The Divine and Demoniac Natures
We are in the middle of a pandemic that is killing thousands of people worldwide.
Here in America we have a president that instead of acting in a sympathetic, compassionate way towards the sufferings of others, is instead criticizing and blaming others. This is not a good quality for a leader who should be taking responsibility for the safety and welfare of his citizens. All his self glorification, and his attack on others, in this time of turmoil, I find very disturbing and reminiscent of the description given in the 16th chapter of the Bhagavad-gita entitled “The Divine and Demon Natures”
Arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness and ignorance—these qualities belong to those of demonic nature (Bg. 4.16)
The demoniac person thinks: “So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him; and my other enemy will also be killed. I am the lord of everything, I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.” In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance. (Bg. 13-15.16)
Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them. (Bg. 7.16)
Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world. (Bg. 9.16)
Full text and purports from chapter 16
Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972 Edition)
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Divine and Demoniac Natures
dambho darpo ’bhimānaś ca
krodhaḥ pāruṣyam eva ca
pārtha sampadam āsurīm
dambhaḥ—pride; darpaḥ—arrogance; abhimānaḥ—conceit; ca—and; krodaḥ—anger; pāruṣyam—harshness; eva—certainly; ca—and; ajñānam—ignorance; ca—and; abhijātasya—one who is born; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā; sampadam—nature; āsurīm—demoniac.
Arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness and ignorance—these qualities belong to those of demonic nature, O son of Pṛthā.
In this verse, the royal road to hell is described. The demoniac want to make a show of religion and advancement in spiritual science, although they do not follow the principles. They are always arrogant or proud in possessing some type of education or so much wealth. They desire to be worshiped by others, and demand respectability, although they do not command respect. Over trifles they become very angry and speak harshly, not gently. They do not know what should be done and what should not be done. They do everything whimsically, according to their own desire, and they do not recognize any authority. These demoniac qualities are taken on by them from the beginning of their bodies in the wombs of their mothers, and as they grow they manifest all these inauspicious qualities.
daivī sampad vimokṣāya
mā śucaḥ sampadaṁ daivīm
abhijāto ’si pāṇḍava
daivī—transcendental; sampat—nature; vimokṣāya—meant for liberation; nibandhāya—for bondage; āsurī—demoniac qualities; matā—it is considered; mā—do not; śucaḥ—worry; sampadam—nature; daivīm—transcendental; abhijātaḥ—born; asi—you are; pāṇḍava—O son of Pāṇḍu.
The transcendental qualities are conducive to liberation, whereas the demonic qualities make for bondage. Do not worry, O son of Pāṇḍu, for you are born with the divine qualities.
Lord Kṛṣṇa encouraged Arjuna by telling him that he was not born with demoniac qualities. His involvement in the fight was not demoniac because he was considering the pro’s and con’s. He was considering whether respectable persons such as Bhīṣma and Droṇa should be killed or not, so he was not acting under the influence of anger, false prestige, or harshness. Therefore he was not of the quality of the demons. For a kṣatriya, a military man, shooting arrows at the enemy is considered transcendental, and refraining from such a duty is demoniac. Therefore, there was no cause for Arjuna to lament. Anyone who performs the regulated principles of the different orders of life is transcendentally situated.
dvau bhūta-sargau loke ’smin
daiva āsura eva ca
daivo vistaraśaḥ prokta
āsuraṁ pārtha me śṛṇu
dvau—two; bhūta-sargau—created living beings; loke—in this world; asmin—this; daivaḥ—godly; āsuraḥ—demoniac; eva—certainly; ca—and; daivaḥ—divine; vistaraśaḥ—at great length; proktaḥ—said; asuram—demoniac; pārtha—O son of Pṛthā; me—from Me; śṛṇu—just hear.
O son of Pṛthā, in this world there are two kinds of created beings. One is called the divine and the other demonic. I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities. Now hear from Me of the demoniac.
