In yoga, we speak of the causes of suffering, this is called kleshas. And the need to remove the causes of suffering, which must precede, of course, the actual removal of the suffering itself. However, we can somewhat work in both of these, cause and removal, simultaneously, at times.
In yoga, we specify five causes, or what we call defects, fear, anger, greed, lust, and sleep. These are also referred to as passion, delusion, anger, lust, and attachment. Now, I have mentioned in many teachings how the breath is of great importance in the maintaining of these causes of suffering. Anything in excess is said to be of detriment in spiritual growth. Such as eating, or not sleeping, or slovenliness, angers, fear, and even fasting. These excesses are what lead us in the path of fanaticism. Do you see? Laziness, fear, anger, greed, pride, lust, which by the way does not merely pertain to sex, and passion, meanness, grief, shame, sorrow, dejection, birth, death, thirst for life, thirst itself, hunger, and excitement, these are all mentioned in the yoga tattva Upanishads as all causes of hindrance on ones spiritual path.
Patangalis, calls them seeds of defect. These seeds being subliminal forces, activators, or samskaras, we say, that generate ones psycho-mental activities. These seeds can be termed as latent potentialities, in other words, waiting for the right conditions for manifestations.
The kleshas, seeds, are seen as afflictions hindering the spiritual progress. They can be prevented from manifesting through various yogic techniques, such as concentration, contemplation, and reflection. When the seed is aroused from its slumber it is then fully activated, and therefore, manifesting.
One certainty is this, if one can imagine them as seeds awaiting manifestation as a psycho-mental activity then one can also imagine these seeds can be burned like any other seeds in this physical existence. Only the kleshas are burned by the fire of wisdom, wisdom. Once burned in the fire of wisdom they will not sprout again, that’s important.
These kleshas are the root of all karma lying in the subconscious. The effect of the presence of these afflictions is experienced and felt in our life, not only that but, they are also the determining of the quality of ones future rebirths. The causes of these afflictions are what we call, avidya, or non-knowledge, ignorance, secondly attachment, thirdly “I’ness”, and aversion, and lastly, ones will to live.