Baghawad Gita, Class : Chapter , Verses 4 to 9


Shloka 16.4:

16.4 O son of Prtha, (the attributes) of one destined to have the demoniacal nature are religious ostentation, pride and haughtiness, [Another reading is abhimanah, self-conceit.-Tr.], anger as also rudeness and ignorance.


Continuing his teachings Swamiji said,

In the 16th chapter of the Gita, Sri Krishna is talking about two types of lifestyles, one that is conducive to spirituality and moksha and the other one non-conducive to spiritual goal and these two lifestyles are called daivi sampath and asuri sampath.

We can roughly translate it as spiritual value system and materialistic value system; and the based on this, the spiritual value systems were mentioned in the first three verses; and the materialistic value system, Sri Krishna summarized in the 4th verse and he will elaborately deal with that from the 7th verse up to 21st verse later on. But before elaborating the asuri sampath, Sri Krishna points out that if you want to gain moksha, then your life style should be governed by daivi sampath. This is mentioned in the 5th verse and we will read:

Shloka 16.5:

16.5 The divine nature is the Liberation, the demoniacal is considered to be for inevitable bondage. Do not grieve, O son of Pandu! You are destined to have the divine nature.

Sri Krishna says, the spiritual value system which I gave out in the first three verses will take you towards Moksha. It is conducive to self-knowledge. Whereas the asuri sampath, the materialistic value system; will keep you in Samsara and bondage. And naturally Arjuna is worried as to which category he belongs to, therefore, Sri Krishna pats Arjuna and says, Arjuna fortunately, you are with daivi sampath only.

You are born with spiritual inclination. You have a value for spiritual growth; Interest in spirituality is possible only if inherited from the previous birth.

Sri Krishna has said before that spiritual development takes place through many janmas. If we had such a lifestyle in this birth, we will have a natural inclination for religious or spiritual life. Arjuna, you are born with such an inclination. You have got a satvic tendency; you are a guna brahmana by birth itself and therefore you can feel happy. And you can nourish that spiritual tendency more and more.

Shloka 16.6:

16.6 In this world there are two (kinds of) creation of beings: the divine and the demoniacal. The divine has been spoken of elaborately. Hear about the demoniacal from Me, O son of Prtha.

So, here, Sri Krishna says, O Arjuna, the entire humanity can be divided into two groups. Not merely Indians; not merely the vedic people, the entire humanity can be divided into two groups; based on their tendencies; their values.

One group of humanity we can call daiva group, which means naturally having a spiritual tendency. They might be born in a materialistic society; but something pulls them towards spiritual people, spiritual books, spiritual topics, something attracts them, they themselves do not know the reason.

And there is another group, asuric; utterly materialistic group, down to earth group, as a Yamadharma raja said in kathopanishad. Yamadharmaraja calls them Shreyas and Preyas group. So Asura meaning People with materialistic tendencies; even though they born in a spiritual family; surrounded by Vedas, surrounded by Brahmaṇas, surrounded by temples; father himself may be a Gyani, but in spite of all these influences; these are people who turn towards materialism. Therefore, known as asuraha.

And, I have talked about the daiva group, the spiritual people, who have a spiritual value system, I have talked about them in the first three verses, but I have not elaborately talked about the materialistic value system. and I have briefly mentioned that in the fourth verse, but Sri Krishna feels that it should be elaborated. Therefore, he says the elaborate study of Asuri sampath, Arjuna, may you learn from me; so that you can avoid such a tendency. Thus, Sri Krishna gives an introduction to the asuri sampath; and hereafter He will elaborate on that.

Shloka 16.7

16.7 Neither do the demoniacal persons under-stand what is to be done and what is not to be done; nor does purity, or even good conduct or truthfulness exist in them.

All the human beings by nature and by birth are materialistic in character. Nobody knows that there is a such a goal called Moksha. And nobody knows that there is such a thing called dharma, because dharma is not visible to our eyes; moksha is also not visible to our eyes. Both of them are called apaurusheya purushartha; goals not available to our sense organs; or even to science. And since these two goals are not known, every human being has got only two purusharthas called artha and kama. Artha means money, and wealth. And the second thing is kama pleasure or enjoyment; therefore, everybody by birth has a value for artha kama purushartha’s; and therefore, our mind develops its own raga-dvesha’s. raga means likes and dvesha means dislike. Right from birth, our life is governed by raga-dveshas, our instinctive likes and dislikes; which are again based on artha kama purushartha; and our scriptures point out that this raga-dvesha based life is OK in the beginning stages. But once a stage is reached when we are capable of discrimination and thinking, this raga-dvesha based life should be changed; and a new value system should replace the old value system; and the new value system that is prescribed by our scriptures is the spiritual value system. And we do not know the importance of spiritual goals, because we are immature people at that time. And, therefore, we should be guided by the scriptures which we look upon as Veda mata.

