अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः ।
दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् ॥१॥
अहिंसा सत्यमक्रोधस्त्यागः शान्तिरपैशुनम् ।
दया भूतेष्वलोलुप्त्वं मार्दवं ह्रीरचापलम् ॥२॥
तेजः क्षमा धृतिः शौचमद्रोहो नातिमानिता ।
भवन्ति सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातस्य भारत ॥३॥
śrī bhagavān uvāca –
abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhir jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ
dānaṁ damaś ca yajñaś ca svādhyāyas tapa ārjavam
ahiṁsā satyam akrodhas tyāgaḥ śāntir apaiśunam
dayā bhūteṣv-aloluptvaṁ mārdavaṁ hrīr acāpalam
tejaḥ kṣamā dhṛtiḥ śaucam adroho nātimānitā
bhavanti sampadaṁ daivīm abhijātasya bhārata
Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: O Bhārata, these are the various qualities of one who is born with a divine nature (deva) – fearlessness, pure-heartedness, absorption in spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity, sincerity, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, serenity, aversion to finding faults in others, compassion for all creatures, absence of avarice, gentleness, modesty, steadiness, valour, forgiveness, patience, cleanliness, freedom from envy and the desire for prestige.
दम्भो दर्पोऽभिमानश्च क्रोधः पारुष्यमेव च ।
अज्ञानं चाभिजातस्य पार्थ सम्पदमासुरीम् ॥४॥
dambho darpo’bhimānaś ca krodhaḥ pāruṣyameva ca
ajñānaṁ cābhijātasya pārtha sampadam āsurīm
Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, cruelty and ignorance – these are the qualities manifest in one born of an impious nature (asura).
दैवी सम्पद्विमोक्षाय निबन्धायासुरी मता ।
मा शुचः सम्पदं दैवीमभिजातोऽसि पाण्डव ॥५॥
daivī sampad vimokṣāya nibandhāyāsurī matā
mā śucaḥ sampadaṁ daivīm abhijāto’si pāṇḍava
The qualities of a deva lead one to liberation, while the qualities of an asura cause bondage. Fear not, O Pāṇḍava, for you are born of the nature of a deva.
द्वौ भूतसर्गौ लोकेऽस्मिन्दैव आसुर एव च ।
दैवो विस्तरशः प्रोक्त आसुरं पार्थ मे शृणु ॥६॥
dvau bhūta-sargau loke’smin daiva āsura eva ca
daivo vistaraśaḥ prokta āsuraṁ pārtha me śṛṇu
Pārtha, there are two types of people born into this world – the deva and the asura. I have described devas in detail. Now listen to Me as I describe the asuras.
In this chapter Śrī Kṛṣṇa describes to Arjuna the two general categories of human beings, devas and asuras, or the pious and impious. Up to this point, throughout the Gītā, Kṛṣṇa has mentioned many of the qualities and characteristics of a deva. These are the qualities of what we would call a ‘good human being’ and these qualities are also conducive for self-realisation. These are described in verses 1 to 3 of this chapter.
Now Kṛṣṇa begins to detail the qualities of the asura so that Arjuna can decide upon the path that he must take in life and the association he must choose. Ultimately, being able to discern between pious and impious natures, Arjuna will be able to perform the duties that lie ahead of him at Kurukṣetra.
प्रवृत्तिं च निवृत्तिं च जना न विदुरासुराः ।
न शौचं नापि चाचारो न सत्यं तेषु विद्यते ॥७॥
pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate
Those who are asuras by nature cannot discriminate as to what actions should be done and what actions should not be done. No purity, proper behaviour or truthfulness can be found in them.
असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसम्भूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥८॥
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ kim anyat kāma-haitukam
They claim that the world is false, without any basis and without any divinity. They believe that the source of everything is the union between male and female and that life has no purpose besides lust.
एतां दृष्टिमवष्टभ्य नष्टात्मानोऽल्पबुद्धयः ।
प्रभवन्त्युग्रकर्माणः क्षयाय जगतोऽहिताः ॥९॥
etāṁ dṛṣṭim avaṣṭabhya naṣṭātmāno’lpa buddhayaḥ
prabhavanty-ugra-karmāṇaḥ kṣayāya jagato’hitāḥ
With this view, such people with depraved and small intellect flourish and engage in malicious activities for the destruction of the world.
काममाश्रित्य दुष्पूरं दम्भमानमदान्विताः ।
kāmam āśritya duṣpūraṁ dambha-māna-madānvitāḥ
mohād gṛhītvāsad grāhān pravartante’śuci-vratāḥ
Attached to their insatiable lusty desires and absorbed in pride and arrogance, such people become bewildered and embrace deceitful ideologies, pledging themselves to impure activities.
