In the book Yoga Vashistha(page 426) , Vashistha says one should give up moha as the snake casts off the skin.

My question is : should one give up moha and what is the meaning of the word moha ?

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    Pure sanskrit language questions are off-topic for the site. I don't see anything about Hinduism in the question. A google search returned me Buddhism related articles and pages. Three Poisons is a Buddhist concept not Hinduism concept. It is better if you post it on Buddhism. – Sarvabhouma Apr 30 '18 at 6:52
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    Moha is the extreme form of kama. Kama, krodha, lobha when heightened become moha, mada and matsarya respectively. Yes, one should give up moha. – user1195 May 3 '18 at 11:05
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    This is not a pure language Q nor a Q about Buddhism. Moha is one of the arishadvargas, a very Hindu concept. Plus the Q is seeking a commentary on a statement that appears in a Hindu text. Reopen. – user1195 May 3 '18 at 11:06
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    @Sarvabhouma I never mentioned Buddhism. Those are Sanskrit words. – Dheeraj Verma May 3 '18 at 15:49
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    @Sarvabhouma That is why I made it contextual. – Dheeraj Verma May 3 '18 at 16:02

Yes, would be good to give up moha. Patanjali uses the word in YS II.34. Patanjali is an extensively commented author. It is usually understood as blind attachment, delusion. He names moha as one of the causes to "perverse, unwholesome, troublesome, or deviant thoughts", what is obviously an serious obstacle to your practice.

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    You must format answer with proper quotations. If you are just commenting, thrn use comment boxes not answer boxes. What is YS II.34 , kindly mention properly. – user14995 May 12 '18 at 17:23

Bhagavad Gita speaks about the dangers of delusion (moha).

Deluded by the mental states accruing from the three Gunas of Prakrti, this world knows not Me, the Imperishable, transcending these Gunas.

Gita 7.13

Niyatasya tu samnyasah karmano nopapadyate mohat tasya parityagas tamasah parikirtitah

It is not at all proper to renounce works that ought to be done as duty. Their abandonment out of delusion is considered to be of the nature of Tamas.

Gita 18.7

The word mohat means out of delusion. Finally what are these delusions brought in by our mind?

The mind brings before us all our delusions — body, sex, creed, caste, bondage; so we have to tell the truth to the mind incessantly, until it is made to realise it. Our real nature is all bliss, and all the pleasure we know is but a reflection, an atom, of that bliss we get from touching our real nature. That is beyond both pleasure and pain. It is the "witness" of the universe, the unchanging reader before whom turn the leaves of the book of life.

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 8, Lectures and Discourses, Discourses on Jnana-Yoga - II


यदा ते मोहकलिलं बुद्धिर्व्यतितरिष्यति ।
तदा गन्तासि निर्वेदं श्रोतव्यस्य श्रुतस्य च ॥
—Bhagavad Gītā 2.52

yadā when te thy mōhadelusionkalilaṁthicket, heap, confusion buddhirintelligence, enlightenment, mental determinationvyatitariṣyatiit shall pass beyond, it shall cross over,
tadā then gantāsi thou shalt go nirvedaṁ indifferent; disgusted śrotavyasya of that which is to be heard śrutasya of the heard ca and


When thy intelligence shall cross beyond the whirl of delusion,
then shalt thou become indifferent to Scripture heard or that which thou hast yet to hear.
—Sri Aurobindo

When your understanding passes beyond the swamp of delusion,
you will be indifferent to all that is heard in Sacred Lore.
—B. Miller

Once your buddhi has crossed beyond the snares of temptation,
you shall have become indifferent to the Scriptures you have yet to hear and those which you have heard.
—personal translation

The above verses do not instruct us to shed mōha, but speak of that shedding as an inevitable future. Confusion & ignorance should indeed be shed. However, do not try to remove delusions. They will fall away naturally through practice. If you aim to shed confusing, then you are acting with your focus on the fruit of the actions.

Just as a snake needs its skin for a time, certain delusions are useful for learning about a particular aspect of Self. Once a misconception is no longer useful, it falls away naturally, just as natural as a snake shedding skin.

There have been times I didn't realize I had shed a delusion until I saw another experiencing it, thinking, "Oh, I remember that."