Just as a baby does not know what is good for it and what is bad, a baby surrenders to the mother, and the mother decides what is good for the child. And as long as the child goes by the mother’s decision, it is ultimately for the good of the baby only. Just as mother decides what is good and bad for us, because we are immature. Similarly, Veda is the mother, who decides what is ultimately good for us and as per Veda the ultimate goal of human life has to be spiritual alone. Therefore, the shruti says: You do not know what is good for you. I am deciding what is good for you and therefore follow what I tell you. And the Shruti replaces the materialistic value system by a spiritual value system. It tells what us what is good and it is called vidhi. Vidhi means a thing which is good for me and nishedha means that which is not good for me. vidhi means kartavyam; Nishedha means akarthavyam and the Shruti asks us to replace the raga- dvesha based life by vidhi-nisheda based life. And this transformation from the materialistic value system to spiritual value system is considered the second birth of the human being. This transformation is from the prakrta to the samskrta purusha; and it is generally symbolized by the sacred thread ceremony.

Sri Krishna says that the asura purushas are those people who do not go through this transformation of life. Because they do not want to follow the spiritual value system prescribed by the scriptures. And therefore, he says people who are materialistic people, asuras, who are governed by raga-dveshas, likes and dislikes, they do not educate themselves scripturally. They are literate materialistically, because they may know physics or chemistry or economics, but spiritually they are illiterate. And therefore, this transformation does not take place.

They do not know what is to be done, for spiritual growth.

They do not have dharma adharma viveka. And, therefore, they do what they like.

So, the vedic scriptures give us a daily routine to be followed for spiritual growth. The scriptures give us instructions on what we need to do from the moment we wake up every morning till we go to bed.

So, the first advice the scriptures give is to get up before Sunrise. Most of us don’t follow this.

So, Shastra says wake up before sunrise so that Surya Bhagavan can bless us.

This is the first spiritual value or achara.

And thereafter start the day with lighting the lamp and then doing some prayers, apply some tilakam, and this is supposed to be the greatest protection against materialism. The onslaught of materialism is so powerful that if you have to protect, they say put some kumkum or chandan or vibhuthi.

The vibhathi is prepared by chanting a lot of mantras.  Vibhathi preparation is a very elaborate ritualistic process, and therefore, it is not an ordinary ash, it is an ash with lot of mantra. And not only it has mantras’ spiritual values, even when a person is applying vibhuti he is supposed to chant mantras or names of the Lord or namas. And that is why in vaishnava sampradhaya it is called nama.

Vibhuthi means Bhagavan mahima. When you are wearing the Vibhuthi, one has to chant the triyambaka mantra.

This mantra says that Vibhuthi means it is glory of the Lord. Since you remember the glory of the Lord, the ash itself got the name Vibhuthi and since this tilakam is associated with God, it is supposed to protect us from the onslaught of materialism. Therefore, get up early in the morning; do snanam, light up the lamp, chant the prayers, and remember the Lord and remember the goal of life as well. And until you complete all these things, not even a drop of water should be drunk.

Start your day with achara. There is no sense of religious purity at all for materialistic people; So, they walk with the night dress all over the world, with the half-cleaned teeth, with the brush in the mouth, with toothpaste, walking all over with a newspaper. It is certainly not a vedic lifestyle.

Even brushing the teeth is a religious rite and there is a prayer mantra addressed to vanaspathi devatha, because in the olden days, they used the twigs of the trees for cleaning the teeth and therefore prayer to the twig: Hey Vanaspathe, I am brushing my teeth to remove my danta malaha, the impurities of the teeth; along with that, Oh Devathe, cleanse my mind also”. And for what purpose? For Atma Gyanam. All these are wonderfully designed by the Veda right from the very young age to be followed; materialistic people do not believe in any one of them.

So, they do not have the religious Discipline; what about values? They do not believe in the values also; their argument is, whatever is convenient is value; I will speak truth also when it is convenient.

