hankering. As a result, we are continually chasing material pleasures, have stressful lives, and end up getting depressed. When we seek material pleasures, the sequence of attachment - lust - anger - delusion is inevitable. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna describes lust and anger as our greatest enemies. He says - It is lust which later transforms into wrath, which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.


kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
mahāśano mahā-pāpmā
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam ;


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.


[- Bhagavad Gita 3.37]


Lord Krishna in the form of the great Vaishnava saint, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, emphasizes on the virtue of humility. In the shikshastakam, Lord Chaitanya wrote.


trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harihi


One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.


[- Sri Sri Shikshashtaka - 3]


As stated in Srimad Bhagavatam, the real culprit is our mind.


Greed and envy are vices which we all have. In our own society we see how greed and envy can devastate families.In the Mahabharata, Duryodhana wished to ascend the throne in place of Yudhisthira; filled with greed and envy, he inflicted many sufferings on the Pandavas. However as the Pandavas were under the protection of Lord Krishna they escaped each time. When we get envious, we can try to check envy by thinking that actually we are all parts and parcels of Krishna, so if we envy anyone it means we are envious of Krishna.


[- HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj; Srimad Bhagavatam 10.54.26 Lecture]


This is not at all easy, but it is said that the more humble we are, the easier it becomes to receive the Lord’s mercy.


The mind is the root cause of lust, anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. Combined, these constitute bondage to fruitive activity. What learned man would put faith in the mind?

The mind is the original cause of material bondage. It is followed by many enemies, such as anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. The best way to control the mind is to engage it always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ). Since the followers of the mind bring about material bondage, we should be very careful not to trust the mind.


[- Srimad Bhagavatam 5.6.5, Translation and Purport]


Hence if we wish to live in peace and harmony, we should try to control these vices by controlling our mind. Our misconception that we are the body and not the spirit soul, can gradually be changed by devotional service and chanting the Holy Name. So by praying to Lord Krishna for strength and direction, we can attempt to rid ourselves of these enemies. We would then attain peace, make spiritual advancement and go back.


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Hare Krishna!  


One thought on “Do we recognize our enemies?

  1. Hare Krishna
    Dandavat Pranam

    Many times deep rooted disease seem to feel as a part of our life. We carry it for days, months and years after years and we completely become oblivious of its presence. Until the day comes when a doctor diagnoses and makes us cognizant.

    The 6 enemies of our consciousness are like these deadly disease which seems to part of our nature and seems natural to us, until a devotee comes and makes us cognizant.

    Thankyou for this wonderful and extremely important article.

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