The cause of all miseries

tasya mUlaM sarvopaplavAnAM ca pravRuttiH, nivRuttiruparamaH| pravRuttirduHkhaM, nivRuttiH sukhamiti yajj~jAnamutpadyate tat satyam| tasya hetuH sarvalokasAmAnyaj~jAnam| etatprayojanaM sAmAnyopadeshasyeti||8||


The root cause of universe and all upaplava (advent of miseries) is pravritti (action/attachment/excess). Nivritti (inaction/detachment from worldly affairs/abstinence) leads to its destruction (of all miseries). Attachment leads to miseries and detachment to bliss.
Realization of this fact is truth (pure knowledge).


[excess is a sign of illness, abstinence is control and thus health]



“What is cause of pravritti (attachment) and methods of nivritti (detachment) ?”.[9]

tajjA hyaha~gkArasa~ggasaMshayAbhisamplavAbhyavapAtavipratyayAvisheShAnupAyAstaruNamiva drumamativipulashAkhAstaravo~abhibhUyapuruShamavatatyaivottiShThante; yairabhibhUto na sattAmativartate| tatraiva~jjAtirUpavittavRuttabuddhishIlavidyAbhijanavayovIryaprabhAvasampanno~ahamityaha~gkAraH, yanmanovAkkAyakarma nApavargAya sa sa~ggaH,karmaphalamokShapuruShapretyabhAvAdayaH santi vA neti saMshayaH, sarvAvasthAsvananyo~ahamahaM sraShTA svabhAvasaMsiddho~ahamahaMsharIrendriyabuddhismRutivisheSharAshiriti grahaNamabhisamplavaH, mama mAtRupitRubhrAtRudArApatyabandhumitrabhRutyagaNo gaNasyacAhamityabhyavapAtaH, kAryAkAryahitAhitashubhAshubheShu viparItAbhinivesho vipratyayaH, j~jAj~jayoH prakRutivikArayoH pravRuttinivRuttyoshcasAmAnyadarshanamavisheShaH, prokShaNAnashanAgnihotratriShavaNAbhyukShaNAvAhanayAjanayajanayAcanasalilahutAshanapraveshAdayaH samArambhAHprocyante hyanupAyAH| evamayamadhIdhRutismRutiraha~gkArAbhiniviShTaH saktaH sasaMshayo~abhisamplutabuddhirabhyavapatito~anyathAdRuShTiravisheShagrAhIvimArgagatirnivAsavRukShaH sattvasharIradoShamUlAnAM sarvaduHkhAnAM bhavati| evamaha~gkArAdibhirdoShairbhrAmyamANo nAtivartate pravRuttiM, sA ca mUlamaghasya||10||

“The source of attachment are ignorance, desire, hatred and purposeful action. This in turns give rise to ahamkara (ego), sanga (attachment), samshaya (skepticism),  abhisamplava (mistaken self-identity), abhyavapata (false sense of ownership),  vipratyaya (sensing opposite of reality), avishesha (inability to distinguish between consciousness/unconsciousness) and anupaya (believing in inefficient traditions) that engulf an individual just like the very long branches of a big tree smother a sapling. A person overwhelmed by these emotions stays trapped in the affairs of the world.

Ahamkara means egoism. E.g., “I belong to a high descent and possess beauty, wealth, conduct, intelligence, character, modesty, learning, fame, age, power and influence.”

Sanga, or attachment, includes the mental, vocal, or physical deeds associated with attachment that are not conducive to the attainment of emancipation or salvation.

Samshaya, or skepticism regarding the existence of the result of the past action, salvation, soul, life after death, etc.

Abhisamplava is the mistaken perception of identifying one’s atman with one’s body, such as “I am second to none in any situation; I am the creator; I am an accomplished person by nature and I am the aggregate of body, sense organs, intelligence and memory.”

Abhyavapata is the sense of ownership, such as ” mother, father, brother, wife, progeny, keen, friend and servants belong to me and I am theirs.”

Vipratyaya, or considering a desirable act as undesirable, a beneficial thing as harmful and an auspicious act/thing as inauspicious (and vice versa).

Avishesha, or the lack of distinction between a consciousness and unconsciousness, nature and its modifications, attachment and detachment.

Anupaya, or inefficient religious rituals such as prokshana (consecration),  anashana (fasting), agnihotra (oblation to the fire), trishavana (worship with soma thrice a day while performing sacrifice), abhyukshana (wetting), aavahana (invocation), yajana (leading or guiding sacrificial rituals), yajna (sacrificial rituals), yachana (begging) and entering into water and fire.

Thus, if a person is devoid of intellect, restraint and memory, but is egoistic, skeptic, self-centered, is attached (to objects or actions), and is unable to discern between good or bad, self and the physical body, etc. he is an abode of all miseries. Such feelings are the root cause of vitiation of doshas relating to the mind and body. Such a person is trapped in the cycle of life and death and cannot attain salvation (from miseries). 


[Human thinking is dominated by Tisraishaniya (three desires):
(desire for long life), Dhanaisanya (Desire for wealth), and Paralokashana (Desire for other world).

