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Lobha In Hinduism – Greed

Lobha, greed, is one of the six negative influences over the mind in Hinduism. The six negative influences are lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride and jealousy (Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada  and matsarya. A person on the path of spirituality has to guard against these six negative aspects in daily life.

As per teachings in Hindu religion, these six negative qualities spring from the rajasika and tamasika nature of the living being.

Lobha is an outcome of rajoguna (rajaso lobha eva ca) – Bhagavad Gita Chapter 14 – Verse 17.

Greed as per Hindu scriptures is an influence over the mind, because of which the being aspires for possession of things and services not rightly belong to him or her. The person may try to steal or snatch the object of greed and in this pursuit may commit a still greater sin like assault or killing, etc.

Objects of desire are means to an end and not end in themselves. The desire to possess leads to further entanglement in the world.

The acts done under the influence of greed, causing the violation of the social law and order, are recognized under the wrong acts punishable by the king. 

Greed Sin Redemption in Hinduism

The sin committed by a person by the acts done by him under the influence of greed can be cleansed by the purification rites of prayschitta (expiation) and dana (charity).

Teachings On Greed In Hindu Scriptures

Ishavasya Upanishad exorts: ma gradha kasyasvid dhanam (1-1) (Do not covet the wealth of anyone).

In the Mahabharata, Yaksha asks Yudhishtira: “By renouncing what does one become happy. Yudhishtira answers: By renouncing greed.” 

Bhagavad Gita counts greed as one of the three doors to hell: Trividham narakasyedam dwaram nasanamatmanah, kamam krodham tatha lobham (Gita 16 – 21).

Bhartrihari in his Niti Shataka says that if there is one vice, greed, there is need for none other to be wicked (lobhascedagunena kim – Niti Sataka 45).

  • Srimad Bhagavadgita (Text and English Translation) (1985) by by Jayadayal Goyandaka - Gita Press Gorakhpur
  • Manusmriti (1999) Translated by Ganganath Jha - Motilal Banarsidass New Delhi
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 289