Lord Kṛṣṇa, having assured Arjuna that he was born with the divine qualities, is now describing the demoniac way. The conditioned living entities are divided into two classes in this world. Those who are born with divine qualities follow a regulated life; that is to say they abide by the injunctions in scriptures and by the authorities. One should perform duties in the light of authoritative scripture. This mentality is called divine. One who does not follow the regulative principles as they are laid down in the scriptures and who acts according to his whims is called demoniac or asuric. There is no other criterion but obedience to the regulative principles of scriptures. It is mentioned in Vedic literature that both the demigods and the demons are born of the Prajāpati; the only difference is that one class obeys the Vedic injunctions and the other does not.
pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca
janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro
na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate
pravṛttim—proper action; ca—also; nivṛttim—improper action; ca—and; janāḥ—persons; na—never; viduḥ—know; āsurāḥ—in demoniac quality; na—never; śaucam—cleanliness; na—nor; api—also; ca—and; ācāraḥ—behavior; na—never; satyam—truth; teṣu—in them; vidyate—there is.
Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them.
In every civilized human society there is some set of scriptural rules and regulations which are followed from the beginning, especially among the Āryans, those who adopt the Vedic civilization and who are known as the most advanced civilized peoples. Those who do not follow the scriptural injunctions are supposed to be demons. Therefore it is stated here that the demons do not know the scriptural rules, nor do they have any inclination to follow them. Most of them do not know them, and even if some of them know, they have not the tendency to follow them. They have no faith, nor are they willing to act in terms of the Vedic injunctions. The demons are not clean, either externally or internally.
One should always be careful to keep his body clean by bathing, brushing teeth, changing clothes, etc. As far as internal cleanliness is concerned, one should always remember the holy names of God and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. The demons neither like nor follow all these rules for external and internal cleanliness.
As for behavior, there are many rules and regulations guiding human behavior, such as the Manu-saṁhitā, which is the law of the human race. Even up to today, those who are Hindu follow the Manu-saṁhitā. Laws of inheritance and other legalities are derived from this book. Now, in the Manu-saṁhitā, it is clearly stated that a woman should not be given freedom. That does not mean that women are to be kept as slaves, but they are like children. Children are not given freedom, but that does not mean that they are kept as slaves. The demons have now neglected such injunctions, and they think that women should be given as much freedom as men. However, this has not improved the social condition of the world. Actually, a woman should be given protection at every stage of life. She should be given protection by the father in her younger days, by the husband in her youth, and by the grownup sons in her old age. This is proper social behavior according to the Manu-saṁhitā. But modern education has artificially devised a puffed up concept of womanly life, and therefore marriage is practically now an imagination in human society. Nor is the moral condition of woman very good now. The demons, therefore, do not accept any instruction which is good for society, and because they do not follow the experience of great sages and the rules and regulations laid down by the sages, the social condition of the demoniac people is very miserable.
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te
jagad āhur anīśvaram
kim anyat kāma-haitukam
asatyam—unreal; apratiṣṭham—without foundation; te—they; jagat—the cosmic manifestation; āhuḥ—is said; anīśvaram—with no controller; aparaspara—by mutual lust; sambhūtam—caused; kim anyat—there is no other cause; kāma-haitukam—it is due to lust only.
They say that this world is unreal, that there is no foundation and that there is no God in control. It is produced of sex desire, and has no cause other than lust.
The demoniac conclude that the world is phantasmagoria. There is no cause, no effect, no controller, no purpose: everything is unreal. They say that this cosmic manifestation arises due to chance material actions and reactions. They do not think that the world was created by God for a certain purpose. They have their own theory: that the world has come about in its own way and that there is no reason to believe that there is a God behind it. For them there is no difference between spirit and matter, and they do not accept the Supreme Spirit. Everything is matter only, and the whole cosmos is supposed to be a mass of ignorance. According to them, everything is void, and whatever manifestation exists is due to our ignorance in perception. They take it for granted that all manifestation of diversity is a display of ignorance. Just as in a dream we may create so many things, which actually have no existence, so when we are awake we shall see that everything is simply a dream. But factually, although the demons say that life is a dream, they are very expert in enjoying this dream. And so, instead of acquiring knowledge, they become more and more implicated in their dreamland. They conclude that as a child is simply the result of sexual intercourse between man and woman, this world is born without any soul. For them it is only a combination of matter that has produced the living entities, and there is no question of the existence of the soul. As many living creatures come out from perspiration and from a dead body without any cause, similarly, the whole living world has come out of the material combinations of the cosmic manifestation. Therefore material nature is the cause of this manifestation, and there is no other cause. They do not believe in the words of Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā: mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram. “Under My direction the whole material world is moving.” In other words, amongst the demons there is no perfect knowledge of the creation of this world; every one of them has some particular theory of his own. According to them, one interpretation of the scriptures is as good as another, for they do not believe in a standard understanding of the scriptural injunctions.