The mind is the substratum of diseases, along with the material body. Diseases are classified as those occuring only in the body, like skin disorders; only in the mind, like anger, lust, hatred, fear, etc.; and those of both body and mind, such as Apasmara (epilepsy) and Unmada (insanity). Diseases that are purely physical or purely psychic are rarely found; most diseases are all psychosomatic. ]


A person with a normal share of strength and combativeness, who is of sound mind and concern for things here and hereafter, is moved by three desires. These are the desire for life, for wealth and for life hereafter. The desire for life comes first, because the loss of life amounts to the loss of everything. To ensure good life and health, the observance of a code of conduct is necessary, just as careful attention needs to be paid for the proper care of illness. The pursuit of wealth comes next, because wealth takes second place only to life. There is scarcely anything more miserable than a long life without the means to live. One should therefore work hard to make a living by engaging in farming, animal care, trade, service and similar occupations. The third desire concerns life in another world after death, which does indeed raise many doubts. (Charaka Samhita Sutra 11:3–8)

The code prescribed by him for a long and healthy life was a far-cry from asceticism. It laid great stress on personal hygiene, nutrition and diet, elegant attire and ornaments, warm social relations, physical activity, pleasant walks in agreeable company, sexual enjoyment and all other aspects of a joyous and happy living. While he upheld the virtues of truthfulness, fearlessness, diligence, modesty, courage, forgiveness, and kinship toward all living beings, he placed no bar on the celebration of life and the use of rejuvenating drugs to enable one to live for a hundred years. Indeed, separate chapters were devoted in Ayurvedic texts to rejuvenating therapies (rasayana) and enhancement of sexual prowess (vajikarana). Vagbhata had a section on the erotic to embellish his chapter on vajikarana! (Ashtanga Hrdaya Uttara 40:35–47)

The detailed account of food and drinks, protocol for dining, lifestyle suited to different seasons, enjoyment of wines and a wine party which are found in Ayurvedic classics give the reader a flavour of the average Indian’s social life in ancient India. In seeking to live for a hundred years in good health and affluence, they were harking back to the Indian sages whose fervent prayer was to live ‘sound in limb and body to enjoy the divinely ordained term of life’. While Ayurvedic sages displayed unalloyed zest for a good and happy life, they never failed to emphasise the pre-eminence of ethics in all forms of human conduct. According to them, a good and happy life was inconceivable in the absence of righteous conduct (Ashtanga Hrdaya Uttara 40:35–47). Therein lies the secret of the uninterrupted practice of Ayurveda for over 25 centuries until its resurgence in recent times.


12 thoughts on “The cause of all miseries

  1. Hi, so for the sake of ambiguity I’d figure I’d speak more ayurvedically in the hopes of getting any kind of council from you. Now I’m a pretty strong young man checking in from ” Siler City” north carolina lol ; ) now vata and or weakness is no longer present internally only externally. I fear that rajas will not be completely eviscorated by the time summer arrives would you reccomend cleansing procedures like sports ,sex , cigs in order to healthier sooner? I eat a pretty rich diet of meat and sweets so I’m sure I can handle it. I’m really fond of shiva what histories would you reccomend I check out for the most accurate portrayal of his life?

  2. Thank you for the article,

    Could you elaborate on Paralokashana (Desire for other world)?

    For example desire for sweets in a case where they’re not nessecary for the body (say mid-spring)… this has not much to do with wealth or long life I’d think. But rather a desire to be in a place that is not real? or in other words.. a desire for an alternate existence where one can gorge on whatever without consequence.. and thus.. a world which does not exist: another world?

    • “is not real? or in other words.. a desire for an alternate existence where one can gorge on whatever without consequence”……… is that what it says?

    • No it doesn’t. It’s a question as I don’t understand what is truly meant by it. I thought I might give it a go. I was refering to the principle of one not wanting to be in the place one is and wanting to be in a place that isn’t. So.. a desire for another world. Not the real one. But I understand from your reaction that this is not meant.

      Perhaps. Probably what is meant is a desire to know ones true Self. Which is another world than the physcal one we experience.

      Lol, that would be quite the opposite of my first possible interpretation. haha.

  3. The mind is the creation of all disease. All suffering comes from the mind. What is a desire? Back up and understand what is actually being stated.
    (sidebar: this is why Rod Stryker with his new book and teacher training selling “The Four Desires” which is nothing more than an exploitation of the purushartas to the naive westerners… they are not 4 desires. Not at all.)
    Paralokashana is desire to be in a higher plane. Is there no such thing and it is not real? Question your assumptions.
    Is there no higher planes?
    Study Lokas.

    • Quickly after my second comment here I got your question “Is that what is says”. It was about the “not real” part. It says other world. Not unreal world. I might have gotten confused also because we use “worldly” for mundane matters. I was surely not saying there is no such thing as higher planes. It just didn’t come up in me at the time of writing the comment. I am in absolutely no place to say these things aren’t real… would be like a blind man telling me arrogantly that I’ve invented this “light-world” and colours-stuff”.

      Thanks for the comment(s)

    • I see. I assumed desires are bad per se. Just like thinking mind = bad… It is an oversimplification. Without the existence of the desire to eat we might starve ourselves.

  4. I’ve noticed that, quite often, you add paragraphs and/or pictures to articles later on, after having them published. I even saw you added bits to a comment some time after you posted it. Good to go back once in a while to notice this and then read it :).

    • I thought you added this piece “The detailed account of food and drinks…” in this article later on. Or at least, I don’t remember reading it.

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