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Real Cause Of Suffering Is Unwanted Desires – Hindu Religion Teaching

The Hindu religion teaches that the real cause of suffering is unwanted desires, a concept deeply rooted in its philosophy. This idea is primarily derived from key texts and teachings within Hinduism, particularly from the principles of Vedanta and Yoga, and is echoed in the teachings of several Hindu sages and texts.

Key Concepts

Desires and Suffering

Kama (desire) is one of the four Purusharthas, or goals of human life, but when desires become uncontrolled or misaligned with Dharma (righteousness), they lead to suffering.

Unfulfilled desires create a sense of lack, leading to discontent and mental unrest, which are forms of suffering.

Bhagavad Gita

One of the most authoritative texts in Hindu philosophy, the Bhagavad Gita discusses the role of desires in human suffering. In Chapter 2, Verse 62-63, it states:

Dhyayato vishayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate

sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho 'bhijayate

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. 

Anger leads to delusion, and delusion results in the loss of memory, leading to the destruction of intellect, and ultimately leading to ruin.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali speaks about the Kleshas (afflictions) that cause suffering. The primary Klesha is Avidya (ignorance), which gives rise to Asmita (egoism), Raga (attachment), Dvesha (aversion), and Abhinivesha (clinging to life).

Raga and Dvesha, specifically, refer to attachment to pleasurable experiences and aversion to unpleasant experiences. Both stem from desires and lead to suffering.


The Upanishads, which form the philosophical basis of Hinduism, discuss the nature of the self (Atman) and its relation to Brahman (the ultimate reality). They emphasize that desires bind the soul to the cycle of birth and death (samsara), and liberation (moksha) is achieved by overcoming these desires through knowledge (jnana) and detachment (vairagya).

Practical Application

Detachment (Vairagya): Detachment does not mean renouncing life but developing an attitude of non-attachment towards outcomes and material possessions. This reduces the hold of desires and thus reduces suffering.

Self-Realization: Through practices such as meditation, self-inquiry, and following a righteous path (Dharma), one can transcend the ego and align with their true self, which is free from desires and suffering.

Bhakti (Devotion): Devotion to a personal god (Ishta Devata) can help in channeling desires towards a higher purpose, transforming them into spiritual aspiration rather than worldly cravings.

Hindu teachings emphasize that the root cause of suffering is unwanted desires. By understanding and managing desires through spiritual practices, knowledge, and self-discipline, one can achieve a state of inner peace and ultimately attain liberation (moksha). This understanding is fundamental to Hindu philosophy and its approach to human life and suffering.