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Gur Panth Parkash

Gur Panth Parkash
by Rattan Singh Bhangoo
Translated by
Prof Kulwant Singh



Some Important Elements Controlling Human Behaviour

Harpreet Kaur Bains

Kam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Ahankar are the five psychological forces of evil nature that cause impurity of thought and action. They are surely the stumbling blocks in the path of spiritual growth and moral upliftment of an individual. Authors of the different schools of thought have discussed these  all-pervasive evils in their works. In Buddhism, passion (raga), wrong intention (Pratigha), excessive pride (mana), nescience (avidya), false opinion (Kudrsti) and thoughts of distrust (vichikitsa) are the primary attackers of one's mind and intellect. The principal obstructions talked about in Jainism are nescience (avidya), ego (asmita), passion (raga), ill desire (dvesa) and will to live for a long time in this world (abhinivesa). The Bhagavad Gita also enumerates at different places passion, ill will, attachment, deceit, excessive ego, greed and nescience (ajnana) as major drawbacks of human conduct. In Sikhism, one recognizes many of these evils and also underlines the need to subdue them.

In this paper I have limited my study to the influence of sexual impulses, anger, greed, pride, love and jealousy over human behaviour. It goes without saying that all these elements are natural part of human behaviour. Their impact on human behaviour can be viewed, without fail, in all cultures and societies. Here I have used my information, knowledge and experience as an academician to discuss these human vices and draw certain conclusions. 

Children develop their sexual impulses at puberty. But psychologists point out that their sexual awareness starts much earlier when they start questioning their parents about their birth. The parents, often, do not know how much to reveal. Under western influence some city schools in India have introduced sexual education. To my mind, this is a step in the right direction. This will prevent children from making mistakes in ignorance.

Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist and psychologist, has designed a psychosexual theory which he explained with the example of 'Oedipus complex'. He argued that children, at an early age, consider their parents as an object of sex. This is the reason why sons get jealous of the fathers and daughters feel more attached to the latter. In childhood, Freud emphasizes that everyone desires 'incest'. With maturity, these desires are repressed. He was sure that many psychological disorders could be corrected through dialogue. While conversing with a patient, the psychologist examines his thoughts, dreams, fantasies and finds a solution of his problems. Freud's theory of psychoanalysis has remained steady, though some of his other principles have been rejected over the years.

Man becomes angry when he feels threatened or wronged in some way. But religion denounces anger and teaches man to be more patient and humble. It identifies anger as a destructive emotion which has melific influence on human body. Even medical science supports this theory. Doctors accept that excessive anger increases blood pressure and is bad for the heart. It was previously believed that an outlet of anger relieves man of pent-up emotions, thus making him light and healthy. But modem research has proved through experiments that anger, of all kinds, has an adverse effect on human health and, therefore, needs to be controlled. Some experts express concern saying that it shortens human life. In order to avoid anger, psychologists propose that one should check aggressive or irritable impulses. One should keep away from anger-provoking situations or persons. One should avoid tension and stay calm. Meditation is a good means of handling stress and negative emotions. Yogic techniques and religious discourses can also help man in managing pressing passions. While tranquility of nature is state of bliss, accumulated anger can cause depression. Some psychologists are of the view that anger expressed against injustice is not always objectionable. If anger can reform the behaviour of the agreesor, it confirms its usefulness. This should, however, be practised by a sane mind. Loss of reason or sensibility cannot produce any desirable result. On the other hand, a controlled anger can be properly channelized to reach a fruitful end.

Every man requires food, clothing and shelter for survival. If he has more than just bare minimum, his life is comfortable. But the desire for acquiring more and more never subsides. Even if he possesses enough wealth and goods, his wish to have more never dies, man adopts various means, fair and unfair, to accumulate money or items of luxury. This leads him to a very unpleasant situation in society. Some have everything in excess and others have almost nothing. Certain people think that greed is a desirable trait because it raises a person to a position of power, but religion rejects it as a vice. Too much greed amounts to taking away the share of others when you have already enough of it. Psychologists explain that greed is an ingrained ingredient of human conduct. This is why we have a number of lotteries and casinos in the society. This is why man has evolved from the stone age to the modem age, still this is why there are so many robberies and thefts. So many property suits are seen pending in courts. People want to grow rich fast, no matter how. While an innocent wish to do well in life can be considered positive, a competitive spirit to outsmart others is damaging. To my mind, man's ever-increasing greed prevents him from enjoying all that he has already acquired and gathered.

