Recently, there was a death in the family and a friend and Jyotishi, Phyllis Chubb, did a punya or death chart for her. This brought the unexpected realization that my relationship with the departed had been much more spiritual than I’d recognized. All those struggles bear fruit if we come to them well and learn what life is offering us.
It also brought out a framework I’d not run into before, the Shadripu. Ripu is a word meaning enemy, so shadripu are the 6 enemies. In this case, they are the enemies of spiritual progress and quality of life. The same list is also known as the Arishadvarga or six passions. Buddhism has a somewhat similar list of “poisons”.
In the context of death, the degree to which we have let go of these Ripu determines the level of heaven or loka we are said to reach after some days for saying goodbye.
1. Kama – desire, subverted as lust and craving
2. Lobha – greed, closely related to the above. Theft also.
3. Krodha – anger, as in fury, rage, or indignation
4. Mada – arrogance, as in pride and stubborn-mindedness, tendency to be selfish
5. Moha – ignorance born of attachment, not knowing our true nature
6. Matsarya – envy or jealousy
As other texts describe, such are the source of suffering. Note their close relationship with energy or emotions. In death, they bind the soul to the process of birth and death and keep it confined to this material world. This is why lower astral beings tend to be troubled. The first three are said to pave the way towards hell.
Of course, all of these are also natural. You see them even in young children. But notice how children are with them. There is a moment of drama and the feeling peaks and passes and they’re on to the next adventure.
It’s a very different story if you invest in being stubborn, angry, or jealous. This not only has consequences now in quality of life, it stays with you into the afterlife and on until you resolve it and put it down. Energy is always seeking a balance, a resolution.
Better to do it now than wait for the consequences, even if you don’t believe any of this. Quality of life is such a blessing.