Chapter Sixteen: The Divine and Demoniac Natures
dānaṁ damaś ca yajñaś ca
svādhyāyas tapa ārjavam
tyāgaḥ śāntir apaiśunam
dayā bhūteṣv aloluptvaṁ
mārdavaṁ hrīr acāpalam
bhavanti sampadaṁ daivīm
In the beginning of the Fifteenth Chapter, the banyan tree of this material world was explained. The extra roots coming out of it were compared to the activities of the living entities, some auspicious, some inauspicious. In the Ninth Chapter, also, the devas, or godly, and the asuras, the ungodly, or demons, were explained. Now, according to Vedic rites, activities in the mode of goodness are considered auspicious for progress on the path of liberation, and such activities are known as daivī prakṛti, transcendental by nature. Those who are situated in the transcendental nature make progress on the path of liberation. For those who are acting in the modes of passion and ignorance, on the other hand, there is no possibility of liberation. Either they will have to remain in this material world as human beings, or they will descend among the species of animals or even lower life forms. In this Sixteenth Chapter the Lord explains both the transcendental nature and its attendant qualities and the demoniac nature and its qualities. He also explains the advantages and disadvantages of these qualities.
The word abhijātasya in reference to one born of transcendental qualities or godly tendencies is very signiﬁcant. To beget a child in a godly atmosphere is known in the Vedic scriptures as Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. If the parents want a child in the godly qualities they should follow the ten principles recommended for the social life of the human being. In Bhagavad-gītā we have studied also before that sex life for begetting a good child is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Sex life is not condemned, provided the process is used in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness at least should not beget children like cats and dogs but should beget them so that they may become Kṛṣṇa conscious after birth. That should be the advantage of children born of a father and mother absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The social institution known as varṇāśrama-dharma – the institution dividing society into four divisions of social life and four occupational divisions or castes – is not meant to divide human society according to birth. Such divisions are in terms of educational qualiﬁcations. They are to keep the society in a state of peace and prosperity. The qualities mentioned herein are explained as transcendental qualities meant for making a person progress in spiritual understanding so that he can get liberated from the material world.
In the varṇāśrama institution the sannyāsī, or the person in the renounced order of life, is considered to be the head or the spiritual master of all the social statuses and orders. A brāhmaṇa is considered to be the spiritual master of the three other sections of a society, namely, the kṣatriyas, the vaiśyas and the śūdras, but a sannyāsī, who is on the top of the institution, is considered to be the spiritual master of the brāhmaṇas also. For a sannyāsī, the ﬁrst qualiﬁcation should be fearlessness. Because a sannyāsī has to be alone without any support or guarantee of support, he has simply to depend on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one thinks, “After I leave my connections, who will protect me?” he should not accept the renounced order of life. One must be fully convinced that Kṛṣṇa or the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His localized aspect as Paramātmā is always within, that He is seeing everything, and He always knows what one intends to do. One must thus have ﬁrm conviction that Kṛṣṇa as Paramātmā will take care of a soul surrendered to Him. “I shall never be alone,” one should think. “Even if I live in the darkest regions of a forest I shall be accompanied by Kṛṣṇa, and He will give me all protection.” That conviction is called abhayam, fearlessness. This state of mind is necessary for a person in the renounced order of life.
