The Kleshas

I recently finished this painting on the Kleshas.    In Christian philosophy, we have the seven deadly sins, that might keep you from finding a state of grace.  There are both yogic and Buddhist approaches to the Kleshas and the flavor is slightly different and they define them a little differently.

I came across the Kleshas during studies with my yoga teacher.   They are:  abhinivesha (fear), asmita (false identity), raga (attachment), dvesha (aversion) and avidya (ignorance).

There are many images for the Kleshas but of not in a Western cultural context.  I wanted to create something that those studying yoga in the West could use to understand and meditate on the Kleshas.   I did this painting as a gift for my yoga teacher.

The figure is standing on one foot to represent that if the Kleshas are not addressed she remains off balance.   I tried to make the figure a healthy looking woman, rather than a model or a magic goddess throwing off sparks, but the you encountered in the mirror every day.  The figure is not clothed, as you must take away the outside masks of costume and artifice to overcome these obstacles and know your inner self.

Each hand is in a mudra that is associated with the chakras of the kleshas.  The icons for each klesha  have the color of the chakra they are over.  From top to bottom, they are ignorance, avoidance, false-identity, attachment and fear.