What is the source of the concept of Shadripu (six enemies) in Hindu philosophy, i.e., which Hindu religious text first described the Shadripu (षड्रिपु)?

From Wikipedia :

Shadripu (Sanskrit: षड्रिपु meaning the six enemies)

The shadripus have been listed as:

  1. Lust (Kama)
  2. Anger (Krodha)
  3. Greed (Lobha)
  4. Arrogance (Mada)
  5. Attachment (Moha)
  6. Jealousy (Matsarya)

4 Answers 4


It is difficult to say which Hindu text mention them for the first time.But they do mention about the Shada Ripus or the six enemies of mankind.They are better(or also) known as Ari Shad Vargas.(Ari=Enemy,Shad=Six)

They are:

Arishad vargas: or Shat Gunas: Kaama or Desire, Krodha or Anger, Lobha or Avarice, Moha or Infatuation, Mada or Ego, Matsarya or Jealousy.

For the time being i am only able to quote from the Bhavisya Purana which mention them in the context of Brahmachari duties(duties of a celibate life ,life of a student):

Needless to emphasise that a Brahmachari should get rid of meat, madya (intoxicants), gandha or scented bases, flower garlands, violence, body-decoratives and scents, footwear, umbrellas, dance and music other than for religious purposes. The other taboos include Asatya(utterances of lies), Asteya (stealing), Para Ninda(criticism of others), company of women and involvement of Arishad -vargas or the Six Enemies of human beings like desire, anger, greed, attachment, ego and envy

But,i am quite sure that,besides Bhavisya Purana, they find mention in many other Hindu Shastras as well.I'll try to search for the same and update my answer if and when i find them.

Update- Here is a not-so-direct reference to Arishadavargas from "Apara Stuti of Shiva by Maha Rishis at Darukavana" found in the Linga Purana:

Sarvathaa vartamaanopi yoyo Bhaavo Bhavishyati, Twaameva thatr prashamo Brahmanaa tathitam tathaa/ Kaamah krodhasccha lobhascha vishaado Mada yeva cha, yatadicchaamahe bodhum praseeda Parameswara

Our venerations to you Mahadeva! As you are devoid of the ‘Shatvargas’or the Six Enemies of humanity viz. Kama-Krodha- Lobha-Moha-Mada and Matsaraas or Lust-Anger-Greed-Attachment-Pride and Envy, besides Vishada or Grief. Parama Shiva!

Further from Hindupedia.com we find the following additional information:

Ariṣaḍvarga literally means ‘group of six enemies

Religion has always considered mokṣa or liberation from transmigratory existence, as the real and the ultimate goal of life. Since this is got by realising the ātman - one’s true Self already present in everyone but covered over by various impurities of the mind, it is first necessary to efface them.

These impurities of mind, which act as ‘ari’ or an enemy in the path of spiritual evolution, are generally classed into six varieties and are called ‘ariṣaḍvarga’, the group of six enemies. They are :

Kāma - Lust
Krodha - Anger
Lobha - Avarice
Moha - Delusion
Mada - Arrogance
Mātsarya - Jealousy

Some of the treatises of Vedānta like the Jivanmuktiviveka of Vidyāraṇya (14th century A. D.) deal with the methods of eradicating them. According to the teachers of bhakti or devotion, these six passions can be eliminated by nāmajapa (repetition of the divine name) and upāsanā (meditation on God) or sublimated by directing them towards God Himself!

  • 1
    Good Answer! Also Hindupedia is a good source to cite.
    – Pandya
    Dec 26, 2016 at 10:29
  • 1
    @Pandya Yes u r right .. & i have previously used hindupedia in my other answers as well..
    – Rickross
    Dec 26, 2016 at 15:34

There is a mention of ari-ṣaḍ-varga (a.k.a ṣaḍ-ripu) in the third chapter of Maitreya Upaniṣad of Sāma-veda which is a dialogue between Lord Śiva and Sage Maitreya.

[Śiva says]

षड्विकारविहीनोऽस्मि षट्कोषरहितोऽस्म्यहम् ।
अरिषड्वर्गमुक्तोऽस्मि अन्तरादन्तरोऽस्म्यहम् ॥ १८॥

III-18. I am devoid of the six changes (of birth, etc), I am without the six sheaths (the gross material body, etc); I am free from the group of six (internal) enemies (passions, etc) and I am the witness, being the supreme God.

The Devī Bhāgavatam lists the 6 inner enemies that a yogi needs to conquer.

हिमालय उवाच
योग वद महेशानि सांग संवित्प्रदायकम्। कृतेन येन योग्योऽहं भवेयं तत्वदर्शने ॥१॥

न योगो नभस: पृछे न भूमी न रसातले । ऐक्यं जीवात्मनोराहुर्योग योगविशारदाः ॥२॥
तत्प्रत्यूहाः षडाख्याता योगविघ्नकरानघ । कामक्रोधौ लोभमोहौ मदमात्सर्यसंज्ञकौ ॥३॥

1. Himâlayâ said :-- "O Mahesvarî! Now tell me the Yoga with all its Amgas (limbs) giving the knowledge of the Supreme Consciousness so that, I may realise my Self, when I practise according to those instructions.