etāṁ dṛṣṭim avaṣṭabhya
kṣayāya jagato ’hitāḥ
etām—thus; dṛṣṭim—vision; avaṣṭabhya—accepting; naṣṭa—lost; ātmānaḥ—self; alpa-buddhayaḥ—less intelligent; prabhavanti—flourish; ugra-karmāṇaḥ—in painful activities; kṣayāya—for destruction; jagataḥ—of the world; ahitāḥ—unbeneficial.
Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world.
The demoniac are engaged in activities that will lead the world to destruction. The Lord states here that they are less intelligent. The materialists, who have no concept of God, think that they are advancing. But, according to Bhagavad-gītā, they are unintelligent and devoid of all sense. They try to enjoy this material world to the utmost limit and therefore always engage in inventing something for sense gratification. Such materialistic inventions are considered to be advancement of human civilization, but the result is that people grow more and more violent and more and more cruel, cruel to animals and cruel to other human beings. They have no idea how to behave toward one another. Animal killing is very prominent amongst demoniac people. Such people are considered the enemies of the world because ultimately they will invent or create something which will bring destruction to all. Indirectly, this verse anticipates the invention of nuclear weapons, of which the whole world is today very proud. At any moment war may take place, and these atomic weapons may create havoc. Such things are created solely for the destruction of the world, and this is indicated here. Due to godlessness, such weapons are invented in human society; they are not meant for the peace and prosperity of the world.
kāmam āśritya duṣpūraṁ
kāmam—lust; āśritya—taking shelter of; duṣpūram—insatiable; dambha—pride; māna—false prestige; mada-anvitāḥ—absorbed in conceit; mohāt—by illusion; gṛhītvā—taking; asat—nonpermanent; grāhān—things; pravartante—flourish; aśuci—unclean; vratāḥ—avowed.
The demoniac, taking shelter of insatiable lust, pride and false prestige, and being thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.
The demoniac mentality is described here. The demons’ lust is never satiated. They will go on increasing and increasing their insatiable desires for material enjoyment. Although they are always full of anxieties on account of accepting nonpermanent things, they still continue to engage in such activities out of illusion. They have no knowledge and cannot tell that they are heading the wrong way. Accepting nonpermanent things, such demoniac people create their own God, create their own hymns and chant accordingly. The result is that they become more and more attracted to two things—sex enjoyment and accumulation of material wealth. The word aśuci-vratāḥ, unclean vow, is very significant in this connection. Such demoniac people are only attracted by wine, women, gambling and meat eating; those are their aśuci, unclean habits. Induced by pride and false prestige, they create some principles of religion which are not approved by the Vedic injunctions. Although such demoniac people are most abominable in the world, still, by artificial means, the world creates a false honor for them. Although they are gliding toward hell, they consider themselves very much advanced.
cintām aparimeyāṁ ca
etāvad iti niścitāḥ
cintām—fears and anxieties; aparimeyām—unmeasurable; ca—and; pralaya-antām—unto the point of death; upāśritāḥ—having taken shelter of them; kāma-upabhoga—sense gratification; paramāḥ—the highest goal of life; etāvat—thus; iti—in this way; niścitāḥ—ascertain; āśā-pāśa—entanglement in the network of hope; śataiḥ—by hundreds; baddhāḥ—being bound; kāma—lust; krodha—anger; parāyaṇāḥ—always situated in that mentality; īhante—desire; kāma—lust; bhoga—sense enjoyment; artham—for that purpose; anyāyena—illegally; artha—wealth; sañcayān—accumulate.
They believe that to gratify the senses unto the end of life is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus there is no end to their anxiety. Being bound by hundreds and thousands of desires, by lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.
The demoniac accept that the enjoyment of the senses is the ultimate goal of life, and this concept they maintain until death. They do not believe in life after death, and they do not believe that one takes on different types of bodies according to one’s karma, or activities in this world. Their plans for life are never finished, and they go on preparing plan after plan, all of which are never finished. We have personal experience of a person of such demoniac mentality, who, even at the point of death, was requesting the physician to prolong his life for four years more because his plans were not yet complete. Such foolish people do not know that a physician cannot prolong life even for a moment. When the notice is there, there is no consideration of the man’s desire. The laws of nature do not allow a second beyond what one is destined to enjoy.
