Gita Series – 152: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVI. Verse 17 – 24

Afflicted with narcissism, stubbornness, vanity and pride they perform sacrificial rites without following the prescribed norms. Embroiled with egotism, brutal force, arrogance, lust and anger, these demoniac creatures hate Me, who not only dwell in their own selves but in the selves of everyone. These perpetrators of cruelty, worst amongst the humanity are made to transmigrate by Me through demoniac wombs. They fail to attain Me in all their births and descend to the lowest level. Lust, anger and greed are the three dreadful destroyers of the soul and are the three gates to hell and therefore should be abandoned. One should work for his own salvation, by freeing himself from these three evils. The one, by ignoring scriptural precepts but following his own fanciful ideas, does not attain perfection, happiness and liberation. Scriptures alone are your guide as to what should be done and what should not be done. Therefore, Arjuna, you should perform all the actions as prescribed by scriptures.”

Krishna sums up the serious afflictions of remaining in demoniac nature while concluding this bhagavad gita chapter 16 and explains briefly the benefits of dispelling demoniac nature. Narcissism is a quality that attaches importance to his own self, which is in contrast to universal consciousness. Extending warmth of love to the fellow beings and compassion to plant and animal kingdom takes a person to the Lord, without any serious effort on one’s part. This is basically because of the fact, that the Lord is omnipresent. One has to be flexible in one’s approach to the society. Adamancy has no place in a peaceful and compassionate society. The Lord hates vanity and pride. Any rituals associated with vanity and pride, do not connect with the Lord. A yogi is the one, who is able to establish a link between the Lord and himself. When a ritual is performed with pomp and vanity, it becomes a gross violation of commandments of Sacred Scriptures. None of the Holy Scriptures advocates any rituals with pomp and vanity as they are associated with conceitedness. The Lord is never pleased with such conceited rituals. The Lord is an embodiment of love and compassion. He has capacity to look deep within oneself. One can never think of deluding Him.

Egotism, brutal force, arrogance, lust and anger are the qualities of a stupefied person and hence are referred to as demoniac qualities. If ego is destroyed, rest of the qualities will never become evident. It is only the ego that makes a person inhumane, arrogant and lusty. A person with haughtiness always remains mentally derailed. Lust is another aspect that makes a person to stoop down to any extent. Gods, goddesses, sages and saints are affected by lust. Stories are abounding about gods and sages getting affected by lust. When a person is afflicted with lust, he loses his metal sheen, where amorous thoughts predominate. Anger is directly related to desire. When one becomes devoid of desire, his temper is always under his control. Such a person never succumbs to the evil effects of anger. If one did not get what he had desired, the resultant factor is anger.

Demoniac personalities are called creatures because they do not possess human qualities. Mind is the foremost factor in humanity and when the mind is afflicted beyond repair, they are treated as demons. Kṛṣṇa subtly conveys the importance of His omnipresent nature. He says that He also resides in the selves of demoniac personalities. Without His presence, any manifestation does not happen. The Lord does not distinguish between good and bad, as they manifest because of their own karmas. Kṛṣṇa gives such a lengthy sermon to Arjuna, in the form of Bhagavad Gita, only to motivate him to perform good karmas in order to attain liberation. The Lord is only the source of energy for all the beings. He does not make a person good or bad. It is only the mind, intellect and ego that are responsible to shape the personality of a person. But, the Lord dwells all the time within a physical body, acting as a witness to the actions that unfold due to one’s karmas. Karmic law is the law of the Lord that is incapable of any amendments. It is a law without any complications. The crux of the karmic theory is ‘what one sows, he reaps only that’.

Persons with demoniac qualities are lead by their past karmas. They do not make attempts to salvage their karmic afflictions and on the contrary, go deeper and deeper into darkness of ignorance, thereby making their souls to transmigrate a number of times. Karmic afflictions can be nullified only by performing good karmas. Any amount of prayer to the Lord does not absolve a person from his karmic afflictions. Kṛṣṇa says that lust, anger and greed are the three most dreadful enemies to the path of liberation. If one gets afflicted with these evils, it is very difficult swim across their inherent current. Kṛṣṇa says that these three qualities drag down a person to the lowest planes of darkness, where one’s mind remains completely subverted. As already discussed, purity of mind is the only factor for liberation. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa makes it abundantly clear that one’s consciousness alone is responsible for the dawn of spiritual wisdom. One has to strive hard for realizing the Self by resorting penance. Penance does not mean that one should sit in a meditative posture all the time. Penance means the purification of mind, by getting rid of evil thoughts. Holy Scriptures lay down guidelines for pursuing a life that leads to the stage of bliss and the ultimate liberation. For example, all the Upanishads intricately explain the process of liberation. Bhagavad Gita is another example, where the Lord Himself teaches the spiritual path. Knowledge and wisdom are the two important constituents while pursuing spiritual path that is very difficult to pursue without regression.


Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVI. 7 - 12

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVI. 13 - 16

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVII. 1 - 4