Dvesha Yoga: The Yoga of Hatred

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dvesha (repulsion) is the opposite of raga, aversion towards things that produce unpleasant experiences. If we cannot avoid the things we dislike, we suffer. Even thinking about unpleasant experiences produces suffering.

King Shishupala hated Vishnu so intently that he thought about Vishnu so constantly and in the process attained enlightenment.

Or so goes the Bhakti Yoga tradition. The Bhakti Yogis believe that God in the form of the Atman (usually manifest as Vishnu) is one with them at all times. But unlike most other Yogis they devote themselves to the unrestrained flow of passion for the Eternal Presence. They allow their emotions, all of them, to be instruments of awareness and rich sampling of life.

Even hatred is allowed, and can indeed be a path to enlightenment in this path.

Imagine the rage you feel at oppression. The compassion for all those who have suffered as you have suffered, or are suffering. Imagine that inner need to breathe fire and break chains.

What we truly hate, in wisdom, is whatever restrains enlightenment.

I believe there is some wisdom to this.

I do not believe in God, and even in Eastern traditions I embrace the atheism of Siddhartha Guatama, the Buddha. Yes, the Buddha was an atheist. In fact he was specifically an atheist against the Atman of the Yogis.

But the meditation practice of Buddhism comes from yoga. And having started some yoga practice at my local gym I have decided to try to take a look at it in its original intention.

I meditate and now do yoga.

I also find that deeper I go down the rabbit hole the richer my practice of yoga and meditation becomes.

I find it particularly interesting that thousands of years before hardcore and punk rock there were Yogis contemplating Hatred and Rage as paths to enlightenment.

From my neuroscience training I am fully aware of the limbic system as the gateway for the sensory organs to the cortex. What that means, to the uninitiated, is when you hear, see, smell, or taste you feel it emotionally before you get a chance to think about it. And what your brain is thinking about is how it felt. Emotion is the door to your mind.

There is no stoicism, it is a myth.

Stoic behavior is just finely tuned emotions, calm, distant, observant contemplation, these are all just emotions. They are not particularly noisy emotions. They are nice emotions. Emotions we should pursue, but emotions nonetheless.

Emotions are always with us so long as we remain conscious. The trick is to observe them, to cultivate the ones you want reduce the ones that tend to cause you problems.

But don’t forget that the ones that cause you problems tend to be there for a reason.

One who has completely obliterated anger in their psyche would be useless in many emergencies. Anger makes you quick, alert, hyper responsive.

In fact in college I wrote a term paper on a topic called “Negativity Bias.” It is a psychological theory, supported by research, that states in our evolutionary past negative emotions where highly adaptive and caused more offspring to survive.

So to put it bluntly: we got here more on hate, rage, and fear than we ever did on love, joy, and snuggles.

So next time you are jamming some hardcore, industrial, scary opera, metal, power violence, then I suggest that you channel your Dvesha Yoga: The Yoga of Hatred.

Next time you see injustice and abuse practice your Dvesha Yoga: The Yoga of Hatred.

Perhaps your observation and cultivation of these emotions might give you a powerful link, something deep within yourself that illuminates the issue. Some deep dark corner of yourself brimming with energy and potential to explode into something useful for you.

Just a thought.

  1. ronin358 says:

    Good post to introduce an idea foreign to most western traditions.

    But right off the bat I caught a major mistake. The Buddha was not an atheist. What he said was that the gods are irrelevant to your own purpose in life, which is to attain nirvana and/or achieve bodhi (depending on what tradition you are looking at). This does not mean they do not exist, or that he believed they did not exist.

    There are many sutras which discuss Buddha’s relationship with the gods. Not one states he was an atheist. The only texts which claim the Buddha was atheist are Brahmanical texts attacking Buddhism.

    /xposted at reddit

  2. mindcore says:

    I know this is a point of historical contention. But I will submit the following book as proof that at least one published buddhist monk agrees with me:


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