The demoniac person, who has no faith in God or the Supersoul within himself, performs all kinds of sinful activities simply for sense gratification. He does not know that there is a witness sitting within his heart. The Supersoul is observing the activities of the individual soul. As it is stated in the Vedic literature, the Upaniṣads, there are two birds sitting in one tree; the one is acting and enjoying or suffering the fruits of the branches, and the other is witnessing. But one who is demoniac has no knowledge of Vedic scripture, nor has he any faith; therefore he feels free to do anything for sense enjoyment, regardless of the consequences.
idam adya mayā labdham
imaṁ prāpsye manoratham
idam astīdam api me
bhaviṣyati punar dhanam
asau mayā hataḥ śatrur
haniṣye cāparān api
īśvaro ’ham ahaṁ bhogī
siddho ’haṁ balavān sukhī
āḍhyo ’bhijanavān asmi
ko ’nyo ’sti sadṛśo mayā
yakṣye dāsyāmi modiṣya
idam—this; adya—today; mayā—by me; labdham—gained; imam—this; prāpsye—I shall gain; manoratham—according to my desires; idam—this; asti—there is; idam—this; api—also; me—mine; bhaviṣyati—will increase in the future; punaḥ—again; dhanam—wealth; asau—that; mayā—by me; hataḥ—has been killed; śatruḥ—enemy; haniṣye—I shall kill; ca—also; aparān—others; api—certainly; īśvaraḥ—the lord; aham—I am; aham—I am; bhogī—the enjoyer; siddhah—perfect; aham—I am; balavān—powerful; sukhī—happy; āḍhyaḥ—wealthy; abhijanavān—surrounded by aristocratic relatives; asmi—I am; kaḥ—who else; anyaḥ—other; asti—there is; sadṛśaḥ—like; mayā—me; yakṣye—I shall sacrifice; dāsyāmi—I shall give in charity; modiṣye—I shall rejoice; iti—thus; ajñāna—ignorance; vimohitāḥ—deluded by.
The demoniac person thinks: “So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him; and my other enemy will also be killed. I am the lord of everything, I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.” In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.
patanti narake ’śucau
aneka—numerous; citta-vibhrāntāḥ—perplexed by anxieties; moha—of illusions; jāla—by a network; samāvṛtāḥ—surrounded; prasaktāḥ—attached; kāma—lust; bhogeṣu—sense gratification; patanti—glides down; narake—into hell; aśucau—unclean.
Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, one becomes too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and falls down into hell.
The demoniac man knows no limit to his desire to acquire money. That is unlimited. He only thinks how much assessment he has just now and schemes to engage that stock of wealth farther and farther. For that reason, he does not hesitate to act in any sinful way and so deals in the black market for illegal gratification. He is enamoured by the possessions he has already, such as land, family, house and bank balance, and he is always planning to improve them. He believes in his own strength, and he does not know that whatever he is gaining is due to his past good deeds. He is given an opportunity to accumulate such things, but he has no conception of past causes. He simply thinks that all his mass of wealth is due to his own endeavor. A demoniac person believes in the strength of his personal work, not in the law of karma. According to the law of karma, a man takes his birth in a high family, or becomes rich, or very well educated, or very beautiful because of good work in the past. The demoniac thinks that all these things are accidental and due to the strength of his personal ability. He does not sense any arrangement behind all the varieties of people, beauty, and education. Anyone who comes into competition with such a demoniac man is his enemy. There are many demoniac people, and each is enemy to the others. This enmity becomes more and more deep—between persons, then between families, then between societies, and at last between nations. Therefore there is constant strife, war and enmity all over the world.
Each demoniac person thinks that he can live at the sacrifice of all others. Generally, a demoniac person thinks of himself as the Supreme God, and a demoniac preacher tells his followers: “Why are you seeking God elsewhere? You are all yourselves God! Whatever you like, you can do. Don’t believe in God. Throw away God. God is dead.” These are the demoniac’s preachings.
