By Swami Harshananda
Ariṣaḍvarga literally means ‘group of six enemies’.
Religion has always considered mokṣa or liberation from transmigratory existence, as the real and the ultimate goal of life. Since this is got by realising the ātman - one’s true Self already present in everyone but covered over by various impurities of the mind, it is first necessary to efface them.
These impurities of mind, which act as ‘ari’ or an enemy in the path of spiritual evolution, are generally classed into six varieties and are called ‘ariṣaḍvarga’, the group of six enemies. They are :
Some of the treatises of Vedānta like the Jivanmuktiviveka of Vidyāraṇya (14th century A. D.) deal with the methods of eradicating them. According to the teachers of bhakti or devotion, these six passions can be eliminated by nāmajapa (repetition of the divine name) and upāsanā (meditation on God) or sublimated by directing them towards God Himself!
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore