Raga and Dvesa Psychology in Bhagavad Gita

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Raga and Dvesa Psychology in Bhagavad Gita

Answer each questions as fully as possibly, citing relevant verses from the Bhagavad Gita.

1. What does it mean to neutralize a raga or a dvesa, and how is this accomplished? When may it be desirable, or even necessary to neutralize a raga or dvesa. When is it not necessary to neutralize a raga or a dvesa?

1.0.Background: Raga is defined as an attachment / affinity for something, implying a desire for that. This can be emotional (instinctual) or intellectual. It may range from simple liking or preference to intense desire and attraction. Sage Patanjali states as  sukhaanushayraaga (where sukha=pleasure/happiness; anushay = accompanying; raaga=attraction; liking- Sutra 2-7). That attraction, which accompanies pleasure, is Raga. Raga is the attraction towards any person or object that causes pleasure or happiness. An experience of pleasure results in a latent impression which subsequently can lead to desire or craving for the same experience. In attachment, desire and senses are drawn involuntarily towards objects. When desire deepens into greed, the sense of right and wrong becomes neglected. By this the self gets linked up with the senses. The detached self, in this case, appears to be bound with the latent impressions of pleasure. That attraction, which accompanies pleasure, is Raga. Attachment is that modification which follows remembrance of pleasure.

Dvesa is defined as aversion/avoidance for something, implying a dislike for that. This can be emotional (instinctual) or intellectual. It may range from simple no preference to intense repulsion, antipathy and even hatred. Duhkha anushay dvesa. He states patanjali in sutra 2.8 where duhkha=pain; anushay =accompanying; dvesa=repulsion. That repulsion which accompanies pain is Dvesa. Dvesa is repulsion felt towards a person or object which is a source of unhappiness. Raga and dvesa go together – they are like the opposite sides of the same coin. Raga and dvesa are mentioned as the cause of suffering in the Bhagavad Gita. There is a often-quoted passage (slokas 2.62-63), sometimes referred to as "the ladder of destruction" namely

| dhyāyato visayān puḿsaḥ |krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ | |sańgas tesūpajāyate |sammohāt smrti-vibhramaḥ | |sańgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ |smrti-bhraḿśād buddhi-nāśo | |kāmāt krodho 'bhijāyate ( 2- 62) |buddhi-nāśāt pranaśyati (2.63) |

2.0. Expressions of Raga and Dvesa

Raga-Dvesa assumes various forms. One like certain foods and dislike certain other foods. One like certain clothing and dislike certain other clothing. One like certain persons and dislike certain other persons. One like certain places and dislike certain other places. One like certain sounds and dislike certain other sounds. One like certain colors and dislike certain other colors. One like soft things and dislike hard things. One like praise, respect, honor, and dislike censure, disregard and dishonor. One like a religion, view, opinion and dislike other religions, views and opinions. One like comforts, pleasures, and dislikes discomforts and pain.

Thus there is no peace of mind as the mind is ever restless and agitated. The waves of Raga-Dvesa are ever disturbing the mind. One wave of Raga-Dvesa arises in the mind and subsides after some time. Again another wave rises, and so on. There is no balance of mind. There is no peace. Raga-Dvesa is the real cause for all diseases (Adhi and Vyadhi).

3.0.Neutralizing Raga and Dvesa
Neutralization of Raga and Dvesa is done for Antakarna Suddhi. Neutralisation refers to action / attitude which will nullify the effects of raga and dvesa. Here action is looked at different angles namely...
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