Although the demoniac person sees others equally rich and influential, or even more so, he thinks that no one is richer than him and that no one is more influential than him. As far as promotion to the higher planetary system is concerned, he does not believe in performing yajñas or sacrifices. Demons think that they will manufacture their own process of yajña and prepare some machine, by which they will be able to reach any higher planet. The best example of such a demoniac man was Rāvaṇa. He offered a program to the people by which he would prepare a staircase so that anyone could reach the heavenly planets without performing sacrifices, such as are prescribed in the Vedas. Similarly, in the present age such demoniac men are striving to reach the higher planetary systems by mechanical arrangement. These are examples of bewilderment. The result is that, without their knowledge, they are gliding toward hell. Here the Sanskrit word mohajāla is very significant. Jāla means net; like fishes caught in a net, they have no way to come out.
yajante nāma-yajñais te
ātma-sambhāvitāḥ—self-complacent; stabdhāḥ—impudent; dhana-māna—wealth and false prestige; mada-anvitāḥ—absorbed in pride; yajante—perform sacrifices; nāma—in name only; yajñaiḥ—with such a sacrifice; te—they; dambhena—out of pride; avidhi-pūrvakam—without following any rules and regulations.
Self-complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and false prestige, they sometimes perform sacrifices in name only without following any rules or regulations.
Thinking themselves all in all, not caring for any authority or scripture, the demoniac sometimes perform so-called religious or sacrificial rites. And since they do not believe in authority, they are very impudent. This is due to illusion caused by accumulating some wealth and false prestige. Sometimes such demons take up the role of preacher, mislead the people, and become known as religious reformers or as incarnations of God. They make a show of performing sacrifices, or they worship the demigods, or manufacture their own God. Common men advertise them as God and worship them, and by the foolish they are considered advanced in the principles of religion, or in the principles of spiritual knowledge. They take the dress of the renounced order of life and engage in all nonsense in that dress. Actually there are so many restrictions for one who has renounced this world. The demons, however, do not care for such restrictions. They think that whatever path one can create is one’s own path; there is no such thing as a standard path one has to follow. The word avidhi-pūrvakam, meaning disregard for the rules and regulations, is especially stressed here. These things are always due to ignorance and illusion.
ahaṅkāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ
kāmaṁ krodhaṁ ca saṁśritāḥ
ahaṅkāram—false ego; balam—strength; darpam—pride; kāmam—lust; krodham—anger; ca—also; saṁśritāḥ—having taken shelter of; mām—Me; ātma—one’s own; para-deheṣu—in other bodies; pradviṣantaḥ—blasphemes; abhyasūyakāḥ—envious.
Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demon becomes envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in his own body and in the bodies of others, and blasphemes against the real religion.
A demoniac person, being always against God’s supremacy, does not like to believe in the scriptures. He is envious of both the scriptures and of the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is caused by his so-called prestige and his accumulation of wealth and strength. He does not know that the present life is a preparation for the next life. Not knowing this, he is actually envious of his own self, as well as of others. He commits violence on other bodies and on his own. He does not care for the supreme control of the Personality of Godhead because he has no knowledge. Being envious of the scriptures and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he puts forward false arguments against the existence of God and refutes the scriptural authority. He thinks himself independant and powerful in every action. He thinks that since no one can equal him in strength, power, or in wealth, he can act in any way and no one can stop him. If he has an enemy who might check the advancement of his sensual activities, he makes plans to cut him down by his own power.
tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān
āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu
tān—those; aham—I; dviṣataḥ—envious; krūrān—mischievous; saṁsāreṣu—into the ocean of material existence; narādhamān—the lowest of mankind; kṣipāmi—put; ajasram—innumerable; aśubhān—inauspicious; āsurīṣu—demoniac; eva—certainly; yoniṣu—in the wombs.
Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that the placing of a particular individual soul in a particular body is the prerogative of the supreme will. The demoniac person may not agree to accept the supremacy of the Lord, and it is a fact that he may act according to his own whims, but his next birth will depend upon the decision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and not on himself. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, it is stated that an individual soul, after his death, is put into the womb of a mother where he gets a particular type of body under the supervision of superior power. Therefore in the material existence we find so many species of life—animals, insects, men, and so on. All are arranged by the superior power. They are not accidental. As for the demoniac, it is clearly said here that they are perpetually put into the wombs of demons, and thus they continue to be envious, the lowest of mankind. Such demoniac species of life are held to be always full of lust, always violent and hateful and always unclean. They are just like so many beasts in a jungle.
