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By Swami Harshananda

kasāya (‘that which upsets’)

The word ‘kaṣāya’ is used in several senses depending upon the particular branch of knowledge.

If it means astringent taste in the culinary sciences, it represents the boiled and decanted essence of medicinal herbs, in Ayurveda.

In the philosophical works, however, the word is used to indicate those weaknesses and impurities of mind which are obstacles to spiritual evolution. They may be either in a potential state or manifested fully. For instance: rāga (attachment) and dveṣa (hatred). It is only the person who has transcended the kaṣāyas that is fit for mokṣa or liberation.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore