By Sri Swami Sivananda
The Yoga of the Division Between the Divine and the Demoniacal
Summary of Sixteenth Discourse
This discourse is important and very instructive to all persons who wish to attain happiness, prosperity and blessedness, and to seekers in particular, who wish to attain success in their spiritual life. Lord Krishna brings out quite clearly and unmistakably here the intimate connection between ethics and spirituality, between a life of virtue and God-realisation and liberation. Listing two sets of qualities of opposite kinds, the Lord classifies them as divine and demoniacal (undivine), and urges us to eradicate the latter and cultivate the divine qualities.
What kind of nature should one develop? What conduct must one follow? What way should one live and act if one must attain God and obtain divine bliss? These questions are answered with perfect clarity and very definitely. The pure divine qualities are conducive to peace and liberation and the undivine qualities lead to bondage. Purity, good conduct and truth are indispensable to spiritual progress and even to an honourable life here.
Devoid of purity, good conduct and truth, and having no faith in God or a higher Reality beyond this visible world, man degenerates into a two-legged beast of ugly character and cruel actions, and sinks into darkness. Such a person becomes his own enemy and the destroyer of the happiness of others as well as his own. Caught in countless desires and cravings, a slave of sensual enjoyments and beset by a thousand cares, his life ultimately ends in misery and degradation. Haughtiness, arrogance and egoism lead to this dire fate. Therefore, a wise person, desiring success, must eradicate vice and cultivate virtue.
In this world three gates lead to hell—the gates of passion, anger and greed. Released from these three qualities one can succeed in attaining salvation and reaching the highest goal, namely God. Thus the sacred scriptures teach wisely the right path of pure, virtuous living. One should therefore follow the injunctions of the sacred scriptures that wish his welfare and be guided in his actions by their noble teachings.
The Blessed Lord said:
1. Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in Yoga and knowledge, alms-giving, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness,
2. Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness,
3. Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride—these belong to one born in a divine state, O Arjuna!
4. Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, harshness and also anger and ignorance, belong to one who is born in a demoniacal state, O Arjuna!
5. The divine nature is deemed for liberation and the demoniacal for bondage. Grieve not, O Arjuna, for thou art born with divine properties!
COMMENTARY: As Arjuna is dejected, Sri Krishna assures him not to feel alarmed at this description of the demoniacal qualities as he is born with Sattwic tendencies leading towards salvation.
6. There are two types of beings in this world—the divine and the demoniacal; the divine has been described at length; hear from Me, O Arjuna, of the demoniacal!
7. The demoniacal know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither purity nor right conduct nor truth is found in them.
8. They say: “This universe is without truth, without a (moral) basis, without a God, brought about by mutual union, with lust for its cause; what else?”
9. Holding this view, these ruined souls of small intellects and fierce deeds, come forth as enemies of the world for its destruction.
10. Filled with insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they work with impure resolves.
11. Giving themselves over to immeasurable cares ending only with death, regarding gratification of lust as their highest aim, and feeling sure that that is all,
12. Bound by a hundred ties of hope, given over to lust and anger, they strive to obtain by unlawful means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment.
13. “This has been gained by me today; this desire I shall obtain; this is mine and this wealth too shall be mine in future.”
14. “That enemy has been slain by me and others also I shall slay. I am the lord; I enjoy; I am perfect, powerful and happy”.
15. “I am rich and born in a noble family. Who else is equal to me? I will sacrifice. I will give (charity). I will rejoice,”—thus, deluded by ignorance,
16. Bewildered by many a fancy, entangled in the snare of delusion, addicted to the gratification of lust, they fall into a foul hell.
17. Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with the intoxication and pride of wealth, they perform sacrifices in name, through ostentation, contrary to scriptural ordinances.
18. Given over to egoism, power, haughtiness, lust and anger, these malicious people hate Me in their own bodies and those of others.
19. These cruel haters, the worst among men in the world,—I hurl all these evil-doers for ever into the wombs of demons only.
20. Entering into demoniacal wombs and deluded birth after birth, not attaining Me, they thus fall, O Arjuna, into a condition still lower than that!
21. Triple is the gate of this hell, destructive of the self—lust, anger, and greed,—therefore, one should abandon these three.
22. A man who is liberated from these three gates to darkness, O Arjuna, practises what is good for him and thus goes to the Supreme goal!
COMMENTARY: When these three gates to hell are abandoned, the path to salvation is cleared for the aspirant. He gets the company of sages, which leads to liberation. He receives spiritual instructions and practises them. He hears the scriptures, reflects, meditates and attains Self-realisation.
23. He who, casting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, acts under the impulse of desire, attains neither perfection nor happiness nor the supreme goal.
24. Therefore, let the scripture be the authority in determining what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. Having known what is said in the ordinance of the scriptures, thou shouldst act here in this world.
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the sixteenth discourse entitled:
“The Yoga of the Division Between the Divine & the Demoniacal”
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