The Three Gates of Hell: Desire, Anger & Greed

‘Demonic men [sic] cannot comprehend

activity and rest;

there exists no clarity,

no morality, no truth in them.


They say that the world

has no truth, no basis, no god,

that no power of mutual dependence

is its cause, but only desire.


Mired in this view, lost to them themselves

with their meager understanding,

these fiends contrive terrible acts

to destroy the world.


Subject to insatiable desire,

drunk with hypocrisy and pride,

holding false notions from delusion,

they act with impure vows.


In their certainty that life

consists in sating their desires,

they suffer immeasurable anxiety

that ends only in death.’

The Bhagavad Gita, Sixteenth Teaching, 7-11.

We all know these people. We have all been hurt by them. Repeatedly. They usually have no comprehension even of the fact that they are hurting people. They are like poison which spreads to all the people they meet. The poison is breathed in, and breeds more anger, resentment, greed and suffering the longer one is exposed to it.

When these people come into our lives they present us with a challenge. The Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’, wei ji,  is composed of two halves, one meaning ‘danger’, wei, and the other meaning ‘opportunity’, ji. Using the second half of the word, a dangerous crisis can literally ‘take a turn for the better’, becoming zhuan ji. This reminds us that every crisis has the potential to become an opportunity – and the crises that are created by ‘demonic’ people are no different.

The key is simply this: not to let the desire, anger and greed of these people poison us with the same qualities. This can be INCREDIBLY hard to do. It takes a great deal of patience with ourselves and with the other person. Ideally you will be able to remove yourself from involvement with them as soon as possible, so as not to receive even more of their poison. Then begins the work of extracting the poisonous anger and desire for revenge from yourself.

Often we hear that forgiveness is the key to overcoming these profound wrongs. Perhaps another alternative however is to shift our focus from the past to the present, and disengage from over-attaching to that which was lost. Disengagement does not mean disinterest, especially from the people and things we love, but an acceptance that nothing lasts forever, and that trying to force it so only hurts ourselves. Shifting our focus to the present may still offer challenges, if the consequences continue in the present, but at least it offers the possibility of appreciation for what we have, rather than grief for what is gone. With time we may even become open to compassion for the ‘demonic’ people and their families, feeling sorry for them as they continue to torture themselves, and cheat themselves out of happiness.

I wish you so so much love in any crises in your lives and pray that you will find peace, equanimity and freedom from your own feelings.

Namaste xoxoxoxx

About karen2202

I am writing my PhD on children's yoga and it's place within mainstream education. I am also a yoga teacher in Sydney, Australia.

Posted on October 1, 2011, in Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The Three Gates of Hell: Desire, Anger & Greed.

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