2-10. Srî Devî said :-- "The Yoga does not exist in the Heavens; nor does it exist on earth or in the nether regions (Pâtâla). Those who are skilled in the Yogas say that the realization of the identity between the Jivâtma and the Paramâtmâ is "Yoga." O Sinless One! The enemies to this Yoga are six; and they are lust, anger, greed, ignorance, vanity and jealousy. The Yogis attain the Yoga when they become able to destroy these six enemies by practicing the accompaniments to Yoga.


The following Shloka from Vairagya Dindima explains the Shadripu very well-

कामः क्रोधश्च लोभश्च देहे तिष्ठन्ति तस्कराः।
ज्ञानरत्नापहाराय तस्मात् जाग्रत जाग्रत॥३

*Kama Krodascha Lobhascha Dehe Thishtanthi Taskarah *।
Jnana Ratno-paharaya Tasmat Jagrata Jagrata ।।

Desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy — these dacoits are residing within your own body. They are not outside. They are residing as fifth column enemies within you. And, why are they there? To loot you of the Jnana-Ratna, to rob you of the precious gem of spiritual wisdom or atma-jnana, to loot you and deprive you of the precious gem of Self-awareness and make you forget your Self and weep and wail and be in ignorance. In order to deprive you of this jewel of atma-jnana, they are there. Therefore, oh man, oh Sadhak, Jagrata, Jagrata. Beware, beware. In this way, from the submerged level of the chitta or the deep within, various samskaras and vasna are brought into activity.

— Aḍi Shankaracharya

Source Of Shadripu Shloka


This is found in Khanḍa 4 of Mudgala Upaniṣad (मुद्गल उपनिषत्), which is attached to the Rig-Veda.

Also, besides the concept of 'the six enemies', we also have four other identifiers of human existence, which are also found in the same Upaniṣad.

Thus, the five 'six-pronged identifiers' of human existence are:

  1. ṣaḍ-ripu (षड्-रिपु) - the six 'enemies'.

  2. ṣaḍ-ūrmi (षड्-ऊर्मि) - the six 'waves of sensations'.

  3. ṣaḍ-bhrama (षड्-भ्रम) - the six 'delusions'.

  4. ṣaḍ-vikāra (षड्-विकार) - the six 'changes of life'.

  5. ṣaṭ-kośa (षट्-कोश) - the six 'layers of gross body'.

Giving exact verse reference for each one of them, one by one:

- The six enemies (षड्रिपु - छह शत्रु) are:

कामक्रोधलोभमोहमदमात्सर्यमित्यरिषड्वर्गः ॥ ४.४

  1. वासना (काम): Lust, Desire.
  2. रोष (क्रोध) : Anger, Rage
  3. लालच (लोभ) : Greed, Gluttony
  4. माया (मोह): Illusion, Attachment.
  5. अभिमान (मद) : Arrogance, Vanity
  6. ईर्ष्या (मत्सर / मात्सर्य) : Envy, Jealousy.

Mudgala Upaniṣad Verse 4.4

- The six 'changes of life' (षड्विकार - छह शारीरिक बदलाव) are:

प्रियात्मजननवर्धनपरिणामक्षयनाशा; षड्भावाः ॥ ४.६

  1. प्रिय होना: Being
  2. प्रादुर्भूत होना: Birth
  3. वर्द्धित होना: Growth
  4. परिवर्तित होना: Change-Transformation.
  5. क्षय अर्थात् न्यूनातिन्यून होते जाना: Decline-Deterioration
  6. विनाश: Destruction.

Mudgala Upaniṣad Verse 4.6

- The six 'waves of sensations are' (षडूर्मि - छह शारीरिक वेग) are:

अशनायापिपासाशोकमोहजरामरणानीति षडूर्मयः॥ । ४.७

  1. भूख (क्षुधा): Hunger
  2. प्यास (पिपासा): Thirst
  3. मनोव्यथा (शोक): Grief
  4. माया (मोह): Attachments
  5. बुढ़ापा (वृद्धावस्था): Ageing
  6. देहांत (मृत्यु): Death.

Mudgala Upaniṣad Verse 4.7

- The six 'delusions (षड्भ्रम -छह भ्रांतियाँ )' are:

कुलगोत्रजातिवर्णाश्रमरूपाणि षड्भ्रमाः ॥ ४.८

  1. कुल (वंश): Family (Clan)
  2. गोत्र: Lineage
  3. जाति: Class
  4. वर्ण: Caste
  5. आश्रम: Phase/Station
  6. रूप (सौन्दर्य): Appearance (Beauty).

Mudgala Upaniṣad Verse 4.8

- The six 'layers of gross body (षट्कोश - छह स्थूल कोश (धातु))' are:

त्वङ्मांसशोणितास्थिस्नायुमज्जाःषट्कोशाः ॥ ४.३

  1. चर्म: Skin
  2. मांस: Flesh
  3. अस्थि: Bones
  4. स्नायु (नसे): Nerves (Tendons)
  5. रक्त: Blood
  6. मज्जा: Marrow.

Mudgala Upaniṣad Verse 4.3


  1. Sanskrit Verses
  2. English Translation
  3. Sanksrit Verses with Hindi Translation

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