Delusional Thinking (Moha)
When you think something good, is bad; and something bad, is good – this is called ‘delusional thinking’ (moha). In other words, it is certainly possible for our own mind to completely mix up what is dharma and what is adharma. Therefore, delusion = dharma-adharma-confusion in the mind. Delusion is a major psychological problem we may all suffer from at various times in life.
For example, in the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna, the great warrior-prince, is just about to begin fighting in the biggest war of his life against the criminal (atatayi) opposition. Arjuna’s duty as a warrior is to defend the principles of truth and righteousness (i.e. warrior/ruler’s duty is to protect Dharma). So it is his duty to fight for Dharma and protect the society from harm. But at the last minute Arjuna completely forgets this and has a complete change of heart! Arjuna suddenly gets overwhelmed with the feeling of sadness at the thought of killing the opposition which contains his own family. Therefore Arjuna starts to delude himself into thinking it’s actually wrong to fight this battle. He argues there will be no benefit of fighting this battle for anyone, life will become meaningless, and that he will gain papam (Bad Karma Phala) for hurting them (Gita 1.31+). This thinking of Arjuna is completely confused. Deluded. Arjuna is thinking the exact opposite of what the reality is:
1. “No benefit of fighting this battle” – not true. The benefit is that Dharma/righteousness will be restored in the society (dharma samstapanarthaya – Gita 4.8) – this is a huge and very noble benefit which has been the basis for this war all along for Arjuna.
2. “Life will be meaningless” – not true. Life itself is inherently meaningful. The mind superimposes meaning to external people/things artificially. This superimposition is called ‘adhyasa’. Also, we can say that Dharma is meaningful, regardless of whether that Dharma involves delivering justice to your own relative or not.
3. “I will gain papam from punishing criminals (atatayi. 1.36)” – not true. It’s the opposite, it is punya (good karma) to perform duty for the sake of protecting Dharma. It’s like a judge who has to sentence a criminal to go to prison. Punishing the criminal is the judge’s duty – to uphold the law. It’s nothing personal against the criminal. But imagine the judge suddenly realises the criminal to be sentenced is the judge’s relative, so he lets the criminal walk free. Why? Just because he is a relative and the judge is emotionally attached to him. This attachment deludes his mental judgement capacity. So the judge has 2 laws: one for relatives and one for everyone else! Justice is not delivered due to delusion an attachment. In fact, allowing the criminal to walk free, itself is a crime. The judge will gain papam for not doing his Dharma.
So this illustrates Arjuna’s delusional thinking (moha), seeing dharma as adharma, and vice-versa. We must all be careful of this in our lives. Sometimes our own mind will attempt to falsely justify certain psychological addictions we have by twsting our own logic – like the smoker who justified his smoking addiction by saying he was helping to keep the cigarette company employees in a job. It is deluded thinking. But what is the cause of Arjuna’s this deluded thinking? His overwhelming sadness at the thought of losing his relatives in battle. What has caused this overwhelming feeling of sadness? Attachment (not Love) to his relatives. This illustrates the psychological chain of cause and effect called ‘Samsara’ which all of us suffer from: Attachment (raga) leads to Sadness(shoka) leads to Delusion (moha).