āsurīṁ yonim āpannā
mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya
tato yānty adhamāṁ gatim
āsurīm—demoniac; yonim—species; āpannāḥ—gaining; mūḍhāḥ—the foolish; janmani janmani—in birth after birth; mām—unto Me; aprāpya—without achieving; eva—certainly; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; tataḥ—thereafter; yānti—goes; adhamām—condemned; gatim—destination.
Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.
It is known that God is all-merciful, but here we find that God is never merciful to the demoniac. It is clearly stated that the demoniac people, life after life, are put into the wombs of similar demons, and, not achieving the mercy of the Supreme Lord, they go down and down, so that at last they achieve bodies like those of cats, dogs and hogs. It is clearly stated that such demons have practically no chance of receiving the mercy of God at any stage of later life. In the Vedas also it is stated that such persons gradually sink to become dogs and hogs. It may be then argued in this connection that God should not be advertised as all-merciful if He is not merciful to such demons. In answer to this question, in the Vedānta-sūtra we find that the Supreme Lord has no hatred for anyone. The placing of the asuras, the demons, in the lowest status of life is simply another feature of His mercy. Sometimes the asuras are killed by the Supreme Lord, but this killing is also good for them, for in Vedic literature we find that anyone who is killed by the Supreme Lord becomes liberated. There are instances in history of many asuras—Rāvaṇa, Kaṁsa, Hiraṇyakaśipu—to whom the Lord appeared in various incarnations just to kill. Therefore God’s mercy is shown to the asuras if they are fortunate enough to be killed by Him.
dvāraṁ nāśanam ātmanaḥ
kāmaḥ krodhas tathā lobhas
tasmād etat trayaṁ tyajet
tri-vidham—three kinds of; narakasya—hellish; idam—this; dvāram—gate; nāśanam—destructive; ātmanaḥ—of the self; kāmaḥ—lust; krodhaḥ—anger; tathā—as well as; lobhaḥ—greed; tasmāt—therefore; etat—these; trayam—three; tyajet—must give up.
There are three gates leading to this hell—lust, anger, and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.
The beginning of demoniac life is described herein. One tries to satisfy his lust, and when he cannot, anger and greed arise. A sane man who does not want to glide down to the species of demoniac life must try to give up these three enemies which can kill the self to such an extent that there will be no possibility of liberation from this material entanglement.
etair vimuktaḥ kaunteya
tamo-dvārais tribhir naraḥ
ācaraty ātmanaḥ śreyas
tato yāti parāṁ gatim
etaiḥ—by these; vimuktaḥ—being liberated; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; tamaḥ-dvāraiḥ—the gates of ignorance; tribhiḥ—three kinds of; naraḥ—a person; ācarati—performs ; ātmanaḥ—self; śreyaḥ—benediction; tataḥ—thereafter; yāti—goes; parām—supreme; gatim—destination.
The man who has escaped these three gates of hell, O son of Kuntī, performs acts conducive to self-realization and thus gradually attains the supreme destination.
One should be very careful of these three enemies to human life: lust, anger, and greed. The more a person is freed from lust, anger and greed, the more his existence becomes pure. Then he can follow the rules and regulations enjoined in the Vedic literature. By following the regulative principles of human life, one gradually raises himself to the platform of spiritual realization. If one is so fortunate, by such practice, to rise to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then success is guaranteed for him. In the Vedic literature, the ways of action and reaction are prescribed to enable one to come to the stage of purification. The whole method is based on giving up lust, greed and anger. By cultivating knowledge of this process, one can be elevated to the highest position of self-realization; this self-realization is perfected in devotional service. In that devotional service, the liberation of the conditioned soul is guaranteed. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, there are instituted the four orders of life and the four statuses of life, called the caste system and the spiritual order system. There are different rules and regulations for different castes or divisions of society, and if a person is able to follow them, he will be automatically raised to the highest platform of spiritual realization. Then he can have liberation without a doubt.
yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya
na sa siddhim avāpnoti
na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim
yaḥ—anyone; śāstra-vidhim—the regulations of the scriptures; utsṛjya—giving up; vartate—remains; kāma-kārataḥ—acting whimsically in lust; na—never; saḥ—he; siddhim—perfection; avāpnoti—achieves; na—never; sukham—happiness; na—never; parām—the supreme; gatim—perfectional stage.