When man becomes servile to human relations or things, he is no longer in tune with the will of God. But the passion for people and property is a natural human instinct. It induces noble feelings in him. It teaches him to be humble and forgiving. But if his love becomes excessive and crosses desirable limits, it turns into a 'terrible trap'. Religion teaches us that blessed is the man who can love and let go; cursed is he who holds and harms. One entangled in the twines of worldly relations misses salvation, the ultimate aim of human existence. Even psychologists view 'excessive love' as a negative sentiment. It raises one's expectations from others and forces one to face failures on several occasions. It disturbs the normal frame of mind and causes distraction. As a consequence of lovelorn mind, the quality of work suffers.

In the view of two well-known psychologists of the west, Henrich and Gill White, human pride can be distinguished into two types: hubristic pride and authentic pride. Hubristic pride is based on dominance or intimidation, authentic pride is based on prestige or possession of skills and expertise. Philosophers affirm that authentic pride is better than the hubristic pride. Authentic pride is associated with goal orientation and social acceptability. Hubristic pride, on the other hand, relates to one's conceit and arrogance. The latter has also narcistic implications. Narcissism refers to self-esteem which is inflated and not real. It develops as a result of some unpleasant incidents which endorse a defensive mechanism in human thought process. Man deliberately hides bad experiences and voices his sense of worth. Nonetheless, a balanced individual is less prone to narcissism. He has a genuine feeling of self admiration. He is competent and confident.

Hubristic pride encourages antisocial personality perceptions; Authentic pride, on the contrary, avoids it. Consequently, people with a authentic pride enjoy secure relationships with family and friends; people with hubristic pride suffer from relation breakdowns, dissatisfaction and rejection. In fact, people with false airs are often depressed in contrast to those who appear confident and mentally charged.

From the above discussion, it can be deduced that a positive and balanced  approach is indispensible for leading a normal life. Teachers and parents should, therefore, enable their wards to inculcate a healthy outlook.

    Psychologists define jealousy as a feeling of insecurity, anger or disgust over the perceived loss of a person, relationship or object. It is, often, confused with envy. But jealousy and envy have, of late, been distinguished as two different terms. When a person becomes jealous, he experiences low self-esteem, distrust, pain and fear of loss. An envious person feels a strong urge to improve himself. He desires to free himself from the sense of inferiority. Various poets, writers and artists have worked on the theme of jealousy. In our society, it can also be seen that women feel jealous if their husbands pay attention to other women. Some spiritual leaders point out that even the gods and goddesses are not spared from the 'sting of jealousy'. The jealousy of Radha with Gopies illustrates that humans alone do not express jealousy. Though jealousy carries connotations of insecurity, it is accepted as a normal reaction to relationship threat. It is, sometimes, understood as an effort to prevent relationship disturbance. Children, usually, get jealous of their new born siblings, especially when they draw all the attention of the parents. They feel threatened and endeavour to keep their bond intact with their parents. Some psychologists opine that envy is not always negative. For instance, if a child is envious of another child who is bright in studies, he will work diligently to match him in academic pursuit. But if the same child is jealous of the other student, he will devise ways to upset his studies. Jealousy does not leave even the adults untouched. It can trigger violent reactions amongst them, but envy, its better part, gives men folk the required tender push to attain the desired objective.

It is said that excess of everything is bad. The same holds good even for the factors which influence human behaviour. Excessive sexual urges, love, greed, pride, jealousy and anger have a negative influence on human behaviour. Though religion denounces them as vices, in appropriate proportions they can benefit mankind. Psychologists admit that nothing is absolutely good or bad. There are always two sides of a coin. Everything is partially useful and partially harmful. Our effort should always be to employ successfully the positive part and to curb the negative.



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2.    Salovey Peter, The Psychology of jealousy and envy. New York, Civil Ford Press, 1991.
3.    Levine, Morvin, The Positive Psychology of Buddhism and Yoga: Paths to a mature happiness. UK, Logo Publication Cover, 2000.
4.    McDougall, William, Psychology: The study of behaviour. USA, Blackwell Publishers, 1914.
5.    Clausen, Elana. 1., Psychology of anger. New York, Nova Publishers, 2007.
6.    Sharma, Rachna and Sharma, Rajendra Kumar, Social Psychology. New Delhi, Atlantia Publishers Distributors, 1997.
7.    Freud, Sigmund, The Interpretations of dreams. USA, Avon Publishers, 1980.


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