Bhagavad Gita - Chapter XVI Print E-mail

Every human being is a fascinating combination of divine and demonic qualities. We all have the devil in us. Something that makes us pursue self-destructive ways. Yet, even the worst among us has extraordinarily divine traits. Our success depends on how well we are able to operate out of our own goodness and marginalize the demonic qualities. The Chapter enumerates 26 qualities of the divine and six qualities of the demonic. Krsna assures Arjuna that he is born of the divine temperament.


The basic difference between the divine and demonic is knowledge. The divine have access to higher knowledge while the demonic, deluded by greed, lust and ego are ignorant of their potential. Thus they do not know what to do or not do, are impure and lack good conduct. They declare the world is meaningless and is brought about by lustful union. Resorting to insatiable desire, of scant discrimination and savage deeds, such people cause destruction to themselves and others.


It all begins with a thought. You experience an emptiness within and thoughts arise in the mind that go out into the world to acquire objects and beings. You believe, wrongly, that acquisition of worldly objects will fill the void. You give in to sensual pleasures. One indulgence leads to another and before long you are enmeshed in the web of delusion, moha jala. You get addicted to sense gratification and go into a downward spiral. You lead a stressful life devoid of vitality, cheer and growth. Pleasure turns to pain and life becomes a nightmare. Self-conceited, obstinate and arrogant, you perform sacrifices ostentatiously, against scriptural mandate. Ignorant of your divine birthright you go through the endless cycle of birth and death, repeatedly born in the families of the demonic. If you still do not correct yourself and acquire such gross desires that cannot be fulfilled in the human form you may even slip into lower life forms.


Having described the perils of yielding to the devilish tendencies Krsna urges you to free yourself from the three gates of darkness – desire, anger and greed. Anger and greed are mutations of desire so it is desire that needs to be combated and overcome. Yet in the world desire is encouraged, fanned, promoted. Nobody understands the devastating effects of desire, your greatest enemy. The doors to your soul are kept shut and you live and die without so much as a glimpse of your own power and magnificence.


If you follow your divine nature you do yourself good and uplift others as well. You live a life of success and happiness and eventually transcend the world to attain liberation.


Often we follow the path of least resistance and give in to our own worst traits. Sadly, the best in us lies unknown, untapped, unacknowledged. The Bhagavad Gita shows the way out of darkness and ignorance to the light of wisdom. A path by which the worst tendencies can be silenced and the best qualities promoted. The Indian culture and lifestyle nurtures all that is good and eradicates the evil within.



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