Enquiry into the nature of ego
(The relation between thoughts, emotions, desire)
extract from AHAMKARA, ATMAN, AND EMOTIONS
In the Indian philosophical texts and scriptures detailed description of emotions are not available nor are dealt with as a separate concept. They are seen as a component of personality arising out of the contact of ego or ahamkara with the external world. According to Jain, this could be because “emotions remained something to be transcended in order to achieve the ultimate goal of life.” Emotions are viewed in the
context of the ego (ahamkara)
and the true self (atman). It
is an experience that represents the relation between the ego and the outside
world. In the Indian thought, emotions are seen as arising from desires.
Emotions in turn are viewed as springs of action and are bi-polar in nature.
There is a strong emphasis on sukha
and dukha (pleasure and pain)
as the two opposites. Emotions are concerned with mind or the Manomaya kosa and influence both the
food sheath and the vital air sheath as evident from the physiological
reactions accompanying emotions. Emotions and their affective experiences are
influenced by the intellect or the Vignanamaya
kosa, the cognitive appraisal as proposed by Lazarus, as well as the Anandamaya kosa, the experiential aspect,
or the bliss sheath. The nature of emotions and the associated affect needs to
be examined in this context.
All emotions spring from desires and desire is caused by a sense of imperfection, incompleteness or non-fulfillment felt within oneself. The stronger the desire, the stronger would be the emotional experience. A desire when not fulfilled or thwarted gives rise to anger (Krodha), jealousy (Asuya), unhappiness (Dukha), and suffering. Desire when fulfilled leads to happiness (Sukha) and enjoyment. Indian scriptures warn that fulfillment of a desire can and most often leads to greed (Lobha). One craves for more and more of it. There is a yearning for larger possession and greater enjoyment. These when entertained, one may develop arrogance (Mada) and envy (Matsarya). There is an additional emotional experience of fear (Bhaya) of losing whatever one possesses.
These emotions cloud one's intellectual discrimination and lead one to emotional and mental disturbance. However, not all emotions are considered detrimental. Emotions are basically seen as virtue but allowing them to interfere with one's judgment and awareness is considered a weakness.
|DESIRE MODIFIES AS EMOTIONS|
The scriptures reiterate that desires are responsible for all mental agitations and sorrows. The traditional Indian thought lays great emphasis on desires in the causation of suffering, misery and pain. Emotions are seen as modification of desire or attachment. It is suggested that if one wants to overcome the overwhelming emotional experiences like anger and sorrow, one must locate the desire underlying it and then eliminate it.