What Are the Five Evils?

The Five Voices of Ego

In Sikhism, homai, or ego, is considered to be the primary cause of evil doing. Five elements of ego are basic drives and motivators of the body and intellect. Ego's inner dialogue capable of enslaving the soul in illusory pursuits of Maya, miring it in material distractions. Excessive volume of ego's voices results in separation from the divine, and perpetuating vice resulting in harmful, even demonic, acts. Ego's volume may be reduced with focus on spiritual practice, and selfless service. When ego is subdued, the soul's achieves humility and realizes its inherent relationship with the divine.

Kaam - Lust

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The voice of Kaam, or lust, depending on the volume, can manifest as rational, or irrational, to serve, or enslave, the soul:

  • In Sikhism the ethical voice of desire to procreate is sanctioned by the Anand Karaj matrimonial ceremony.
  • Indulging the voice of lustful desire may take the form of recreational pursuit outside of marriage and result in unwanted pregnancy, abortion, children born out of wedlock, divorce, and breakdown of the family unit.
  • An excessive increase in volume of the inner voice of kaam can drown the voice of reason to inflame desire resulting in the desecration of morality and abject licentious behavior, perversion, promiscuity, prostitution and rape.

Krodh - Anger

"When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm" Within by Matthew McKay
"When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm" Within by Matthew McKay. Photo © [Courtesy Pricegrabber]

The voice of Krodh, or anger, depending on the volume, can manifest as rational, or irrational, to serve, or enslave, the soul:

  • Reasonable anger can manifest in assertive or protective behavior and righteous protest.
  • Indulging the voice of krodh can easily trigger rage resulting in hurtful and harmful behavior.
  • An excessive increase in volume of the inner voice of krodh can drown the voice of reason inflaming passions and resulting in murder.

     

Lobh - Greed

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The voice of Lobh, or greed, depending on the volume, can manifest as rational, or irrational, to serve, or enslave, the soul:

  • An ethical voice inspires honest labor to provide necessities and comfort.
  • Indulging the voice of greed can lead to excessive appetite for food, money, or power, resulting in gluttony, and even addictive gambling.
  • The excessive voice of inflamed greed can override the voice of result in obsessive coveting if material possessions and theft.

Moh - Attachment

Gambling With Roulette Wheel, Playing Cards, Chips and Dice
Gambling With Roulette Wheel, Playing Cards, Chips and Dice. Photo © [Magictorch / Getty Images]

The voice of Moh, or attachment, depending on the volume, can manifest as rational, or irrational, to serve, or enslave, the soul:

  • Ethical attachment to spiritual pursuits, devotion, meditation and selfless service enriches the soul.
  • Indulging attachment to family and home and professional pursuits results in the neglect of spiritual life.
  • Excessive attachment to Moh results in addiction and enslavement to substances, fashion, money, pleasure, power, fame and other illusive worldly pursuits, and desires in disregard for spiritual life.
     

Ahnkar - Pride

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The voice of Ahnkar, or pride, depending on the volume, can manifest as rational, or irrational, to serve, or enslave, the soul:

  • A reasonable ethical voice of pride inspires dignity, honor and self-esteem and self-respect.
  • Indulging the voice of pride can result in self-importance, arrogance, competitiveness, smugness, and self-conceit.
  • The voice of excessive pride can result in self-gratification subjecting others to submission, servitude and slavery.

Five Elements of Evil and the Number 5 in Gurbani

Gurmukhi Number Five - Panj
Gurmukhi Number Five - Panj. Photo © [S Khalsa]

What is the significance of the number 5 in Gurbani and how does it relate to the Five Evils?

 

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Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "What Are the Five Evils?" ThoughtCo, Jun. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/what-are-the-five-evils-2993506. Khalsa, Sukhmandir. (2017, June 28). What Are the Five Evils? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-are-the-five-evils-2993506 Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "What Are the Five Evils?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-are-the-five-evils-2993506 (accessed November 19, 2017).