Most Dangerous Vices for Humans

Most dangerous vices

From the Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Sec.CLXIII (Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli)

Yudhishthira said: Tell me, O thou of great wisdom, everything about that from which spring wrath and lust, and fear and loss of judgment, and inclination to do (evil to others), and jealousy and malice and pride and envy, and slander and incapacity to bear the good of others, and unkindness and covetousness.

Bhishma said: These vices are regarded as very powerful foes of all creatures. These approach and tempt men from every side.They goad and afflict a heedless man or one that is insensate. Indeed, as soon as they (these vices) see a person, they assail him powerfully like wolves jumping upon their prey. From these proceed all kinds of grief. From these proceed all kinds of sin.Every mortal should always know this.

I shall now speak to thee of their origin, of the objects upon which they rest, and of the means of their destruction. Listen first, O king, with undivided attention, to the origin of wrath truly and in detail.

Anger springs from covetousness. It is strengthened by the faults of others. Through forgiveness it remains dormant, and through forgiveness it disappears.

As regards Lust, it springs from resolution. Indulgence strengthens it. When the man of wisdom resolutely turns away from it, it disappears and dies.

Envy of others proceeds from between wrath and covetousness.

It disappears in consequence of compassion and knowledge of self. In consequence of compassion for all creatures, and of that disregard for all worldly objects (that knowledge brings in its train), it disappears. It also arises from seeing the faults of other people. But in men of intelligence it quickly disappears in consequence of true knowledge.

Loss of Judgment has its origin in ignorance and proceeds from sinfulness of habit. When the man whom this fault assails begins to take delight in (the company and counsels of) wise men, the vice at once and immediately hides its head. Men see conflicting scriptures. From that circumstance springs the desire for diverse kinds of action. When true knowledge has been gained, that desire has been allayed. The grief of an embodied creature proceeds from affection which is awakened by separation. When, however, one larns that the dead do not return (whatever the grief one may feel for them), it subsides.

Incapacity to bear other people’s good proceeds from wrath and covetousness. Through compassion for every creature and in consequence of a disregard for all earthly objects, it is extinguished.

Malice proceeds from the abandonment of truth and indulgence of weakness. This vice disappears in consequence of one’s waiting upon the wise and good.

Pride, in men, springs from birth, learning and prosperity. When those three, however, are truly known, that vice instantly disappears.

Jealousy springs from lust and delight in low and vulgar people. In consequence of wisdom, it is destroyed.

From error (of conduct) inconsistent with the ordinary course of men, and through disagreeable speeches expressive of aversion, Slander takes its rise. It disappears upon a survey of the whole world.

When the person that injures is powerful and the injured one is unable to avenge the injury, Hate shows itself. It subsides through kindliness.

Unkindness proceeds from a sight of the helpless and miserable persons with whom the world abounds. That sentiment disappears when one understands the strength of virtue.

Covetousness in all creatures spring from ignorance.
Beholding the instability of all objects of enjoyment, it suffers destruction.

It has been said that tranquility of soul can alone subdue all these faults.