Then he has to purify his existence. There are so many rules and regulations to be followed in the renounced order of life. Most important of all, a sannyāsī is strictly forbidden to have any intimate relationship with a woman. He is even forbidden to talk with a woman in a secluded place. Lord Caitanya was an ideal sannyāsī, and when He was at Purī His feminine devotees could not even come near to offer their respects. They were advised to bow down from a distant place. This is not a sign of hatred for women as a class, but it is a stricture imposed on the sannyāsī not to have close connections with women. One has to follow the rules and regulations of a particular status of life in order to purify his existence. For a sannyāsī, intimate relations with women and possession of wealth for sense gratiﬁcation are strictly forbidden. The ideal sannyāsī was Lord Caitanya Himself, and we can learn from His life that He was very strict in regards to women. Although He is considered to be the most liberal incarnation of Godhead, accepting the most fallen conditioned souls, He strictly followed the rules and regulations of the sannyāsa order of life in connection with association with women. One of His personal associates, namely Choṭa Haridāsa, was associated with Lord Caitanya along with His other conﬁdential personal associates, but somehow or other this Choṭa Haridāsa looked lustily on a young woman, and Lord Caitanya was so strict that He at once rejected him from the society of His personal associates. Lord Caitanya said, “For a sannyāsī or anyone who is aspiring to get out of the clutches of material nature and trying to elevate himself to the spiritual nature and go back home, back to Godhead, for him, looking toward material possessions and women for sense gratiﬁcation – not even enjoying them, but just looking toward them with such a propensity – is so condemned that he had better commit suicide before experiencing such illicit desires.” So these are the processes for puriﬁcation.
The next item is jñāna-yoga-vyavasthiti: being engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. Sannyāsī life is meant for distributing knowledge to the householders and others who have forgotten their real life of spiritual advancement. A sannyāsī is supposed to beg from door to door for his livelihood, but this does not mean that he is a beggar. Humility is also one of the qualiﬁcations of a transcendentally situated person, and out of sheer humility the sannyāsī goes from door to door, not exactly for the purpose of begging, but to see the householders and awaken them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the duty of a sannyāsī. If he is actually advanced and so ordered by his spiritual master, he should preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness with logic and understanding, and if one is not so advanced he should not accept the renounced order of life. But even if one has accepted the renounced order of life without sufﬁcient knowledge, he should engage himself fully in hearing from a bona ﬁde spiritual master to cultivate knowledge. A sannyāsī, or one in the renounced order of life, must be situated in fearlessness, sattva-saṁśuddhi (purity) and jñāna-yoga (knowledge).
The next item is charity. Charity is meant for the householders. The householders should earn a livelihood by an honorable means and spend ﬁfty percent of their income to propagate Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. Thus a householder should give in charity to institutional societies that are engaged in that way. Charity should be given to the right receiver. There are different kinds of charity, as will be explained later on – charity in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Charity in the mode of goodness is recommended by the scriptures, but charity in the modes of passion and ignorance is not recommended, because it is simply a waste of money. Charity should be given only to propagate Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. That is charity in the mode of goodness.
Then as far as dama (self-control) is concerned, it is not only meant for other orders of religious society, but is especially meant for the householder. Although he has a wife, a householder should not use his senses for sex life unnecessarily. There are restrictions for the householders even in sex life, which should only be engaged in for the propagation of children. If he does not require children, he should not enjoy sex life with his wife. Modern society enjoys sex life with contraceptive methods or more abominable methods to avoid the responsibility of children. This is not in the transcendental quality, but is demoniac. If anyone, even if he is a householder, wants to make progress in spiritual life, he must control his sex life and should not beget a child without the purpose of serving Kṛṣṇa. If he is able to beget children who will be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can produce hundreds of children, but without this capacity one should not indulge only for sense pleasure.
Sacriﬁce is another item to be performed by the householders, because sacriﬁces require a large amount of money. Those in other orders of life, namely brahmacarya, vānaprastha and sannyāsa, have no money; they live by begging. So performance of different types of sacriﬁce is meant for the householders. They should perform agni-hotra sacriﬁces as enjoined in the Vedic literature, but such sacriﬁces at the present moment are very expensive, and it is not possible for any householder to perform them. The best sacriﬁce recommended in this age is called saṅkīrtana-yajña. This saṅkīrtana-yajña, the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, is the best and most inexpensive sacriﬁce; everyone can adopt it and derive beneﬁt. So these three items, namely charity, sense control and performance of sacriﬁce, are meant for the householder.
