Also referred to as the Five Thieves or ‘Pancadokh’ or ‘Panj vikar’, the Five Evils represent the five major weaknesses of the human personality. While evils can be far more in number, these 5 cumulatively represent the obstruction caused in humanity’s pursuit towards a moral and spiritual path.
“Engrossed in lust and anger, people wander through reincarnation over and over again” (SGGS P.50)
Kam, derived from Sanskrit means pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment or the aesthetic enjoyment of life. In Gurbani though, it means to have a deep desire, uncontrolled longing, concupiscence, lust, sensuality or lasciviousness and is regarded sinful.
Unrestrained propensity towards kam, especially sexual relationship outside the marital bond, is condemned in the strongest terms in Sikh codes of conduct as well as in the Scripture.
The term being representative of “excessive passion for sexual pleasure” is considered evil.
“Violence, attachment, greed and anger are like four rivers of fire. Falling into them, one is burned, O Nanak! One is saved only by holding tight to good deeds”
Krodh, derived from the Sanskrit word krodha which in English, translates to “wrath” or “rage” or “uncontrolled anger”. This is an emotion and state of mind recognized in the Sikh system as a spring of conation and is as such counted as an evil.
In Sikh Scripture “krodh” usually appears in combination with kam — as “kam krodh”. Krodh (ire) is the direct offspring of kam (desire). Kam when suppressed results in Krodh.
“Greed is a dog; falsehood is a scavenger. Cheating is eating a rotting carcass”
Lobh or greed is the intense desire to possess material items like money, goods, gadgets, properties, cars, jewellery, etc to an extent that is far beyond ones real needs and requirements.
Sikhs do not believe that it is wrong to enjoy the good things in life, to be wealthy or to be admired by others. The Gurus taught that human beings should make the most of everything that God has given. However, if a person’s actions and thoughts are predominantly focused on possessing material things in life he or she can no longer focus on God then they are moving further and further from liberation and Mukti.
“In the swamp of emotional attachment, their feet cannot move. I have seen them drowning there.”
Moh generally means unshakeable and deep love of and attachment to worldly things and relations. In Sikh Scripture, the term frequently occurs coupled with maya (maia) as maya-moh interpreted both as infatuation for or clinging to the illusory world of the senses and as illusion of worldly love and attachment. Sikh interpretation of maya, however, differs from that of classical, advaita philosophy, which considers the phenomenal world unreal and therefore an illusion caused by human ignorance.
“Renounce sexual desire, anger, falsehood and slander; forsake Maya and eliminate egotistical pride.”
Ahankar translates to mean ego or excessive pride over one’s possessions, beauty, talents, material wealth, intelligence, spirituality, authoritative powers, charity work etc.
An individual can come to feel that these ‘gifts from God’ make him superior to others, who are therefore are at a lower level than him. Sikhism requires that a person serves society and community with Nimrata or humility, which is obtained by Sewa.