But he who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.
As described before, the śāstra-vidhim, or the direction of the śāstra, is given to the different castes and orders of human society. Everyone is expected to follow these rules and regulations. If one does not follow them and acts whimsically according to his lust, greed and desire, then he never will be perfect in his life. In other words, a man may theoretically know all these things, but if he does not apply them in his own life, then he is to be known as the lowest of mankind. In the human form of life, a living entity is expected to be sane and to follow the regulations given for elevating his life to the highest platform, but if he does not follow them, then he degrades himself. But even if he follows the rules and regulations and moral principles and ultimately does not come to the stage of understanding the Supreme Lord, then all his knowledge becomes spoiled. Therefore one should gradually raise himself to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service; it is then and there that he can attain the highest perfectional stage, not otherwise.
The word kāma-cārataḥ is very significant. A person who knowingly violates the rules acts in lust. He knows that this is forbidden, still he acts. This is called acting whimsically. He knows that this should be done, but still he does not do it; therefore he is called whimsical. Such persons are destined to be condemned by the Supreme Lord. Such persons cannot have the perfection which is meant for the human life. The human life is especially meant for purifying one’s existence, and one who does not follow the rules and regulations cannot purify himself, nor can he attain the real stage of happiness.
tasmāc chāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te
karma kartum ihārhasi
tasmāt—therefore; śāstram—scriptures; pramāṇam—evidence; te—your; kārya—duty; akārya—forbidden activities; vyavasthitau—in determining; jñātvā—knowing; śāstra—of scripture; vidhāna—regulations; uktam—as declared; karma—work; kartum—to do; iha arhasi—you should do it.
One should understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.
As stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, all the rules and regulations of the Vedas are meant for knowing Kṛṣṇa. If one understands Krsṇa from the Bhagavad-gītā and becomes situated in Krsṇa consciousness, engaging himself in devotional service, he has reached the highest perfection of knowledge offered by the Vedic literature. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu made this process very easy: He asked people simply to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord and eat the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Deity. One who is directly engaged in all these devotional activities is to be understood as having studied all Vedic literature. He has come to the conclusion perfectly. Of course, for the ordinary persons who are not in Krsṇa consciousness or who are not engaged in devotional service, what is to be done and what is not to be done must be decided by the injunctions of the Vedas. One should act accordingly, without argument. That is called following the principles of śāstra, or scripture. Śāstra is without the four principal defects that are visible in the conditioned soul: imperfect senses, the propensity for cheating, certainty of committing mistakes, and certainty of being illusioned. These four principal defects in conditioned life disqualify one from putting forth rules and regulations. Therefore, the rules and regulations as described in the śāstra—being above these defects—are accepted without alteration by all great saints, ācāryas, and great souls.
In India there are many parties of spiritual understanding, generally classified as two: the impersonalist and the personalist. Both of them, however, lead their lives according to the principles of the Vedas. Without following the principles of the scriptures, one cannot elevate himself to the perfectional stage. One who actually, therefore, understands the purport of the śāstras is considered fortunate.
In human society, aversion to the principles of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of all falldowns. That is the greatest offense of human life. Therefore, māyā, the material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always giving us trouble in the shape of the threefold miseries. This material energy is constituted of the three modes of material nature. One has to raise himself at least to the mode of goodness before the path to understanding the Supreme Lord can be opened. Without raising oneself to the standard of the mode of goodness, one remains in ignorance and passion, which are the cause of demoniac life. Those in the modes of passion and ignorance deride the scriptures, deride the holy man, and deride the proper understanding of the spiritual master, and they do not care for the regulations of the scriptures. In spite of hearing the glories of devotional service, they are not attracted. Thus they manufacture their own way of elevation. These are some of the defects of human society, which lead to the demoniac status of life. If, however, one is able to be guided by a proper and bona fide spiritual master, who can lead one to the path of elevation, to the higher stage, then one’s life becomes successful.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Sixteenth Chapter of the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā in the matter of the Divine and Demoniac Natures.