Then svādhyāya, Vedic study, is meant for brahmacarya, or student life. Brahmacārīs should have no connection with women; they should live a life of celibacy and engage the mind in the study of Vedic literature for cultivation of spiritual knowledge. This is called svādhyāya.
Tapas, or austerity, is especially meant for the retired life. One should not remain a householder throughout his whole life; he must always remember that there are four divisions of life – brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. So after gṛhastha, householder life, one should retire. If one lives for a hundred years, he should spend twenty-ﬁve years in student life, twenty-ﬁve in householder life, twenty-ﬁve in retired life and twenty-ﬁve in the renounced order of life. These are the regulations of the Vedic religious discipline. A man retired from household life must practice austerities of the body, mind and tongue. That is tapasya. The entire varṇāśrama-dharma society is meant for tapasya. Without tapasya, or austerity, no human being can get liberation. The theory that there is no need of austerity in life, that one can go on speculating and everything will be nice, is recommended neither in the Vedic literature nor in Bhagavad-gītā. Such theories are manufactured by show-bottle spiritualists who are trying to gather more followers. If there are restrictions, rules and regulations, people will not become attracted. Therefore those who want followers in the name of religion, just to have a show only, don’t restrict the lives of their students, nor their own lives. But that method is not approved by the Vedas.
As far as the brahminical quality of simplicity is concerned, not only should a particular order of life follow this principle, but every member, be he in the brahmacārī āśrama, gṛhastha āśrama, vānaprastha āśrama or sannyāsa āśrama. One should be very simple and straightforward.
Ahiṁsā means not arresting the progressive life of any living entity. One should not think that since the spirit spark is never killed even after the killing of the body there is no harm in killing animals for sense gratiﬁcation. People are now addicted to eating animals, in spite of having an ample supply of grains, fruits and milk. There is no necessity for animal killing. This injunction is for everyone. When there is no alternative, one may kill an animal, but it should be offered in sacriﬁce. At any rate, when there is an ample food supply for humanity, persons who are desiring to make advancement in spiritual realization should not commit violence to animals. Real ahiṁsā means not checking anyone’s progressive life. The animals are also making progress in their evolutionary life by transmigrating from one category of animal life to another. If a particular animal is killed, then his progress is checked. If an animal is staying in a particular body for so many days or so many years and is untimely killed, then he has to come back again in that form of life to complete the remaining days in order to be promoted to another species of life. So their progress should not be checked simply to satisfy one’s palate. This is called ahiṁsā.
Satyam. This word means that one should not distort the truth for some personal interest. In Vedic literature there are some difﬁcult passages, but the meaning or the purpose should be learned from a bona ﬁde spiritual master. That is the process for understanding the Vedas. Śruti means that one should hear from the authority. One should not construe some interpretation for his personal interest. There are so many commentaries on Bhagavad-gītā that misinterpret the original text. The real import of the word should be presented, and that should be learned from a bona ﬁde spiritual master.
Akrodha means to check anger. Even if there is provocation one should be tolerant, for once one becomes angry his whole body becomes polluted. Anger is a product of the mode of passion and lust, so one who is transcendentally situated should check himself from anger. Apaiśunam means that one should not ﬁnd fault with others or correct them unnecessarily. Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultﬁnding, but to call an honest person a thief is very much offensive for one who is making advancement in spiritual life. Hrī means that one should be very modest and must not perform some act which is abominable. Acāpalam, determination, means that one should not be agitated or frustrated in some attempt. There may be failure in some attempt, but one should not be sorry for that; he should make progress with patience and determination.
The word tejas used here is meant for the kṣatriyas. The kṣatriyas should always be very strong to be able to give protection to the weak. They should not pose themselves as nonviolent. If violence is required, they must exhibit it. But a person who is able to curb down his enemy may under certain conditions show forgiveness. He may excuse minor offenses.
