This article on Raga and Dwesha is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-published book, The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, by Abbot George Burke.
However, with attraction and aversion eliminated, even though moving amongst objects of sense, by self-restraint, the self-controlled attains tranquility (Bhagavad Gita 2:64).
The words translated “desire” and “hatred” are raga and dwesha. Raga is both emotional (instinctual) and intellectual desire. It may range from simple liking or preference to intense desire and attraction. Dwesha is the opposite. It is aversion/avoidance in relation to an object, implying dislike. This, too, can be emotional (instinctual) or intellectual, ranging from simple non-preference to intense repulsion, antipathy and even hatred.
We must keep in mind that anything can grow and change. Therefore simple liking can develop into intense craving, and mild dislike can turn into intense aversion or hatred. And since opposites are intrinsically linked to one another and can even turn into one another, the philosophical and yogic texts frequently speak of raga-dwesha, the continual cycling back and forth between desire/aversion and like/dislike.
Obviously, this makes for a confused and fragmented life and mind, something from which any sensible person would wish to extricate himself.
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