- The initial 1st to 3rd verses dwell upon the qualities of a man born with divine traits and soon after, the Lord heartens Arjuna by assuring him that he has been born with them. Whenever Krishna spots an opportunity, He invariably lauds His Devotees: ---The much celebrated epic ‘Ramayana’ is rife with such examples of Shabri in ‘Aranyakaand and Vibhishna in the ‘Sunderkaand.
- Krishna confirms that divine persons invariably live regulated lives abiding by the scriptures.Gradually they develop an innate desire to served the Supreme and experience unending happiness. Whereas the demoniac act whimsically and are trapped by their responses to material nature and their ardent desires, which inevitably lead to bondage. (Verses 5 & 6)
- Krishna details the demoniac people who degrades the soul through arrogance, ignorance and pursuit of sense gratification and power which inevitably hound them after death. (7 to 20)
- After mentioning twenty-three godly qualities, Krishna refers to lust, anger and greed and lists them as the topmost, evil personality traits which stand for the three gates of hell. Such mischievous, sad-hearted living entities are repeatedly cast by Krishna into lower species. Their only chance is to change their ways over many births or to receive the grace of a pure devotee.Therefore all well-meaning, thoughtful people should give up these evils (21) and understand their duty by faithfully following the scriptures.
- Contrary to popular belief, the ‘Gita’ deeply respects all sacred texts. It endorses in the 24th verse that a scripture is the distinctive guide for humans as to what should be done and what not be undertaken.Some shallow practitioners preach that other sacred writings are irrelevant because that they have not imbibed the correct spirit of the ‘Gita’ : (23)
So let us browse through the original 25 verses to find solace in this profound knowledge-
Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha: propagate
Abhayam sattwasamshuddhih jnaanayogavyavasthitih;
Daanam damashcha yajnashcha swaadhyaayastapa aarjavam.
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,
Ahimsaa satyamakrodhas tyaagah shaantirapaishunam;
Dayaa bhooteshvaloluptwam maardavam hreerachaapalam.
2. Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness,
Tejah kshamaa dhritih shauchamadroho naatimaanitaa;
Bhavanti sampadam daiveem abhijaatasya bhaarata.
3. Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride—these belong to one born in a divine state, O Arjuna!
Dambho darpo'bhimaanashcha krodhah paarushyameva cha;
Ajnaanam chaabhijaatasya paartha sampadamaasureem.
4. Hypocrisy, arrogance, self-conceit, harshness and also anger and ignorance, belong to one who is born in a demoniacal state, O Arjuna!
Daivee sampadvimokshaaya nibandhaayaasuree mataa;
Maa shuchah sampadam daiveem abhijaato'si paandava.
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.
Dwau bhootasargau loke'smin daiva aasura eva cha;
Daivo vistarashah proktah aasuram paartha me shrinu.
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!
Pravrittim cha nivrittim cha janaa na viduraasuraah;
Na shaucham naapi chaachaaro na satyam teshu vidyate.
7. The demoniacal know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither purity nor right conduct nor truth is found in them.
Asatyamapratishtham te jagadaahuraneeshwaram;
Aparasparasambhootam kimanyat kaamahaitukam.
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?"
Etaam drishtimavashtabhya nashtaatmaano'lpabuddhayah;
Prabhavantyugrakarmaanah kshayaaya jagato'hitaah.
9. Holding this view, these ruined souls of small intellects and fierce deeds, come forth as enemies of the world for its destruction.
Kaamamaashritya dushpooram dambhamaanamadaanvitaah;
10. Filled with insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they work with impure resolves.
Chintaamaparimeyaam cha pralayaantaamupaashritaah;
Kaamopabhogaparamaa etaavaditi nishchitaah.
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,
Eehante kaamabhogaartha manyaayenaarthasanchayaan.
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.
Idamadya mayaa labdham imam praapsye manoratham;
Idamasteedamapi me bhavishyati punardhanam.
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."
Asau mayaa hatah shatrur hanishye chaaparaanapi;
Eeshwaro'hamaham bhogee siddho'ham balavaan sukhee.
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".
Aadhyo'bhijanavaanasmi ko'nyosti sadrisho mayaa;
Yakshye daasyaami modishye ityajnaanavimohitaah.
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,
Prasaktaah kaamabhogeshu patanti narake'shuchau.
16. Bewildered by many a fancy, entangled in the snare of delusion, addicted to the gratification of lust, they fall into a foul hell.
Aatmasambhaavitaah stabdhaa dhanamaanamadaanvitaah;
Yajante naamayajnaiste dambhenaavidhipoorvakam.
17. Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with the intoxication and pride of wealth, they perform sacrifices in name, through ostentation, contrary to scriptural ordinances.
Ahankaaram balam darpam kaamam krodham cha samshritaah;
18. Given over to egoism, power, haughtiness, lust and anger, these malicious people hate Me in their own bodies and those of others.
Taanaham dwishatah krooraan samsaareshu naraadhamaan;
Kshipaamyajasram ashubhaan aasureeshweva yonishu.
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.
Aasureem yonimaapannaa moodhaa janmani janmani;
Maamapraapyaiva kaunteya tato yaantyadhamaam gatim.
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!
Trividham narakasyedam dwaaram naashanamaatmanah;
Kaamah krodhastathaa lobhas tasmaadetat trayam tyajet.
21. Triple is the gate of this hell, destructive of the self—lust, anger, and greed,—therefore, one should abandon these three.
Etairvimuktah kaunteya tamodwaaraistribhirnarah;
Aacharatyaatmanah shreyas tato yaati paraam gatim.
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.
Yah shaastravidhimutsrijya vartate kaamakaaratah;
Na sa siddhimavaapnoti na sukham na paraam gatim.
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.
Tasmaat shaastram pramaanam te kaaryaakaaryavyavasthitau;
Jnaatwaa shaastravidhaanoktam karma kartumihaarhasi.
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.
Hari Om Tat Sat
Iti Srimad Bhagavadgeetaasoopanishatsu Brahmavidyaayaam
Yogashaastre Sri Krishnaarjunasamvaade
Daivaasurasampadvibhaagayogo Naama Shodasho'dhyaayah
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"
COMMENTARY ON CHAPTER 16:
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.
In fact, on this chapter many inspiring commentaries are available:--
- From the stable of Gita-press in Gorakhpur we have ‘Gita-tika’by Seth Jaidayal Goenkaji; bySaint Hanuman Prasad Poddarji alias Bhaiji; Swami Ramsukhdasji and other saints. Those believing in Gyan-yog, repeatedly read the one by Sethji and those who have faith in Bhakti-yog read more of Bhaiji. Swami Ramsukhdasji has tried to balance the two and His Gita-Darpan analysis is simply marvellous.
- We have annotations by ancient Acharyas namely ‘Gita-tika’ by Ramanujacharya, Vallabhachrya, Gyaneshwarji, and Shankarcharyaji and so on.
- 20th century Saints like Swami Shivanandaji, Chidanandaji of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, and ISCKON's Prabhupadji have documented their observations on the text.
- Modernday day thinkers, Lokmanya Tilak and Dr Radhakrishnan have given their interprations on the Holy Book.
- A rather simplistic summary in the 17 to 18th chapters sums up the 'Gita’ .This is after a time span of 30 years satsang with Saint Ushaji, Susheelaji and Manoharji of Swami Ramkrishan Paramhansa fame.