क्रोधाद्भवति सम्मोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः ।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ॥
—Bhagavad Gītā 2.63

krodhādfrom wrathbhavatiit comes to be saṁmohaḥdelusion, confusion saṁmohātfrom delusion, from confusionsmṛtiremembered wisdom, memoryvibhramaḥwandering away,
smṛtibhraṁśādfrom memory wandering away buddhiintelligencenāśodestruction, loss buddhināśātfrom destruction of intelligencepraṇaśyatione is lost, he is destroyed


Anger leads to bewilderment, from bewilderment comes loss of memory;
and by that the intelligence is destroyed; from destruction of intelligence he perishes.
—Sri Aurobindo

From anger comes confusion, from confusion memory lapses,
from broken memory understanding is lost, from loss of understanding he is ruined.
—B. Miller

Anger leads to confusion and the confused forget wisdom,
forgotten wisdom leads to destruction of buddhi and those without buddhi are lost.
—personal translation

From this line we can tell that wisdom is our natural state, but confusion—mohā—leads to forgetting that wisdom. By reducing anger, confusion is reduced as a byproduct.

इच्छाद्वेषसमुत्थेन द्वन्द्वमोहेन भारत ।
सर्वभूतानि सम्मोहं सर्गे यान्ति परन्तप ॥
—Bhagavad Gītā 7.27

icchādveṣasamutthena dvandvamohena bhārata,
sarvabhūtāni saṁmohaṁ sarge yānti paraṁtapa.

By the delusion of the dualities which arises from wish and disliking,
O Bharata, all existences in the creation are led into bewilderment.
—Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation

All creatures are bewildered at birth by the delusion
of opposing dualities that arise from desire and hatred.
—B. Miller

Because of the arising of desire and hatred—because of the deluding (power) of the opposites, Arjuna,
All beings fall into delusion at birth.
—W. Sergeant

By the welling up of desire and aversion—by the delusion of dvaṃdvá—Child of Bharata,
at birth, all beings fall into delusion, oh Scorcher of Foes.
—personal translation

Because of the illusion of duality, all are born into mōha. So, we have forgotten self-wisdom before we incarnated here. Once released of dvaṃdvá, mōha is gone (BG. 15.5). But having it, we are in a hell of attachment (BG. 16.16).

तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया ।
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः ॥
यज्ज्ञात्वा न पुनर्मोहमेवं यास्यसि पाण्डव ।
येन भूतान्यशेषाणि द्रक्ष्यस्यात्मन्यथो मयि ॥
—Bhagavad Gītā 4.34-35

tadviddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā,
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninastattvadarśinaḥ
yajjñātvā na punarmohamevaṁ yāsyasi pāṇḍava,
yena bhūtānyaśeṣāṇi drakṣyasyātmanyatho mayi.

Learn that by worshipping the feet of the teacher, by questioning and by service; the men of knowledge who have seen (not those who know merely by the intellect) the true principles of things, will instruct thee in knowledge.
Possessing that knowledge thou shalt not fall again into the mind’s ignorance, O Pandava; for by this, thou shalt see all existences without exception in the Self, then in Me.
—Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation

Know it by humble submission, by asking questions, and by service;
wise men who see reality will give you knowledge.
Arjuna, when you have realized this, you will not descend into delusion again;
knowledge will let you see creatures within yourself and so in me.
— B. Miller

Know this! By humble prostration, by enquiry, by service;
Those who know themselves—who perceive tattva—will point it out;
Thus having self-knowledge, never again shall you fall into delusion, Child of Pāṇḍu;
with it you shall behold all beings in your ātmán and then in me.
—personal translation

There can be no mōha for those who see all others in the self and the self in all others. The Bhagavad Gītā mentions several times that mōha is born of tamas (BG. 14.8, 14.13, 14.17, 18.7, 18.39, )

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    Moha is a Hindu concept also. Moha means ignorance about reality, illusion, ignorance, mental obsession, infatuation, fascination, deep attachment etc. – Pradip Gangopadhyay May 3 '18 at 10:45
  • I didn't know that. If so, I'm not sure how to differentiate it from avidya or maya. I'll research my answer and improve it. – Rubellite Yakṣī May 3 '18 at 13:08
  • One should not give in to delusion or moha and act in a wrong manner. Not giving into delusion is true for all spiritual aspirants regardless of which Vedanta school they are following. It has nothing to do with avidya of Advaita Vedanta. – Pradip Gangopadhyay May 3 '18 at 13:51
  • What I mean is, from my Western perspective, ignorance, delusion, and forgetting-the-true-nature-of-self are the same regardless of philosophical school. There is some subtlety in the language I will have to research to better understand. That is, for my personal understanding, I need more linguistic knowledge before I can even discuss the philosophy of the matter. – Rubellite Yakṣī May 3 '18 at 14:02
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    Kindly give scriptural basis and references to what you write in answers. – user14995 May 12 '18 at 17:24

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