So, values also they do not believe in. This is the beginning of materialism. Now we can imagine the details.

Shloka 16.8:

16.8 They say that the world is unreal, it has no basis, it is without a God. It is born of mutual union brought about by passion! What other (cause can there be)?

They are totally irreligious people. They do not connect with religion or spirituality, which is based on the vedic scriptures. First, they do not believe in the Vedas or believe in Asthayam. Sathyam here means Veda pramanam, Asathyam means that they do not believe in Veda pramanam, even though Veda is like thousand mothers.

Shankaracharya tells us, elsewhere, that the Vedas are superior to thousand mothers and fathers; it is interested only in our wellbeing but in spite of that; they do not believe in Veda pramanam. They are utterly nastika people. And if they do not accept Veda pramanam; they also do not believe in Dharma. Pratishta means dharma; dharma means moral or ethical order of the universe. Vedas say Dharma or morality alone sustains the creation.

Dharma means that which sustains the universe. Moral order alone sustains. Once the morality goes from the society, there will be utter distress and confusion and a society cannot survive for long; And therefore, scriptures talk about Dharmas and these people do not believe in dharma because dharma is not visible to our eyes. They believe in the physical order of the universe, because it is scientifically provable. They believe in the scientific laws of the creation; like the law of gravitation; like the ecological laws, etc. but the laws of dharma they do not believe because it cannot be scientifically proved. And therefore they say there is no dharma or adharma; there is no punyam or papam and therefore, there is neither previous birth or next birth. Enjoy this life; following whatever you feel like doing.

And then who is the creator of this universe?

They do not believe in God as well.

They say creation can come by itself; the scientists have proved that the big bang took place at such and such time, thereafter the world has evolved by itself with the help of chemical and physical laws; we do not see any intelligent principle behind it; and therefore we do not require a God.

They reject everything; they believe in only money and entertainment. Therefore five days of a week, earn and two days of a week, go all out and enjoy. Continue that till death. This is the philosophy of materialistic people.

Whereas what is the belief of the traditional people? We say, God is the creator of the world; and along with the world, God has created the Vedas also. And Vedas are the manuals which are meant to guide our life; so that we can extract the best out of this human life. And the best we can extract is moksha itself.

So, do not have materialistic friends; until you clearly understand the Vedas and understand the value of dharma. Until you understand the concept of pramanam, avoid materialistic people.

These people argue that there is no Ishvara; no Vedas and there is no dharma.

Then how did this creation come?

We are created by our parents because of the male-female union, which is caused by kama or passion, we are born. And how are our parents born? because of their parents; and how are their parents born; because of their parents. Why is God required for this? They argue that spending money on temples is useless, rather give money to the poor.

And when we listen to those arguments, we also start having doubts, perhaps they are correct; whereas Vedas says spending money on God or dharma or puja etc. can never be a waste; it is like pouring water at the root of the tree; when you pour water at the root of the tree; water directly goes to the root; but in an invisible manner the water goes to all the branches; I do not see it, but every cell of the tree gets the benefit.

Similarly, Bhagavan is the root of this creation; where did we see this? In Bhagavat Gita chapter 15.

Abhisheka you do, naivaidyam you do, nothing goes to waste, ultimately it is for the benefit of humanity. But a materialistic person will not accept that.

Shloka 16.9:

16.9 Holding on to this view, (these people) who are of depraved character, of poor intellect, given to fearful actions and harmful, wax strong for the ruin of the world.

So, these Asuric people hold on to the materialistic philosophy. Their philosophy is whatever sense organs can see that alone exists. That there are things, beyond our sense organs and which can be known through other means of knowledge, they do not accept. It is like a person with four sense organs. Imagine a person has only four sense organs by birth. He does not have eyes. He has got ears, tongue, nose and skin.

And I talk about the field of colors, I say that there is a world of colors. He says, I do not believe in that; I do not accept that; because I am not able to appreciate the colors with my four sense organs. And I say no, that you cannot know that, because the available four sense organs do not have access to the colors. It has to be known through the fifth sense organs, eyes, I tell. But this person argues that I do not believe there is a fifth sense organ. I want to prove the colors with the help of the 4 sense organs I have; he wants the proof for the colors through the ears, or prove the color through the nose, through the tongue, skin, through the available four pramanas. He is not interested in the fifth sense organ which reveals a field not available for these four.

