dambho darpo ’bhimānaś ca
krodhaḥ pāruṣyam eva ca
pārtha sampadam āsurīm
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 16.4
Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance—these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Pritha.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
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 Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
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.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
16.4 ‘Dambha or pomposity’ is the practice of Dharma for earning a reputation for righteousness. ‘Arrogance’ is the elation caused by the pleasures of sense-objects and the consequent inability to discriminate between what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. ‘Self-conceit’ is the estimation of oneself in a measure not warranted by one’s education and birth. ‘Wrath’ is the sense of antagonism causing injury to others. ‘Rudeness’ is the nature of causing grief to Sadhus. ‘Ignorance’ is incapacity to discriminate between hight and low forms of conduct and principles, and also between what ought to be done and what ought not to be. These are the qualities that are found in one born for a demoniac destiny. Asuras are those who rebel against the commandments of the Lord.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Now the six properties of the demoniac nature are concisely given here by Lord Krishna. Dambha is ostentation which arises from belief in the sanctimony of perverting religion. Darpha is pride due to erroneous conceptions of what is privileged birth. Abhimanah is arrogance which is conceit and vanity due to material delusions of education, position and wealth. Parusyam is harshness and cruelty devoid of mercy. Krodha is anger exemplified by total lack of control of the mind due to frustrated greed and lust. Ajnanam is ignorance and the absence of knowledge in discriminating what is eternal and what is temporary, what is righteous and what is unrighteous. All the demoniac properties are accompanied by fiendishness which is also a component of the demoniac and exists in those born in the demoniac nature.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna gives the six demerits that are part of the demoniac nature and are formidable obstacles obstructing all progress in spiritual advancement. The word damah or ostentatious denotes hypocrisy, mendacity and lack of religiosity. Darpah is pride erroneously exuding from intoxication of position, wealth and power. The word krodah means anger resulting from frustration causing animosity and the impetus to injure and harm others by parusyam or cruelty and harshness without any mercy. This is a defect especially found in sovereigns and rulers due to abhimanh or extreme egotism in the illusion that they are the most powerful and worshipable instead of the Supreme Lord. Thus their mentality being deluded is ajnanam or ignorance, void of actual knowledge and destitute in discrimination of what is eternal and what is temporary.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Having revealed the divine qualities the Supreme Lord Krishna discloses the six demoniac properties which are to be rejected and abandoned in all situations. Dambah is ostentation or hypocrisy by pretentiously parodying righteousness. Darpah is pride caused by exaggerated egotism due to one’s birth. Abhinamah is arrogance due to education, position and wealth. Krodah is anger resulting from frustration of greed and lust and causes one to give the burning pain one feels to others. Parusyam is harshness, lack of kindness and merciless opposition to that which is righteous. Ajnanam is ignorance in determining what is eternal and what is temporal and subsequently the inability to discriminate between what is righteous and beneficial and what is unrighteous and harmful to one’s own existence. The copulative ca meaning and, includes the vices such as fiendishness, perversion, lust, greed, etc.
Thus the demoniac oppose even the injunctions and prohibitions of the eternal Vedic scriptures while concocting, hypothecating and engaging in heinous activities that erode the eternal values of righteousness for all living beings in their fiendish attempt to degrade and degenerate all creation.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
16.4 O son of Prtha, dambhah, religious ostentation; darpah, pride arising from wealth, relatives, etc.; atimanah, haughtiness, as explained earlier; and krodhah, anger; eva ca, as also; parusyam, redeness, using unkind words, e.g. to speak of a blind person as having eyes, an ugly person as handsome, a lowly born man as born of aristocracy, and so on; and ajnanam, ignorance, non-discriminating knowledge, false conception regarding what ought to be and ought not to be done; are (the attributes) abhijatasya, of one destined to have;-destined for what? in answer the Lord says-asurim, demoniacal; sampadam, nature. The consequences of these natures are being stated:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
16.1-5 It has been stated [at the end of the last chapter] that ‘by understanding this’ etc. The thing called ‘understanding’ comes to be [in the following] manner : After the knowledge, born from hearing [the scriptures etc.], there arises a thought-process consisting of the logical analysis, deliberation and deep meditation that take the form ‘This (what is taught in the scriptures etc.) is like this’. The above thought-process is of the nature of investigation, critical examination and judgement. From this thought-process one gains a good knowledge of a well practised from i.e., a contemplation of that object, free from the humiliation (influence) of different category. When this is gained, understanding is achieved Hence, it will be declared : ‘By critically examining in this way fully, act as you please’. (Ch. XVIII, 63). Here, only the preceptor and the scripture are mainly capable of creating the scriptural knowledge. But in producing reasoning, deliberation and meditation the main cause is the capacity to examine critically a thing and it is a special attribute of the pupil and it is an important one. Therefore, with an idea that this is in Arjuna and with an intention to add a preparatory note to the purposeful statement ‘By critically examining this, [act as you please]’; the Bhagavat, the preceptor, says ‘Fearlessness etc.’ The Ignorance, born of the Tamas (Stand) occupies the devilish side. This is repelled (or removed) by the well augmented wisdom that takes hold of the divine part. This is the nature of things [under question] ‘You (Arjuna) have taken refuge in the divine part viz., wisdom, born of the Sattva (Strand). Therefore shirking off the internal Ignorance in the nature of delusion, you should undertake the action, that has the sanction of the scriptures and that is of the nature of eradicating the external foe having the form of ignorance.’ Thus commences the [present] chapter. Hence – Abhayam etc., upto pandava. These are the identification marks of a person of divine parts. [Hence] they are clearly identified. Self-restraint : subduing the sense organs. Thought-lessness : the perfarmance of action without examining the antecedent and the sequel; its absence is the absence of thought-lessness. Vital power : the act of casting away [all] limitations by taking hold energy in the Self. [All] this is the divine wealth and this is for your total emancipation, as it destroys craving. Therefore, don’t get sorrow like ‘Having killed brothers etc., how can I (Arjuna) enjoy pleasure ?’ [The idea of] the rest [of passage] is clear.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
dambho darpo ’bhimanas ca
krodhah parusyam eva ca
partha sampadam asurim
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
dambhaḥ — pride; darpaḥ — arrogance; abhimānaḥ — conceit; ca — and; krodhaḥ — anger; pāruṣyam — harshness; eva — certainly; ca — and; ajñānam — ignorance; ca — and; abhijātasya — of one who is born of; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; sampadam — the qualities; āsurīm — of the demoniac nature.