Bhagavadgita: 16. The Yoga of Distinction Between Divine and Demonic Properties

Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita

Translated by Jayaram V

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Summary: This chapter presents the distinction between divine and demonic qualities and two types of beings, the godly and the demonic. Divine qualities lead to peace and happiness, virtues, a noble birth in the next life or liberation. Demonic qualities lead to one’s spiritual downfall and descent into the darkest hells. They are repeatedly cast into demonic wombs during their rebirth. To avoid it one should follow the scriptural injunctions.


Daiva Asura Sampada Vibhaga Yoga

1. Said Lord Supreme, Fearlessness, excessive Sattva (purity), preoccupied with knowledge and yoga, charity, self-control, rituals and worship, study of scriptures, penance and simplicity.

2. Non-cruelty, truthfulness, without anger, self-sacrificing nature, peace of mind, being non-critical, compassionate to all beings, without greed, gentle, modest, firm-minded.

3. Intelligence, forgiving nature, fortitude, cleanliness, without envy, without egoistic pride- these O Bharata are the riches (virtues) of those born with divine nature.

4. Pomposity, exaggerated self-importance, pride in one self, anger, rudeness and ignorance, are the property (vices ) of the those born with demonic nature.

5. Divine virtues are for liberation, but demonic qualities are regarded as binding. O Pandava, do not worry for you are born with divine qualities.

6. Two types of beings are created in this world, the divine and the demonic. The divine (nature) has been explained in detail, O Partha. Now hear from Me about the demonic nature.

7. The demonic do not know when to act properly and when not to act. They do not know what is cleanliness and proper conduct. The quality of truthfulness is not there in them.

8. They say that the world is false, without foundation and without God and that it is born of no cause other than of lust.

9. With this vision in their minds, the degenerated souls, with little intelligence, engage in hostile activities, for the destruction of the world against its interests.

10. Resorting to insatiable lust, with conceited minds, possessed by insane energy, residing in untruthful words, under illusion, they exist, worshipping the unclean and the impure.

11. With endless anxieties (tormenting them) till the end, absorbed in sense gratification and concluding it as the transcendental (or divine).

12. Bound by innumerable strings of desire, minds filled with the vibrations of anger and lust, they accumulate wealth by unjust means, desiring sense gratification.

13. Today I have gained this, this inner wish I shall fulfill, this property is mine and in future I will have more wealth.

14. That enemy is slain by me, I shall harm others also, I am the lord and I am the enjoyer, I am perfected being, powerful and happy.

15. I am wealthy and from a rich family, who else can there be like me! I perform sacrifices, give charity and also enjoy - ( saying ) thus by ignorance (the demonic) are deluded.

16. Perplexed by numerous states of thinking, caught in the net of illusion, attached to the gratification of desires, the unclean degenerate into hell.

17. Egoistic, impudent, possessed with insane energy of wealth and pride, they perform sacrifices for name sake only out of conceit and against established procedures.

18. Having taken shelter in egoism, strength, showiness, lust and anger, the envious discredit Me in their own bodies and in others.

19. These haters, the cruel and the lowest men in the world of materialistic existence, I cast them again and again into the inauspicious demonic wombs.

20. Acquiring demonic wombs, these deluded persons, birth after birth, without reaching Me, O Kaunteya, go to the lowest hell.

21. Three types are the gates to this hell which are destructive to the soul - desire, anger and greed. Therefore one must leave aside these three.

22. O Son of Kunti, he who is liberated from these three gates of darkness perform actions in the interests of his self and attains the Supreme State.

23. He who discards the scriptural methods and indulges in desire driven actions, neither attains spiritual success, nor happiness nor the Supreme Goal.

24. Therefore let the scriptures be your guide in deciding appropriate and inappropriate actions. Knowing the scriptural injunctions properly you should perform your actions.

Thus ends the sixteenth chapter named the yoga of the division between divine and demonic qualities in the Upanishad of the divine Bhagavad-Gita, the knowledge of the Absolute, the yogic scripture, and the debate between Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

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