Chapter 16

In this chapter Krishna explains what is useful and what is harmful for spiritual development. He describes the two types of human manifestations; one of divine and the other of demoniac.

Sri Krishna begins by describing the qualities of the divine. He tells Arjuna, ?Fearlessness, purity of mind, steadfastness in knowledge , charity, self-control and sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, uprightness, non-violence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquillity, aversion to fault finding, compassion, modesty, gentleness, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, freedom from malice and excessive pride are the qualities of a person with divine nature.?

Then Krishna goes on to describe the qualities of the undivine forces. The Lord says, ?An undivine person lacks spiritual knowledge. Out of ignorance he makes wrong judgement. He is impure, untruthful and thinks that the world’s only purpose is enjoyment. Adopting this attitude causes destruction in the world. Always filled with worries and desires, attached to lust and anger, constantly busy in hoarding wealth by unlawful means, he hates Me and is critical of My presence in him as well as others.? Then Krishna says that He hurls such cruel men into the wombs of demons. Fallen in the wombs of demons birth after birth these people do not attain Him but go down to the lowest state.

Commenting on the divine and undivine forces Sri Chinmoy says:

?Fear fears to stay with him who has perfect faith in God. His heart is purity. His mind is freedom. Duplicity? He knows not what it is. His love he uses to love mankind. He expects love in return only if so is the Will of God. His service he offers to the Supreme in humanity, having utterly destroyed the root of expectation, nay, temptation-tree with the sharp axe of his wisdom-light. Devotion’s delight and meditation’s silence constantly breathe in him. Violence is too weak to enter into his fort of thought, word and deed. Purest sincerety he has. Mightiest self-sacrifice he is. He wears no man-made crown, but a God-made crown which God Himself cherishes. The name of this crown is humility.

He who is devoured by the undivine forces is not only unspiritual but impractical in the purest sense of the term. Never can he stay alone even if he wants to. Vanity, anger, ostention and ego arouse him from his slumber and compel him to dance with them. Secretly but speedily ignorance comes and joins them in their dance, and then cheerfully and trimphantly it teaches them the dance of destruction.

His ego he uses to buy the world. His anger he uses to weaken and punish the world. His vanity and ostentation he uses to win the world. Consciously he offers himself to the glorification of sense-pleasure. Alas, he himself fails to count his imaginary projects, for they are countless, innumerable. What he has absolutely as his own is his self-praise. What he infallibly is, is verily the same.?

Lust, anger, and greed are the three qualities a man should abandon Sri Krishna says, it is these three qualities which lead a soul to hell. But he who is free from these three qualities reaches the highest state.

In the end Sri Krishna enjoins Arjuna: ?O my Arjuna, follow the sastras (scriptures).? By accepting the scriptures as his true guide Arjuna can decide what to do and what not to do. By knowing the rules taught by the scriptures he has to act in this world.

Sri Chinmoy interprets the word sastras or scriptures to mean the outer attainments of the inner experiences and realisations of the seers of the Truth. Sri Chinmoy says:

?The goal supreme is not for those who look down upon the spiritual experiences and realisations of the seers of the hoary past. They are committing a Himalayan blunder if they feel, on the strength of their vital impulses, that they can practise meditation and learn the secrets of inner discipline unaided. Personal guidence is imperative.?


(The following English translation is taken from ‘A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy’ Edited by S. Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore. 1957 Princeton University Press)

Chapter 16: The Nature of the Godlike & The Demoniac Mind

Those of divine nature

The Blessed Lord said:
1. Fearlessness, purity of mind, steadfastness in knowledge and concentration, charity, self-control and sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, and uprightness,

2. Non-violence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquillity, aversion to fault finding, compassion to living beings, freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty, and steadiness [absence of fickleness],

3. Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, freedom from malice and excessive pride-these, 0 Pandava (Arjuna), are the endowments of him who is born with the divine nature.

The demoniac

4. Ostentation, arrogance, excessive pride, anger, as also harshness and ignorance, these, 0 Partha (Arjuna), are the endowments of him who is born with the demoniac nature.

Their respective results

5. The divine endowments are said to make for deliverance and the demoniac for bondage. Grieve not, 0 Pandava (Arjuna), thou art born with the divine endowments [for a divine destiny].

The nature of the demoniac

6. There are two types of beings created in the world-the divine and the demoniac. The divine have been described at length. Hear from me, 0 Partha (Arjuna), about the demoniac.

7. The demoniac do not know about the way of action or the way of renunciation. Neither purity, nor good conduct, nor truth is found in them.

8. They say that the world is unreal, without a basis, without a Lord, not brought about in regular causal sequence, caused by desire, in short.

9 Holding fast to this view, these lost souls of feeble understanding, of cruel deeds, rise up as the enemies of the world for its destruction.

10. Giving themselves up to insatiable desire, full of hypocrisy, excessive pride and arrogance, holding wrong views through delusion, they act with impure resolves.

11. Obsessed with innumerable cares which would end only with [their] death, looking upon the gratification of desires as their highest aim, assured that this is all.

12. Bound by hundreds of ties of desire, given over to lust and anger, they strive to amass hoards of wealth, by unjust means, for the gratification of their desires.

13.?This today has been gained by me: this desire I shall attain, this is mine and this wealth also shall be mine [in the future].

14.?This foe is slain by me and others also I shall slay. I am the lord, I am the enjoyer, I am successful, mighty and happy.

15.?1 am rich and well-born. Who is there like unto me? I shall sacrifice, I shall give, I shall rejoice,? thus they [say], deluded by ignorance.

16. Bewildered by many thoughts, entangled in the meshes of delusion and addicted to the gratification of desires, they fall into a foul hell.

17. Self-conceited, obstinate, filled with the pride and arrogance of wealth, they perform sacrifices which are so only in name with ostentation and without regard to rules.

18. Given over to self-conceit, force, and pride and also to lust and anger, these malicious people despise Me dwelling in the bodies of themselves and others.

19. These cruel haters, worst of men, I hurl constantly these evildoers only into the wombs of demons in this cycle of births and deaths.

20. Fallen into the wombs of demons, these deluded beings from birth to birth, do not attain to Me, 0 Son of Kunti (Arjuna), but go down to the lowest state.

The triple gate of hell

2 1. The gateway of this hell leading to the ruin of the soul is threefold, lust, anger, and greed. Therefore these three one should abandon.

22. The man who is released from these, the three gates to darkness, 0 son of Kunti (Arjuna), does what is good for his soul and then reaches the highest state.

23. But he who discards the scriptural law and acts as his desires prompt him, he does not attain either perfection of happiness or the highest goal.

24. Therefore let the scripture be thy authority for determining what should be done and what should not be done. Knowing what is declared by the rules of the scripture, thou shouldst do thy work in this world.

This is the sixteenth chapter entitled ?The Yoga of the Distinction between the Divine and the Demoniac Endowments.?