चिन्तामपरिमेयां च प्रलयान्तामुपाश्रिताः ।
कामोपभोगपरमा एतावदिति निश्चिताः ॥११॥
आशापाशशतैर्बद्धाः कामक्रोधपरायणाः ।
ईहन्ते कामभोगार्थमन्यायेनार्थसञ्चयान् ॥१२॥
cintām aparimeyāṁ ca pralayāntām upāśritāḥ
kāmopabhoga-paramā etāvad iti niścitāḥ
āśā-pāśa-śatair baddhāḥ kāma-krodha-parāyaṇāḥ
īhante kāma-bhogārtham anyāyenārtha-sañcayān
Believing that slaking their greed and fulfilling their lusty desires is the ultimate goal of life, they undergo unlimited anxieties until the time of death. Bound by hundreds of ambitions and absorbed in lust and anger, they try to amass wealth by any unlawful means in order to satisfy their desires.
इदमद्य मया लब्धमिमं प्राप्स्ये मनोरथम् ।
इदमस्तीदमपि मे भविष्यति पुनर्धनम् ॥१३॥
असौ मया हतः शत्रुर्हनिष्ये चापरानपि ।
ईश्वरोऽहमहं भोगी सिद्धोऽहं बलवान्सुखी ॥१४॥
आढ्योऽभिजनवानस्मि कोऽन्योऽस्ति सदृशो मया ।
यक्ष्ये दास्यामि मोदिष्य इत्यज्ञानविमोहिताः ॥१५॥
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 ity-ajñāna-vimohitāḥ
They say: “I have gained this today, now I shall fulfil my other desires. This wealth belongs to me and in the future it will increase. This enemy has been slain by me and in the future I will slay others. I am in control! I am the enjoyer! I am perfect! I am powerful! I am happy! I am wealthy and aristocratic. Is there anyone equal to me? I shall perform sacrifices, give in charity and enjoy!” Thus they are deluded by ignorance.
The inability to discriminate between proper and improper actions is the first recognisable characteristic of an asura. Additionally, Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, they do not know what is purity, proper behaviour or truthfulness. Truthfulness, cleanliness, austerity and mercy are most desirable qualities for a human being, but these are totally lacking in one who has acquired the nature of an asura.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa continues to describe in detail the qualities and characteristics of the asura mentality and if one takes careful note of what Kṛṣṇa is saying, then one is faced with the stark realisation that the world we live in today is dominated by the thinking and activities of the asuras.
The structure of our world is now based on rampant consumerism, the ‘shop till you drop’ mentality. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! The ‘if it feels good, do it’ mentality is everywhere. We are led to believe that there is no ultimate reality, that this one life is the all in all, and therefore we should enjoy it while it lasts – the fulfilment of the sexual lust of men and women being at the forefront of such enjoyment. The epitome of this is represented worldwide by the casual and legal acceptance of contraception and abortion.
With the present mentality of the human being, it seems that the world is set on a path of destruction – with devastation of the environment, economic collapse, extinction of species and even genocide of certain races of humans. Have we no eyes to see what is happening? Has the human race become so proud and arrogant of it’s achievements that it has become blind?
Good government is essential in a civilised world. Such a government is for the purpose of safeguarding society from danger – not just from the danger of an invading army, but also from the threat of unwholesome ideologies that may destroy a civilisation from within. Unfortunately, it seems as though governments worldwide have abandoned all sense of proper behaviour and they themselves have become the leading plunderers of the people. Amassing wealth by any means and depriving the people from even the most basic necessities of life, such despots know no shame. Indeed, the world is in a period of great darkness at the hands of the asura mentality.
From their high pulpits the heads of state declare, “Our enemies must be killed. The evildoers must be defeated. We shall be victorious, we shall rule the world, we shall enjoy, we are the chosen people, we are powerful, we are happy and none are our equals!” And while the hysteria of the masses runs wild, the innocent are sent to their graves and the Earth weeps for her children. Yet it seems we are unfazed. Such, Kṛṣṇa says, is our ignorance.
अनेकचित्तविभ्रान्ता मोहजालसमावृताः ।
प्रसक्ताः कामभोगेषु पतन्ति नरकेऽशुचौ ॥१६॥
prasaktāḥ kāma-bhogeṣu patanti narake’śucau
The minds of the asuras are full of various bewildering thoughts and thus they are ensnared in a network of illusion. As they become absorbed in fulfilling their mundane desires, they descend into a foul abyss.
आत्मसम्भाविताः स्तब्धा धनमानमदान्विताः ।
यजन्ते नामयज्ञैस्ते दम्भेनाविधिपूर्वकम् ॥१७॥
ātma-sambhāvitāḥ stabdhā dhana-māna-madānvitāḥ
yajante nāma-yajñais te dambhenāvidhi-pūrvakam
Full of self-importance, stubborn and intoxicated with their wealth, they perform sacrifices in name only that are against the rules of dharma.
अहंकारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं च संश्रिताः ।
मामात्मपरदेहेषु प्रद्विषन्तोऽभ्यसूयकाः ॥१८॥
ahaṅkāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ kāmaṁ krodhaṁ ca saṁśritāḥ
mām ātma-para-deheṣu pradviṣanto’bhyasūyakāḥ
Surrendering to egotism, power, pride, lust and anger, such people hate Me, who is situated in their own bodies and the bodies of others.
तानहं द्विषतः क्रुरान्संसारेषु नराधमान् ।
क्षिपाम्यजस्रमशुभानासुरीष्वेव योनिषु ॥१९॥
tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krurān saṁsāreṣu narādhamān
kṣipāmy-ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣv-eva yoniṣu
Such envious and cruel persons are perpetually born among the impious and unrighteous where they suffer in the repeated cycle of birth and death, for they are the lowest of all mankind.
आसुरीं योनिमापन्ना मूढा जन्मनि जन्मनि ।
मामप्राप्यैव कौन्तेय ततो यान्त्यधमां गतिम् ॥२०॥
āsurīṁ yonim āpannā mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya tato yānty-adhamāṁ gatim
O Kaunteya, continually taking birth amongst the impious, such foolish persons never attain Me. Rather, they fall to the most abominable destinations.
त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मनः ।
कामः क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् ॥२१॥
tri-vidhaṁ narakasyedaṁ dvāraṁ nāśanam ātmanaḥ
kāmaḥ krodhas tathā lobhas tasmād etat trayaṁ tyajet
There are three paths leading to the lower planets and self-destruction – lust, anger and greed. Thus, these three must be abandoned because they are the great destroyers of self-realisation.
एतैर्विमुक्तः कौन्तेय तमोद्वारैस्त्रिभिर्नरः ।
आचरत्यात्मनः श्रेयस्ततो याति परां गतिम् ॥२२॥
etair vimuktaḥ kaunteya tamo-dvārais tribhir naraḥ
ācaraty-ātmanaḥ śreyas tato yāti parāṁ gatim
O Kaunteya, one who is free from these three paths of darkness acts in his best interest. He gradually reaches the Supreme Abode.
यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः ।
न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम् ॥२३॥
yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim
He that neglects the rules of the Vedas in order to satisfy his material desires, never attains perfection, happiness, or the Supreme Abode.
तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ ।
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि ॥२४॥
tasmāc-chāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya-vyavasthitau
jñātvā śāstra-vidhānoktaṁ karma kartum ihārhasi
The Vedic injunctions are your authority pertaining to what is to be done and what is not to be done. Thus, realising your duty in this world, you should act accordingly.
Ultimately, there is no happiness, no success, no well-being nor advancement in self-realisation when one follows the path of the asura. What then should be done?
Śrī Kṛṣṇa identifies the three main characteristics of the asura mentality in verse 21 as kāma, krodha and lobha – lust, anger and greed. These are indeed the cause of great misfortune amongst all living beings and such are the destroyers of self-realisation. Therefore, lust, anger and greed must be conquered by one who wants to make progress in human life. To triumph over the great enemies of lust, anger and greed, one must apply oneself diligently to controlling the senses and perform the prescribed activities in bhakti-yoga known as sādhana. The practice of sādhana is learned from the guru, a tattva-darśī who has seen the truth, and the guru instructs the student according to their ability and present stage of advancement. To this end, the guru will advise all students in bhakti-yoga to chant the mahā-mantra and fix the mind upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This process is purifying and beneficial to everyone, regardless of one’s being a novice or being very advanced. Everyone should engage in chanting the mahā-mantra to defeat the enemies of lust, anger and greed, and to dispel the ignorance and darkness of the age of Kali-yuga.
praṇāmo duḥkha-śamanas taṁ namāmi hariṁ param
The chanting of the mahā-mantra can relieve us from all undesirable habits, all unwanted characteristics and all miseries. Chant the mahā-mantra! Nothing else is necessary. Chant the mahā-mantra and begin your real life in this dark age of Kali-yuga with the most broad and wide theistic conception. Let us all bow down to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.13.23)
ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमहाभारते शतसाहस्रयां संहितायां
श्रीमद्भगवदीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायं योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे
दैवासुरसम्पद्विभागयोगो नाम षोडशोऽध्यायः।।
oṁ tat saditi śrī-mahābhārate-śata-sāhasryāṁ saṁhitāyāṁ
śrīmad bhagavad-gītāsūpaniṣatsu brahma-vidyāyāṁ yoga-śāstre śrī kṛṣṇārjuna-saṁvāde
daivāsura-sampad-vibhāga-yogo nāma ṣoḍaśo’dhyāyaḥ
OṀ TAT SAT – Thus ends Chapter Sixteen entitled Daivāsura Sampad Vibhāga Yoga from the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna in the Upaniṣad known as Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, the yoga-śāstra of divine knowledge, from the Bhīṣma-parva of Mahābhārata, the literature revealed by Vyāsa in one hundred thousand verses.