Lord Krishna said: Fearlessness, wholesome purity, adequate attunement to and abidance in spiritual wisdom, charitability, sensory regulation, acting with full dedication to the supreme Reality (yajña), study of scriptures, austerity, straightforwardness;
Non-violence or non-injury, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of fault-finding, compassion for all creatures, absence of greed, softness of mind, modesty, avoiding fickleness and useless pursuits;
Brilliance, patience-cum-tolerance, will-power, clean-liness, absence of hostility and haughtiness – these are the (twenty six) qualities that grace one born with divine nature, O descendant of Bharata.
Ostentation and hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, hatred and anger, cruelty or harshness, ignorance and delusion – these are the features, O Partha, of one born to a demonical heritage.
Divine qualities conduce to liberation, and the demonic ones to bondage. Do not grieve, O Arjuna, you are born with divine qualities.
In this world there are two kinds of beings created – divine (daiva) and devilish (āsura). I have spoken in detail about the divine kind. O Partha, hear now about the devilish kind.
The āsura people know not what should be done (dharma) and what should not be done (adharma). Such people have neither cleanliness (outer and inner) nor good conduct. They are not given to truthfulness.
They say that the world is unreal, has no order or foundation (like morality or ethics). There is no God to control. It is just born of union; what else than passion can be the cause of it?
Fostering this kind of vision, lost to their own distorted intellect, they emerge as enemies of the world, and take to fierce, violent acts meant to bring about largescale degeneration and ruin.
Resorting to insatiable desire, coupled with ostentation, pride and arrogance, holding to wrong ideas under sheer delusion, they resort to impure activities with evil resolve.
Taking to unbridled thoughts ending with only death, indulging in gratifying desires with no let or hindrance, they resolve: This is all that life is.
Entangled firmly by hundreds of chains of desire and expectation, taking refuge in lust and anger, they strive unjustly to amass wealth for gratifying their sensory cravings.
Today I have gained this object of desire, and tomorrow I shall have that. This much of wealth I already have with me, and more will come to me in future.
This enemy has been slain by me; the rest also I shall kill. I am the Lord. I am the enjoyer. I am successful, powerful and happy.
I am abundantly rich; I am well born. Who is there equal to me? I shall do sacrifices. I will give liberally. I will rejoice and revel – thus they thrive blinded by ignorance.
Confounded by many (egoistic) thoughts, surrounded by the net of delusion, extremely glued to desires and their gratification, they fall into the most filthy hell.
With vain glory and conceit, blinded by wealth and self-proclaimed respect, they ostensibly perform sacrifices only to show off, disregarding all rules and procedures.
Given to egotism, power, arrogance, lust and anger, these jealous people deride and hate Me (the Supreme), residing in their own as well as others’ bodies.
I throw these hateful, cruel and inauspicious people, the vilest in the world, into the demonic wombs repeatedly.
These deluded ones, getting into āsura wombs birth after birth, do not reach Me (the Supreme), and sink into still inferior states, O son of Kunti.
Three-fold is this door to hell, which spells destruction to one. It consists of passion, anger and greed. Therefore, one should shun these three.
O Kunti’s son (Arjuna), if one becomes free of these three gateways to hell (passion, anger and greed), he can pursue the auspicious path to felicity and attain the supreme Goal.
Disregarding the scriptural injunctions, one who lives driven by desire and greed, does not attain perfection in anything. Neither does he gain happiness nor the supreme Goal.
Therefore, scriptures (śāstras) are the guidelines for you to determine what is to be done and what not. You must take up activities only after knowing what the śāstras explain and exhort.
Om – the symbol of Brahman, tat – that singular Reality (Brahman), sat – the ever abiding presence (Brahman).
Thus ends the sixteenth chapter entitled Daivāsura-saṃpad-vibhāga Yoga, during the Srikrishna-Arjuna dialogue in Śrīmad Bhagavad Gita, constituting Yoga-śāstra, which falls within Brahmavidya as presented in the Vedic Upanishads.
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Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha