From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Duhkha literally means ‘suffering’.


All the living beings try to escape from duhkha or sorrow and suffering. Analysis of the causes of duhkha and the means of getting relief from it find a prominent place in the philosophical systems. Duhkha has been defined in various ways by these systems. Some of reasons are cited below:

  1. Characterized by pain
  2. One of the qualities or states of mind that can be known by the reactions seen on the face
  3. Notion which brings hatred
  4. Etc.


Duhkha can originate from the various factors such as:

  1. Loss of freedom
  2. Mental tensions and diseases
  3. Sickness of the body
  4. Loss of honor
  5. Enemies
  6. Unhappy marriage
  7. Living in a bad place
  8. Serving a bad master
  9. Old-age
  10. Living in the houses of others depending upon them
  11. Jealousy
  12. Hatred
  13. Cruelty
  14. Doubting nature
  15. Etc.


Duhkha has been classified in various ways by different systems. Here, the causes are given greater importance. Duhkha can be caused by:

  1. Diseases
  2. Six enemies such as lust and greed
  3. Tendencies carried over from previous lives
  4. Birth
  5. Death


Though appropriate remedial measures are available for these duhkhas, mokṣa or liberation from transmigratory existence is the ultimate and the surest remedy from all the kinds of duhkhas.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore