Bhagavad Gita 16.1-3

Text 1-3

sri-bhagavan uvaca
abhayam sattva-samsuddhir
jnana-yoga-vyavasthitih
danam damas ca yajnas ca
svadhyayas tapa arjavam

ahimsa satyam akrodhas
tyagah shantir apaisunam
daya bhutesv aloluptvam
mardavam hrir acapalam

tejah ksama dhrtih shaucam
adroho nati-manita
bhavanti sampadam daivim
abhijatasya bharata

Translation

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor—these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada 

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 daivi prakriti, 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 abhijatasya 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 Garbhadhana-samskara. 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-gita we have studied also before that sex life for begetting a good child is Krishna Himself. Sex life is not condemned, provided the process is used in Krishna consciousness. Those who are in Krishna consciousness at least should not beget children like cats and dogs but should beget them so that they may become Krishna conscious after birth. That should be the advantage of children born of a father and mother absorbed in Krishna consciousness.

The social institution known as varnashrama-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 varnashrama institution the sannyasi, 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 brahmana is considered to be the spiritual master of the three other sections of a society, namely, the kshatriyas, the vaishyas and the shudras, but a sannyasi, who is on the top of the institution, is considered to be the spiritual master of the brahmanas also. For a sannyasi, the first qualification should be fearlessness. Because a sannyasi 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 Krishna or the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His localized aspect as Paramatma is always within, that He is seeing everything and He always knows what one intends to do. One must thus have firm conviction that Krishna as Paramatma 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 Krishna, 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 sannyasi 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 sannyasi, and when He was at Puri 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 sannyasi 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 sannyasi, intimate relations with women and possession of wealth for sense gratification are strictly forbidden. The ideal sannyasi 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 sannyasa order of life in connection with association with woman. One of His personal associates, namely Chota Haridasa, was associated with Lord Caitanya along with His other confidential personal associates, but somehow or other this Chota Haridasa 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 sannyasi 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 jnana-yoga-vyavasthiti: being engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. Sannyasi life is meant for distributing knowledge to the householders and others who have forgotten their real life of spiritual advancement. A sannyasi 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 sannyasi goes from door to door, not exactly for the purpose of begging, but to see the householders and awaken them to Krishna consciousness. This is the duty of a sannyasi. If he is actually advanced and so ordered by his spiritual master, he should preach Krishna 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 sannyasi, or one in the renounced order of life, must be situated in fearlessness, sattva-samsuddhi (purity) and jnana-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 Krishna 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 Krishna 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 Krishna. If he is able to beget children who will be in Krishna 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, vanaprastha and sannyasa, 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 sankirtana-yajna. This sankirtana-yajna, the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, 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 svadhyaya, Vedic study, is meant for brahmacarya, or student life. Brahmacaris 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 svadhyaya.

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, grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. So after grihastha, 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 varnashrama-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-gita. 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 brahmacari ashrama, grihastha ashrama, vanaprastha ashrama or sannyasa ashrama. One should be very simple and straightforward.

Ahimsa 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 ahimsa 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 ahimsa.

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.

Shruti 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-gita 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. Apaisunam 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. Hri means that one should be very modest and must not perform some act which is abominable. Acapalam, 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 kshatriyas. The kshatriyas 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.

Saucam 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. Nati-manita, not expecting honor, applies to the shudras, 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 shudras 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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

In the sixteenth chapter, the deva and demon qualities as well as the results of these two conditions will be described.

Remembering that the fruits of the asvattha tree of samsara had not been describe in the last chapter after mentioning them, the Lord in this chapter describes the fruits of the tree which are of two varieties: those which cause liberation and those which cause bondage. First, he describes those giving liberation in three verses.

Abhayam means freedom from the fear of “How will I live being alone in the forest without wife and children?”

Sattva samsuddhih means purity of consciousness. Jnana yoga vyavasthitah means being completely familiar with the methods of attaining jnana, for example lack of pride, mentioned in chapter thirteen. Dana means to distribute food or other items of one’s enjoyment to others. Dama means controlling the external senses. Yajna means worship of the Lord. Svadhyaya means studying or reciting the Vedas. The other items after this are clear. Tyaga means to give up possessiveness of wife, children and other things. Aloluptam means absence of greed.

These twenty six items belong to the person born at a moment indicating sattvika nature.


Bhagavad Gita 16.4

Text 4

dambho darpo ’bhimanas ca
krodhah parusyam eva ca
ajnanam cabhijatasya
partha sampadam asurim

Translation

Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance—these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Pritha.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

The Lord now speaks of the fruits which cause bondage.

Dambha means to announce oneself as religious even though one has a sinful nature. Darpa means pride due to wealth, knowledge and the like. Abhimana means to desire respect from others or attachment to wife, sons and other things. Krodha means anger. Parusya means cruelty. Ajnana means lack of discrimination. These are the qualities of the asura, which indicate other types of beings such as raksasas as well. These qualities belong to the person born at a moment indicating attainment of rajasic or tamasic qualities.


Bhagavad Gita 16.5

Text 5

daivi sampad vimokshaya
nibandhayasuri mata
ma sucah sampadam daivim
abhijato ’si pandava

Translation

The transcendental qualities are conducive to liberation, whereas the demoniac qualities make for bondage. Do not worry, O son of Pandu, for you are born with the divine qualities.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

Lord Krishna 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 Bhishma and Drona 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 kshatriya, 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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

The Lord shows the effects of these two attainments in this verse.

“It appears that I have the asuric traits which will lead to bondage in samsara since I desire to kill enemies by shooting arrows and am thus filled with cruelty and anger.”

To comfort Arjuna who was thus worried, the Lord speaks. “Do not worry. You are born with the daiva qualities. O Pandava! For one born in a ksatriya family, anger and cruelty during war is prescribed by the scriptures. To do otherwise would make you of the asuric nature, possessing violence and other bad qualities.”


Bhagavad Gita 16.6

Text 6

dvau bhuta-sargau loke ’smin
daiva asura eva ca
daivo vistarasah prokta
asuram partha me shrinu

Translation

O son of Pritha, in this world there are two kinds of created beings. One is called the divine and the other demoniac. I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities. Now hear from Me of the demoniac.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

Lord Krishna, 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 Prajapati; the only difference is that one class obeys the Vedic injunctions and the other does not.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

Now Krishna begins to explain about the asuric qualities to the despondent Arjuna. I have spoken about the divine persons in detail already, in verse 1-3.


Bhagavad Gita 16.7

Text 7

pravrttim ca nivrttim ca
jana na vidur asurah
na shaucam napi cacaro
na satyam tesu vidyate

Translation

Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

In every civilized human society there is some set of scriptural rules and regulations which is followed from the beginning. Especially among the Aryans, 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 Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, 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-samhita, which is the law of the human race. Even up to today, those who are Hindu follow the Manu-samhita. Laws of inheritance and other legalities are derived from this book. Now, in the Manu-samhita 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-samhita. But modern education has artificially devised a puffed-up concept of womanly life, and therefore marriage is practically now an imagination in human society. Nor is the moral condition of woman very good now. 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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

Pravrttim means dharma and nivrttim means adharma.


Bhagavad Gita 16.8

Text 8

asatyam apratishtham te
jagad ahur anishvaram
aparaspara-sambhutam
kim anyat kama-haitukam

Translation

They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

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, so 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 Krishna in Bhagavad-gita: mayadhyaksena prakritih suyate sa-caracaram. “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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

This verse describes the thinking process of the asuras. They say that the world is an illusory conception, based on falsity (asatyam); that it is without shelter (apratistha), not having even the basis of a flower in the sky; that it is without creatorship of a controller since it is false (anisvaram). Because it has arisen from nowhere like entities from perspiration, it has not arisen from a cause (aparaspara sambhutam). What else can be said (kim anyat)? Its cause is just according to the desire of those who propound theories about it (kama haitukam). If they can imagine that the world arises only by illusion, then that becomes the cause.

Others explain the verse thus: It has no proof, no confirmation from the Vedas, Puranas or other sources of knowledge (asatyam). It is said:

trayo vedasya kartaro bhanda-dhurta-nisacara

The makers of the three Vedas are jackals imitating wise men.

It has no state of dharma or adharma (apratistham). The ideas of dharma and adharma are both mistaken conceptions. The Lord also is conceived on the basis of mistake or bhrama (anisvaram).

“It is observed that the world arises only from the mutual interactions of men and women.” This is not a fact. The world does not arise from their interaction (aparaspara sarhbhutam). Though it is said that the child arises from the mother and father, it is a mistaken idea, like false knowledge that the pot has arisen from the potter. What should be said? The cause of the world is simply a speculation of one’s whim (kama haitukam). By logic, whatever different persons speak about atoms, maya or God, they talk of that as the cause.


Bhagavad Gita 16.9

Text 9

etam drstim avastabhya
nastatmano ’lpa-buddhayah
prabhavanty ugra-karmanah
ksayaya jagato ’hitah

Translation

Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

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-gita, 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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

Some of these asuras who speak in this way are lost souls, some have little intelligence, some are violent, doing whatever they want, living hellish existence. This is described in eleven verses. Avastabhya means taking shelter of this conception.


Bhagavad Gita 16.10

Text 10

kamam asritya duspuram
dambha-mana-madanvitah
mohad grhitvasad-grahan
pravartante ’suci-vratah

Translation

Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

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 asuci-vratah, “unclean vows,” is very significant in this connection. Such demoniac people are only attracted by wine, women, gambling and meat-eating; those are their asuci, 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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

They engage in false doctrines (asad grahan). They perform vrata without pure conduct (asuci vratah).


Bhagavad Gita 16.11-12

Text 11-12

cintam aparimeyam ca
pralayantam upasritah
kamopabhoga-parama
etavad iti niscitah

asa-pasa-satair baddhah
kama-krodha-parayanah
ihante kama-bhogartham
anyayenartha-sancayan

Translation

They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus until the end of life their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

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 Upanishads, 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.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

Text 11: Until death (pralayantam) they take shelter of unlimited thoughts. They are convinced that the only purport of scripture (etavan iti niscitah) is let the senses enjoy sense objects and why worry about it.

Text 12: No commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur


Bhagavad Gita 16.13-15

Text 13-15

idam adya maya labdham
imam prapsye manoratham
idam astidam api me
bhavisyati punar dhanam

asau maya hatah satrur
hanisye caparan api
isvaro ’ham aham bhogi
siddho ’ham balavan sukhi

adhyo ’bhijanavan asmi
ko ’nyo ’sti sadrso maya
yaksye dasyami modisya
ity ajnana-vimohitah

Translation

“The demoniac person thinks: “So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.” In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.”

Commentary by Srila Prabhupada

No commentary by Srila Prabhupada.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur

No commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur.