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What Is Shadripu/Arishadvarga ?

In Hindu theology,  Arishadvarga or Shadripu/Shada Ripu (Sanskrit: षड्रिपु meaning the six enemies) are the six enemies of the mind.

These are the fundamental tenets of Kali-yuga (The Dark Age)

  1. kama — lust, craze, desire
  2. krodha — anger, hatred
  3. lobha — greed, miserliness, narrow-minded
  4. moha — delusory emotional attachment
  5. mada — pride, stubborn mindedness
  6. matsarya — envy, jealousy, show or vanity, and pride


The Kama means desire. The Kama means to want something without restraint, without caring how one obtains that object/situation. The Kama means selfishness, caring only about oneself. The Kama means one highest goal is one s own comfort. The Kama is a fire that is difficult to put out. The Kama usually means the desire for some emotional fulfilment from another persons or attraction to another.


Krodha means anger, which springs from the frustration of desire. We want something. We cannot get it. We become angry. We desire to get things by any means, i.e to harm, hurt, destroy, break, and fight for it.


Lobha Greed. We want everything only for ourselves. We should have everything. Everyone else should have nothing. Greed springs from desire and causes anger. We will not give anything to anyone. It makes your hand or mind hold on to something. The desire for worldly objects can be overcome by the poses of the Rishis who were great renunciates or Sannyasins. They had overcome greed for material objects.

4 – MOHA (ILLUSION or Wrong dreams):

Moha makes us live in a dream world. We think if we can get the first rank, we will be happy. If we can get a 5 lakhs per month job we will be happy. These are all illusions (Moha). We must learn to see reality. To do this we must be flexible. The Yogic people see the world clearly, without illusion. The Yogic people view is opposite to the Bhogic ones.


The ego can never love or be loved. The ego can not be intelligent. The ego puffs up like a pufferfish, full of self-value and pride. To overcome this one must learn to bend and show reverence and gratitude.
The ego is so tough that it’s expecting everyone and everything to bow to its wishes. One can counter this by learning to bend before higher wisdom, creating a flexible spine. One can cultivate respect, gratitude and loving-kindness.


Jealousy is vicious, like a rat, biting at everyone and everything, filled with spite and hatred.
Jealousy is like a snake full of venom. Jealousy is a scorpion filled with poison. One can remove that venom easily with some Yoga practices like Bhujangini Mudra. One can open one’s heart to realize that all beings are one. How can we be jealous of ourselves? The Namaskar Mudra teaches us that God dwells in all, so. how can we be jealous of anyone?

According to Hindu scriptures, these bind the soul to the cycle of birth and death and keep it confined in this material world (confines of Maya or relative existence). Especially the first three are said to pave the way towards hell. The first two bring about difficult experiences we face in our lives.

No matter how powerful, rich, successful or outwardly happy we are, we cannot be considered mature if we have not conquered these six internal enemies. In fact, Sanātana Dharma says that we will never be truly happy and peaceful within our hearts unless we defeat these six enemies — the ‘Shadripus.’

It is also meaningless to practice ‘good behaviours’ if we have not conquered the Shadripus. For example, speaking a truth that is motivated by greed is inferior to speaking it without any desire for wealth. Who is superior — a man who calls the police to tell them the whereabouts of the wanted criminal to get a reward or a man who does so even though there is no bounty offered for the criminal’s arrest? The concept of Shadripus in Sanātana Dharma makes us responsible for our own successes and failures. In the Gitā, Bhagavān Krishna says –

One should uplift oneself by oneself; one should not degrade oneself. Indeed, the mind alone is the friend of oneself and mind alone is one’s enemy”.

No enemy can cause any more harm than one’s own mind. One can protect oneself against physical or emotional injury by others, but protection against one’s harmful thoughts, attitudes and feelings is not an easy task. However, if one is committed to one’s own growth and maturity, there is no better friend than oneself. One becomes one’s own benefactor doing what needs to be done to tackle the six-fold enemies within the mind which is of prime importance in facilitating one’s inner growth. Therefore Upaniṣads also say:

“The mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation (moksha) in humans. When attached to sense objects, the mind brings bondage. When detached from objects, it brings freedom.”


Shadripu / Arishadvarga - The Six Enemies Of The Mind!

These six enemies are not entirely independent of each other. But they are all united against us and want to destroy us completely! For example, it is not possible for a person to be jealous and at the same time be free of anger completely, because jealousy inevitably gives rise to feelings of anger towards our external ‘enemy’. Another example is that excessive greed for money is itself caused by excessive desire, and it can lead to a feeling of pride or ego when that person does become rich. So here, we have 3 of the six enemies that are united against us.

Shree Krishna explains one of the possible relationships between some of these six enemies in the following verses. He shows how this Shadripus overpower the critical and discriminating ability of our intellect (Buddhi) due to which we forget the purpose of our life, and then they destroy us completely.

“Dwelling or thinking on the objects of the senses a man develops attachment for them. From attachment, desire is born. Desire gives rise to anger. From anger arises delusion. From delusion arises a failure of memory. From the failure of memory results destruction of the intellect; and through the destruction of intellect, total destruction ensues.”

When an individual experiences an object it may or may not leave an impression in one’s mind. If one thinks about the object again it does become an impression. If one continues to dwell upon or associate with the object, desire is born to re-experience it or even to possess it. Then the person acts to fulfil that desire. The more intense the desire, the greater becomes the need to fulfil it. Whatever comes in the way of fulfilling the desire evokes anger.

Shadripu / Arishadvarga - The Six Enemies Of The Mind!


The following Shloka from Vairagya Dindima explains the Shadripu very well-

Kama Krodascha Lobhascha Dehe Thishtanthi Taskarah।
Jnana Ratno-paharaya Tasmat Jagrata Jagrata.।।

Desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy — these dacoits are residing within your own body. They are not outside. They are residing as fifth column enemies within you. And, why are they there? To loot you of the Jnana-Ratna, to rob you of the precious gem of spiritual wisdom or atma-jnana, to loot you and deprive you of the precious gem of Self-awareness and make you forget your Self and weep and wail and be in ignorance. In order to deprive you of this jewel of atma-jnana, they are there. Therefore, oh man, oh Sadhak, Jagrata, Jagrata. Beware, beware. In this way, from the submerged level of the chitta or the deep within, various samskaras and vasna are brought into activity.

— Aḍi Shankaracharya

Related Article

How to over come Shadripu/Arishadvargas?



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