Śaucam means cleanliness, not only in mind and body but in one’s dealings also. It is especially meant for the mercantile people, who should not deal in the black market. Nāti-mānitā, not expecting honor, applies to the śūdras, the worker class, which are considered, according to Vedic injunctions, to be the lowest of the four classes. They should not be puffed up with unnecessary prestige or honor and should remain in their own status. It is the duty of the śūdras to offer respect to the higher class for the upkeep of the social order.
All these twenty-six qualiﬁcations mentioned are transcendental qualities. They should be cultivated according to the different statuses of social and occupational order. The purport is that even though material conditions are miserable, if these qualities are developed by practice, by all classes of men, then gradually it is possible to rise to the highest platform of transcendental realization.
krodhaḥ pāruṣyam eva ca
pārtha sampadam āsurīm
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.
mā śucaḥ sampadaṁ daivīm
abhijāto ’si pāṇḍava
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 pros and cons. 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 regulative principles of the different orders of life is transcendentally situated.
daiva āsura eva ca
daivo vistaraśaḥ prokta
āsuraṁ pārtha me śṛṇu
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.
janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro
na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate
In every civilized human society there is some set of scriptural rules and regulations which is 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, shaving, 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. The social condition of women is thus not very good now, although those who are married are in a better condition than those who are proclaiming their so-called freedom. 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.
jagad āhur anīśvaram
kim anyat kāma-haitukam
The demonic conclude that the world is phantasmagoria. There is no cause and 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. Then 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, 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, among the demons there is no perfect knowledge of the creation of the 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.
kṣayāya jagato ’hitāḥ
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.
The demoniac mentality is described here. The demons have no satiation for their lust. 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 vows,” 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, by artiﬁcial means the world creates a false honor for them. Although they are gliding toward hell, they consider themselves very much advanced.
etāvad iti niścitāḥ
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 Upaniṣads, there are two birds sitting in one tree; 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.
imaṁ prāpsye manoratham
idam astīdam api me
bhaviṣyati punar dhanam
haniṣye cāparān api
īśvaro ’ham ahaṁ bhogī
siddho ’haṁ balavān sukhī
ko ’nyo ’sti sadṛśo mayā
yakṣye dāsyāmi modiṣya
patanti narake ’śucau
The demoniac man knows no limit to his desire to acquire money. That is unlimited. He thinks only of how much assessment he has just now and schemes to engage that stock of wealth further and further. 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 enamored 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 think that all these things are accidental and due to the strength of one’s personal ability. They do 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 he and that no one is more inﬂuential than he. 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 arrangements. These are examples of bewilderment. The result is that, without their knowledge, they are gliding toward hell. Here the Sanskrit word moha-jāla is very signiﬁcant. Jāla means “net”; like ﬁsh caught in a net, they have no way to come out.
yajante nāma-yajñais te
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 a disregard for the rules and regulations, is especially stressed here. These things are always due to ignorance and illusion.
kāmaṁ krodhaṁ ca saṁśritāḥ
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 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 denies the scriptural authority. He thinks himself independent and powerful in every action. He thinks that since no one can equal him in strength, power or 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.
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān
āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu
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 men are held to be always full of lust, always violent and hateful and always unclean. The many kinds of hunters in the jungle are considered to belong to the demoniac species of life.
mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya
tato yānty adhamāṁ gatim
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 them. 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
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.
tamo-dvārais tribhir naraḥ
ācaraty ātmanaḥ śreyas
tato yāti parāṁ gatim
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.
na sa siddhim avāpnoti
na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim
As described before, the śāstra-vidhi, 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. And even if he accepts the existence of God, if he does not engage himself in the service of the Lord his attempts are 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-kārataḥ is very signiﬁcant. A person who knowingly violates the rules acts in lust. He knows that this is forbidden, but 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.
karma kartum ihārhasi
As stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, all the rules and regulations of the Vedas are meant for knowing Kṛṣṇa. If one understands Kṛṣṇa from the Bhagavad-gītā and becomes situated in Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa 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 Supreme Personality of Godhead. They disobey the instructions 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.