Similarly, our culture talks about a sixth sense organ. What is the sixth sense organ?

It is called Veda. And we want to prove that with the help of the available five sense organs, we can only say that the available sense organs do not have access to that; you have to use the sixth. And if a person refuses to use the eyes, which is the fifth sense organ, who is the loser? If I will not use the eyes, I alone am going to be the loser, neither the eye nor the world of colors. If I should benefit from the world of colors, I should be willing accept a fifth sense organ called the eye; which sense organ can never be proved by the other four sense organs. Veda is the sixth sense organ which can never be proved or disproved by the available five sense organs. You use the Veda pramana and study with faith, you will be opened to a new and wonderful field, which is not accessible to science; which is not acceptable to the sense organs.

By rejecting the Veda, Veda is not the loser; I am going to be the loser. But materialistic people will never understand the significance of the sixth sense organ. They claim that they are rational people, they will believe in only those things which can be sensed through five sense organs. Like the fool who wants the proof for the color with the help of the other 4 sense organs; how can I prove it; it is not possible.

And therefore, the materialistic people will never understand.  They are lost souls, because they are losing a huge chunk of the creation which is accessible only through Veda pramana. The very definition of the Veda is what: Veda is a sixth sense organ as it were; which will reveal a new world which is not accessible to these regular five sense organs. How can you define the fifth sense organ the eye; eye is a fifth sense organ, which reveals the colors, which are not accessible to the other four sense organs. Similarly, Vedas reveals a completely new field. It is for you to operate or make use of the Vedas; otherwise you are going to be the loser.

So, they are lost souls. All because they do not understand the concept of pramana. What the eyes reveal, the ears can never prove; the ears can never disprove; what the eyes reveal. Suppose I say this is orange color is revealed by eyes; suppose the eyes want to verify the orange color. No, the ears are great; but the ears can never prove or disprove, because their field is different.

Similarly, Vedic field is different; scientific field is different. Science has got access only to a particular field; therefore, science has no right to prove or disprove the Vedic teaching. This is the significance of pramanam.

Therefore, they try to prove the Vedas scientifically. That is the greatest foolishness. It is like trying to prove the colors with the help of the ears. They will never succeed; and when they do not succeed, instead of understanding their foolishness, they reject the Vedas.

Vedas are unscientific and therefore I won’t believe. That is the greatest foolishness to have. Therefore, Sri Krishna says: idiots; they try to prove Vedas through science; They hold on to a materialistic philosophy and once artha and kama becomes dominant in life; when dharma is not valued, then compromise with values become natural. Violation of values become natural. Telling a lie will become very comfortable; first it will prick, second lie it does not matter, the third lie we are comfortable; thereafter, lying become natural, cheating becomes natural, himsa becomes natural; therefore, they will be hurting the moral order of the universe. Ugrakarmanaha means they are people of violence. Violating what? the ethical or moral order of the creation; violating dharma which is the health of the universe. It is like violating the rules of health; by following the rules of health; I keep my body fit. If I violate those rules, the body dharma is disturbed; which becomes sickness physically, similarly when dharma is violated, the society becomes sick. Adharma is the sickness of the society. A sick body cannot survive; a sick society cannot also survive.

And therefore ugrakarmanaha, they hurt dharma; and the society indirectly prabhavanthi;

And jagataha kshayaya; they become the cause of the destruction of the humanity; And the tragedy is when the scientific knowledge increases, and value for dharma decreases, the scientific knowledge also will be used for adharmic purposes. And science gives enormous power and the increased power will be used for consistent akramaha. If medical science increases and kidneys can be replaced; kidney racket comes up. Thus, Knowledge without wisdom becomes dangerous. Knowledge is material knowledge, wisdom is dharmic knowledge; When material knowledge increases, without dharmic knowledge, that society will have problems. They will then cause destruction of universe. Militants will increase; terrorists will increase, train accidents will increase; naxals will increase. They will have even atom bombs and chemicals. Science will become a curse of humanity. Science will be blessing only when it goes along with dharma.

Therefore, these people will become a curse to the society.

Therefore, they become enemies of humanity.

Thus, educated people without dharma will become enemies.

Sakshara rakshasa bhavanti. Sakshara means literate people, they become Rakshasa.

Take Away:

Asuras means Materialistic people.

Shruti asks us to replace the raga- dvesha (likes and dislikes) based life by vidhi-nisheda (good vs bad) based life.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy