aṣṭapāśas

(‘eight fetters’)

The tantras, the secondary scriptures advocating the worship of the Divine Mother, give a list of the ‘aṣṭapāśas’ or the eight ‘bonds’ or ‘fetters’ which obstruct our spiritual progress. They are: ghṛṇā (pity), lajjā (bashfulness), bhaya (fear), śaṅkā (doubt), jugupsā (aversion), kula (family), śīla (conduct, uprightness) and jāti (birth or caste).

While approaching God all these—though they may be virtues under certain conditions—should be given up. For instance, lajjā or bashfulness, is necessary in civilized society. But while dancing, taking the name of God, there should be no lajjā.

There are variations in the lists we get. Other items that find a place in such lists are: māna (honour), tṛṣā (desire), kāma (lust) and lobha (greed).